Perseverance Pays Off- Saving Stephaney From Herself.

Today was day 9 of Stephaney missing but, more importantly, the last day of our Mental Warrant/Emergency Detention. 

I’ve had so many people contact me over the weekend about having a mental warrant issued on my niece that I’m going to take a moment to answer why Cindy and I had no other option. Opinions and negativity from strangers who only know a small part of this story assume that we “just ran out to obtain a warrant.” 

On the flip side of negative comments, I’ve also had desperate people contact me for more information. Although this isn’t something we suggest doing unless “it’s the only option” you have to save someone from suicide or death. Also, only an adult civilian can apply for this type of legal instrument. 

An adult applicant for an emergency detention warrant also assumes the responsibility of civil and criminal penalties if they attempt to obtain this detention under false circumstances. Be aware of this as it’s a very important aspect of our situation. We had no other choice. My niece is now safe only because her mother and I made this choice. My niece is now safe because we made searching for her a full time job. My niece is now safe because several of my Clients altered their schedules to accommodate their own needs. My niece is now safe because her mother and I refused to allow her to kill herself by starving to death or overdosing in the streets. My niece is now safe because we loved her enough to do this. We don’t feel guilt because she is now safe from herself. We don’t regret our choice because had we not done this, Stephaney’s twin daughters would spend Christmas mourning the loss of their mother. If you have no other option available, you do desperate things and, we did.

This wasn’t a decision or choice that either my sister or I took lightly. In fact, we had spent nearly ten days trying to find Stephaney and convince her to go into treatment on her own. Stephaney has a documented history with MHMRTC. Her last psychiatric evaluation was on 11-20-2018 days before being released into a Group Home. This diagnosis included Severe Manic Bipolar 1 Disorder AND Borderline Personality Disorder. Because MHMR was well aware that Stephaney had been involuntarily committed numerous times and also had records of current diagnosis, obtaining the warrant was far less of a hurdle. Stephaney also struggles with Suicidal Ideation. 

For those contacting me shocked or horrified that we are being honest about our journey, what you don’t know is a large part of the reason for your negative opinion. I’m including these facts in order to educate you. For those of you contacting me because you are desperate to find help for your loved one, understand that you will feel guilt over your decision. Understand that there will be anger and understand that this isn’t a path to take lightly. You will be forced to live with doing this and if you aren’t doing this for the right reasons, I strongly suggest that you don’t. 

Cindy and I had assumed that the 72 Hour “Window of the Warrant” began AFTER handing the documents to Warrant Officers (the last step of the process to obtain an emergency detention warrant) but, in truth, once MHMR issued it and assigned an 11AM Hearing, running from MHMR to the courthouse was only our first setback. 

Arriving at the Courthouse from MHMR, we were told “the Judge was busy.” We had arrived at 10:36AM and would wait more than two full hours for the Judge to sign the Warrant. 

Important fact: MHMR had scheduled the hearing at 11AM with the Judge. Unbeknownst to us, the clock began ticking at exactly 11AM although the Judge “was too busy to sign the Warrant at 11AM.”

Hurry up to wait. You aren’t in control. You are desperate. You are pulling the last Wild Card in your deck by doing this. You are scared. You are grasping at straws watching the clock and wondering if the judge was going to lunch at 12PM? 

It’s freezing because the a/c is on and your sister is shivering. Nerves or the a/c? You go grab a Christmas blanket from Walmart out of your car to cover your sister and wish you could make your sisters teeth stop chattering. 

You are in a world you do not understand. You are about to issue a Mental Warrant on your own family member and, the clock is ticking. You have no idea what you are doing but, you are going through the motions. You will do anything you can because you know that this may be your last chance to “Save Stephaney” from herself.

Stephaney is Bipolar One. She is also suicidal and, she is an addict. Stephaney’s a “three fold” problem. Stephaney has been out of control for fifteen out of the past eighteen years of her life. The three year break? Drug mandated testing due to the terms of her probation. 

Upon receiving the Warrant, we would then run downtown to find the office to turn it in. This time lapse was easily from start at MHMR to finish at the Fort Worth PD Warrant Office, seven hours. 

The clock was ticking but Warrant Officers wouldn’t even begin looking until a detective called us nearly 3 hours later. 

Cindy and I had assumed that the 72 Hour “Window” began once we delivered the paperwork but, Cindy and I were wrong. Although our 11AM Hearing was postponed two hours waiting on the Judge to sign off, the clock started ticking at precisely 11AM.

Had Cindy known she had less than an hour to find her daughter, I can assure you that forcing herself to remain calm while coaxing Stephaney into her SUV wouldn’t have been possible. Having Maryssa with Cindy helped significantly. 

Since 8AM this morning, Cindy assumed we had until 5:30PM today aka Day 3 of the 72 Hour Warrant. We made plans, we split up areas, we plotted and we prayed we would find Stephaney by 5:30PM. 

Had we known that we had until 11AM as our three day deadline, Cindy and I would have been out all night bribing homeless people for worthless information again. 

Throughout nine days of trying to save a stephaney from herself, Cindy and I have also have obligations to our clients from Texas Twins Events, Texas Prison Weddings, The Pawning Planners and venues that I’m on staff at.  

Since I was addressing Client calls early Friday morning to “clear up my schedule” and search for Stephaney again, Cindy and I weren’t together which is unusual. 

My phone calls to Bookings at Texas Prisons take up my schedule from Monday- Friday every week. I was juggling numerous Units while juggling my schedule to search for Stephaney. 

For over a year, Stephaney has consistently disrupted my carefully orchestrated agenda. 

With numerous brides contacting me about dates and times from TDCJ Hughes, Coffield, Allred & Beto Units, I had assumed that 30-40 minutes of calls would be all I needed before leaving my home office. 

Cindy called to check in on my timeline with me after stopping at McDonald’s in Aledo before heading to Las Vegas Trail. I asked her to meet me at the box but, Cindy had other plans. 

For readers who haven’t read previous blogs regarding “the box,” I’m including the blog to enlighten you about the last known address my niece had when found by police– Girl In A Box- What You Left Behind.

Cindy and Maryssa would search on their own and I would cover a separate territory since I was still at home. 

I had planned to finish up business at WorthamWorld after my last call to Allred Unit about a transfer by 9:30AM and afterwards, walk my feisty beagle, Foxy. 

An unexpected call from Hughes Unit regarding a transferred inmate to Huntsville delayed walking Foxy as my cell signal outside our home is terrible. By 9:32AM, I was packing up to leave my home. Three brides who had rescheduled their Prison Weddings to allow me to search for Stephaney were kind enough to move their dates. Because of this, my schedule the next month has me all over Texas. I’m thankful for their understanding during a crisis situation for my family. 

For those of you “who don’t believe in Prison Weddings,” please don’t take time to email me your opinions. My Clients are some of the most amazing people in the world. To clarify who the Client actually is, it isn’t the inmate. Clients are on the outside. I do not at anytime during the Prison Wedding Planning Process have any contact with an inmate. The first and only contact with an inmate is officiating their wedding. I don’t ask questions as to why they are incarcerated. 

Quite frankly, as a business, “screening” anyone is not on my agenda. Many have been shocked to see Prison Weddings on this site when trolling Texas Twins Events.

If you are offended that I Officiate Prison AND LBGT Weddings, it’s “not my luggage not my trip.” My thoughts about these “opinions” are that unless you are marrying my Clients yourself, your opinion doesn’t affect their choices. The hate mail I’ve had over my “rainbow businesses” would alarm you. 

If you are trolling my sites simply to find someone to bully, be advised that opinions don’t affect my Clients or me. My Clients treat my family with courtesy, respect, kindness and are compassionate enough to volunteer to reschedule their Life Event. Amazing isn’t it? 

Cindy was headed to get gas at QT. The “timing” of everything that happened Friday will be an important aspect of dumb luck, God’s grace and divine intervention. I.E: it was literally a miracle that Cindy found her daughter Friday. 

Another day of praying to find Stephaney and our last chance to force her off the streets before a North Texas cold front eventually killed her from hypothermia. 

Cindy and Maryssa would drive. We had a plan. Split up. Farm out. Cover more ground. There were three sets of eyes determined to find my niece. Me, my twin sister and one of Stephaney’s twin daughters, Maryssa.

The Warrant Officers weren’t really looking anywhere other than the box Stephaney had been found in Sunday at approximately 5PM. 

In fact, on Wednesday, Warrant Officers advised Cindy that they would “check the box tomorrow.” Tomorrow? We had been checking that box every 2 hours and searching a fifteen mile radius since Monday. 

A Seventy Two Hour Warrant isn’t “flexible.” It isn’t “renewable.” You have ONLY Seventy Two Hours. “The Judge (most likely) won’t issue another Warrant” you are told my MHMR. Although, MHMR can see that your niece has been involuntarily committed 11 times in a one year window and therefore, know she’s out of it. Ironic isn’t it? 

If you are “banking” on the Warrant Officers finding a mental person for you, you are making a mistake. An assumption that finding the person is as important to you as it is to Officers. It isn’t. Trust me. Oh, sure they might drive once a day to the “last known location” or even every other day but, when you have only three days, you need to be actively searching yourself. 

After Stephaney had been found by Fort Worth PD Officer Davis on Sunday 12- 02-2018 at approximately 4:45PM, Officer Davis (as promised) had called me to tell me he had located Stephaney. 

Officer Davis also closed my missing persons case. This would be a problem. Stephaney had been “found” only to go missing AGAIN. On Friday 11-30 -2018, I had been driving the area and passing out flyers with Cindy and Makenna to Beat Cops when I saw officer Davis off Calmont. 

We had actively been searching on our own for Stephaney while stopping every Beat Cop we encountered to ask “if they had seen Stephaney?” 

Spotting a police car, I had pulled over and told Officer Davis that my niece was missing and that I had filed a missing persons report. I also had asked him to help me find my niece. I had never met Officer Davis before. Officer Davis knew immediately who Stephaney was. Officer Davis also knew my name, my address, my phone number as well as my twin sisters information.

Cindy and I were confused by this but, since I had filed a missing persons report, I assumed my information was on his computer. How else would he know who I was? There was a reason other than my missing persons report. 

Officer Davis had arrested and transported Stephaney in October. Officer Davis knew who we were because Stephaney had given him our names and information. 

Did Stephaney forget we were in California? Was Stephaney trying to get out of going back to the Psych Ward? I have no idea but, Officer Davis knew our entire family. He actually knew who we were because Stephaney had provided our information to him upon being arrested and transferred to JPS 10th floor. 

Officer Davis had attempted to call both Cindy and I in October but, he called while we were midair on American Airlines returning to DFW from LAX with Stephaney’s twin daughters, her sister, Leigh Ann and her daughter, Madyson. 

Cindy and I had a filming commitment in LA and decided to bring her daughter, Leigh Ann and all three of my grandnieces with us for a mini holiday. 

We weren’t “worried about Stephaney” because she was staying with our father. We should have been but, had no idea that Stephaney was walking the streets at odd hours and acting strangely AGAIN.  

While we were enjoying our trip in California with the kids, Stephaney was off the rails in Texas. 

As usual, Stephaney was screwing up our vacation but, this time it would be on our way to returning home to Texas. Usually, we have just arrived at a venue or I’m usually at a Prison Unit working when another “Stephaney Emergency” occurs. Cindy and I are always working. 

Cindy and I also thought that Stephaney was doing well at “grandpas house” but, Stephaney was shadow boxing light poles, screaming at motorists and talking to herself. 

My son was at El Fenix having lunch with Mariah and saw Stephaney. Horrified and embarrassed that his cousin was making a scene (again), my son called me while we were in the Avis shuttle to tell us that “Stephaney was out of it again.” Helpless to do anything, I told Cindy what was going on by whispering as not to upset the kids who were looking forward to buying souveniers at the airport. 

With Cindy and I were in California and Stephaney was in Texas, I told my son “call the police and have her transported to JPS before she gets run over in the street. We are in California and obviously unable to do anything from here.” My son wouldn’t call the police on his cousin but, many others would. Even if we had been in Texas, Cindy and I wouldn’t have been able to calm Stephaney down. We have never been able to before. 

Alarmed guests at El Fenix called the police about a “crazy person.” Officer Davis responded and transported Stephaney after Officers attempted to call and contact her mom and her aunt AKA Wendy and Cindy. 

From October through November, Stephaney was safe at JPS/LCA. Upon her release from Local Commitment Alternative, Stephaney was moved to a Group Home. Stephaney would be free to roam the streets and eventually, Stephaney would be evicted. Stephaney was supposed to find a job and get her act together. But, Stephaney is uncontrollable. 

On the day of the eviction, 11-28-2018, Cindy and I took Stephaney to MHMR where Stephaney ran away. This had never happened at a mental health clinic or anywhere else before with Stephaney which is how we effectively “lost Stephaney” for nine days. 

Had we known she would “make a run for it,” Cindy and I would have taken her to JPS where police patrol the area. 

Maryssa had hope for Stephaney to get it together in the Group Home. At a counseling session days after Thanksgiving, Maryssa advised the counselor of how her mom was getting it together and that she was hopeful. Makenna however, didn’t believe this. 

Makenna was sick of being disappointed over and over again by Stephaney. Makenna has lost hope. The twins were effectively “split up” on what would happen to their mom. If they would ever get their mom back?

Within a week of Thanksgiving, Stephaney was not only dissapointing Maryssa by being evicted due to drug paraphernalia being found at the Group Home but also, homeless, living in a box and refusing to return to JPS. 

Maryssa who had last seen Stephaney at the movies on Thanksgiving 11-22-2018 at 3PM would NEXT see her mom living in a box. 

The timeline on the photo below taken at 7th Street Movie Tavern on Thanksgiving shows a happy Stephaney. A sober Stephaney. 

A daughter thrilled her “mom is doing okay and getting better.” Sadly, this brief moment of sanity would be blown to Hell within days. Stephaney is wildly unpredictable. 

By 11-28-2018 at 2PM, Stephaney went missing. Desperately searching for my niece, Cindy and I made flyers. I filed a police report. 

We bought Stephaney’s phone back from a homeless guy and drove Fort Worth for days trying to locate her. 

After leaving a wedding that I was officiating at Bell Tower Chapel Sunday 12-2-2018, Cindy, Maryssa and I spent 6 hours searching for Stephaney. Exhausted, depressed and unable to find her, I returned home. Cindy and Maryssa left to head home. 

Officer Davis called me within minutes of hanging up my vestment from the Bell Tower wedding. Stephaney had been found living in a box at 4:45PM. 

Compare the movie photo with Maryssa (above) taken just days prior to the one (below) for a better idea of how self destructive Stephaney’s choices and her behavior actually were for her daughter, Maryssa. A daughter who had feared her mother had been kidnapped. A daughter who like her grandmother and great aunt couldn’t believe Stephaney would sell her cell phone and abandon her family. 

Stephaney was acting insane and living in a box while her daughter, myself and my twin sister were after locating her, trying to beg Stephaney to go into treatment. 

This is the face of mental illness and addiction. Stephaney is as self destructive as my own mother was.  

This is my once beautiful niece completely out of it. Agitated. Confrontational. An adult who refuses to grow up. 

A person who literally drags her entire family through Hell on a regular basis. 

Stephaney brings tragedy to our lives. Makenna attempted to comfort her horrified sister Maryssa but, also reminded her that their mom wasn’t their mom because Meme’s (Cindy and I) were and always had been. Yes, we saved the twins and yes, the twins know this. 

For fourteen years, their “mom” has never been a mom to her children. Our “mom” was exactly the same. Our “mom” was also an addict. 

Our “mom” was never a mother. Makenna unlike Maryssa no longer has any faith that Stephaney will straighten out. 

I remember Stephaney as a child. Happily playing with her sister and my son. I question when exactly we lost Stephaney? Cindy reminds me we have done everything humanly possible for all three of our adult children. We raised them as siblings. We made no favorites. We did everything within our power to give them a wonderful childhood. 

Many folks have asked me about Mental Warrants. How we found out about them and how we obtained one? It was a fluke actually. Officer Davis had mentioned that there wasn’t an active Mental Warrant. I googled the term and found out how to obtain one. It’s a lengthy but, effective process.

I have a few updates in this blog for my clients who are not only following the Stephaney Saga but also awaiting on dates for their Texas Prison Wedding. Since my life is a virtual mix of business and family, I’m including these updates in today’s blog. 

RE: TDCJ Client Updates: a few of you are awaiting a Lift on Lock Down. I want to let everyone awaiting dates for Units on Lock Down to remain calm. Your paperwork will be forwarded in the order it was recieved as soon as the Lock Is Lifted. 

December is a short month at Units. Calling Units over and over again isn’t going to help the wait time. It will happen. Stay calm. 

If you are needing to book with my other niece, Leigh Ann is booking photography directly through her FB Page, Maddie & Me. Her Christmas mini special still has a slots available. I want to thank the three brides who offered to reschedule their Prison Weddings this past week in order to give me time to search for my niece with my sister. 

God Bless You and your kind hearts. I look forward to seeing you soon. Your kindness and Christmas spirit of altering your schedule to accommodate me was a gift I will always cherish. 

Thank God we found her and thank you for putting my needs during a family crisis above your own. I have never cancelled a booked event. 

Rescheduling your prison wedding  as a courtesy in order to free up my schedule and continue searching for Stephaney was so thoughtful and surprising to me that even now, I can’t believe how special my Clients are and how lucky I am to be working with amazing people like you.

I got off my last callback with Hughes Unit and got right into my SUV. There was a text from Cindy’s cell phone at 9:37AM. 

I had no idea where the Executive Inn was. I’d never heard of it but, used Google to find hotels near Las Vegas Trail. 

I couldn’t remember an Executive Inn but assumed that it must be near Hwy 80 and Las Vegas Trail. Since Cindy couldn’t take my call and blow her cover, I winged it. 

Jumping on 30, Navigation Lady told me to exit Cherry Ln and then told me to get back on the highway. 

Cursing Navigation Lady (as usual), I ignored her and stayed on the access road between Cherry and Las Vegas. It was raining and I couldn’t find my glasses. Did I leave them at home in my haste and excitement that we had finally found Stephaney? Since I turned 47, I always have glasses everywhere. In my office, in both living areas in my bedroom, bathroom, both cars. I have glasses everywhere but with me when I need them. 

Trying to make out signs with my 54 year old eyes in the rain was proving quite difficult but, I needed to get to Cindy. I needed to support her in a time of what I knew would be crisis and chaos. 

I had no time to pull over and find my glasses. I was “winging it.” For a person who always has a plan and structure, the last nine days of my life have been anything but structured, planned or predictable.

I finally spotted an Executive Inn up ahead. I was relieved but, I was relieved far too soon. Google had only given one location while in fact, there were two hotels with the same name.

Like a stick of dynamite burning at both ends, our nerves were shot to pieces. I had decided to walk Las Vegas and Hwy 80 today kicking myself for not thinking of walking sooner after I had spent days driving 8-10 hours while searching for Stephaney.  

Cindy and I have looked everywhere in two suvs for days now. I think I see her and I don’t. Cindy thinks she sees her and it’s not only not her but, it’s also a man. 

You are now “so out of it” and exhausted that you can no longer discern the difference between a male or a female. 

The ticking clock of your Mental Warrant looms in the back of your mind. Police telling you they found Stephaney froze to death haunts you. 

Your mind plays tricks on you. Your fear and the timeline get to you. You have headaches. You try to eat and throw up wondering if Stephaney has eaten? 

You sit on the toilet wondering where Stephaney is using the bathroom? You wonder what you will tell her kids? 

How did this happen to you? Will you or your sister or the twins ever recover? You are finally home at night and yet, still unable to stop thinking about Stephaney. 

The postman rings your doorbell and you nearly faint expecting the police to tell you they have found Stephaney’s body. The postman has packages. You forgot you had ordered them. It’s Christmas gifts for Maddie, Makenna and Maryssa because you don’t have time to shop and because life doesn’t stop. 

Your three grandnieces are looking forward to Christmas and you shop online at 2 or 3AM as you husband and dog sleep peacefully. You have no peace. You have plenty of responsibilities though. You can’t sleep. 

You buy things you’ve forgotten you bought. You give extra gifts away to Toys For Tots. You donate the same amount of money to Tarrant Food Bank that you’ve paid homeless people and con artists for bribes while looking for Stephaney the 14 months she’s spent terrorizing your family. 

You cannot believe you know so much about homeless people now. But, you do. They lie 99% of the time straight to your face. Even after realizing this, you continue to pay them hoping someone, anyone will call you if they see Stephaney. You play the odds. They odds are you won’t ever hear from the person again. 

You ask yourself why this is happening? You cannot understand why Stephaney ran off and decided to be homeless. You will never understand it. 

Two years ago, your niece was in your living room. She was happy and excited for Christmas. Two years ago, Stephaney had a job and friends. 

Two years ago, you thought the bad days and trauma of Stephaney’s choices were far behind you. A bad dream. A nightmare. But, you were wrong. 

Your sister is so thankful to finally have Stephaney be a part of her children’s lives for three years has flown out the window. 

Your sister who has struggled her entire life to have predictability and normality is fragile. You know it. You want to save her. You want to protect her but, you have no idea how. 

You are doing everything you can but, you feel failing to find Stephaney will be the biggest failure in your life. You may find her to late to save her. You worry you will lose your sister forever if you don’t find Stephaney alive. Too late to save her. To late to protect your sister from a loss of such magnitude that she may never recover from. 

You have lost any joy in your life. Even young Maddy can’t make you laugh anymore. You can only cry now. Your beautiful grandnieces feel your sorrow. 

Maddy tries to cheer you up. You can’t read her stories because you keep losing your place. Maddy wants your attention. At three years old, Maddy doesn’t understand why both of her MeMe’s keep crying. 

You are thankful that Maddy is too young to know what’s going on. Too young to realize that everyone is sad. Too young to know that her tight knit family is going through the motions but, Christmas Spirit is everywhere except in your home or your sisters home. 

Maddy, Maryssa and Makenna love Christmas. But, walking past my “Be Merry” doormat, I wonder if we ever will be? Maddie has the book you’ve bought and wants “a story.” Her mom takes a photo of beautiful and innocent Maddie that you cry about. You cry because you should be reading that story. 

You should be at Six Flags enjoying Holiday in the Park with your grandnieces. But, your life has become false leads, homeless people, police phone calls and social workers. Your life is consumed by Stephaney.

Your sorrow is so profound that you cannot focus and try to recall if you brushed your teeth? 

You will do anything to protect your sister but, you are both sailing the high seas on paper. The “paper” being a Mental Warrant with a shelf life of 72 hours and the clock started ticking hours before you realized it. No one told you this. 

You are lost and adrift in a world you cannot fathom. You are horrified and helpless. It’s the 11th hour and you are already giving up. You are already calculating how to protect Cindy from the death of her daughter. You cry. You scream. You are helpless and alone. 

Your raft is sinking and you have no way to save your sister or spare her the pain about filing a Mental Warrant. It’s a horrific choice but also the only choice we had. You both feel guilty about your choice. You both reason that you were forced to do drastic things. 

You had assumed that “happily ever after” was your pot of gold with Stephaney at the end of a rainbow. Finally reunited with her twin daughters, Stephaney would get it together. You couldn’t have been further from the truth. 

You weren’t prepared for the storm. No one was. Stephaney’s choices have consistently upset your entire family. You are drowning now in self doubt. 

Your sister drags herself from one day to the next and often cries. Your sister who once used laughter to hide her sorrow can no longer find humor in our lives at all. 

Your sister is now  a broken doll. You have to be strong for her. You don’t cry in front of your sister because “you are the strong one.” Stephaney doesn’t care. Addicts never do. 

Your son is angry about the amount of time you’ve spent trying to save Stephaney. You are angry at your son for not caring that the cousin he grew up with is missing. 

Your husband expects you to give up. “Let her be homeless.” Cindy’s husband does too. Warily, you accept that only Cindy and you and possibly Stephaney’s twins still care about Stephaney. Stephaney had managed to alienate nearly your entire family by her own hand. 

I think about the brief three year window of taking Stephaney to get her nails done or  of Stephaney having a job, friends and a future. I think of how excited she was to be in California with us. I actually cannot stop thinking. 

I think of her smile when she was sober and I think what else could I have done to save my niece? I realize my grandmother felt the same things about my mother. I know she spent years of her life struggling to fix my mom. A mom who was never a mother because she was a heroin addict. 

I notice the similarities of my mother with my niece and I ask God why addiction haunts my family? Why we must go through the debilitating facts of a broken family twice? My faith is waning. I pray. 

I worry. I plan. Yes, we have a plan with Stephaney. Locating her long enough to detain her, Stephaney will detox and then go to jail. The DA will be forced to revoke her bond. Jail is the only solution with Stephaney. Cindy and I have already called the bond company. 

We have a plan. It’s not a happy plan but, it’s a plan to protect her from herself. To force Stephaney to be accountable for her actions. Stephaney needs time in jail. One year? Two years? Three? Five? We no longer care. We want Stephaney to stop destroying our families long enough for the twins to graduate high school. We prefer Prison. 

We wonder if Stephaney had done “hard time” if it would have straightened her out years ago? I blame myself for bailing Stelhaney out of a prison stint in Oklahoma by paying her  court ordered rehab. I question my decision now. I always will. 

Cindy and I realize that if Stephaney hadn’t talked someone else into posting a bond on her DWI, Stephaney would be safely in jail this past year. We would have been spared a year of Hell. If I hadn’t paid her way out of prison in Oklahoma, Stephaney would never have established a three year relationship with the twins. Was it worth everything we’ve lost? I have no idea. 

Cindy and I have tried everything to keep Stephaney stable but, a friend had posted a bond. The friend thought he was helping her but, the friend now realizes he made a mistake. 

Begging someone not to post a bond is the horrifying reality of our experiences with Stephaney. We know when she’s off the rails that it always ends badly. We’ve lived through it over and over again. 

Cindy and I prefer jail to more upsetting adventures and disappointment. It’s hard to admit this but only after jail do we get Stephaney back. Jail straightens Stephaney out for a period of time but, since she is already on felony probation in Oklahoma, the DWI violates the terms of the probation. For 14 months, Cindy has paid Stephaney’s fines. 

We consider not paying Stephaney’s fines and sending Oklahoma the DWI case. Doing this would default Stephaney’s probation. We are so desperate to straighten her out before we die that we don’t even feel guilty discussing this option. 

If you had been through what we have with an uncontrollable adult, you’d understand that we are willing to do whatever we have to in order to protect the twins from more of Stephaney’s ripple effect to our lives. 

I discuss using paying Oklahoma fines to force Stephaney into getting it together. Cindy and I cannot believe the plea deal of Parker County for 6 months in jail with trustee status giving her 3 for 1 days. Just long enough to go all out crazy upon release and no probation? We are dissatisfied that Stephaney isn’t getting at least 2 years probation. 

We decide that if we are forced into it, we stop paying Stephaney’s fines and let her go to prison in Oklahoma if we have to. We are tired. We don’t want to do this anymore. If we find her, we want her locked up. 

We prefer to jail or prison to the last nearly year and a half of Stephaney consistently upsetting our family and her children. Cindy and I must focus on the twins and our husbands. 

We must finally get Stephaney somewhere where she cannot hurt us anymore. It’s not an easy decision but, we need a plan. Cindy was out of gas Friday morning and stopped at QT on Las Vegas Trail. She had one of Stephaney’s twin daughters, Maryssa with her to help search. 

Stephaney’s twin daughters want only to get their mom back. As a child, my memories of my mother were leaving us in the locked car at a bar or a closet. I have no good memories of my mother as a child. None of her four children do. My mothers choices will forever haunt all four of us. 

The twins are fourteen. They are old enough to know the dangers of Stephaney’s choices. The heartache of having a mom who never paid attention to them. Cindy and I had the same childhood. The difference being that no one took an interest in us. We give the twins the love and attention that we never had. We intentionally took our own childhood and turned it around for Maryssa and Makenna. We do everything differently. This is intentional on our part. It’s planned. “We will love them and protect them the way we should have been loved and protected. We will shelter them. We will be the parents we never had.” 

You make a pact with your twin upon learning that at 15 years old, Stephaney is pregnant with twins. Your twin and you decide that the twins are a miracle. You are determined to give the twins everything they need. They are a gift. We will sacrifice to save them and, we have. Cindy and I have kept our promises. 

We have done whatever it took to provide for the twins who had the misfortune of having not one but two parents who were never worthy of the role. Stephaney and Michael are addicts. Stephaney and Michael were never really a part of the twins lives.   Maryssa and Makenna are now old enough to know Stephaney will die if we can’t save her. They are old enough to know how hard we have tried. They don’t understand why Stephaney only cares about herself. But, our mother never took an interest either.  It’s very difficult to drive and search at the same time and after 9 days of searching, I can assure you that it’s also quite dangerous. Looking at homeless people walking isn’t a good idea while driving. 

Cindy, like me, paid attention to anyone walking. She actually spotted two people under the bridge. It was a long shot but, on our last day before the Warrant expired, worth checking out. 

Cindy and Maryssa left QT after gassing up and pulled onto Las Vegas Trail at approximately 9:30AM. While sitting at the red light, Cindy had miraculously spotted Stephaney under the bridge talking to another man. My twin sister couldn’t believe she found Stephaney. 

Cindy is in shock finally locating Stephaney after nine days. Cindy knows it’s our last day to find Stephaney. Cindy is controlling her anxiety. 

Cindy tells Maryssa “send Wendy a photo. Let her know we found her.” Cindy’s hands are shaking after nine days of searching for Stephaney. The text messages from Maryssa to me didn’t have enough information but, they let me know Stephaney had finally been found. 

Cindy tells Maryssa “dummy up. Act normal. Stephaney will run away if she knows we are nervous.” 

From the red light to the underpass, Cindy and Maryssa prepare for the unexpected. They breathe deeply and effectively, dummy up. 

I’m on my cell phone with Allred Unit when a grainy photo text comes through from Cindy’s phone at 9:37AM. It’s Stephaney. 

The texts Cindy sends are photos with no address but, I know it’s because Cindy is trying to talk Stephaney into her SUV. I don’t know it’s actually Maryssa and not Cindy who took the photo of Stephaney and sent the text. Cindy has mere seconds to be “on.” 

For days, I’ve reminded Cindy to take her anxiety medication. Sitting in my office, I wonder if she remembers to take it before leaving her house? 

Realizing, my anxiety is now running high, I quickly get a Lorazapam because my relief and sadness at seeing the photo makes my heart beat nearly out of my chest. 

I realize it’s almost over now with our Stephaney Saga and know that if Cindy plays her cards right, we have finally captured Stephaney from the dangerous streets she’s lived on for nine days. Baby steps. Cindy must remain calm. 

Controlling her emotions and anger would be difficult for Cindy but far more trying for Stephaney’s 14 year old daughter, Maryssa. 

Maryssa and Makenna have feared Cindy and my own safety for days now. Because they are worried about their MeMe’s and saving their mom, the twins have circled the wagons. Talking to homeless people isn’t exactly “safe.” Going into skid row even less safe. But, we had no other choice. 

Makenna told me a few months ago “MeMe, if something happens to you or C we have no moms to look after us. You are our moms. We don’t want you getting hurt trying to save my mom. Let the police do it.” 

What Makenna didn’t know was that no one cared as much as Cindy or I about Saving Stephaney. Without going undercover, Stephaney would never have been found. I assured Makenna that both of her MeMe’s knew how to take care of ourselves on the “dangerous side of town.”

I explained we don’t wear jewelry or open our wallets. We dress down to fit in. My broken windshield from a buzzard flying into it hear Hodge Unit had yet to be fixed, and ironically actually helped me to look like I wasn’t “wealthy.” Don’t look like you are desperate or have plenty of money while interviewing homeless people. They know a “mark” when they see one. 

We’ve learned to be street smart and that the twins are our greatest priority. We protect them at all costs because we had no one to protect Cindy or I as children. No one cared. We were the MeMe’s or mother figures we had never known. 

Maryssa had been with Cindy and I Sunday night trying to talk Stephaney out of the box after searching for hours with us and passing out flyers. 

Maryssa and Makenna have taken turns going with us to find their mom. Maryssa and Makenna know that unless one of them is with us, Stephaney doesn’t trust Cindy or I not to drive her to the hospital. 

The twins are our allies trying to save Stephaney. The twins know that if we don’t, Stephaney will die. 

Both Cindy and Maryssa acted as if finding Stephaney wet and dirty under the bridge was an everyday occurrence. No one acted nervous or desperate. Cindy and Maryssa casually invited Stephaney to get into the SUV. 

Cindy (mistakenly) felt “safe about the timeline.” She had plenty of time or so she thought. “Slow and easy. Coax her in. Don’t look desperate. Don’t appear as anxious as you are. Just be casual and friendly. You’ve got her. You finally have her. You’ve saved her. It’s over. You are going to be okay. She is going to be okay.” 

In order to “talk Stephaney” into her SUV, Cindy offered to get her a hotel and off the street. Stephaney insisted her friend join her. Cindy and Maryssa acted as if nothing unusual was going on while Maryssa sent me a text that they had Stephaney in Cindy’s car and were taking her to a hotel. 

Cindy was “winging it” with the hotel idea. Improvising. We needed an address for Warrant Officers. We needed Stephaney at a location she wouldn’t leave in freezing rain. We needed to set her up. 

As a mother, I know this was a difficult split decision on Cindy’s part. Desperate measures were noe requirement not an option. 

In fact, had it been me, trying to get Stephaney in my SUV, I’m afraid I would’ve been far too upset about dragging our entire family through all of this. Worried. I waited. 

Waiting, I started sweating in freezing rain for an answer. It took ten minutes for Cindy to call me while sitting at the wrong hotel. It felt like ten hours. My windows down and trying to control my breathing, I couldn’t believe Cindy had found Stephaney so quickly and easily. 

I told Cindy to meet me at QT on Las Vegas. I was so nervous I jumped the curb. Looking around at holiday decorations on my way from the sting hotel to QT, I knew Stephaney must be weak after nearly two weeks of not eating and doing whatever drugs she could score on the street. I knew her condition just be horrifying and I also knew that rain and dropping temperatures alone could kill her. I knew finding her quickly was also divine intervention. My faith restored, I tried desperately to calm down vefure seeing my sister and grandniece drive up next to me at QT. 

Cindy had left Stephaney who was now alone at the hotel. Stephaney had no idea we had set her up and she was about to be detained. Stephaney may never understand why we were forced to do this. Stephaney was anything but sorry about what she had put us through. Stephaney was angry at the hotel and confused as to how Cindy had found her? Stephaney had a suicide plan. Stephaney was soaking wet from the elements and smelled like a dumpster. Overlooking all of this, Cindy stayed numb to her own emotions. 

The only item Stephaney had with her was a bag of rocks. Under the influence, Stephaney believes rocks are diamonds. 

I’ve done commercial work for over twenty years and I’m a helluva mannequin but, I’m not sure I could accomplish what Cindy and Maryssa did. We are all raw. Ragged. 

It’s difficult to perform under pressure. I’ve managed time and time again to act under pressure. But, Cindy was on a timeline. Maryssa was working at not being nervous. 

They picked Stephaney up, got her into a hotel, they both performed incredibly well under incredible pressure. 

Angry about Stephaney running off from MHMR on 11-28-2018 and heartbroken over where we have been and what we had been through wasn’t easy to mask. 

Cindy and I have been trained to act. Trained to react. Trained to be actresses for our family and Clients. We pretend things are okay. 

Cindy banked on our acting training. It helps to put yourself in the moment. What do they need. How do I respond. Give me a line. I’m actually famous for asking someone to “give me a line.” Cindy laughs about this but, I need someone to set the scene. 

Tell me what you want. I have it. I will dig within myself. Laughter or tears? Happy or sad? Give me a line. Where’s my marker? I like to prepare. I need to plan. I hate winging it. Cindy’s great at it. 

We have been winging it for fourteen months with Stephaney. Praying, begging, anything to get through to her. We have also failed. Whatever we have tried has failed. Begging, pleading her to please straighten up. 

Whenever family chaos was calling and Cindy and I were both wearing a Mike, we learned to cover it. Having cameras in our faces for years gauging our reactions while filming, we have also learned to compartmentalize what we are actually worried about, dealing with and trying not to think about. 

A few years ago while filming for five days on a project with Cindy, a producer told me that Cindy was crying. 

Alarmed, I had run to find her. Cindy was on my balcony. Running over wires, cables, lighting, and seven production people amongst the chaos of my home, I had asked “what’s wrong?”Cindy turned to me and said “it’s so hard to act normal and happy with our lives falling apart. Stephaney is in jail in Oklahoma for stealing a tractor trailer. I can’t get it out of my mind. We are supposed to look happy. We haven’t had time to eat or sleep. I’m losing it. Help me. I don’t think I can finish filming.” 

I had turned to her and while hugging her said “yes, you can do this. We are on. Turn your thoughts off. Pretend nothing is wrong. Put it away and lock the door. We have one day left of filming. It’s hard work. Everyone had expectations of us. We are on the clock. Put her out of your mind. I will pay for rehab and she will finally get a fresh start again. We will be okay sister. I promise you that you will always have me and I will always be the fixer. Take a deep breath. You are miked. They can hear us. Shake it off. You are an actress now and this scene calls for lighthearted fun. Twins planning a barter. Twins that work together and find solutions for people with no money. Twins that save the day. We are those twins. We are The Pawning Planners. Pretend there aren’t people and wires all over my house. Pretend we are just doing what we always do. Pretend we aren’t filming. This is our role and our life and we are going to be whatever they want us to be while the cameras are rolling.” 

Never again during filming have we allowed Stephaney to force us to breakdown. Cindy had to learn to put everything away the moment a sound man checked her Mike. Cindy became excellent at acting. Cindy didn’t realize we were naturals. Why? Because our entire lives have been spent pretending we weren’t victims. Our entire lives have been spent “acting normal.” 

Pretending our first husbands weren’t beating the heck out of us. Pretending our family cares about us. They didn’t. They never had. We both married young and jumped into a frying pan after leaving the fire. 

At one point with two black eyes, busted lips and while pregnant, I had asked my stepmother why no one ever cared about Cindy or I? Why no one would help us when they obviously knew we were being abused? Why no one had stopped grandpa from molesting us? The answer? “You are both on your own.” 

We always have been. We worked harder than others because if we didn’t work, we would starve. 

Our “family” is the biggest disappointment of my life. I no longer protect those who failed to protect Cindy or I. They may be angry about this but, I’m sick of the lies. I’m sick of acting like all of the horrible things that happened to Cindy and I didn’t. I hate secrets. 

The only important people in my life are my twin, my husband, my son, my nieces and grandnieces, my stepsister, my brother and my Clients. 

Cindy and I are sole survivors that took everything we had been through and threw that book in the trash. We broke the cycle of stupidity. The selfish people who could have saved those kids but, “didn’t want to get involved.” 

Cindy and I left the burning disaster of our childhoods and first marriages in a box. We threw away the keys. We shook ourselves off and became the people we had never known. We are fighters because we’ve had to be our entire lives. 

I’m sick of people saying “that’s in the past. Get over it.” I wonder if they could? My past made me who I am. 

Privilege wasn’t a part of our lives. Perseverance and passion aren’t the result of privilege- they are the result of poverty and pain. Survivors don’t have an option. Survivors don’t become addicts. Survivors find a way to move forward. We did. 

Our struggles might have been the cards we were dealt but, our struggles subsequently also made us both warriors. 

Pretending to be normal. Pretending there weren’t childhood secrets about our family that no one wants us to discuss. Pretending we didn’t have a care in the world. It was an important part of our ability to put things in a box that we never have forgotten. Turn everything off in order to turn it on at your own  convenience. 

How hard is it to act normal in an abnormal world? Incredibly hard but, you must put your pain away. You must put your sorrow to sleep and you must perform. Cindy and I did. 

We never again had a mental breakdown about Stephaney during filming. The cloud was there but, it wasn’t storming. Stephaney was our cloud. Stephaney always has been. 

I think of going through my custody battle and modeling. I remember my makeup girl covering a black eye from my abusive husband. His dinner was cold and I had been slapped around before filming again. I had walked into makeup beaten and battered and my magician, Hahn sadly admitting to me “it’s too deep, I can’t cover it. Go tell lighting to adjust the watt.” Having lighting adjusted was a regular occurrence throughout my first marriage. I never knew why my husband believed he had to hit me? But, I came from a violent childhood and assumed that beatings were normal. It would take years for me and my twin sister to realize this wasn’t true. 

This ugly duckling was the highest selling model at Dallas Apparel Market. This ugly duckling had become a swan. The murky waters of my childhood, the secrets, the shame of those closest to me hurting me the most weren’t me when “I was on.” I was a light switch. On no one could stop me. Off was when my sorrow overcame me. I swam through the glass of my first marriage and escaped with wounds that would never heal. Going from my childhood into my first marriage was a double whammy. There wasn’t a period of happiness. When diagnosed as PTSD in my late 20’s, no one was more surprised than I. But, I compartmentalized which was my saving grace. I put things away. I had to. This was how Cindy and I both overcame our past. This was how we survived. We didn’t pity ourselves. We didn’t go get drunk or use drugs. We coped. We worked and we moved on. 

If I was working, no one had any clue other than my make up and lighting people that my life was a stage and I was the greatest actress in the world. My smile was hard fought for. My teeth had been knocked out. My lips had been broken and my life had been Hell. 

I didn’t fall into the gutter and become an addict. Cindy didn’t either. We fought our way out of the gutter. Together, we were unstoppable. Together, we overcame where we had been through and what we had survived. 

The day I filmed my first Whataburger commercial out of five in 1980, my child molesting grandfather had tried to corner me before leaving to check in on the set with Mel Tillis to tell me “you are ugly. No one wants you. You will always be an ugly duckling.” My grandfather destroyed many lives. My grandfather was a horrible person. His death was the greatest gift that Cindy or I have ever been given. We felt the same relief when we found Stephaney. 

I think about all of the times I had shit going on and I was expected to be perfect. Perfect hair. Perfect personality. Perfect smile. I lived in an imperfect world but, I’m a great actress. No one knew my pain. When I’m on, no one knows I have problems. I always kept my pain private. 

For twenty years, I had training from modeling and commercial with that Cindy didn’t before we started filming projects together five years ago.

Before production companies hired us. Before signing contracts. Before filming. I was an old hat but, the first time we were filing a project together, Cindy learned that filming is hard work. 

Cindy was as exhausted as I was after a director had us load truck tires into a a box truck. Cindy and I should have said no. But, Cindy and I didn’t know we would both get hernias. Cindy and I never thought about declining direction that put us in harms way. Cindy and I have learned from our mistakes. I nearly broke my hand filming that day and I will never allow someone who has no idea that you can get hurt doing something because “it would look good on film” doesn’t take into account that your twin sister has 12 lbs of steel fusing her spine. That your sister was broke in half and that your sister is physically disabled. Just say no. We do now. 

You are working. You are “on.” Find your mark. Remember your lines. More energy. Less energy. Smile. Don’t smile. Turn left. I need you over there. “Cindy nudge Wendy.” 

I’m a public speaker and always work well under pressure. I don’t do well under pressure “off the clock.” I’ve trained myself to put my family out of my mind. My family know this. 

Unlike work, there is no timeline for dealing with Stephaney. I can’t “punch out” and go home. Her mother can’t either. 

We have put our emotions in a box at the back of our minds over and over and we have pretended nothing is going on because we’ve had to learn to. Work is our salvation. We know what to do. We know what’s expected. 

Normally, when Cindy and I are filming, a producer or director is whispering “more energy” but, in today’s situation, less energy and no emotion was far more important. 

Cindy was giving the performance of her life. Maryssa? A close second. We have all learned that anger agitates Stephaney. We have all learned to be mummies. “Dummy up” and things are far smoother with my niece. “Drama up” is a disaster. 

Stephaney was in the car as Cindy was forced to continue declining Warrant Officer calls. Cindy took Stephaney and her friend to Motel 6 but, Stephaney didn’t like it. Stephaney is picky. She isn’t working and homeless but “only smokes her brand.” She wants elaborate coffin nails with ombré polish. Stephaney doesn’t “fit in” as a homeless person. 

Cindy kept hitting decline from Warrant Officers from 9:59- 10:20 while trying to get Stephaney into a hotel room. Stephaney’s cheeks had sunken in. She was severely dehydrated and Cindy tried not to be alarmed by her appearance or smell while searching for a hotel. I’m certain that both Cindy and Maryssa were horrified at Stephaney’s appearance. Shocked and scared, they both hid their emotions. 

I know how difficult it must’ve been seeing Stephandy in that type of condition must’ve been. I know it broke Cindy’s heart. I know Maryssa was nervous and scared. I know they were both playing off each other to act normal in an abnormal situation. 

There was no rehearsal for this moment. There were no lines. Improvised actions without words went from Cindy to her grandniece, Maryssa. 

When I had found Stephaney days earlier, she wasn’t clean but she wasn’t filthy. She had refused food or shelter. I hadn’t argued for more than fifteen minutes and after losing her again for days, wished that I had. Mistakenly, I had assumed that a few days on the street if that was Stephaney’s decision might even “snap her out of it.” 

I cried so hard leaving her at that box I threw up two blocks away. Living in a box? Disrupting our family and our lives over and over again? I will never understand why. 

I was deeply concerned about Cindy’s safety and high blood pressure. Cindy’s been on the edge for over a year about Stephaney.  

Cindy couldn’t answer my call about being lost because she was upstairs at another Executive Inn with Stephaney. Stephaney was filthy. The clothes, shoes, socks and blankets I had left in the box for her to keep from freezing weren’t with her. Cindy asked why. “Where were all of the things Wendy gave you?” 

Stephaney claimed they were stolen when she went to the bathroom. I have no idea if this was true. 

Cindy was calmly acting normal in the hotel knowing Warrant Officers were blowing up her cell phone. I can’t imagine how acting rational must’ve been for her. 

Homeless people have territories. Stephaney was in a completely different territory than the man I had interviewed Monday. His territory was off Alta Mesa and Camp Bowie. How did he come across Stephaney? I will never know. But, twenty four hours after talking to him, he was wearing clothing I had given Stephaney at the box. 

While yet again driving the streets searching for Stephaney days before Cindy found her, I nearly rear ended someone after noticing the same homeless guy I had talked to off Alta Mesa the day prior was wearing an Ugg aviator hat and Nike lined gloves I had given to Stephaney. His territory was at least two miles from hers.

Cindy was shocked that I recognized MY HAT AND GLOVES but when you buy something, you remember it. I was lit. He lied about contacting me if he had seen her and yet, he was wearing clothing I had given her? What the? HE HAD SEEN HER. 

Noticing this while driving gives you an idea of how anyone walking grabbed my attention. I did a u turn and decided to find out how he was wearing that hat and gloves. Cindy didn’t like this plan but, I was desperate. 

I had parked in the street blocking traffic and confronted him. I had advised him that the hat and gloves he was wearing were given to my niece, but,  he refused to talk to me although only a day earlier, he had taken money and cigarettes and claimed to call us if he had seen her. He even took a flyer. 

He had lied. He also somehow had my property left for my niece to protect her in freezing temperatures. 

I now knew that Stephaney would freeze to death and I was so upset about this I can’t even begin to describe my feelings of hopelessness. 

How had he gotten those items? Was Stephaney bartering my blankets, boots, gloves, coats, hats and other high end gear? If so, why? I was upset about being lied to but more upset that Stephaney obviously didn’t have warm clothing while you go home to wonder where she was sleeping, if she was eating and how other homeless people had my winter clothing given to her? 

Cindy walked up to the hotel room with Stephaney and questioned Stephaney who was asking for money, “is it for drugs?” Angrily, Stephaney screamed “nevermind.” She also told my twin sister that she had planned to die on the streets by Christmas. She said she had no plans to return to treatment. Stephaney was “homeless and free and planning to die that way.” 

As a mother, after nearly 18 years of Stephaney destroying her over and over again, rather than argue, Cindy said “ok.” I know how hard it was for Cindy to set Stephaney up. 

I know how hard it was for her to not scream “why do you keep doing this to us?” I know how hard it was not to question where Stephaney had been or how she had survived but, Cindy didn’t. She offered to buy Stephaney food or whatever she needed. She desperately wanted to feed her daughter but, Stephaney doesn’t eat on a binge. 

Cindy thought she had time to take Stephaney to a restaurant but, if she had, our warrant would have expired. Getting Stephaney into a hotel room and leaving to call the officers, we had 36 minutes before the warrant expired. Not hours. MINUTES. 

Cindy had offered to give Stephaney’s new friend a ride to the 7-11 on Las Vegas Trail in order to get him out of the hotel room and drop him off before calling the officers and giving the location of Stephaney. 

From 7-11 Cindy called Warrant Officers back after she had been forced to decline their earlier calls as she had Stephaney in her SUV. Cindy left her phone in the car at the hotel. 

The officers advised Cindy “we have checked the box again and she’s not there. In a few minutes, this Warrant will expire and we will close this case.” WHAT? Cindy was horrified about the timeline. 

Furious and most likely shocked because she thought we had until this afternoon left on the 72 Hour Warrant, Cindy responded most likely nearly screaming with relief “I have her. She’s in a hotel booked under her name. Here is the address and it’s less than 4 minutes from the box. Get over there and pick her up now.” 

The officers tell Stephaney her mother filed the Warrant and let her call to ask. We both admit we filed it. Stephaney is angry and tells the officers to hang up. The officers didn’t have to tell her why she was being forced into treatment but chose to. 

The officers were also not going to find Stephaney. We did. We didn’t give up and only go to the box. We drove hundreds of miles for eight days searching. Interviewing homeless people and doing the leg work. Paying people for worthless leads. Becoming detectives at all costs. 

Cindy found her daughter herself. As incredible as it was, Cindy was minutes from losing the Warrant we had fought so hard to get.

Cindy believes finding her daughter in time to put her in the hospital for treatment was a Christmas Miracle. I do too. I believe Cindy was put in the right place at the right time because after 9 days of driving all day everyday to find Stephaney since 11-28-2018, only once had I successfully located her. 

Only once was I able to talk Stephaney into my SUV and give her winter clothing. Only did I have a window to beg Stephaney to get help aside from Sunday after police left when Stephaney was far too angry to reason with. I had left Stephaney with numerous items to protect her from the elements. I bought her whatever she wanted and I begrudgingly returned her to the box that I will never forget. 

The day I had Stephaney in my SUV for less than 15 minutes and bought whatever she wanted, Stephaney had demanded to return to her box. I wish I had staked it out. She left as soon as I did. I wished I knew she had told another homeless person to stay there and throw trash around to look as if she was coming back. But, I didn’t. I had no idea as I spent hours and hours and days searching. I should have followed her. 

My investigative skills have usually been far more effective. I’ve found Stephaney again and again for a year and assumed I would quickly find her at the box. I was wrong.  

Today, Cindy was within 30 feet of her daughter. The daughter we’ve tried so hard to find. The daughter who is suicidal. The daughter we couldn’t give up on. It was a miracle. It was fate. It was within an hour of losing our ability to force Stephaney into treatment and it was a RELIEF. 

Ironically, the 7-11 Cindy drove the guy with Stephaney to after booking her into the hotel was only one block away from where the box Stephaney was hiding inside Sunday night was located. 

The irony is that if Cindy had known she had less than 2 hours to find Stephaney, after nearly ten days of no sleep and little to eat, I am certain Cindy would have flipped out and “blown her cover.” It’s hard to remain calm but, Cindy and Maryssa knew it was our last day and last chance to get Stephaney off the street. 

Stephaney had never returned to the box because we knew where it was after Monday when I had driven her to it begging her to let me get her some help. I had assumed that I could talk to Stephaney again Tuesday and maybe convince her to go back to JPS the day after she wouldn’t go with me. I had no idea I would lose her again. But, I did. 

I hope you never go through this with someone you love. It’s raw and it’s emotional. I hope you never have to set up your loved one because you have no choice. 

I hope that Stephaney finds the strength to become a better person and makes better choices. I hope most of all that my family finally has peace. That I can sleep tonight. That Cindy can sleep tonight. That worrying about Stephaney is finally over.

Thank all of our friends for sharing the flyer. Thank all of our friends for keeping our family in your prayers and God Bless each and every one of you for giving us support through a very difficult time for our family….