Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Rainy Day in Georgia

We travelled up from Florida through the cotton fields and misty lakes of Alabama and on into Georgia and the rain soaked wasteland of Atlanta.  

Emily should have been at the Winn-Dixie on Beck and 23rd in Panama City at 10.00am but Sheila did not show nor was there any contact yet we drove over 800 miles to get there from Richmond, Virginia.

So far this week we have covered over 2,500 miles and by the time the trip is finished it will be over 3,000 but no Emily at the end of it.

I'm holed up in a motel in Georgia after meeting with Dave Thelen from the Committee for Missing Children last night; I'd spoken with him many times on the telephone over the years but this was the first opportunity to sit down with him and share that beer we had been promising each other for four years.

His grandchildren were staying at the house and his eldest grand-daughter and I played Wii bowling and true to form I showed absolutely no mercy; yes I know you're very cute but I have been well trained by my eldest daughter in the UK and trust me, 6 year olds cannot be shown any mercy nor trace of weakness!

Playing with this beautiful little girl, she reminded me constantly of what Emily and I were missing; they are the same age, the same colour of hair and I have no doubt, the same infectious laugh and demeanour that all little girls have and especially in the eyes of their fathers.  

I have very mixed feelings; depressed because Emily and I were not allowed to see each other and yet, I also believe this is the start of another road to demonstrating why Sheila should not be allowed to have primary residency of Emily.

No sooner had I arrived in Panama City than Sheila and her sister, Debbie Martin commenced calling the police claiming threats and harassment.  Patsy and I actually went into the police station in order to collect any police reports that had already been filed; several had been filed dating back over a year and less than a day despite this being my first visit to Panama City and as luck would have it, there was Sheila's car in the lot because she was in the station filing yet another.

I'm going to kidnap Emily, I'm violent, I will abuse Emily and on and on and on ad nauseum this goes.

The police are powerless; court orders have less value than the used toilet tissue flushed down the bowl each morning and the calendar continues to count down the erosion and destruction of one of the two most important relationships Emily can have in her childhood; a relationship with her mom and with her dad.

I'm all out of emotion, it's time to just become ice inside and not feel the pain or distress; it won't help Emily and it won't get me to where I intend to be; playing with a rumbunctious little cheeky-faced girl who squeals when she gets a strike on the Wii.

Meanwhile, Georgia needs the rain because it will hide my tears if I give in to my feelings.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

North Carolina en route to Florida

It's early Thanksgiving morning on a frosty, chill mountain in North Carolina; as cold as I feel inside while the emotion strives to make itself felt causing the occasional but momentary loss of self-control.  I'm on the very edge of being able to see Emily again though how many times have I been in this position only to be disappointed?

This is my third trip to America this year.

I have a rest stop halfway between Virginia and Florida as I drive down to the Pan Handle for the second time hoping to see Emily for the first time in far too long.

My first trip was brief; a couple of days to visit school and unblock the hanky panky with the administrator whose justification for not allowing information on Emily's education was, "Your old orders were out of date."

A ridiculous excuse particularly as court orders do not have a "Sell By" date.

Though previously advised of my visit. my presence was clearly unexpected. Never have I seen someone act so much like a guilty puppy next to a pile of poo as the administrator; clearly she has been wrong footed by Sheila with the tales of woe other staff members advised they had been told of; there was material in the school file, which I believe has been filletted, and most of all there was a name that should not have been in it: Barbara Greig of the Office of Childrens Issues, US Department of State.

It is obvious Sheila has been up to her old tricks again both with school and the local police; while in Panama City there was a flurry of activity with the local police flooded by complaints from Sheila that I was going to abuse Emily and was harassing her.  The school file contained material from the Salvation Army domestic violence shelter in Panama City and Patsy commented on this, "Why is she staying in a shelter in Panama City when you're in the UK?".

All I can reply is, "It's what Sheila does; she treats them like hotels."

Patsy and I discussed the sheer cost of all of this; how much taxpayer money has been spent on protecting "poor" Sheila; the cost is enormous in terms of man hours spent by the various agencies involved.  As Patsy observed, "Typical of the States, Sheila will get everything for nothing while she behaves like a criminal and we have to pay taxes to foot her bill!" 

Sheila has learned nothing from this; court orders mean nothing and while Judge Doyle acts as part of her legal team, why should she change her behaviour; more pertinently, while so many agencies, such as Bay County Schools, refuse to comply with court orders why should she.

While visiting Panama City police station to collect police reports Sheila has filed, we noticed her car in the lot; I enquired and yes she was in the station and a Sergeant came out to see me in the foyer.  I've noticed that the Panama City PD are not so motivated by Sheila's, "I'm a victim!" performance as Captain Oswoski and Volusia County Sheriffs Office, and I watched a bravura example of pragmatic and practical policing as I sat across a table from Sheila and arranged a 10am pick of Emily for Friday morning.  

I won't name the police officer as much as I'd like to, however, he did a sterling job.  Thank you!

Panama City PD are in a spot they do not deserve; not least they must be wondering who the heck this English guy is dropping in on their patch.  I detect from their behaviour a degree of unsureness; the court orders are clear, "black and white" according to one officer, but is it a civil matter and none of our business?

My position is straight forward; if Sheila does not comply with Judge Doyle's order for visitation I will complain to them for criminal interference in visitation - if they don't accept this I file in Federal court because this is a criminal violation.  If Sheila or her proxies file anymore complaints against me, Panama City PD will have a choice of arrest and charge me, and then I will file in Federal court or, if they agree the complaint is unfounded, they must charge Sheila and her proxies filing the nonsense or again, I will sue Panama City PD for not taking action in respect of continuing criminal behaviour.

I was told by a good lawyer some time ago that an honourable man asks once and once only for satisfaction; if unsatisfied you go to court and seek satisfaction there; my regret is Volusia County Sheriff and Captain Osowski are not on the receiving end of this; dishonest, dishonourable and deserving of serious sanction but bad guys do get away with bad behaviour from time to time.

Panama City PD will get the message and the penny will drop; I'm not going to put up with this nonsense any longer and a federal subpoena works wonders while demonstrating that for all the discretion exercised at county level together with the attendent abuses, the United States is still a country under law.