I've written down all I can remember of the events of those two days. Partly for my own sanity, partly because we're not sure where all of this will lead legally, and felt the need to have it in writing "just in case". So, if you're interested, I'll type out all the details. If you're not, don't worry...just hit your back button and it'll all be gone from your screen. Unfortunately, our life doesn't have a "back button", or I'd have hit it long ago!
From early May on, Cassie spoke to John on her cell phone daily. He told her he was 17 years old. She had met a John about a year earlier who she thought she was talking to. They talked for hours every night.
Monday, May 19th, 2008
Cassie went to school and after-hours (equals 3 detentions). At some point in the day, she told her friend Becky that she had taken 12 cold/flu tablets.
Also at some point in the day she says she received 2 small red pills from a friend for a headache.
After she left school, she ended up at Andy’s. (Andy is my brother-in-law’s brother who has his own issues and we’ve tried to keep these two apart) She was in the garage and saw Kate and I pull up (we were dropping off Dominic to be babysat by his grandma…Andy’s/Tony’s mom). She hid from us and says at the time she felt very dizzy.
Somehow she got from there to John’s in North Mankato. She doesn’t remember how she got there, but somehow she did.
Dar called John’s number (we got it from her cell phone, which we had taken from her on Sunday because she was pushing us over on minutes). He asked if Cassie was with him, John said he hadn’t seen her.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Early afternoon we reported her as a runaway because she’d been missing almost 24 hours.
We called John’s phone number again and this time got his voicemail. On it were three names…John Adams, Nate Becker and Adam Ritchison. Kate recognized the names and checked with a friend who confirmed who the guys were.
Kate’s friend told us that John is a 30+ year old who recently got out of jail for statutory rape. We have not confirmed the jail/rape part as of yet.
About the same time we finally got a diagnosis from Dr Serdy’s office at Riverview Clinic. Dr Serdy’s associate looked at the records and informed us that Cassie is Bipolar.
We went to the Saint Peter Police Department and gave them the information we knew about John. The officer looked up all the John Adams in the Mankato area and Kate identified the one she knew. He is 33 years old.
The St Peter Police got the address for John Adams, (518 Nicollet Ave in North Mankato) and the North Mankato police went to the house and knocked on the front door. No one answered. The police had an officer drive around the area and keep watch on the home.
Dar, Kate and I drove to the house and Kate knocked on the front door. Since she knew John, she was simply going to ask if he was home. No one answered the door.
My future sister in law went to the home an hour or so later. She talked to the neighbors and told them what was happening and they watched her knock on first the front, then the back door. A man answered the back door. She asked for Cassie. He told her that he had heard of her, but hadn’t seen her. He went back in to see if she was there.
Another man came out the front door. Nicole asked if he was John. He said he was, then said he wasn’t, that his name was Joe. Nicole told him she was looking for her 14 year old niece and she reports that John/Joe’s eyes got big. He said she wasn’t there.
I called the St Peter police and gave them the information from Nicole and suggested that the N Mankato police go back to the home and knock on the back door.
Nicole, meanwhile, made copies of Cassie’s school photo and wrote Cassie’s name, age, the fact that she was missing, and to call 911 if anyone saw her. She handed these out in the neighborhood as well as businesses in the area.
Two of Cassie’s friends called us and said they had some information for us. These are TRUE friends of Cassie’s, who we know and trust. Dar and I went to talk to them about 9pm. There was a note from Cassie stating that she was going to run to Mexico with John and inviting Felecia to go along with her boyfriend. Becky also told us that earlier in the day she’d taken cold/flu tablets from Cassie after Cassie told her she’d taken 12 of them.
Dar, Becky, Felecia and I went to the St Peter police with the note, and the pills. Felecia told the police that Cassie had called her FROM JOHN’S PHONE NUMBER (which is an internet phone number, not a cell phone), at about 4:30 that afternoon.
N Mankato police went back to the home around 10pm and knocked on the back door. A man came out and said that John and Cassie were upstairs in John’s bedroom.
John came downstairs and said that Cassie wasn’t there, that it was his girlfriend named Rachel. The police officer determined that he could not enter the residence, so he went out to his car and shined his spotlight on the house and waited.
John went back upstairs, woke Cassie up and told her she had to leave because the police were there. He was upset and insistent that she leave immediately.
They both came out of the home and Cassie took off one direction while John went another. The police got John and supposedly arrested him for being intoxicated.
The police called us and asked us to come to North Mankato to help look
for Cassie as she was on foot. Mike and Kim and Nicole immediately went
down there to look for her as well.
2 girls were bar-hopping in the lower North Mankato area. One was the assistant manager of a bar that Nicole had stopped at, so she’d seen the flyer and talked to Nicole. They saw Cassie at a gas station, so they went and talked to her and detained her until the police could come and get her.
The police called us as we were on our way to North Mankato and said they had a girl fitting Cassie’s description, but she said her name was Rachel. We met them at the Happy Chef parking lot on Hwy 169 and they turned her over to us.
At this point, Cassie was confused, her pupils were HUGE (dilated), and she was very out of it. She stated that she didn’t remember anything except John waking her up and telling her to leave.
The officer said that he’d gone into the house after John came out. The owner of the home invited him in. John was renting a room from the guy, so the police officer couldn’t go into his room, but he looked through the door. He told us he had seen condoms and wrappers on the floor.
We, and my brother, asked what we should do. He said that because he couldn’t go into the room, and John and Cassie had not been seen "together", we couldn’t press charges of statutory rape or sexual assault. He advised that we take out a restraining order on John at the courthouse the next day. He said there was nothing else he could do for us.
We took Cassie to the Mankato ER, but it was wall to wall people. We decided to take her to the St Peter ER since we live there and it would probably be quieter.
We got right in at the St Peter ER. We told them what had happened, that we wanted a rape kit and a drug test done. The doctor came in. He was the same doctor who had done a drug test on Cassie the last time she’d run away. He told us that it would be nearly impossible to prove a sexual assault even if semen were found. He did an exam on her and told us that there were no cuts or bruising found, so a violent sexual assault had not occurred. (Duh, as doped up as Cassie was, there would have been no resistance anyway!)
They had Cassie do a urine and blood test for the drug screen. . The nurse told us it was the nastiest urine she’d ever seen and that she guessed there was an infection there. The drug test showed marijuana in her system but nothing else. The doctor told us that some date rape drugs don’t show up on tox screens.
They sent us home. (Side point. 4 days later, on Saturday, we received a letter from the hospital stating that she had a urinary tract infection and we should schedule an appointment with her regular doctor for treatment. By Sunday she was absolutely miserable and we ended up taking her into the ER in MANKATO where they tested her and said she had a "whopper of a UTI" Had the St Peter ER told us that night, we could’ve had her on medication for that by Wednesday morning and saved my daughter five days of misery from the infection)
We went home from the ER at about 2:30am, had her shower, put her to bed, and set the alarm on her door.
Wednesday, May 21st
We called to make an appointment with her Probation Officer, but she couldn’t get us in until Friday at 8am.
We called to try and get her medication from Riverview Clinic. That’s when we found out that meds can only come from a psychiatrist or a medical doctor. Dr. Serdy was out of town that day and couldn’t make any recommendations to us.
We tried getting Cassie into her regular doctor, but he’d just returned from vacation and was booked solid. They called us back at 5pm and said they wouldn’t be able to see her that day (gee, do you think?).
Then we tried getting her into Dar’s doctor, who said that with a recommendation from Dr. Serdy, he would prescribe some meds for Cassie. We drove over to Riverview Clinic and signed a release form so Dr. Serdy could fax over his recommendation to Dr Ackland on Thursday morning.
Thursday, May 22nd
I got an email from my friend Kerry, who is a licensed social worker. She suggested that we try to get a Children’t Mental Health Worker from the county. They provide support to the client and the family. We need to try and stay ahead of the battles with Cassie.
She suggested a program through Lutheran Social Services called "On My Own". It’s for 15-21 year old girls who are having problems. She also suggested a few psychologists for Cassie to meet with.
Her last suggestion was that we talk to Nicollet county about getting Cassie into an in-patient treatment for a complete workup and diagnosis. There are no adolescent treatment centers in Mankato, but a bunch in the Cities, one in Willmar and one in Rochester.
Dr. Serdy decided they wouldn’t do a recommendation for meds for Cassie. They told us to take her into the Mankato ER and have them put her on a 48 hour watch to determine what medication she should be on.
So, about 10pm, after worship practice and finishing the packing we were doing for mom, we took Cassie over to the Mankato ER.
They were confused by what Dr. Serdy had told us. They don’t take pediatric mental health patients in Mankato. They also explained that an ER doctor would be unwilling to prescribe medication because it’s called "chronic medication", meaning something she’ll be on for quite some time, and would take some experimenting and adjusting of medication before we get the right mix and dosage.
They called in an Access nurse for us. This is a behavioral health nurse on call for the ER. Her name was Rebecca and she was WONDERFUL! She listened to us and understood what we were going through, explained some things to us.
She said there are a lot of layers of issues with our case. (you think? Lol) She began with the sexual assault committed by this 33 year old man on our 14 year old daughter. She explained that in order to perform a "rape kit", one has to be certified because there is a certain protocol to be followed, and exact way of collecting evidence to be used in court. St. Peter is NOT certified and ALWAYS refers patients to the Mankato ER when one is requested. Hmm…nothing was said to us that night about this.
They also should have immediately called in an advocate for us, which was not done. As well, John should be IN JAIL, but because of the way the police handled the case, and because of the St Peter doc, it is highly unlikely that he would ever be convicted of the crime he committed.
As for Cassie, she said that most important is to get her into therapy and she gave us some names of recommended psychologists. She suggested that we watch Cassie 24/7 because, in her words, "Cassie is clearly unable to keep herself safe."
She told us that mental illness, she thinks, is covered under the Family Medical Leave Act, and suggested that I perhaps take the summer off to be with Cassie until we can get her on medication. (We have since found out that it IS covered under the FMLA, but we simply cannot afford for me to not work)
Rebecca also suggested that we call Children’s Mental Health Services through Nicollet County to get her and us some support. We need to tel them about the Tues ER visit as well as the Thurs ER visit and get them the records from both visits. She had heard of the On My Own program mentioned by Kerry. She said it costs money, but they do have some scholarships available. We need to look into that.
The last item was that she was going to contact Crime Victims Services and have someone from there contact us.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Cassie and I met with her probation officer, Ashley. She recommended that we take Cassie off the diversionary program. The diversionary program is intended for first time offenders who simply need a fresh start and some accountability to make better decisions. Cassie’s issues are far more complicated than the program is designed for. By taking her off the program, we will need to go to court, get a social worker, access to the resources we need, and more structured supervision by a different probation officer.
I called Children’s Mental Health Services and spoke with Marna, the person in charge of that program. She readily agreed that with the bipolar diagnosis, we qualify and someone would call us Tues or Wed.
Jessica at Crime Victim Services called me. She believes "our great law enforcement that we have" had let us down on Tuesday night. She was going to check and see if we could still press charges. She also wants to meet with Cassie for some after-crime counseling.
I spoke at length with Kelly Jensen, the school social worker. She had called and talked to Marna from Children’s Mental Health Services on Wednesday and that was probably a big part of why she had our info so handy and was so quick to agree to put us on the program.
Kelly said that if we didn’t want to send Cassie back to school for the last week of the year, they would work with us. This summer we can contact her via email and she’ll call us.
She suggested that we get Cassie’s records from Riverview Clinic. She’s never been very impressed with them. She doesn’t believe Cassie should have been diagnosed as bipolar after only six hours of testing. She believes we need a second opinion and gave us several names of psyhologists who can assist with that.
Jessica with Crime Victim Services called back and left a message that we could see Cassie’s primary doctor for further testing for STD’s and medicine to help prevent that. She reiterated that she’d like to meet with Cassie and gave us the Crisis hotline in case we needed it over the weekend.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
We got a letter from the Saint Peter ER stating that she had a urinary tract infection and should follow up with her regular doctor for treatment. Really? Do you think so? Let’s see…if they had told us this on Tuesday night, Cassie would’ve been on medication already and it would have been GONE!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
We brought Cassie into the ER for her UTI. She was in severe pain, couldn’t sit through church, and had blood in her urine. Again, had St. Peter been on top of things and even CALLED instead of sending a letter, or better yet, telling us on Tuesday night, this THIRD trip to the ER (which took about 3 hours!) could have been avoided, not to mention the pain my daughter was in. The ER doc here said she had a "whopping UTI".
So there you have it...all the wonderful events of last week. Typing it all in now, it's hard to believe so much happened in such a short amount of time. We spent an inordinate amount of time on the phone. In fact, we went over on our cell phone minutes by almost 400! We upped our plan accordingly. LOL
In addition to all of this with Cassie, I still had Katie and Dominic staying at my house, we were trying to pack up Mom as she has to be out of her apartment by May 31st, but she, Katie and Dominic were leaving on Saturday, May 24th at 7am on a flight back to North Carolina. Plus, I we are still parents to Christopher, who is so quiet (most of the time) that it's easy to allow him to fall through the cracks. The Access Nurse, Rebecca, told Cassie not to misbehave or next visit to the ER would be ME being admitted into the psych ward! LOL. Won't happen because I have GOD and the support system He's given me to handle all of this. He is SO awesome...He's been there every step of the way through this entire crisis. Thank You Jesus for always being faithful!
If you stuck with me through this super long post...thank you. Your support and prayers are much appreciated. Love you all...