“THE LARGEST AUTHORITY IN THE COUNTY HAS BEEN LYING TO ME”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Sep. 24, 2019) — The following is a continuation of the story introduced last week regarding the safety and welfare of four children in Jackson, TN and the stonewalling and obfuscation their father, who has joint custody, has experienced after filing a criminal complaint with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office in early August.
As noted in our article published Friday, protective orders filed with Madison County Circuit Court clerk Kathy Blount issued to the father lack notarization and contain other anomalies.
The father and his fiancée have provided documentation showing that the “misspelling” of last names of both subjects and county officials appears to be a pattern in Madison County which they believe is deliberate so as to create parallel files disconnected by anyone searching the system for historical data. An example is the misspelling of the father’s, and therefore the children’s, last name in a file later opened by DCS, Tennessee’s child-protective agency.
The last time the father and his fiancée saw the children was the weekend of August 3 and 4. The following day, they went in person to the MCSO to report what the children had shared with them as to their alleged treatment in their mother and stepfather’s home. The Post & Email has been provided with recordings of some of the children’s statements as well as emails the father and his fiancée have exchanged with King.
On Tuesday The Post & Email reached out to Sgt. King, mentioned in the below narrative, and Sheriff John Mehr to inquire about the children’s safety and dual name spellings but received no response.
King and the children’s stepfather are professionally acquainted, the father reported.
In the father’s words:
On August 5, 2019, my fiancée and I walked in to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office to file a sexual, physical and psychological abuse report that included drug abuse and drug environment, which was a bold and brave move because there had been over four years of incident reports and threats from their mother and her husband. It wasn’t an easy decision but a necessary one based on what we were hearing from the children.
At that time, a report was filed on the alleged perpetrators. We had been threatened on multiple occasions by them in texts, recorded calls and emails, but we filed the report on behalf of the children because the children were disclosing this information.
When we first walked into the sheriff’s office, we went to the glass window and said we were there to file a police report, and a few minutes later, a gentleman who was a high-ranking MCSO officer took the report. That’s when I shared with him the name of one of the perpetrators. My fiancée can confirm that at that point, he dropped his head and shook it “no.”
He took us back to a room, and we met with Deputy Sisco. We provided all of the information to him, and Deputy Sisco stated that it was a “general” report. He took both of our IDs and verified that our names were our legal names and that the spellings were correct. He even took our Social Security numbers. He then made the statement, “I’m going to give this to the best investigator we have. He is really detailed.”
I’m pretty sure a deputy does not assign a report to an investigator due to chain-of-command issues, so I was surprised he said that. Sisco then said, “Give us three days; get your evidence and documentation together and an investigator will reach out to you. Give us three days, and if you don’t hear anything, call back.”
I called back on the 8th of August and spoke to Sisco, who said the report had just been assigned and to give it a few more days. I called in two more times. Finally on the 14th of August — this was the day after I was served protection orders from my ex-wife and her husband — I called nine days after I filed the report without ever having been called by the investigator. I had to call him. Interestingly enough, he called my ex-wife’s husband, one of the abusers of my children, spoke with him on either the 6th or 7th, set him up to come in on the 9th, that Friday, and in his own words says, “He’s denied the charges.”
Sgt. King is part of their criminal investigative division. One of the things they proclaim on their mission statement is “as professional fact finders, CID detectives will conduct systematic and methodical investigations to determine what findings the evidence supports and will not form conclusions in advance.”
So this is supposed to be their top investigator, who does not reach out to the victims of sexual and physical abuse, but rather, brings in the abuser and has a personal relationship with the abuser. I asked King to recuse himself as the investigator on this case. On an 8/14/19 call, King said that a DCS case had been opened locally but had no updates. At that point, he had not done any investigation by speaking with my fiancée or me and hasn’t spoken with the children.
To this day, King has not scheduled an interview or a time with us. We have reached out to him three times; we’ve had to initiate conversations four times. The first 2-3 conversations we provided him with information, and he did not want to follow up even with us doing the heavy lifting. Not once did he respond to anything that an investigator should. He never asked us for clarification on anything. The same with MCSO.
On August 13, I was served two orders of protection from the two adults, and on August 16, the paperwork was signed for a third protection order on behalf of my children, but it was not delivered until August 20. There’s some intent here, because everything else that’s happened with the sheriff’s office has been swift, quick and immediate.
The weekend going into the 16th was supposed to be my weekend with the children. On that Friday, I received the protection orders from the two adults. I did not attempt to get my children that weekend; this is over 3.5 years of driving sometimes ten hours, 12 hours a weekend to pick them up from where I was staying, and I’ve never missed a weekend. For football games or snowstorms, we’d get hotel rooms, stay here, then drive back to where I was staying, about 2.5 hours from Jackson.
So that weekend I didn’t go to get the children, even though the protection order said I could get them through a third party, like maybe the sheriff’s office. But it didn’t feel right. I missed my children, so on the 20th I went to the school to say “hi” to them when they were getting off the bus. That’s when one of the school employees told me that there was an order of protection filed on behalf of the children and gave me a copy.
On that day, about two hours later, a sheriff’s vehicle pulled up and I walked out to meet them. They served me with the protection order. If I had been served before I went to the school, it would have been a trap to try to get me to violate the protection order and I could have been arrested.
On August 23, I received notice from the elementary school that my children were absent. I called the MCSO to do a wellness/welfare visit on my children. They called back and told me there had been a wellness/welfare visit done and the children were safe. I said, “Thank you.”
We went through that weekend, and on Monday the 26th, I got another automated email that the children were not in school. So I called the MCSO dispatcher, Jennifer Brandon, who immediately told me, “Your children are fine. We’re aware of the situation and the children are fine. They were fine last week when we went out there and checked on them, and they’re fine today.”
Does she tell every parent who calls in for a wellness/welfare visit that their children are fine? She also added, “We’re aware that they’re not in school today.” It’s recorded. [Editor’s Note: The Post & Email has listened to the audio.]
I asked her three times, “How do you know?” Her response was, “Your children are fine.” Then I asked her, “Where are they?” and she then ended the conversation and said she’d have someone call me back.
I had two more conversations with Jennifer Brandon that day. I called back in because I had not received a phone call as she said. She was hostile and combative and said that Sgt. King was supposed to be calling me to handle the situation. I asked her who did the wellness/welfare visit on Friday; she would not release the information and said I’d have to speak to a lieutenant, but she wouldn’t tell me who he was.
Sgt. King called later, and I asked him what constitutes a wellness/welfare visit, and he said, “Laying eyes on the children.” I asked him if the visit took place, and he said, “I assume the wellness/welfare visit took place,” and I asked him, “Can we verify it?” He hung up, called me back, and said that the deputy said that he “thinks” he remembers seeing the children last week. So now’s it was starting to switch from the visit was done to that he “thinks” he “remembers” it happened, then he said he “thinks” they spoke with all four children, then he said he “didn’t know” and would “have to check.”
On August 26 King confirmed that a wellness/welfare visit was not done and said he was heading out there himself. I have a voice mail from King saying that he went to the house, nobody was home yet, and he left his card there.
At this point, because there’s a criminal investigation and a DCS investigation, I had tremendous concerns as a parent that the largest authority in the county has been lying to me.
This story will be continued.