Odonnell twins Abbie (left) and Alexis (right) just before court on Friday, July 29. The family was told that Alexis is bruised from “restraints.” Source: Free the Odonnell Girls from cps Facebook page.
by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff
Laura Odonnell was shocked to see her 15 year old daughter Alexis arrived to court with a huge bruise on her face. Both twins show signs of being abused in state custody.
The Odonnell twins just want to go home and be together as a family again, but on Friday July 29th Judge Elwood Brown has approved a request from the state to send the Michigan teens to a juvenile facility in Boys Town, Nebraska. When Alyssa, 17, learned that her sisters were going to be sent 19 hours away from home for the next 4 years, she stormed out of the courtroom, visibly upset. For that, a bailiff threatened her with a tazer.
The Odonnell children were healthy before they were taken into state custody 2 years ago after allegedly trying marijuana. They were having a bit of difficulty adjusting to a new school, but the pot incident started a snowball of state intervention which keeps getting worse. Now, the twins are reportedly on a suicide watch, and are spending almost every hour of the day in isolation.
They never had any psychiatric or mental health concerns before entering state custody, but now Abbie has anorexia and Alexis has bulimia. Abbie seems to be turning the trauma inward, but Alexis, always the bolder of the two, is very angry and has been having meltdowns. Little wonder. Every time there is hope of coming home and being together again, their hopes are dashed. Laura wonders how they are going to hold on.
See recent article:
Formerly Healthy Twins Now Wasting Away in Michigan Care for 2 Years After Allegedly Trying Marijuana
Why Are the Twins Being Sent out of Their Home State?
On the July 22nd airing of the National Safe Child Show with host Tammi Stefano, the twins’ case in Michigan was discussed with a reporter that writes for MedicalKidnap.com. Ms. Stefano related how she had a telephone conversation with a social worker supervisor within Michigan CPS, a Chris Anderson, who was apparently willing to discuss the Odonnell twins’ case. Ms. Anderson acknowledged that CPS was considering sending the twins out of state, and was considering Nebraska as a place to send the girls, to “meet their needs.”
When Ms. Stefano asked what those “needs” were that Michigan could not provide, Ms. Anderson replied it was their “juvenile justice needs” and the need to:
develop autonomy from the dysfunction of their interaction with their family.
Ms. Anderson stated that the girls were “bonded to their mother” and that “they love their mother, and their mother loves them” and therefore intervention is needed as this was not apparently healthy.
Interestingly, Ms. Stefano talked to another social worker in Michigan CPS right after her call with Chris Anderon, and this person, Erica Quelay, who is apparently a spokesperson for the department, made some general comments about the department’s policy of sending children under the care of CPS out of state. When asked if the department would send children under the care of Michigan CPS out of the state for treatment, Ms. Quelay reportedly stated:
No, for kids in foster care we do everything we can to keep them in the state, in their community.
When asked about some kids being sent to Nebraska for services, Erica Quelay replied:
No, that is not anything I am familiar with at all… I don’t have any reason to believe that would be the case.
The comments about the Michigan story with the Odonnell twins starts at the 20 minute mark in the show:
Twins Restrained and Harmed Under State Care
Big sister Alyssa was able to visit her sisters before court Friday morning for about a half hour. Their mother was verbally issued a “no-contact” order recently. When their mother came into court, Alyssa warned her mom that the twins did not look good.
That was an understatement.
Abbie’s arms are cut up, and Alexis has bruises on her face, shoulders, and ankles. Alyssa was told that this was “from restraints.”
Laura wants to know what kind of restraints they could possibly be using on her daughter for there to be bruising on her face. The children were never abused, beaten, or bruised up in her care. This is happening under the watchful eye of the juvenile system.
Sister Threatened with Tazer
During court, Judge Brown told the family that the twins would be sent to a facility in Boys Town, Nebraska, where they would be spending the next 4 years, until they are 19 years old. At that point, 17 year old Alyssa, who misses her sisters terribly, reportedly got up very upset and walked out of the room, shoving the door to the court open. The bailiff reportedly shouted after her:
You push the door again like that, and I’ll taze you!
The twins’ older brother defended his sister, telling him that he didn’t need to threaten her like that, and the bailiff reportedly shoved him.
Court was very emotional for the close-knit family. They still cannot believe the extreme measures taken by the state, and the state’s neglect of the twins’ health. Understandably, they are upset. Laura is afraid that, as upset as Alexis was today at court, that someone might use a tazer on Alexis.
Laura says that the judge has told her that she will be permitted one “good-bye visit” just before they ship off to Nebraska. She says that her children are her life, and that they matter more to her than anything in the world. Her twins are attached to each other (as is very normal) and they are attached to her. The girls have told their handlers that they cannot survive being separated from each other, and, indeed, their current health reflects that assertion.
The family was happy together before state intervention. Source: Odonnell family
Medical Needs Continue to Be Ignored
There is still no plan for the twins to receive treatment for their eating disorders, even though previous court orders called for it. Both girls have low iron, fainting spells, and health issues relating to the eating disorders. Alexis, to date, has never been treated for her bulimia. Abbie asked the court this morning for help, telling the judge:
I need help. I can’t get my calorie counts in.
Her pleas reportedly fell on deaf ears and were not addressed.
Separation is devastating for twins. Source: Odonnell family
Laura Dalton says that she was told in court that the social workers and parole officers have “worked so hard” on the case, but that there has been “no progress.” But the family has been split apart, their health neglected, twins separated, and they have lost hope. At every turn, those in the system have seemed determined to keep them IN the system. What they believe will help them get better is to be together and have their eating disorders and health needs addressed. But they haven’t been given that chance.
Kangaroo Court, But Probation Officer Off the Case
As they were walking into court Friday morning, they were handed notice of another hearing that also occurred that same morning, which gave them no time to prepare any kind of response. Laura has reported this type of behavior from the court on numerous occasions. Recently, she received a notice in the mail of a hearing that had already passed.
The CPS case on the twins has been dismissed. The neglect charges against their mother was dismissed. They were previously under the jurisdiction of both the juvenile system and Child Protective Services. Now, they are solely under the jurisdiction of the juvenile system.
The family learned recently that Amy Bennett is no longer on the case, but it has to do with a jurisdictional transfer to county probation from DHS probation. It is not because of her alleged misdeeds on the case.
Parental Rights Violated
The judge has reportedly accused Laura of not wanting her children, but that has never been true. He has allegedly accused her of not being able to keep her girls from going AWOL, but Laura reminds us that they ran away from abusive foster care, under state watch. They have never run away from her home. She wants to know how she is being held responsible for what they did while in state care.
Even though the neglect portion of the CPS case is now dismissed, the girls’ mother is still ordered to continue individual therapy, and continue weekly drug testing. Laura believes that the drug testing is a waste of state resources, since she has never taken a single drug, never even smoked a joint, in her life. Every drug test has come back clean.
Laura Odonnell’s parental rights have technically not been terminated (TPR); however, the actions of the court, in effect, have done the same thing, without putting it in those terms legally. Is it because the state recognizes that they do not have, nor ever have had, grounds to terminate parental rights?
She would like to appeal the court’s decisions, but needs an attorney to help with the process.
When will justice actually be served for the Odonnell girls? When is enough enough?
There is a Facebook page set up for supporters to follow the story called Free the Odonnell Girls from cps.
Following are people who may be contacted on behalf of the Odonnell twins:
Phil Pavlov is the Senator serving the family’s district. He may be reached at 517-373-7708, or contacted here.
Paul Muxlow is their Representative. He may be reached at 517-373-0835, or contacted here.
Representative Ken Goike serves the district of the Odonnell girls’ grandmother, and may also be reached at 517-373-0820, or contacted here.
Comment on this story at MedicalKidnap.com.
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