Thursday, May 8, 2008

Death of an Oregon Kidnapper

I recently received a comment on BlogoliticalSean relating the death of Tony Micheletti, one of the people most deeply, shamefully and criminally involved in the abduction of the four Cruz children.

In this post, I am publishing the comment from Judith McKenney—who is a complete stranger to me—and my posted reply to her comment.

Now that I’ve had a week to think about things, I will add some additional comments at the end of the post.

Here’s the post from Judith McKenney:

"Judith McKenney said...

"I discovered your sight (sic) by accident, and just thought, before you make comments you will regret, that Tony Micheletti died, December 15th and 705PM of CJD a very very fast acting brain degenerative desease that robbed him of himself - not unlike Alzheimers's but 100X faster. He went from seemingly healthy to death in 2 months!I hope this information doesn't make you happy, or make you feel he has been punished for some transgression. I knew Tony fairly well, and, if he was guilty of what you assert, I am sure he truly believed he was doing the right thing for the children...and it is ONLY the children who are important! I haven't read your whole article, but in perusing it, I didn't notice where you stated your ex-wife's justification for doing this...she thought she was justified...why?"

Here’s my reply to Ms McKenney’s comment:

Judith McKenney:

I don't know why your comment posted on this thread. I think you were responding to a different post, one of the abduction-related postings, but it posted here. I'll respond to your comment here.

I have little information about any members of the Micheletti family since the kidnapping and had not heard of Tony Micheletti’s death. I had hoped to see him in court someday.

The harm he caused my children and my family is for forever.

My former wife was getting divorced from someone else when the Micheletti family and their friends and associates caused my children to disappear. There was no safety issue, and no allegations of abuse were made by any of the parties.

My children lost both of their homes, all of their friends, their neighborhood, their schools, their dad, their dad's entire family and their opportunities to live a normal life. Their grandmother passed away four years after the kidnapping without seeing or hearing from her grandchildren again.

The only two things that remained constant in their lives were the Micheletti family and the Mormon church, and every person involved in the kidnapping who was not a member of the Micheletti family was a member of the church.

This group of people decided that they wanted to raise my children in a Mormon-controlled environment, knew that the joint custody order was a barrier, and together they planned and carried out a criminal act: the abduction of four children, “…taken, enticed and kept” in violation of a valid joint custody order, a class “B” felony. This was the controlling motive, and they knew they were committing a crime.

That first criminal act led to others. They committed additional criminal acts to protect themselves from discovery.

Child abduction victims suffer emotional damage in the same ways that child sex abuse victims suffer, including an inability to form lasting relationships, to trust others.

My former wife is now with her fifth husband. My children are on their third stepdad, one stepdad for each of the three states they’ve resided in since the order for joint custody was first violated.

Among my adult children I can count one death, two broken marriages, severe depression, failing grades, chemical dependency and other problems and issues.

And the two constants: the Micheletti family and the Mormon church, the same group who decided to take my children out of their schools and put them on the road during the Great Storm of February 1996.

You suggested that Tony Micheletti thought he was doing the right thing for my children, and I want to respond to that:

Tony Micheletti didn’t know my children.

He was not close to my family in any way. I had not seen him in more than five years before the kidnapping, and neither had my children. Later, my son Aaron told me that when they saw “Uncle Tony” on February 12, the day my children disappeared, they did not recognize him.

He absolutely knew that they were taking the children in violation of a valid joint custody order, and I have that in his sworn statement. He also committed perjury, and I have that evidence too.

As I write this comment, the Northwest remains in the grip of major heavy weather. There are three climbers lost on Mt. Hood. A man died in southern Oregon earlier this week after his family became lost and stuck in the snow. Power is out in many areas, and people are in general trying to stay out of the weather and off of the roads.

This is precisely the same weather in which my four children disappeared nearly eleven years ago, and on a day they should have been in school. How do you justify that?

Additional Thoughts on Christmas Day 2006:

It was at “Uncle Tony’s” house near Salem, on the day the children disappeared, that they learned that they were going to Utah and not coming back. They had already been out of school for a week, bouncing from one place to another in Oregon and Washington, during the Great Storm of February 1996.

February 12 was the day they vanished, and they were at Tony Micheletti’s house near Salem that day, a school day.

He wasn’t concerned about the children’s safety in the weather or their absence from their schools. He wasn’t concerned about their elderly and frail grandmother, who was living with me at the time, or our three-generation household.

He didn’t know anything about the Cruz family, had never been to my house, had never been to his own sister’s house. My children had forgotten what he looked like.

So, to suggest that Tony Micheletti acted out of love for my children is a far, far stretch. The smug bastard was always convinced he was smarter than anyone else.

A few weeks after my kids had disappeared, Tony Micheletti was one of several co-kidnappers living in three states who wrote letters describing how wonderful my children’s new lives were at an undisclosed location in Utah.

The fact that there were people in three states who claimed in sworn statements to have a close relationship with my children’s circumstances at a time when I could only guess at their location has never been lost on me.

As if to demonstrate that criminals are never the sharpest pencils in the box, several co-kidnappers wrote sworn statements. The copies I eventually received even have the fax information printed at the top, and that tells a story too. You know that they never thought about faxes and a paper trail.

The story they tell is, basically, “Hey, we’re involved in a criminal conspiracy, all of us, all together. Not only that, we’re a bunch of liars and we’re going to write some lies down and swear they are true.”

Among the Oregon kidnappers, Evelyn Taylor and David Holiday of Hillsboro were smart enough not to put anything in writing, as far as I can tell.

Cynthia Anderson of Clatskanie also perjured herself, but that document didn’t surface for several years.

The really stupid, self-absorbed, most-criminal kidnappers were the now-dead Tony Micheletti, and Chris and Kory Wright in Utah, and they put it in writing.

I had hoped, hoped, hoped to get them all in a courtroom together.

They broke my children’s hearts, all four of them. And they did this knowing full well what they were doing. I will never forgive them for breaking my children’s hearts.

For that fact alone, as a parent, I admit that I have wanted to beat their faces in with a shovel.

They moved my children from one isolated Mormon enclave to another. My children—since 1995—were not permitted to leave the state of Utah except under direct control by Mormon church members. And this is America.

Aaron, after a serious beating, attempted to run away from one of those enclaves. The local police found him hitchhiking in the mountains in the middle of the night and took him back to his mother and stepdad #2, who had administered the beating.

You can really count on those Utah police.

Here’s what I have to say at this time about Tony Micheletti:

Child abduction—by any person—is child abuse. I’m talking to you, Tony.

More on this later, to be sure….

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