HB is a protective parent who fled her northern state in 2002 after her husband held her and their children hostage in their home for over 4 hours. During this time, he fractured her face, gave her head contusions, and tried to strangle her. This incident went unpunished. After she fled to a shelter in a distant state, he found them via pictures he had posted on missing persons sites. HB fled again but they were located in still another state. He took custody of their children and moved them to Florida where he successfully denied their mother contact for almost 4 years. In October of 2008 she was reconnected with her children, and had contact with them up until May of 2009 when the father and his parents cut off all contact.
In 2009, while trying to regain visitation, HB was penalized by the judge, who ruled that her attempts to see her children—mandated by the court—were frivolous, and therefore she would have to pay her ex’s legal fees; she did manage, however, to have this judge, James Shenko of the 20th judicial circuit in Ft. Myers, recused because of this action.
Under the new judge, Elisabeth Adams, her children continued to live with their father. Her younger daughter tried twice to commit suicide but was left with their father regardless. Her older daughter was arrested by the local police after her father tried to strangle her. Social services refused to remove or help the children even though the oldest told them her father beat her on a regular basis and made her fear for her life. Finally, she fled the abuse in 2014—actually, her father and grandparents kicked her out and threw out all of her belongings.
Early in January, 2015, her runaway daughter was taken into custody by State troopers in her mother’s area. They took her to a shelter and social services got involved. A local, large law firm took the case on her daughter’s behalf.
By some miracle, this non-Florida court ruled in the daughter’s best interest. She is now living with her mother, who has temporary sole physical and legal custody, and the Florida social services division has been asked to do a home study on her sister. She is enrolled in school and has been settling into some normalcy and routine that she missed for the previous 9 months due to the emergency circumstances surrounding her home life in FL.