Dear Judge Firetag,
I am forwarding two emails that were sent to CPS and Malchi’s counselor at the time (earlier this year). The CPS case was finally forwarded to law enforcement 2 weeks ago after Malachi was hospitalized and another agency became involved. This case was in limbo since April of this year. The officer who called my Daughter said she was just receiving it now. My daughter moved away from friends and family (her main support system) out of genuine fear. The children were becoming increasingly fearful because they felt someone was coming for them. Since moving away from San Bernardino County they have received free counseling for all of them. I’ve attached a picture Malachi drew in one of his counseling sessions. The counselor felt Angelina should see it. I don’t know what Malachi told his current teacher and principal, but it was enough for them to make sure that the children are never left alone and someone must be there when the bus drops them off or they are to be brought back to school. I am with the children this week, and I noticed that after the bus drops them off, the drivers make sure that they see us enter the house before they drive off. It is surreal.
Malachi’s counselor believes that Malachi’s current problems are because now that he is in a normal environment (no longer under high alert) he has time to process what has happened to him. I myself, wonder if it’s because he is in counseling and is now talking about what happened to him. I wonder this because every time I sit down to write about this, it brings it all back, and it literally makes me tired and sad. So much has happened in the year since this came to light. First there is the initial shock with some disbelief. Then anger, and at times genuine fear. Witnesses who were going to come forward, changed their mind in the end. The neighbor who knew what was in the garage, wanted to write a statement until her teenage daughters car was vandalized very badly. We understood. The lawyer who wanted to help until she came home and saw a huddle (as she described it) of cops in front of her house, backed down, stating she had an infant, and couldn’t put her family in danger. Shannon, who just wanted off the case without being paid, because she’d never seen officers act this way, especially where children were involved. The DA who never looked at the tape of the children (his admittance) because the investigation consisted of 2 questions and it wasn’t enough to warrant a view. Olivia Brown, the CPS worker said “she couldn’t remember”. San Bernardino CPS not submitting anything at all. I’m going to stop here. I didn’t mean to write so much at all. If I were to keep writing I could probably write into the wee hours of the morning.
Letter to Marcia Vargas (CPS)
From: Sherry Hilliard <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: June 15, 2016 at 8:38:20 PM CDT
Subject: Malachi and Sariah Harris
Dear Ms. Vargas,
I am the grandmother of Malachi and Sariah Harris, and I am writing in desperation. Today my daughter called me frantic because Malachi refused to get in the car with his Dad for visitation. He ran into a restaurant and then into a gym. I asked her to put him on the phone with me and he refused. Malachi is petrified to go with his father and my daughter is afraid to do anything about that because she feels it will make her look bad because no one is listening to the her or the children. In the end she made him go with his father. In court papers submitted for the hearing on 6/13 Bobby stated that you, Maria, threatened that if Angelina kept calling you, you said you would put the children in Foster Care, so now she is afraid to let CPS know about what the children say is happening after each visit. Who can help us?? Bobby got his mother appointed to be the one with him during his visits because he stated to the judge he could not afford the court appointed person because he wasn’t making much money. His bank records had not come back yet, so the judge believed him. Bobby made more than $30,000 in the month of March. A court appointed person might have made sure that he wasn’t given the opportunity to threaten the children during the visitations. The judge has ordered a 730 evaluation which is necessary, but I fear it will make Bobby more determined to quiet the children. Malachi’s counselor, Dr. Kingman, asked my daughter if she were a spiritual person, and if so, she should pray because Malachi had told him some disturbing things. He then wanted to call Bobby, and she gave him his contact number. Malachi stopped trusting Mr. Kingman, who he at one point had stated was his best friend, because his Dad told him that he had people everywhere, and Malachi then believed that Mr. Kingman might be one of Daddy’s people. Mr. Kingman did say that Angelina should ask CPS for a referral to someone or somewhere in Loma Linda. I don’t know if that request was ever made. Regarding sexual abuse, according to court records, the investigation involved asking Bobby two questions on the lie detector test. That’s it. A neighbor of Bobby’s, Brenda, came forward with information about what was in the garage, that they didn’t search, and then her teenage daughters car was vandalized, and now she is very afraid to get involved. Please, what can be done? I am just writing out of pure frustration. We naively told the children “just tell the truth” believing that was all it took. The truth does not have to be memorized or coached or studied. It remains the truth no matter what. If the garage had been searched, evidence would have been found. As the kids saw they were safe and Daddy hadn’t gotten them or Mommy like he had threatened, they began to reveal more. We prayed for revelation, having no clue what we were asking. I will never look at the world the same again. Does anyone ever wonder what happens to the missing children? What really happens. And some that do know are terrified and look the other way.
My grandchildren were healing before the visitations. Malachi stopped sucking his bottom lip (it had gotten huge), he stopped dragging his feet, and he stopped saying he wanted to die (he first said this to his school counselor last year before any of this came to light, she said to both parents she had never seen a more depressed boy). His behavior was night and day from how it was previously, He stopped acting out. Sariah, went through a little anger because she said it took so long for mommy to save her. She wanted to know why. She said she would call for her mom, but she never came. None of us had a clue what was going on and when we found out, it blindsided us and we had to make sure of what we were hearing, especially because she mentioned cops and called some of the men uncle. when Malachi corroborated it and said he had been abused too, then we fully understood that it was real, because Sariah was talking about sex games, cops, grown men, stinky people, etc.
When CPS notified Angelina that a report had been made earlier in the year involving Malachi, we speculated that he must have witnessed inappropriate behavior at his Dad’s house. We never imagined the truth. It was only in Bobby’s response to the court, where he accused Angelina of submitting that report and what it was about, did we learn. We couldn’t believe it. I feel like I’m living in an over the top movie. If I wasn’t living it with my family, I’d have a hard time accepting it.
My grand kids are really good kids who have gone through something horrible. They don’t make up things and sometimes are painfully honest. I just couldn’t go anymore without speaking out. Bobby has told some bold falsehoods in his declarations to the court which are provable with documentation and an evidentiary hearing was requested by Angelina’s lawyer and has been scheduled for July. Which is too far away.
Letter to Dr. Kingman:
Begin forwarded message:
From: Sherry Hilliard <email@example.com>
Date: April 8, 2016 at 6:17:26 PM CDT
Subject: Malachi Harris
Hello Dr. Kingman,
I’m writing to you as Malachi’s Grandmother.
I am extremely concerned about him.
I think Malachi’s behavioral problems became noticeable in the summer of 2013 after he witnessed an incident between his Mother and Father. The first time after I saw both children after the incident, Malachi and his sister Sariah, they excitedly exclaimed to me that “Daddy tried to take Mommy’s head off”. Shortly after that I witnessed Malachi have an emotional breakdown at school over a remark a fellow child had made. He was in Pre-K at the time and was 5 years old. I had come to pick him up and as he was gathering his things a little girl either called him a name or accused him of something. I don’t remember exactly what was said. He began crying and screaming loudly at the top of his lungs. I was horrified as his teacher and the front desk staff came running. I took him outside of the classroom to try and calm him down. The ladies at the front desk took him into the side office and hugged and soothed him and remarked that he was having a hard time with what he had seen between his parents. Apparently Malachi had told them what happened. It seemed Malachi told everyone who would listen, from his first grade teacher, to the baby sitter who picked him up from school. It was a big event in his life. Before this, he was welled like and popular at school.
Example: We had gone with my sister to an event, and there were 2 little girls sitting on a bench playing a game on a tablet. A little while later, Malachi was sitting between the 2 girls as they watched him play the game on the tablet. This caused us great humor. He was sociable and made friends easily.
After the incident between his parents, he began to have behavioral problems and great bursts of anger and anti-social behavior. All of his schools afterwards (3) have worked with both parents regarding this. You could tell when he was stressed because he would go through his karate moves. This frightened some of the kids and he was made to stop which seemed to make things worse. He complained of having no friends, and teachers explained that the kids didn’t know what to make of his behavior and outbursts.
He began to defy authority, particularly from female staff. It was a caretaker from the school who noticed this.
This past year, things seemed to become considerably worst. He gained a lot of weight, was extremely emotional, said he didn’t want to live anymore and felt he was no good. It was hard to convince him otherwise. He would literally drag his feet as he walked and began sucking on his lower lip to the point where it became swollen. He was also having bad dreams almost every night. It was a school counselor, Zandra Glover, who told both parents that she had never seen a more depressed little boy and recommended school counseling. His father Bobby wanted to be present during these sessions. My daughter in telling me this after the meeting, thought that Bobby just didn’t want Malachi telling her the story he had told everyone else. We still thought that he was having trouble dealing with what he witnessed and the split of his parents. When Malachi was being down on himself saying he didn’t want to live and he was no good, I tried to have a confidence boosting talk with him and told him that he was smart just like his Daddy, and told him how incredibly smart his Father was and that he was just like him and that made him special. I told him that the name of Harris was a special name and he should be proud to be one. He said he didn’t want to be like his Daddy. Now, knowing what I know, I wish I had never compared him. I just had no clue and I didn’t understand.
Both children never wanted to go to the Dad’s house. Many times he would pick them up from my house as I was local and often picked them up from school as a favor to both parents. Again, my daughter and I just thought it was because their Dad was just emotionally distant and they were closer to their Mother. We had no suspicions or idea of what they later said was going on.
A week before Sariah revealed what was going on, we had all gathered together for a school performance of the children. Present were Malachi, Sariah, the two children of Bobby’s girlfriend, Angelina, Myself, Crystal (Bobby’s girlfriend), and Bobby. Bobby arrived to the school first with the children and I met him there where dinner was being served beforehand. The kids seemed happy and were running and playing around. The only thing that seemed strange was that Crystals little boy, who was 5 like Sariah, completely ignored me. Normally when I picked the kids up from the Y he would come up and talk to me and hang around until we left. I waited with Bobby in line with the kids, it was cash only and we didn’t have enough between us, and one of the other Father’s overhearing us, gave Bobby $20, saying “no problem”. We got food for the children, I sat with them, while Bobby went back to get the other plates. His girlfriend Crystal then arrived, as she was picking from the kids plates, I assured her that Bobby had gone to get their plates. When he came back he had only his plate. At this time my daughter arrived, and seeing this, made him come with her to get a plate for Crystal, while she got hers. Everything went really well. We all sat together in the front row. I mention this event because what happened afterwards totally blindsided us. After the presentation that the kids were in, Crystal went back to get the kids and Angelina and I walked out to the parking lot because we knew the kids would want to go with her and we wanted to avoid a scene. It was getting harder and harder to drop the kids off, as recently Sariah had a crying fit, saying she didn’t want to go to Daddy’s house. Bobby called Angie, saying that the Sariah wanted to say goodbye, so we went back. Sariah was clinging to Angelina and didn’t want to go back to Bobby. Bobby was standing to the right of me, and he seemed uncomfortable, so I told him that Sariah was just tired, because I didn’t want him to feel bad because she didn’t want to go home with him. I thought it was just a little girl wanting to stay with her Mother, no more than that. I did notice and mentioned to Angelina later that when I had humorously stated that Sariah “just finds Grandma so annoying” he expression completely changed. I said this to show that he wasn’t the only one she didn’t always want to go with, but when I said this his reaction completely surprised me and I saw that he did not react well to what I had just said. That puzzled me and I wondered why he reacted that way. But overall we thought that everything went extremely well, we had both gotten to actually meet Crystal and she seemed normal (we had heard many negative things from his friends). At the children’s birthday party I attended that April at Pump-it-Up, she stayed completely to herself, and did not mix with family and friends at all. According to others, this was normal behavior, so meeting her and being around her, she didn’t seem anti-social at all. We all seemingly had a nice time.
About a week later, everything changed. My daughter called me hysterical late at night regarding Sariah. Sariah had eaten some cookies in her backpack from Daddy’s house (according to Malachi) and she began to act strangely as if she wasn’t herself and began to tell my daughter about her fans, and what she was made to do. I had to have my other daughter stay on the line with her while I gathered my things together because she was so upset. I stayed on the line with her until I arrived at her place (approx 30 mins later). We stayed up until 5:30am that morning discussing if this was even true. My initial response was for her to call the police, but she said that Sariah said that the police were involved. Bobby had a very good friend, a Sergeant who refused to allow a report of the incident that occurred in 2013 to be reported. My daughter had to drive to San Diego, where the incident occurred to complete a report. A physical exam by Kaiser corroborated her injuries as well as the kids testimonies to CPS. Also, Sariah’s story was so fantastical we wanted to make sure that it was real. There had been signs of abuse, as Sariah seemed highly sexualized, something Angelina had discussed with concern to Bobby, but that discussion did not go well and we had no proof of anything, but we didn’t suspect Bobby, we thought maybe it was the grown sons of a babysitter Bobby was using. Shortly after that discussion he made other arrangements and employed a nanny.
San Bernardino CPS tried to file a case against Angelina for waiting a day to file the report. The judge dismissed this. We waited a day because what Sariah said was so disturbing and we had to make sure it was true and if officers were really involved, we were scared, so we spoke to a few lawyers that morning. It was only after Malachi finally corroborated Sariah’s story, none of the fantasy part, that we were fully convinced. These were very serious allegations that cannot be taken lightly. We had to feel confident and sure that this really happened. We prayed for the truth and for revelation. We naively told the children that if they told they truth, then people would protect them. That they didn’t have to tell us everything (Malachi seemed especially embarrassed) but if they told those that questioned them, that would be OK. My daughter told me that when CPS came to interview the children, Sariah made CPS promise that they would not tell Mommy everything she told them. She sat on the steps to listen to make sure afterwards. She said Cole Taylor (SB CPS) was visibly shaken when he came down.
I took Malachi to his second appointment and I asked you if he was talking, because I felt he really needed help in dealing with what he had experienced. On the way home he told me that you were his only friend. The only time I ever asked Malachi what happened was on Christmas Day, I asked him if he wanted to tell Grandma what happened, and he said no. I asked him if he was embarrassed and he said yes. I asked that, because my daughter, Angelina, told me that she had to convince Malachi that he did nothing wrong, that it wasn’t his fault, that Daddy could not hurt him because God’s army would fight for him, but he had to tell the truth. Both children are afraid that 2 men are going to come and get them. On the way home I told Malachi that he could tell you anything and that you would never tell Mommy or myself what he said, that anything he told you was private and that you were there to help him and he should tell you everything. I thought that because he was talking he had already told you.
Recent events. the children had supervised visitation with their Father in the presence of his mother. These were 4 hours sessions, twice a week. The first night Malachi didn’t want to go to bed because it would make the next day come too soon. When it came time for him to see his Dad he climbed into the trunk area of his mother’s SUV saying he wasn’t going. He was made to go. When he came back he said what a great time he had. They went to Fun Zone for his birthday and he had a great time. The second visit, he still didn’t want to go, but when he came back he was very distant. Grandma always jokes around with him to get him to smile, but this wasn’t working. He began peeing on himself again, always smelling of pee. It became so bad and obvious that my daughter took him to Kaiser where an X-Ray showed an impacted bowel, which they felt was making him wet himself. We honestly don’t know if this is related or not, but it bares mentioning.
Malachi has described very disturbing things, some of it explains his inability to pay attention at school, often times being in a daze, he would wet himself at school too. He has talked of being drugged, one pill making him so happy that he can’t stop screaming, sleep deprivation, his Dad’s sword and gun (gifts from his Mother a few years before his parents split) and much more. To be quite honest, my family and I don’t quite know how to process all that has come out. We prayed for revelation, not realizing what the revelation would be. I am praying for the truth to come out and for Malachi and Sariah and those helping to be protected. For justice to occur according to God’s will. Malachi is very logical in his thinking and is not prone to make believe as in story telling. He refused to believe in Grandma’s pet dragon that was being kept in a small filing cabinet, explaining to me how it was absolutely impossible. My granddaughter, from my other daughter, asked questions about what he eats, where he flies at night, and such. Malachi was unable to buy into this story and finally I had to explain that he would have to use his imagination. While he understood the concept of using his imagination in this scenario, he wasn’t quite convinced, and so Grandma’s dragon died quietly, after he later triumphantly opened the filing box to prove his point. Whatever the truth is, Malachi believes what he is saying and it has affected him.
The time away from the Dad saw great improvements in both children. Malachi’s behavior was much better, he wasn’t having nearly as many bad dreams and he had started to lose weight. It seems like the past 8 hours with his Father has undone a lot of what was accomplished. Malachi has expressed concern about whether he can even trust you because Daddy told him in his visit that he has people everywhere and they will know if he tells. This is a disturbing change of events.
What I know about Bobby:
He is highly intelligent. He made money in college by studying the notes of others and taking their mid-terms and finals for them. On an engineering certification that was a year long program, he passed with flying colors, but was denied the certification because they saw that he had only logged in to the program during the last two weeks and they refused to give it to him. He can be very personable having a room laughing hysterically, he can be engaging and a captivating story teller. When he and my daughter separated he came to me with great concern about my daughter and told me some very concerning things. I’m ashamed to say, I believed him, and confronted my daughter. She reminded me that I was with her for two of the events and others were proven with documentation. I then confronted him on every count (even the ones unproven) with the evidence, he quickly back tracked as if it were nothing, and made the excuse that he was just over concerned and that may have made him hasty in his beliefs as if I could understand how that could easily happen. What I did understand was how dangerous a story teller he was. This was not the first time this had happened about his being wrong about an event, but I thought as those times that he was just misinformed or got it wrong. At family gatherings we sometimes reminisce about our childhoods, but he doesn’t remember his. One time we were out eating as a family and our table was loud with laughter and conversation, with Bobby contributing a lot to the humor. I was sitting beside him and at one point he just completely shut down. No one else noticed, but I did and I wondered if someone said something that offended him. He was silently through the rest of the meal. I asked my daughter about it and her response was that sometimes he feels such interactions are fake. I’ve also noticed that when he and his mother play dominoes, there is complete silence between them. No discussion. When one wins, they stack them up again without any discussion. This may not be strange, but if were anyone in my family there would be rivalry, smack talking, laughter, and possibly a little cheating as its not so much as who wins, but the fun in playing the game. When he was dating my daughter and his mother promised him money to pay for his graduation suit, my daughter accompanied him to get it, and she told me how his mother badgered him until she got him to cry before giving him the money. She did this in front of my daughter, his girlfriend. I have liked his mother. When she is ok she is very pleasant, very funny like her son, and she has a smile that lights her up. She is also the complete opposite, sees persecution in a lot of things, and can change the atmosphere in a room so that you can’t be in the same room with her. But she had a very hard upbringing with a Mother that seems from the stories she has told me, was mentally ill. When her Mother was dying she was the only one out of all of her sisters who went back to see her. The other sisters, according to her hated their mother. Bobby’s mother sometimes has mini seizures the cause of which they are not sure of. Her mother knowing that they can be triggered by heat, turned up the heat while she was there. Knowing all of this, it explains some of the bad. In a perfect world, both Bobby and his mother would have been awesome people, funny, smart, confident. I spent a weekend with his Mother and had a great time, she at one point had me laughing so hard. I was dreading the trip beforehand, but it ended up well, because when she is happy, she is great, when she’s not, you just don’t want to be around. I also noticed that Bobby always looks to see who’s looking. If he hugs his children he is not looking down, he looks to see who sees him. If my daughter was short with him, during their marriage, he didn’t respond to her, but would look to see my reaction. I always thought this was just a self esteem issue, but now I honestly just don’t know.
Forgive me if I’ve written too much, I’m just not sure how to process all that has been revealed and how vulnerable children really are in so many ways and if you didn’t have faith there would just be despair. These children are our most precious commodity, they grow up to be future parents, teachers, leaders, etc. and I think that is why Mark 9:42 is so relevant. I want them to be safe and protected and those who have harmed them to not be able to do this to any other children. I know that God’s divine plan is working in this situation.
“A Positive Attitude may not solve all of your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” – Herb Albright