Tonight was one of those waking moments when my daughter
came to me to go over a moment she was writing about for her English class. They
read a book I do not know the author, but the name of it was “Stranger in the Village.”
All I could think about when she told me was the weird coincidence that I was
writing a story titled the Village. Weird, I know, but this is my life.
She went on to explain the paper was a time when they, the
students, felt like they were a stranger in the village. I thought how apt. She
is the oldest child of a military family. She more than the others moved
around, had to start new schools, had to deal with being a stranger in a new
place many times. She chose to go a different route. She went to the fact she
is a taxidermist. How the online people went after her for being one. How she
had to deal with the masks of people calling her horrid names and even calling
her a serial killer to be. This was a difficult time for her, but I do have to
say she handled it with a grace that I am glad I inspired. I told her that it
was a good paper and that she should be happy with it. It did meet the requirements
that her teacher asked for.
I told her after she explained to me why she chose to do that
instead of the cliché moments of being that military brat I, of course, laughed
and said I was surprised she didn’t chose her freshmen year and the events that
unfolded near the end. She looked at me and said I didn’t even think of that. She
and I talked about those few months we lived in terror, and she went off to
write a second essay, which included the series of events that made her an
outsider in a place she should feel safe.
As we discussed the events, one thing kept coming up. The fact
she didn’t want to tell me what was going on. She repeated it over and over
again. The reason she didn’t want to tell me was she thought she did something
wrong. It was somehow her fault any of this happened.
She went upstairs of course with the knowledge that she didn’t
do anything wrong, that it wasn’t her fault, but even knowing it, it took a few
years for it to finally sink in.
This is personal, and I do have permission from my daughter
to share this. It has to be addressed, and I know I have many younger followers,
so this needs to be said. Any of my followers should read this. It does have
some touchy subjects, but here is the thing, if you don’t read this, if you don’t
hear this, it will always be something that haunts you.
Alex came home from school and didn’t want to leave my side.
I had a few errands to run, and they usually came with me but that day was
weird. They were almost clinging. Alex never clung. It was a joke between us that
she never wanted to hold my hand since she had become a teenager. I never
expected her too, she was after all fourteen going on thirty. For all the
differences we had we were close. Alex wanted to speak, I could see, but like
me she could not be pushed. She had this tell that warned me that something big
was going to be dropped on me at some point in the next few hours. Something
that she thought was huge in her fourteen-year-old mind but was probably not a
big deal. She had a boyfriend. She had a girlfriend, she was failing a class. These
were the things that ran through my head. I was not prepared in the least for
the words that came out of her mouth.
“Mom, Hypothetically…..” Alex began, and I stopped her about
halfway and asked if her friend that hypothetically was really her. I told her
it was more important that I had the details from the start so I could help
with whatever was bothering her.
“Yes. Mom. I am scared.” She said. That was my first warning.
This was not going to be a typical nor a straightforward teenage problem. The words
started pouring from her mouth as we sat outside and I simply listened as I tried
to piece together from the ramblings of a teenager that did focus on all the
wrong things. A boy in her school, another freshman, was stalking her. She had
turned down his advances repeatedly and politely, but he could not accept the
words for what they were. That by itself was bad enough, but then she started
to go into more detail, and things started coming up that she was glossing
over. I would ask questions and pry more information out of her which lead to
more questions. After hours of talking I sent her to bed. She was tired and the
weeks of worry that she had dealt with this on her shoulders alone had taken
their toll. Now it was on my shoulders.
The reality was my firstborn, my headstrong look-alike
daughter, had stumbled headfirst into a nightmare. Now it was my nightmare as
well. As a parent you are somewhat prepared to deal with bumps and bruises,
cuts and scapes, broken hearts, bad grades, and a whole host of other things
but never this. I sat on the front steps of my house, smoking a cigarette trying
to figure out what my next step was. How was I going to fix this for her? There
was no answer. I had nothing. I was now scared in a way I did not know could
happen. My daughter was a target of not only a stalker but a highly delusional
boy who was making death threats toward her and the school. It was not just
about my kid anymore but hundreds of kids.
She had told me she had proof, but somehow I neglected to
ask her for it. So I walked up to her room to find her next closest sister,
putting a blanket over her as she was asleep. Her sister then told me she hadn’t
been sleeping and she was glad that her sister had finally told me and she now
could. I left her and went back downstairs comforted that she had told me, and
she could now sleep, knowing full well I wasn’t getting any that night. Instead
I made a phone call. One of my good friends was the one person in the world who
could help me, and he dropped everything and raced over to my house, and we sat
outside and discussed every possibility and what I had to do. Fifteen years as
a cop and a child task force officer he was now a lawyer and my personal
advisor on all things in the legal system. He was a blessing.
The next day I asked her to send me every screenshot, every conversation,
every detail she could gather to me. As the day unfolded and the more I read,
the more I knew what I had to do. By the last screenshot that was forwarded to
her by a friend I was already on the phone with the school and the police in
that town. After dealing with that for a few hours I waited until she got off
the bus and had printed out the screenshots and we went to the police in our
town. It seemed there was a disagreement on whose jurisdiction it really was
though it was clear there was something very wrong. The school was also
notified by me in both an email and a very long phone call from the principle
and the vice principal. Two people I will be forever grateful for in the next
Now we had two soon to be three police districts involved,
the school was actively involved, and at this point, only one police officer
had seen the proof. He was also a godsend. He questioned her for over an hour,
realizing this was not a he-said-she-said thing, and he began the report. He also
made it so she could get a restraining order in the morning. I already had the
paperwork because of my friend, who was waiting for me to say the word. I called
him, and within the hour, he had a closed chamber meeting, and she was granted
a special order of protection.
Everyone saw the same
thing I did. Sandy Hook happened a few years before that only thirty miles
away. The idea of another tragedy like that was simply too much when there was
this much evidence at hand and a mother who would fight this hard to get people
to listen. The school’s part was the most critical and I was hoping that they
would take it seriously. I know had the backing of a few other friends behind
me who were telling me everything would be fine. Everything was going to fine. I
knew everything was not going to be fine. This was my kid. My demon child. It was
words people could say, but nothing can express the fear I had those days. My
husband was more laid back about it. He is always laid back out things like
this. It is his military training. Don’t panic. Don’t react. I had the same
training. That flew out the door when I hear that my baby has a bulls-eye on
The next day was nothing short of walking into hell. Alex,
upon arriving at school was whisked away into the office to hand over the
proof. She was then locked away in a closet while the administration had the
police there, members of the school board, and her. They kept the boy
micheal**Not real name** away from her. He gave his statement, and whatever he
said was determined not to be the truth. His parents refused to come and get
him and refused for him to be questioned by the police further.
The school then came up with a detailed plan to keep Alex
safe while in the school. This was nothing short of a miracle in itself. They had
a guard with her at all times for the next three weeks. She was given a map of
the school with all the “Hidden” rooms students aren’t supposed to know about.
They were her safe places. Micheal was suspended for the rest of the school
year after a week of looking further into him, due to active threats made to
the school. He was taken out yelling they all would pay.
We had the schools backing. We had the help of the PD, we
had the PO, but we still lived in fear for a while. It wasn’t until after the
school year ended, and that principle retired that I found out more when he
called to tell me so I would be aware. Michael had been expelled from the
school, but they had to wait till after the school year to do it for some
reason from the school board. The police had been called in after a few days
after the major breakthrough again because of threats being made online towards
the school. This was his second offense for doing this, and they got a search
warrant. What was found when they searched his house still send chills down my
They found fourteen handguns in his room. They also found
pictures of her plastered on his wall with his blood dripping down the
pictures. He had taken her eyes out of most of them, and they found those next
to his bed. He had an article that had been written about her for a local
newspaper the year before and it had not only our address but also pictures of
her sisters and brother under it. He had a notebook. It was not a manifesto it
was a record of his stalking and everything about her.
EVERYTHING. Her shirt size, she dress size, her pant size,
her ring size, her friends, her classes, her likes, her dislikes, my name, her
fathers name, her siblings names, her birthdate, her classes, and the most
disturbing thing, her period cycle “So he could make sure to get her at the
It also had the routes drawn out to her classes, when she
would go, who she talked too. The days she had not spoken to him was tallied.
This was all the proof they need to charge him with stalking, threats to a school,
plans of discharging a weapon in a school, and the arranging online for the
kidnapping and torture of a minor.
He is locked up in a juvenile facility. One that is supposed
to focus on mental health as well. We are okay with that. She walked away alive,
and though she has her moment, she is mostly normal though she can’t be in
crowds for long. she is also hyper-aware of who is around her, and she will not
go out of her way to make friends.
The point is she somehow thought this, all of this was her
fault. It is not. It never was. If you or someone you know is going something
even remotely like this IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT or THEIRS. Do not try to go
through this alone. Find someone, anyone to tell. A teacher, a friend, your
parents, a friends parents, hell me just tell someone.
That day we went to the police, the school, and everything
else we did probably prevented a school shooting. He was prepared. He had a
plan. He was doing everything step by step. He was only two steps away from his
ultimate goal. Two steps. She prevented a school shooting. She had to live it.
No one at the school knew the full extent of what was going on. No one knew
what she had done for them. To this day, a lot of those kids are alive because she
had the realization to tell me this was going on. She is really my hero.
Don’t be afraid. Say something.