The Kidnapping

As I was searching for positive stories I ran across this one. It isn’t positive, it isn’t a violent DV. And it hasn’t been determined to be a crime. But, well I want to write about it.

Jorge Alberto Mejia had reportedly been out to a club early on Saturday morning. He told police that what happened then was as he was leaving the club, two men approached him and put a gun to his head and forced him to drive them. Mejia, fearing what they might intend to do purposefully crashed his vehicle into a wall in an attempt to disable it. But the car wasn’t disabled and allegedly one of the gunmen then assaulted Mejia and forced him to continue driving.

Finally the vehicle became undrivable and he guided it to the side of the road. The suspects fled and Mejia called police.

Allegedly Mejia gave detailed descriptions of his attackers and what they had done. Police began looking for the suspects.                                             

But as police continued to talk with Mejia, they became suspicious of his story. Eventually, he told them what really happened.

He had been to the club and had left intending to go to a casino. On the way he ran off the road and crashed the car. It wasn’t just his car. It was his wife’s new 2007 Ford Focus. Not wanting to admit the real story to his wife, he invented a cover story.

Now police are debating filing criminal charges for the false report. And the cover story- and the reasons behind it have made national and international news. Of the more than 198 different articles on the story, there seemed to be at least one in every state and several different countries.                   

Remember Mom saying that it was better to tell the truth and take your punishment than to tell a lie? Many of the articles were very unflattering.


Enduring Love

Valentine’s Day always brings out the stories of love that has endured. And today I am going to take advantage of that by chronicling some of those stories.

In 1932, 11 year old Jackie Rossman was excited when a new neighbor moved into the neighborhood. Curious about the new neighbors, he watched as they moved in. Probably his mother thought it was cute, but improbable when he came to her after he spied the pretty little neighbor girl. He told her

“I am going to marry that pretty girl who moved in across the street.”

The pretty little girl was 10 years old and her name was Sylvia. The two became close friends and when Jackie was 20, he asked Sylvia to marry him. She said yes.

They are now older of course. Jackie is now 85 years old. The two have been married for 64 years. Jackie explains their successful marriage like this:

“If we ever have a difference of opinion, we discuss it, we really discuss it from every angle. And then finally,” “I do whatever she wants.”

And he said that with a smile.

Sylvia says the explanation is simple:

“He makes me laugh,” “I like being with him.”

Sylvia is now battling cancer. But they are still together.

The Valentine’s Day Gift

Following domestic violence crimes can lead to a mistaken belief that all marriages, all relationships are abusive. They are not. Many relationships are not abusive, in many relationships couples struggle together to resolve life’s problems, to raise children and to go through life together. Some days are good, some days are harder- but they aren’t abusive.

In an effort to show that, to show a more balanced view I like to look for other stories. Stories that show the good parts of a couple. However, those don’t often make the paper. Most couple’s live, argue, make up and go through life with a good relationship and never make the paper unless something bad happens in their life. But sometimes that struggle and their efforts to resolve their problems does make the news. And while this is a tremendous story of love and sacrifice, this is just one story that has become public.

Byron Hamilton, 57, is a dairy farmer. More than 25 years ago, he lost an arm to a farming accident. But farming is how he made his living, so he returned to farming after his recovery. Shortly afterwards he married and together the couple raised 4 children.

Several years ago Byron Hamilton’s developed kidney disease. And in September, they learned that more would have to be done. He would have to go on dialysis or he would  need a kidney transplant.

Persons needing kidney transplants can go on a waiting list for organ donations. But currently there are more than 70,000 names on the waiting list. The average wait for an organ is about 3 years. Last year 3,500 people died while waiting on a kidney.

There were 15,721 kidney transplants done last year. And of those transplants, 702 of them were done with organs donated by spouses.

In order to donate, the donor’s tissue must match the tissue of the recipient. Not all spouses will qualify. When Byron’s wife Pearl Hamilton was approached, she says she didn’t hesitate.

“There was no discussion. It’s all a matter of making him well.”

Testing showed that she was an excellent match. Originally scheduled for Feb. 2, the surgery had to be delayed for one more test. Appropriately enough it was rescheduled for Feb. 14. On Valentine’s Day of 2007, she and Byron underwent surgery to transplant her kidney into him.

The surgery was successful, the transplant was completed ahead of schedule. Both are recuperating and doing well. Both should be discharged from the hospital soon, though both will need extended recuperation time at home. Family and friends are chipping in to assist by caring for the farm and for the couple.                                                             

Every relationship will require some compromise and in some cases will require some sacrifice, though not often to this extent.

The true measure of the relationship is the couple’s survival. They married, they raised children, they argued and loved together, they lived together and stayed together. And when the time came that a sacrifice was needed, they were there for each other.

My best wishes for a quick recovery, and a continued long and happy life together for the Hamiltons.

Hours After The Assault

On Saturday night police and an emergency crew were called to the home of Elaine Strecker, 47, by her current boyfriend. According to reports she had facial injuries and admitted to police that she had been involved in a physical assault that had taken place elsewhere. But she refused to give them details and she refused medical treatment.

On Sunday morning about 2:40 am her boyfriend again called for assistance. He had awakened and he realized that Elaine Strecker was not breathing.

After an autopsy, the coroner declared her death to be a homicide. She had died from excessive bleeding from the injuries she had received.

Police have made an arrest. They say that Strecker was at the home of a former boyfriend earlier in the day and the two got into a physical altercation. Under arrest and charged with suspicion of 2nd degree assault is 39 year old Kenneth Orlando. Police say they have enough evidence to charge him with the crime, but the investigation is continuing and further charges may be added. Orlando was a former boyfriend of Elaine Strecker, the current boyfriend is the one who called police.

You should never prejudge before the facts are out. I have to confess when D.P. first posted this at Crime News I noted that it had the earmarks of a DV. Refusal to provide information to the police about the crime, refusing medical aid often are seen with DV. Protection of the abuser often takes precedence over personal health and safety.

She had her own reasons for refusing the assistance. Perhaps fear of being charged herself- because she had been at the former boyfriend’s. Perhaps it was fear of the cost of medical care. Perhaps a fear of retaliation. Perhaps even the thought that the injuries were not that bad.

Head/facial injuries can be very serious and problems may not develop for several hours. Never give up your own personal health/safety to protect an abuser or even to keep from being charged. Get any head injuries checked. If another person is charged in the crime, an application can be made to the Victims of Crime Assistance program for reimbursement of the medical costs.