Many couples get divorced. It’s a reality that sometimes relationships don’t work. Children can complicate divorce. Who gets the kiddos when and how custody will be shared? This true-crime is an extreme example of how horrible a divorce can be.
Five years and three children later, the marriage between an optometrist and his receptionist failed. Because they couldn’t agree on the specifics of shared custody, their divorce had been contentious at best.
Toward the end of summer, the wife agreed the husband could take their three young children on a two-week child-centered vacation. Unbeknownst to the wife, her soon-to-be ex-husband had made extensive plans. He'd sold his portion of his practice. In cahoots with his mother, she purchased a motorhome. He also secured a large sum of money (illegally).
Two weeks passed, and the children didn’t return. The mother reported the children missing. It took law enforcement over one year to locate the ex-husband, the three children, and their grandmother living in the motor home in South America.
Child services returned the children to their mother, who the family court had given sole custody to. The ex-husband pleaded guilty to international parental kidnapping and bank fraud, spent four-years in prison followed by five-years of supervised release. His mother, age 64, for her role in the abduction, went to prison for 18 months.
Sadly, this contentious divorce became even more disturbing. During the ex-husband’s incarceration, he began plotting against his ex-wife. He had his father, mother and sister ruthlessly stalk his ex-wife. They used mail, email, websites, and online postings to disseminate false and defamatory allegations that the children’s mother had been abusing the children and sexually abusing them.
Soon after the children’s father’s release from prison, he and his family drove over 1,500 miles to attend a child support hearing in another state. Although he had secured permission from his Probation Officer, he hadn’t disclosed that his family was also going.
On the day of the hearing, the ex-husband and his father entered the courthouse lobby together. The ex-husband went through the security screening, the father hung out in the lobby. When the ex-wife arrived at the courthouse with a friend, her ex-father-in-law shot and killed her. Then he turned the gun on the friend and killed her too. Before the security officers could handle the situation, the father went outside and took his own life.
After the killing, law enforcement found ammunition, restraints, a bullet-proof vest, electrical shock device, photos of the children and the ex-wife’s home in his vehicle.
Because of their involvement in the cyber-stalking, the man’s mother and sister were co-defendants in the first case in the USA of cyberstalking that resulted in death. A jury found the ex-husband, his mother and sister guilty. The court sentenced all three to life in prison. #truecrime #divorce #relationships
After the sentencing, a special agent involved in the case said,
“This ground breaking prosecution and investigations shows people who actively take part in planning crimes, even though they don’t pull the trigger, will be held accountable.”
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, USA District Court, CNN