Be On The Lookout

It is spring and a weekend. The weather is getting better, in many areas the sun is shining. We all tend to get out more at times like this, whether it is working in the yard or getting out and about. During your travels this weekend, even during your time next week I ask you to be on the lookout for three faces (pdf).

Not much has been announced about the background for this story. Anna D. Ellis, 38, is divorced and lived in Indianna and she has custody of her two daughters. According to reports she allegedly has suffered from some mental illness and recently attempted suicide. She reportedly has been taking medication for her illness.

On Thursday police recieved a call from Anna Ellis’s ex-husband. According to reports the ex-husband came home and found Anna Ellis in his home about 6:50 am. Allegedly she attacked him with pruning shears. He managed to get away and made the call to police. Police discovered that Ellis had taken the children from school about 9:30 am and she and the children have not been seen since. It is not known if Ellis has her medication with her. She reportedly does have access to weapons.

There is concern for the children’s safety.

Anna Ellis is described as white, 5’11” and and weighs about 115 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was last seen driving a 2008 Honda Pilot with Arizona license plate 771VRH.

The ten year old daughter is described as white with blonde hair and green eyes. She is about 4’6″ and about 90 lbs. The nine year old daughter is described as white with blonde hair and blue eyes and is about 4’5″ weighing about 85 lbs.

(Pictures at links)                                                                                                                                                  

If you don’t live in Arizona, why should you be concerned or on the lookout? With travel today this family could be anywhere in the country within 2 to 3 days. Or she could be enroute to elsewhere. Or she could be hiding out somewhere. So while the chances that you might come across her may be slim- it is possible.

What should you do if you suspect that you have come across a wanted person? Don’t approach and don’t ask questions. If they are in a vehicle, make note of the make, model and license plate as well as the direction of travel. Make contact with local police and advise them of your suspicions and the info you have.

If they determine that the person you suspect is the wanted person,  they will attempt to apprehend in a way that is as safe as possible for all involved.

A big thank you to Robert for the tip on this one.


Anna Ellis was located in Colorado on Fri. 5-2. She was arrested on an assault warrant. The children were with her and reportedly unharmed.

It’s not always simple

Benjamin Duling, 34, and his girlfriend Shelly McGrade, 35, have been described as quiet and that they worked a lot. They lived in a home surrounded by woods, more than 100 yards from another residence. The couple had two children ages 1 1/2 (I have seen the child listed as 2) years and 5 years old. Shelly McGrade was also the mother of two children from a previous relationship.

Friday night a near neighbor says she got a knock on the door. Allegedly there had been an altercation between Benjamin Duling and Shelly McGrade. Police were notified and when they arrived at the neighbors home, the 5 year old child, the 1 1/2 year old child and Benjamin Duling were there. At the home that Duling shared with McGrade, they found Shelly McGrade lifeless.

Police report that Benjamin Duling was injured when they arrived and it is believed he suffered those injuries during the alleged altercation with Shelly McGrade. He was taken to the hospital, treated and released. Duling was taken into custody for a time, but then was released. The 2 younger children are believed to have been present during the fight, but police say they were not physically harmed.

Police are investigating but as of last media report there have been no arrests. Police have declined to say if there was a weapon involved or the cause of Shelly McGrade’s death, though they do admit there was visible injuries. An autopsy has been scheduled. Police have said there does not appear to have been anyone else involved in the altercation other than McGrade and Duling. And they have said the manner of death does appear to be homicide.

According to the Senior Assistant Attorney General

Strelzin said prosecutors will review the evidence and “determine whether any criminal charges will be brought.” Some homicides lead to immediate arrests and others can take years to resolve, he said.                              

It’s not always simple. Before police can dismiss the investigation or if necessary make an arrest they have to be able to prove what happened Friday night. Fingerprints and DNA would be expected to be in the home from both Duling and McGrade. But there are other tests that can be used, though some of those tests might take time. An autopsy also has to be performed.

I was interested in the fact that police have termed Shelly McGrade’s death to be a homicide. Homicide is defined by the

The killing of one human being by another human being.

Although the term homicide is sometimes used synonymously with murder, homicide is broader in scope than murder. Murder is a form of criminal homicide; other forms of homicide might not constitute criminal acts. These homicides are regarded as justified or excusable. For example, individuals may, in a necessary act of self-Defense, kill a person who threatens them with death or serious injury, or they may be commanded or authorized by law to kill a person who is a member of an enemy force or who has committed a serious crime. Typically, the circumstances surrounding a killing determine whether it is criminal. The intent of the killer usually determines whether a criminal homicide is classified as murder or manslaughter and at what degree.


So basically at this time, police are not saying what happened.


Thank you to Amanda for providing an update.

According to reports, the couple was arguing in the kitchen of the home and the children were present. Shelly McGrade was stabbed in the neck and the back. Duling received an injury to his hand during the altercation. Duling has been arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder. The younger children reportedly did witness the attack and efforts are being made to obtain counseling for them. The older children were away from the home. Duling was with his two young children until his arrest, now all of the children are reported to be with relatives.

National Crime Victims Rights Week

                                     Justice for VICTIMS. Justice for ALL. National Crime Victims' Rights Week 2008 Resource Guide Online Now.

Yesterday Neal’s Mom left a message on behalf of her son and grandchildren, and I liked it so well I asked permission to borrow her words.

First, it reminded me that April 13-19 th is National Crime Victims Rights Week. This week is set aside to honor crime victims, promote victims rights and the ones who advocate for them.

Second, it is a reminder that domestic violence is a crime. And that victims of domestic violence do have rights, and resources. All that is waiting for the victim who reaches out a hand. With help, domestic violence victims can become survivors.

Now on to Neal’s Moms post:

In honor of Victims Rights Week, here is the official song of victim’s groups like Justice for Homicide Victims and Parents of Murdered Children:

We Are the Survivors

There are those of us whose mothers have been taken from our arms.
There are those of us with children we could not keep safe from harm.
There are those of us who’ve lived to see our fathers lose our lives.
And each and every one of us survives.


We are the survivors, left behind to carry on.
We are the survivors, joined together we are strong.
We will speak out for our loved ones who were not given a choice.
We are the survivors, hear our voice.

Maybe some of us have brothers who were here, but now they’re gone.
You can ask about our sisters, because their memory is strong.
We are sons and we are daughters, we are husbands, we are wives.
And each and every one of us survives


We are the survivors, left behind to carry on.
We are the survivors, joined together we are strong.
We will speak out for our loved ones who were not given a choice.
We are the survivors, hear our voice.

With a part of us that never heals, and our fear of the unknown.
There’s a strength in knowing through it all, you’re not alone


We are the survivors, left behind to carry on.
We are the survivors, joined together we are strong.
We will speak out for our loved ones who were not given a choice.
We are the survivors, hear our voice. 

The song “We Are Survivors” was written by Richard Wright in 1993, in honor of his father. It was performed by Kim Tewksbury. They donated the song to the Parents of Murdered Children. If you click over to their site you can listen to the song being performed.

Thank you for leaving this post Neal’s Mom.

We do all have a voice. And it is time to become an advocate. To speak out against domestic violence, to lobby for more effective laws and to become proactive.

Sweet Sentiments

“I have no doubt that we are meant to be together forever, you are everything to me and without you I would be lost in this crazy world.”

“He needs someone who’s faithful, only his lips may she kiss.” A stanza of a poem

Both messages were found on the MySpace page of Bekime “Becky” Elshani and believed to have been written to her by Daniel Dereere.

Something was worrying the parents of 22 year old Bekime “Becky” Elshani, so on Monday they called police. A part of their concern may have been the history.

Becky lived with 25 year old Daniel Dereere (I have also seen it spelled Dereer, I’m not sure which is correct.) And as it is sometimes put “there was a history.” Last May the two had an altercation, possibly over telephone calls that Becky Elshani had received from her ex-husband. And according to reports, Becky Elshani struck Dereere in the face. Later in Oct. there are reports that Dereere and Becky were at a party and Becky felt that Dereere was too intoxicated to drive. She attempted to get his keys from him, but when she did he tased her. She reported to police it was about 20 times. Both incidents were charged, both went to court and both were dismissed.

Some reports indicate that Becky Elshani may have been seeing her ex-husband late last year. And that Dereere was upset over that. So the way he expressed himself was to reportedly hack into her MySpace page and post nude pictures of her online. She filed charges on that and it was due to go to court last week. But the two reconciled.

Her father says that he didn’t see the anger in Dereere. So it may have been the information that a friend has alleged that Dereere had also threatened Becky and said that if he couldn’t have her, no one could. That he would kill her, then himself.

The couple were at her parents home on Saturday and Becky stepped outside the home. She may have stepped outside to meet with her ex-husband or Dereere may have thought she was meeting him. The two argued that night. That is the last night that Becky was seen.  

Her parents called police and asked them to check on Becky on Monday. And police went to the home. They report that as they arrived they heard a popping sound. They made entry into the home and found Daniel Dereere dead from an apparent suicide. Police report there was no sign of Becky in the home, there was no sign of a struggle and Dereere did not leave a suicide note.

But when police checked Dereere’s vehicle they say they found blood, tests are being run to determine if it was Becky Elshani’s blood. Police believe that it may be a sign of foul play.

Bekime “Becky” Elshani was last seen last Saturday. She is described as 5’5″ and 110 lbs, white female. Police have been conducting aerial searches of areas that Dereere was known to frequent for camping and family and friends have been conducting ground searches.

Police say the ex-husband is not a suspect in Becky’s disappearance.

Police are asking that if anyone saw Becky Elshani or Daniel Dereere that weekend they would like them to make contact with police.                        

The words are romantic, the sentiment sweet. But even back when this was written there are hints of what was to come.

“We are meant to be together forever” leaves me to question what happens if one decides to leave? What does forever mean to him and what if forever doesn’t last?

“You are everything to me” Everyone has other things in their lives, if that person is focusing to the extent that they believe you are all- what happens if you change your mind?

“Only his lips may she kiss” to me the line just oozes possessiveness.

Yes, receiving those messages would have been flattering at first. But when you really think about such messages they seem more ominous. Sweet sentiments are easy to say and even can be easy to write. But you also have to look at the actions behind the words.

Talking to her ex-husband caused an argument that became violent. Yet she cared enough about Dereere to try to stop him from driving drunk. And for that, she got tased.


Searches are still being conducted for Becky Elshani. Premier Helicopter company has volunteered a helicopter and pilot to the search and newschannel 13 is also volunteering. More ground searchers are needed.


Christopher Lukacs, 27, and Ambre King, 29, resided together as boyfriend and girlfriend. King was the mother of two children, a boy age 7 and a girl age 4. Lukacs is reportedly the father of the 4 year old girl. Also allegedly in the home was another mother and her two children. She was also allegedly Lukacs girlfriend.

On March 25 th, King’s father reportedly recieved a call saying that Lukacs was beating his daughter Ambre King. He went to the home to pick up his grandchildren. And what he allegedly saw there would make a strong man cry, let alone any grandfather. According to at least one media source, he found his 4 year old granddaughter naked and bleeding.

Police were called and an investigation was completed. The case was taken to the Grand Jury. And Lukacs was arrested for one count of felonious assult and rape. 4 charges of rape. Prosecutors say this was not the first time the little girl had been raped. Investigators believe that the rapes began in Dec. of 2007 and that she had been raped “repeatedly” since. The investigation also revealed that at least one attack on her had resulted in her being taken to the hospital for vaginal injuries. Allegedly the story the parents gave for her injuries was that she had fallen on some Legos. But for some reason there was never any investigation, followup or report and the little girl was sent back home with her parents. Both the prosecutor and the hospital have pledged to investigate why.

Christopher Lukacs was reportedly a known sex offender. He was convicted of gross sexual imposition in 2000 for an assault on a 12 year old child. If you check Lukacs name on the National Sex Offender registry, it says that he is compliant with his registration, his most recent photo is from 03-10-08. And he was still on parole.

Prosecutors say that was not all the investigation revealed. Prosecutors say that Ambre King knew of the abuse and did not report or take steps to protect her daughter. She has been arrested on a charge of endangering children.

The prosecutor has made another pledge in this case

“The ever- increasing abuse of children in our community is unacceptable,” Deters said. “I want to be very clear on this subject. If you choose to rape a child, you had better be prepared to spend the rest of your life in jail.”


National Sex Offender Public Website

For many many years, a person could rape a child, serve his time, get out of jail or prison and deny it ever happened. He could meet new people and prey on other children. But now there is a tool to help prevent that. It is called the National Sex Offender Public Website. If you have children, I suggest you use it. If you don’t have children, but plan on it, it is a good idea to use it. Even if you are just dating someone it is a good idea to use it. Remember a tool is only useful if it is used.

Now my understanding from what I am seeing and hearing is that Lukacs was already on the sex offender list when the child’s mother had the 4 year old child. Whether she knew about his sex offender status or not, I have no way of knowing. But I am guessing she probably knew, if not from him telling her, she may have had some inkling from the correspondence coming to the home.

 Now it is possible that she didn’t know about the abuse. But according to info from the investigation and probably the hospital visit, it is believed that she knew. She knew and remained with Lukacs. She knew and her child continued to be raped. She knew and did not have him arrested.

Yet on Mar. 25th, she calls her father because she is being beaten. Now I have no way of knowing, was she being beaten because she was trying to prevent the rape? If that was why she was beaten, then why didn’t she call police instead of her father? The only way to assure that her child’s father did not rape her, would be to report him, move away and get some help for her daughter.

Did she fear having her children taken away? If she had reported the abuse her children could not have been removed from her because someone else abused her children, as long as she did not participate and reported it as soon as she became aware of it.

Did she perhaps fear that she would be beaten more severely if she reported the abuse? If she had reported the abuse, he would be in jail and not able to beat her.

Many times a woman will have reasons for staying with an abusive man. There are even some excuses I can reluctantly accept. A woman is an adult and does have the right to make her own decisions about her life. But every woman should remember that if she makes a decision to remain in an abusive situation, she is sentencing her child, who doesn’t have the right to make decisions- to a life of violence.

But IMO there is never any acceptable excuse for any parent to remain with a person who is abusing the children. Never. Not even if they are the child’s parent. And not even if they love them.


At the time the grandfather came to the home, the children of the other mother are aged 4 and 1 year old, and they reportedly begged to go with him. After the allegations against Lukacs, the mother sent those children to Georgia to live with relatives. Due to a concern for those children, authorities are now working with Georgia authorities to investigate if they had been abused.

According to the prosecutor, evidence of the sexual abuse was apparent.

Reportedly on Lukacs sex offender status, he was due to report earlier this year and failed to do so. He was arrested for that and that charge is pending.

He was also charged with domestic violence on Mar. 31 on the allegation that he hit Ambre King in the face on Mar. 25.

April is Child Abuse Awareness Month

Children are our loved ones, our future and our joy as well as our responsibility. And I do not mean just the children born to us, I also mean the children in our neighborhoods, our communities and our country. Children are our future leaders, future teachers, future scientists, future doctors and nurses and future parents. Children are often called our greatest natural resource.

 Our country has laws to advocate for our children as well as to protect them. It may suprise you to know that it was as recently as 1974 that our first federal laws regarding child abuse were passed. Prior to that the only protection they had was state laws and sometimes those laws could be a bit haphazard at best. But in 1974 the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), went into effect.

In June 1982 the first National Child Abuse Awareness week was proclaimed. Since 1983 the time was increased to a month and the National Child Abuse Awareness Month has always been held in the month of April. A time to clebrate children and renew our committment to protect them.

Protecting children often means doing a hard thing. It means that sometimes the average citizen may have to report suspicions that a child may be being abused. And it could be a strangers child, but most often is a neighbor, or a friend or relative. So the decision to report is not easy. You may even find yourself questioning if you should have the right to make a report on what is happening in someone else’s home. The answer to that is yes. Every child is important. Every child is worth saving. We lose too many children to violence, and even one child is too many.

Protecting children sounds like something that should be instinctive, something that all parents should do for their own children. And most do. But sometimes things break down. A parent maybe cannot or will not protect them. Or perhaps even becomes the abuser.

A child can suffer from abuse in many ways. Direct abuse to the child that may or may not result in physical injury to the child. Or through observance of the abuse of others. Both have a profound and lasting psychological effect on children as well as any physical affects of an injury.

So the National Child Abuse Awareness month is a reminder to all that there are laws to protect children. And that anyone who happens to witness abuse of any child, it should be reported. Some reports may trigger efforts to have the children removed from an unsafe environment. And some reports may result in an arrest. And some reports may result in obtaining assistance to aid the family in staying together. But all reports must be investigated and all actions taken are to protect the child.

What should you report? Any time you see abuse, any time that you see injuries on a child and were told the injuries were due to something else- but the story doesn’t seem to match the injuries. Any time you hear a child talk about abuse. Making a report doesn’t automatically condemn the reported person. Their will be no action unless their investigation reveals that abuse did occur and the agency feels that some action needs to be taken. And the action that is taken will vary according to circumstances in the home, what the investigation reveals and what the investigating agency feels is the best protection for the child. What should you do if you report abuse, and do not see any action being taken? Caseworkers cannot just walk into a home and remove children unless their investigation confirms abuse or neglect and reveals an immediate danger to the child. In some cases, it may take more than one report to give enough evidence. If you see further signs of abuse or neglect, you make new reports. And always try to make reports soon after a suspected incident, while any possible evidence will be fresh.

Now while we are on the subject of abuse and how it affects children, remember when I said that children can be affected by observing abuse of others? Even very young children can be affected by violence in the home. Even young children can suffer from traumatic stress, even if they have not been abused themselves. And statistically there is a greater chance that if there is domestic violence in the home, there is a greater chance that child abuse also occurs in the home.

So please remember that all children need our protection. There is an old proverb I think Africian proverb that I think is very appropriate at this time. It says it takes a  whole village to raise a child. And I believe it takes all of us to help protect them.