Fifty-three percent of abducted children, were abducted by their biological father, according to Heather Hammer, David Finkelhor, and Andrea J. Sedlak. Every summer, since I was eight years old, old enough to ride on a plane by myself; my brother and I would visit our father in San Diego California from Washington State. One summer, after finishing fourth grade, it was time to leave. Everything from the day we got to my father’s house, seemed very unusual. My father started making us fix up our own little area in his apartment. He bought two dressers, our own beds with our favorite sheets, and tons of clothes we thought we were taking back home with our mother. He made us happy of course; he was getting us new stuff, stuff we weren’t used to receiving due to a life on a budget. My father always believed my mother would never raise us right, so he thought he’d try twelve years later. My father has never lived with us, he has lived in San Diego since my older brother Jordan was two years old. Our normal stay at my father’s house was two weeks, sometimes four, then we would leave. Well, one day, my world seemed to have turned upside down. My father said we’re not going home with our mother.
I was devastated and would cry myself to sleep almost every night. We were told we’re starting school in two weeks. Time went by and my father hadn’t let us talk to our mother. I asked to speak to her every day, and I would only get told, “I’m busy.” A few days went by and it’s finally our first day of school. I started fifth grade, and my brother Jordan started the sixth. We had to go to separate schools; that really scared me. My second day at Golden Hills Elementary, was the day I pretended to feel sick, and was sent to the office. My plan was to call my mother to tell her what was happening. As I walk through the door to the office, my father is standing there, waiting for me. I was afraid. I felt like my father already knew what I was going to do. He questioned me in the truck on our way home. He asked me “what was that about Mariah”? I responded by telling him my stomach hurt. He looked at me, he said no television, go to bed, and be ready for school on Monday.
I asked to speak to my mother that same day, and my father says I have to stand in front of him, and no crying. I went back upstairs and did just that. The next day was Saturday; my father’s busiest day. He worked right downstairs from his apartment. He was an appliance retailer, still is. I tried to make sure my father was always busy. I wanted make sure I had enough time to go to our neighbor’s door and ask to use the phone, to call my mother. I finally contacted her. I was so happy to hear her voice I immediately started to cry. My mother was so upset with my father, he hadn’t let her talk to us and he served her with custody papers. Within two minutes I told my mother everything that my dad has done. I told her I want to go home. She had a plan. She said to go to a certain store at a certain time with my brother, and she would pick us up there.
Anxious and excited, I waited for the next day to come; Sunday. We both went about our day, except, Sunday was my father’s “day off.” He stayed close by all day. About seven o’ clock PM, our plan failed as soon as my father sent my cousin Ivan to go to the store with my brother, and I could not go. I waited outside, as I told my dad I’m going to play. He told me to stay visible, and do not go downstairs. Every time I tried to slide down the stairs slowly, my father yelled at me. I tried maybe three times. I got up, moved a little away from the front door, and saw my mother’s headlights flashing. My cousin Adriana stuck her head out and waved at me. I was so happy, yet so scared. My mom gestured to me to come down, and I couldn’t. I went inside to ask my dad if I can play with his phone, he actually let me without thinking about it. I went outside, moved to the right side a little away from the door, I called my mom and whispered to her that I can’t come down; he’s watching me. My mother told me just to run as fast as I can; I told her I can’t, I have to hang up. I quickly deleted my call from my father’s call log, and put it down on the balcony fence.
What I see next is my cousin Adriana getting out of the car. She comes upstairs like nothing is wrong, goes right past me and straight to the neighbor’s apartment door. Adriana looked at me, and gestured that she’s going to grab my hand, and we need to run. My mother’s car was right outside the front of my father’s apartment. Adriana walked back, quickly grabbed my hand, and we ran. Before I could get in the backseat of the car, all I see next is my father jumping off a two story balcony, and right onto the car. I started shaking. My mother started yelling at my father to get off of the car. My father’s girlfriend Pam, arrived shortly after that. She asked, what’s going on? My father asked for her phone and called the police. He stayed on the car the whole time.
My brother Jordan showed up with my cousin a little bit after. Then, the police. My father went upstairs, grabbed some papers, and handed them to the police officer. The officer took about one minute to look at the document with his flashlight, and didn’t realize it was a document that stated he filed for custody; he didn’t have custody. The next thing I know, the officer tells me to get out of the car, I have to stay with my father. I kept yelling no, I want to go home with my mom. Out of nowhere, there were more police officers around the car. Another officer told me if I did not get out of the car, my mother would be arrested. I looked at my mom, she was crying, I told her I didn’t want her to go to jail; I leaned over and gave her a hug and a kiss. After, I got out of the car still crying. My father’s girlfriend told me; “stop crying”! You’re never going to see your mother again. I loathed her from that day on. My mother left, the police officers stayed around to make sure my mother left for good. I was heartbroken, and terrified. I went upstairs, and cried to myself to sleep. My brother Jordan sat right next to me, cried with me, and gave me a hug. He told me everything was going to be okay, and that we’ll run away tomorrow. I was told to pack a bag with things we’ll need. My brother packed some clothes, I packed my clothes, some water bottles, and snacks; and stuffed our bags under our beds.
Early that next morning while my father was working, we grabbed two of his ceramic piggy banks from his closet, and left through the back sliding door in my father’s apartment. My father thought we were waiting to be picked up for school the whole time. Jordan knew the bus routes very well. We arrived in downtown San Diego, from Golden Hills. We went to a McDonald’s near the train station. My brother had ordered us some food, and we stayed inside of the playhouse the whole time. Inside, we broke the piggy banks open, and counted about three hundred dollars. The next day came, we waited till people came in, and there were other kids in the playhouse. Soon after, we left to get on the train. While we were waiting for the train to leave, we kept looking out of the window, hoping our father wouldn’t catch us, or the police. Finally, the train started moving; my brother asked a lady sitting across from us if we could use her phone to make a phone call. She politely said, of course. Jordan got in contact with our mother and told her we’re on the train, and not to tell our father yet. About 9 hours later, we’re in Moorpark California, where my mother was waiting for us. My mother called my father after we arrived and told him we’re with her.
My father said he had put up a picture of my brother all around Golden Hills, and Downtown San Diego. He didn’t have a recent picture of me, so my brother was his only chance of finding us. About a week and a half later, we’re all going to mediation. We were all in one room; my mother, me, Jordan, my father, Pam my father’s girlfriend, and my grandparents. All except my grandparents and pam were separately taken in a room for questions. The judge asked me very personal things, and I didn’t answer any of them except when she asked me why I don’t want to stay with my father. I answered by telling her, he’s not my mother. She then asked me why I want to stay with my mom; I said she’s always taken care of me, and no matter what we go through, she always took care of the problem, fed us, clothed us, put a roof over our heads and always made time for us. She taught me many things that’ll become of use when I’m older as well. She even warmed our socks every morning before school by the fireplace. As I’m feeling safer talking about my mom, I mentioned how I don’t like living with just men, I’m a girl and need my mother. I once told my father, my brother had peed all over the toilet seat, and he told me to clean it up. I did of course, then I stepped out of the restroom and my father went in and did the same exact thing. I told her I just can’t stand him. When I was in fifth grade and saw girls putting on their cherry or watermelon chap stick; I wanted one and I bought one. My father saw my lips were a little pink, he snatched my chap stick out of my hand and made me go upstairs to wash it off; he told me because he doesn’t want me to grow up to be a “hoochie.” He treats me like a maid, and a dumb little kid. Every mess made by any man in that house; I had to pick up after. I felt uncomfortable cleaning in front of grown men, like my father’s workers. Finally, it was time to leave. My father’s lawyer tried to tell us we need to go back with our father, and the crying started. I went to the restroom with my mother and asked what to do. She said she would figure something out.
The next thing I know, a police officer is knocking on the bathroom door asking my mother what’s wrong. My mother told him; he said I’m going home with her today. He was very upset with my father, and his lawyer because he said my father has no right till the day of court. My mother won that case. She gained full custody with holiday visitation for my father. My relationship with my father after, was really hard for me. I felt hate toward him for a long time for doing this to us. Time went by, I started talking to him, but it felt hard to tell him I loved him after our conversations ended; which were fairly short. Now, I talk to him, and I try to get along because he’s getting older, and so am I. My brother; not so much, he’s been through a series of unfortunate events with that man. Today I am living with my mother in Fillmore California. She’s managed to buy a beautiful home, and does everything she can for us. Because of my mother, and what I have been through, and been told throughout my life; I’ve graduated from high school in the eleventh grade, I’m in college with no kids, and I’m a responsible young woman ready to take on the world. I couldn’t have done any of this without her.
Eng. V02 Dixon
Aug 10, 2014