Enter in an interesting chapter in our divorce. As we emotionally bounced back and forth in the courtroom decisions, the appointment of counselors and a Guardian ad Litem, proved to be interesting, my then sister-in-law was also kind enough to write some insight that she shared openly with the Guardian ad Litem in 2011 as follows:
My name is LaVern. I am the sister of Will and the Aunt of Nathan, Miranda and Zoe. Many months ago I was asked to contact you on the behalf of the children, but all of my attempts went unanswered. I figured that meant you didn't need my input. Well, I have just heard that you are siding with Will in this matter and was forced to write to you, whether or not you want to read it.
Where shall I start?
Will is four years younger than I am and nine years younger that my sister. When did I learn that there was something wrong with him?
One day we were rough playing in the back yard as children will. He was no more than 5. I usually let him win at most everything, but that day he landed flat on his back and got the wind knocked out of him. His eyes got big as he was clearly terrified. When he could breathe again he told me that if I ever did anything like that to him again, they would never find my body. Yes, I said he was 5. That was when it all started. Perhaps sooner, but being just a kid, maybe
I didn't see it before that.
A short time later, when Will started going to school for the whole day, our mother got a job. As a result, we were left alone at home in the afternoons until our dad came home. (He was a tradesman and started very early and as a result was home first.) That hour or so became the most horrific time in my life. Especially once he started to get bigger than me. For years he would torment me. It was verbal at first, but the bigger he got, the bolder he got.
Soon the violence began. His favorite trick was to take something that he knew I held dear and throw it out into the three feet of snow in the front yard. As soon as I ran out after it, he would lock me out. No shoes, no coat. Luckily for me we had a VERY nice elderly couple for neighbors and she always let me stay with her.
Where was our sister in all of this? Well she was older. She got a job downtown as part of a work study program when she was 16 (that makes me 11 and Will 7). After that she was never really around.
I don't know if you have any siblings, but I loved my brother and hated him at the same time. That ended the day he escalated to weapons. When I came out of my room before our parents were home, he chased me around the house with knives. Big sharp ones. That was the day I stopped being conflicted.
Where were our parents?
They didn't believe me. Until some years later when he got bolder. My Grandmother lived with us for a time and he even got brazen enough to hit on her! Once I remember my Dad chasing him because he deserves a good smack. Don't think he caught him though. Mom still didn't really believe. Now a days she says she believes, but he is always going to be her little baby boy.
When he learned to drive, he would go around terrorizing the neighborhood. One day, someone had just gotten a new appliance so the giant box was sitting on the curb for trash day. He plowed right into it deliberately. He did not know that the homeowner had put the old appliance in the box and it became a several hundred pound projectile and nearly killed the kid playing in his own yard.
Will thought that was hysterically funny. So my parents took his car away and hid it on him. Then out came the Hyde in him. Swearing, threatening, destroying, hitting, and on and on. One time he was so bad, that I had to call my Uncle (federal special agent) to come over. Will was pretty big at the time, but he got put down and cuffed by his own uncle!
Now Will could turn on the charm better than any psychopath ever. He got himself a young girlfriend who wanted out of her own bad situation. When exactly he began to show her the other side I do not know. But I know what followed. Verbal and physical abuse to his wife and then eventually to the children. Before they were married, my mother, sister and I all sat Melinda down and tried to tell her what he was like. In the end, she said that she understood, but the heart wants what the heart wants. Now ask her about that day and she has a very different opinion.
For the details on what happened in his house to his family, you should talk to Melinda. But I can hit some of the highlights over the years.
He felt a transit bus cut him off in traffic so he came screaming around and cut the bus off so that it had to stop and then he got out with a hammer or tire iron or something like that, and smashed in the door of the bus while screaming at the driver and ordering him to come out so he could beat him up. Luckily the cops were able to take him away first.
That was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to his seething rage.
Will has always felt that he was entitled to anything he wanted and the world and everyone in it owes him something. After he got married, they stayed with my parents for quite a while because he had made my parents give him the down payment on a house. He then tore the house to pieces and practically gutted the entire thing.
God only know how much my parents had to pay to get it back into a livable condition. (More on his intense love for destruction, especially of houses, later if you would like to know.)
He would also break into my parents’ house any time he wanted and steal tools from my Dad and food and whatever else he decided was his. So much so that when my parents finally got up the nerve to say something about it, he did this great "You never loved me or wanted me to have anything" episode where he brought back to them so much stuff that he had stolen that it filled one side of a two car garage. And he did that so that they would then have to move everything before they could park there. That was a pretty big project for them at the time as they were getting on a bit. Please feel free to have a chat with my parents about any and all of this.
But I digress...
For years Melinda had tried to get up the courage to take the kids and leave him to stop all of the insanity, but it took her a while. When she finally did, my parents and I were VERY supportive of her. We helped her all we could. Unfortunately she ended up going back that first time.
In order to coax her into returning, Will checked himself into a psychiatric facility for evaluation. After a few days, they called me to discuss his condition.
They said that Will had told them to talk to me because I don't take or give any bullshit. I found that strange, but while I was talking to them I asked if they knew that everything he said was calculated to some end of his own devices.
They told me that he wasn't fooling them even a little bit because they were experts on people that only say what they think the doctors want to hear. I then asked if it would be alright for them to tell me with what they had diagnosed him.
They said sure, I was immediate family and she started rattling off a list of disorders, syndromes and tendencies so long that I couldn't keep up when writing them down. After the first 5 or so I just listened with my mouth hanging open. You should try to get a look at those records.
Oh yes, I forgot to mention the religious fanaticism he apparently "found" while he was in the hospital. Suddenly he starts rambling on how God is now talking to him directly and telling him what to do and what will happen. He took to typing out dozens of pages of ranting with religion, profanity and rage all rolled up into one. I have a copy of some of them if you would like to see them.
When he left that facility, it was with a prescription for meds to help with his manic - depression and bi-polar diagnoses. He took the pills for a little while and then stopped because they interfered with his ability to have sex three times a day. Soon everything was back to as bad as ever.
After some time, she tried to leave with the kids again. Well, let's just say that the third time was the one that stuck. She had all three kids and they were very relieved to be away from him and everything he put them through on a daily basis.
Now came summer vacation and she took the kids back to his house during the days when she worked because there were other kids and a yard there. She came for them at night to take them home. That clearly indicated to us that reasonable custody/visitation schedule could be reached.
Will took this opportunity to do as much damage and brain washing as he could. Zoe is young and everyone who knows her will tell you that she is in her own little world, but it is OK because they know her there. Miranda sees the unvarnished world through the skeptical eyes of a middle child. She has always been very aware of everything that goes on around her and is forever trying to keep the peace. But then there is Nathan.
Nathan has spent his whole life wanting just one thing. To make his father love him. He spent years trying to figure out some way into Will's heart and all he ever got was shot down. Perhaps an example...Nathan had some good news to tell his father. I don't remember if it was a good grade or something else, but everyone was there including my parents and I when Will came home. Nathan was called downstairs to tell his good news in front of us all. So, beaming, he told him. Then he goes to have a hug with his father and Will smacks him on the behind and yells at him because he stinks. And he wanted to know why Nathan had forgotten to put his deodorant on that day. And why doesn't he do what his father told him to do.
The boy was crushed and mortified. After all, he had just started wearing deodorant and had probably forgotten in all of the excitement. And as of that moment, he started to change. He took the “who gives a crap” attitude because he had to in self-defense.
Soon after that he started fighting at school.
When Will started the deliberate brainwashing began on Nathan, all he had to do was pay him some attention and reward the desired behavior. Soon he had convinced Nathan that his mother was the one responsible for destroying the family and that she was just evil and God wanted her destroyed. He told him he would be doing God's work if he stabbed his mother in her sleep one night. It was around then that Rob requested a letter from a judge stating that if Nathan ended up having to kill his mother that he couldn't be held responsible.
I can only imagine that his lawyer at the time discouraged it.
Shortly thereafter, Nathan started a fire in the apartment in which he and his sisters and mother were living. I believe the intention was to get them kicked out so they would have no choice but to go back home to Dad. Let's not forget the day that his backpack was searched and they found knives. I don't know if they were the same kind his father used to use on me, but I do know there was more than one.
Let me take this moment to insert Terry into the picture. I believe that Melinda's meeting Terry was the thing that gave her the courage to finally leave Will for good.
Just to be clear, Terry did not enter the picture until after Melinda's first two attempts to get away. Nevertheless, Will jumped right onto the "this is the guy who broke up our family" mode with Nathan. He trained Nathan to hate him. You will hear some fabricated story about how Terry is a child abuser or the likes. This all stems from the day that Nathan pulled a knife on his mother while Terry was in the room. Terry proceeded to push him away from her and take the knife.
The fact that Will thinks that is child abuse may be why he does not recognize all of the abuse he perpetrated upon his own kids. It was decided that since Nathan was trying to kill his mother, that he should go back to live with his father. I understand the necessity of the move, but fear it was that event that has undone Nathan for good. A short time later, Nathan sucker punched Terry in the lobby of the county courthouse. The guards were witnesses.
Melinda had tried from the beginning to get Will to let her go, but he would not and will not have any of it. You see, Will is entitled to anything he wants and God will ensure that he gets everything that he is supposed to. She has asked him for child support and to be left alone. He is not interested. God has told him that once she is done making her mistakes she will be back and all will be as it was. He has refused for more than a year to simply let her go.
I am sure you can get a list of the lawyers that have represented Will throughout this process. They will all tell you that he is nuts and that is ultimately why they no longer represent him. He is totally self-centered and extremely pompous. He goes around threatening Melinda, Terry, Mom, Dad, me and Melinda's lawyer with how he is going to go to court and get a court order for this or against that.
My favorite one was when he told my parents that they are not allowed to talk to Melinda anymore and he is going to get an order of protection so she can't talk to them nor them to her. He is a huge blowhard that tries to use the system to threaten others into doing what he wants.
He cannot even create the thought in his head that his kids are more important than he is in this matter. There is nothing in this world that he cannot and does not control. He is severely mentally ill and delusional. He has written of lengthy conversations he has had with angels and God. She just wants him to leave her alone.
I'll even give you a perfect example of how he plays the system. He works in the trades as a waterproofer/roofer. My father worked in the trades all his life and I am well aware of the income brought in by side jobs and under the table overtime. It is how many families make ends meet. For some reason, his boss trusts him and has helped him out over the years. I would imagine Will is too smart to show him the other side.
Many months ago he stopped working. Actually he stopped working on the books. He was taking the vast majority of his pay under the table so that it would go unreported. He stopped making the mortgage payments and lost the house. According to him, he "wasn't going to spend any more money on something that she could get half of." So he lived rent free until the bank kicked them out. What would you do with almost a year of mortgage payments in your pocket? Melinda didn't want the house and was happy to sign it over to him. But he doesn't take chances. At the time they took the house he had ripped apart the girls’ bedroom to fix a supposed leak from the laundry room below.
At last viewing, it was still torn apart. He is now renting a house and making plans to start improvements (which means tear it apart.) My sister's basement is still without walls or insulation and he tore that out years ago. He makes big plans and does not know the meaning of the word moderation. He requires instant gratification in all things.
He doesn't like me around much because I am the only one alive who is not afraid of him. I have always been able to see the actual motives behind everything he does and I do not take his bullshit. I have called the police on him before and have no fear of doing it again.
My parents are old and can't handle the amount of grief he puts someone through when he doesn't get what he wants. My mother was nice enough to allow the kids to have visitation at her house. Each and every time, Will waltzes in like he is part of the kid’s time together.
They let him.
One day he got Miranda in a bear hug and he's whispering into her ear. Now I know from history that he is telling her not to worry and he will have them all back very soon. I told him that he is not allowed to isolate and whisper to the girls.
At which point he begins threatening me with court orders, etc. He was asked to leave and refused. So I told the girls we were leaving. He didn't like that one little bit. No one can control something of his! And another time I actually did call 911 to have him removed. He left moments before the 9 Crown Point police officers arrived. They searched the neighborhood to make sure he wasn't coming back and went by his house to see if he was there. Now he is known to police in South Holland, Dolton, Lansing, Griffith and Crown Point.
Nathan, I regret to say, has not had an original thought or spoken his own words for many months. He is a full blown puppet of my brother and is being encouraged to commit violent crimes. I lost count of the number of times that he has been suspended from school. He will fight at the drop of a hat. He has learned all sorts of obscene language and uses it regularly.
We all fear that it is too late to get him back. So much so that there have been discussions about who could possibly take Nathan, just to get him away from Will. Even my Aunt and Uncle (retired federal special agent) have thought about taking him. Nathan is allergic to cats and I have two that are my babies, but if he needs to come live here to get away from his father then I will find other homes for them.
Nathan is showing the same signs of mental illness that his father and his grandfather did. Unfortunately, he will not get the help he needs because Will refuses to admit that there is something wrong with himself, much less his son.
I implore you to not only keep the girls away from him, but get Will away from him too before it is too late. I think at this point, even Will going into the foster system for some time would be better than staying with his crazy father who refuses to take the meds that make him lucid and rational.