The week following our return from meeting with detectives, I received a phone call from KSP (Kentucky State Police), informing me that remains were, in fact, discovered at the very spot Jack led them. The officer asked when time could be arranged to bring the other two witnesses. This officer also alluded to “more” and “recent” found “above ground”, but was not specific, stating, “You’ll have to take that up with the detectives.”
Over the following months I received many phone calls and messages from KSP detectives and officers. One time I returned a call I was told, “Det. Owens is up in a helicopter, looking over the farm to see what else might be out there.” Another time an officer asked if the witnesses knew the man found at the farm the first day Jack and I were there. I was told the man was James Clemons. The witnesses did not recognize the name.
June 26th, 2002, Jack and his sisters were forcibly and violently removed from their mother’s home by Oakland County, Michigan sheriffs, with no warning or warrant. Two weeks later the mother’s house was broken into. Only her paperwork, including notebooks of the children’s statements over the years, were rummaged through and stolen. For the next several years the mother was blamed for “making up wild stories” against the biological father of the children to “alienate” them from him. Michigan authorities’ only lines of questioning of the children were regarding the incidents that took place at that Kentucky farm in 1997.
Notable is the fact that during the first hearing after the children were stolen from the mother by authorities, there was a woman at the back of the room spouting ridiculous things against the mother. She claimed to be quoting the children and spoke as if she knew them but had not met them yet. This brash mouth was the guardian ad litem (GAL) appointed to the children the day they were taken. After the hearing the mother noticed this GAL and was sparked. The GAL was about the same height,
tanned “like she was in the sun too much”, had short, white, “spiky hair”, and “a big butt.”
July 2002, Jack and his younger sister were forced to have regular, and eventually unsupervised, visits with Manuel and Amanda Ramos—two of the four primary suspects Jack just named to Kentucky authorities just a few months prior. A year later, evidence that the Ramos’ were again abusing the children surfaced but was ignored by authorities. In December 2003, Jack and his little sister were forced against their will (and all common sense) into the custody of the Ramos’ in the State of Ohio.
Ironically, these are the two witnesses that were most clear, consistent and vocal about the alleged events of 1997 at that Kentucky farm.
Repeatedly, I could not get a hold of Det. Monte Owens. The cop that promised Jack he would do whatever to protect him and his sisters was always “too busy” to keep his promise to a brave child.
Most often, I received calls from KSP and someone from the KY Attorney General’s Office asking for “more information.” They stated they needed more information to help them “put names to the faces” of the victims. I lost count of how many of these calls came.
In July 2002, I received a call from Lt. Merriman of KSP for pretty much the same purpose, to—and I do quote— “gain information to help put names to the faces.” During this conversation with the lieutenant I took the liberty to ask about information shared with the mother’s Michigan attorney at the time regarding the
discovered. Lt. Merriman first explained that was a different case, but later, as he thought it out loud, he stated, “Well, but that was the same area.” He said an African-American woman was
found “in the burn pile not far from” the spot Jack identified.
The crisp fall air moved in as September passed and brought a chilling silence. Other than a sparse message here and there, fewer contacts from KY authorities came with their endless questions,
“trying to put names to faces.”
More and more I became incensed at the idea that Jack and his little sister were forcibly subjected to two of the suspects on whom they had just told, and no one seemed to care—including KSP. Two of their primary witnesses were unsafe and this evoked no response for the sakes of these children. Since they were not returning calls, I decided to take a drive south again to ask them in person. Early October I drove by the Crab Orchard farm again, took a few photos and noticed a young boy playing in the long yard just in front of the house.
Then I made several attempts to encounter at least one of the detectives, to no avail. My dog and I stayed at a Danville motel three days then headed home.
I would not find out until more than a year later why that October visit to this farm would prove so significant.
March of 2003 brought more anguish for the witnesses and their mother. Though I had sparse contact with KSP, I kept pressing in trying to get them to at least see that their witnesses were protected. However, again the only thing Kentucky officers were interested in was “more information” to help them
“put names to faces.”
So, I decided to do some investigative research of my own, thinking they would surely move the case—and thus, their witnesses—to higher priority. A few conversations with Lt. Merriman brought to light a few things. For one, it was quite apparent that there was no talking with Det. Owens again. Two, as much as I thought the lieutenant was genuine in asking for assistance, he took little to nothing seriously. Of course, I did not figure that one out until about a month later. Three, their “investigation” based on Jack’s witness accounts was not much of a priority. It became more and more clear over the next few months to year, that the ritual murder and mutilation of kidnapped children was not worth extending the manpower and time. Let alone, to protect the witnesses that were stolen from their home as a result of telling on the culprits. The mother’s “domestic issues” (as the lieutenant called it) were a strong deterrent for KSP.
But, of course, it took me a while longer to figure out that I was more of an irritant than a help. Call me blonde. If a cop keeps calling me for information “to put names to the faces”, I assume that means he wants my help.
Silly, silly me.
When the lieutenant mentioned they “searched the tri-county area (in KY)” and found no missing children reported that matched, I went to what was one of the best national resources. NCMEC (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children). What I found there amazed me yet enraged him.
Think about this for at least a moment, though:
- You’re a detective with state law enforcement.
- You receive deep, thorough details from an eye-witness accounting the gruesome murders of at least two children.
- Upon digging at the alleged burial location, you find at least enough to “need names for faces.”
- You are handed the information that the primary suspects work with thoroughbred racehorses and travel frequently all over the US.
But you search only the tri-county area surrounding the burial place?
I truly do not like vulgarity or even their acronyms, especially toward our hard-working law enforcement. In this case nothing else is sufficient but…
What’s worse is how the lieutenant exploded with ridiculous rants at me when I excitedly shared with him what I found. Or, actually, who I found, that fit the time frame, description and everything. I will cover all that in the next post. Here I need to share something of greater importance. All the years I listened to the children confide details over and over, one detail faded. The youngest witness kept mentioning “d’ angel” many times early on. Since she was so young her vocabulary was limited and pronunciation was a bit off. It always sounded like she was saying “the angel.” Over time she stopped saying it at all. Lowe and behold, when I ran a search in the NCMEC database for a child based on the description Jack gave KSP detectives…the a 3-5 year old, black female, missing within three months of the reported murder…the one the popped up was
My heart sank from the first time I saw her beautiful, little face and realized the witness was trying to tell her name all that time.
In April 2003 I had the opportunity to speak with two of the witnesses briefly. All I asked them is,
“Do you remember the little black girl?”
Both Jack and his little sister, now 10 and 8, sat straight and excitedly said, “Yes!” nodding their heads.
Then I asked,
“Do you remember anything strange or different about her?”
Of course, they were puzzled at me at first, but I explained that I could not say any more because I needed them to clearly remember. I did not want to put ideas in their heads. They thought for a moment and Jack piped in.
“Oh! Yes! Her arm was messed up. Like this.” He shortened his left arm and twisted his left hand a little.
His little sister said, “Oh! And she walked funny and had bumps on the top of her foot!” She pointed to her right foot. Both agreed she did not talk well and “walked funny.” Then the two looked sad.
Interesting note here is that Angelique’s description in the NCMEC poster above includes,
“burn scars on the top of one foot…born with one arm and leg shorter than the other.”
I then asked,
“Do you remember if anyone said her name or called her anything?”
Jack said yes, that Cindy called her names that aren’t nice and he is not allowed to repeat.
His little sister looked right into my eyes, with tears welling up in hers, and said what she had tried to tell us all for years…
[Stay tuned for next post. We’re just getting started.]