Total Pageviews

Sunday, December 18, 2016

On Goats, Donkeys and Charles Dickens

***

We've covered a lot of ground here, maybe too much ground. Above and beyond it all, though, I still am plagued by a persistent pet peeve... Which is in nearly all ways better than being plagued by a persistent pet goat.

It's the misuse of metaphors. Can't have it. Drives me nuts.

One of the greatest victims, they say, of this abuse is the fictional character created by Charles Dickens: Ebenezer Scrooge. That's a name we improperly affix to cheapskates, skinflints, chiselers and the like.

By the end of "A Christmas Carol", you ought to recall, the old tightwad had seen the light - or, rather, the dark. Not ringing a bell? Remember, he gave the dopey peasant kid a Christmas goose? (Wot? The one that's big as me?)

That's just a small pet peeve, though. I'm only reminded of it because of the holiday season. I find it annoying, but not offensive.

The messed-up metaphor that most makes me mad is the dumbest, easiest one of them all... One that I had down pat at the age of seven. It's the one about the carrot and the stick.

Everybody blows this one. I'm mystified as to its everyday misapplication, since it seems straightforward enough.

Prominent people routinely display their naked ignorance where the carrot-and-stick metaphor is concerned. They've done it so much as to change its definition. It is referred to now as an "idiom" referencing rewards and punishments.

It is not. The way the pundits use it now would have us believe that there are two choices in a given scenario - the carrot, or the stick. That translates into, "You either take the damn carrot, or I'm going to beat you with this stick."

Uh, no.

It's probably too late now, but it might have been more useful to have called it the Carrot, Stick and String approach. Because the actual idea behind the metaphor is quite simplistic as well as pragmatic, a vestige of humanity's rural upbringing. It goes like this:

If you want a stubborn donkey to move, all you do is dangle a carrot, tied to the end of a stick with a piece of string, in front of him. If he wants the carrot - and he does - he'll have to walk forward to get it but he won't be able to, because you've... Oh, forget it. WHACK (Heeyaw!) WHACK (Heeyaw!! Heeyaw!!) WHACK WHA--

See how badly these things can turn out? It's serious. We could well end up in a thermonuclear exchange with the North Koreans because of something that stupid.

It's not just an opinion, like the idea that we humans peel our bananas from the wrong end, or just plain idiocy like "escape goat". It's more insidious, less innocent, than that.

When will it ever end? Hard to say. Certainly not 'til the cows come home... Perhaps when pigs fly. Or when the chickens come home to roost. Whatever.

pH 12.18.16

***

Sunday, December 11, 2016

All Right Then

***

This letter was sent to my sister, a grieving Mom who held her dead child in her arms until the police separated them, right in her own front yard. I am authorized by my family, by the Founding Fathers and by God to respond:

Dear Ms. Heller,

By way of introduction, please know that I have been retained by the Redmond Funeral Home to demand that you cease and desist all contact with the Redmond Funeral Home.

I understand that you have contacted the Paw Paw Michigan State Police post no fewer than 37 times, that you have posted many untrue things on the internet, and that you have been sighted driving by the funeral home on several occasions, among other things. You have made numerous negative postings on social media regarding my client.

My client respectfully demands that you cease and desist all such activity, have no further relationship to the funeral home, and that you retain an attorney and file a lawsuit should you feel the need to do so. My client further demands that you refrain from all social media postings whatsoever. Should you feel the need to contact the Redmond Funeral Home, I respectfully request that you do so through my office. Lastly, should you fail to conduct yourself accordingly, my client has asked me to file a Complaint in the Circuit Court seeking an injunction restricting your conduct.

For these reasons, the Redmond Funeral Home demands that you agree in writing to immediately cease and desist from all future conduct and untruthful allegations that you have alleged. 

Very truly yours, 


Lewis Reed & Allen PC 

Ronald W Ryan

(It was cc'd to Martha Redmond.)

***

Very quickly, line by line:

Thanks for the intro, I'm Paul Heller. Please know that I'm a jury consultant in my spare time, that I have handled some pretty big cases in which I worked with and against some very good attorneys... And this letter is less than sterling, in my professional opinion, and other legal minds I know concur. Here's why.

"I understand that you have contacted the Paw Paw Michigan State Police post no fewer than 37 times..."

Ms. Heller is perfectly aware how many times she has been in contact with the Paw Paw Michigan State Police post. If her regular contact there worked at the Wayland post, she would have contacted the Wayland post 37 times -- anyway, it's more like 40 by now. Also, the State Police say they didn't call your firm about it, so...

"... that you have posted many untrue things on the internet..."

Well, what is an "untrue thing"? I can post that I believe in Unicorns, which is an untrue thing in that (A) I don't really believe in them because (B) they don't exist. But I can post it on the internet. As a matter of fact, I just did.

"... and that you have been sighted driving by the funeral home on several occasions..."

The funeral home, a big gaudy thing that looks like a cross between a bank and a plantation, is situated on Kalamazoo's main traffic artery, literally 4 blocks South of her home, and is also located across the street from Charlie's resting place. Additionally, Ms. Heller does not own a motor vehicle.

"...among other things."

List 'em.

"You have made numerous negative postings on social media regarding my client."

List 'em, I said. Go for it. I dare you to publicly reveal the complaints and concerns, however indelicately worded, that my sister has made about your client and her employee. Or I can.

"My client respectfully demands that you cease and desist all such activity, have no further relationship to the funeral home, and that you retain an attorney and file a lawsuit should you feel the need to do so."

In order: No, it depends, and... Okay.

"My client further demands that you refrain from all social media postings whatsoever."

Wow; really unbelievable. To paraphrase the late, great Molly Ivins, that sentence probably comes across less awkwardly in its original German version. Astonishing. Ridiculous... Illegal?

"Should you feel the need to contact the Redmond funeral home I respectfully request that you do so through my office."

Oh, so after making no small amount of pointy demands, you're suddenly softening your stance and making a respectful request? She respectfully declines.

"Lastly, should you fail to conduct yourself accordingly, my client has asked me to file a Complaint in the Circuit Court seeking an injunction restricting your conduct."

That sounds more serious than getting sent to the principal's office. While you're down there, you can file a Complaint against whatever ham sandwich seems to have upset you so.

"For these reasons, the Redmond Funeral Home demands that you agree in writing to immediately cease and desist from all future conduct and untruthful allegations that you have alleged."


Quite honestly, that's about all I'd really expect from a Hillsdale College graduate. You have your answer, sir. Now if you'll pardon me, I'm going to say a few things to your boss.

***

Since Dean Lewis croaked a few years ago and Fred Allen has retired, that just leaves Mr. Reed, to whom I say this: I know every ugly thing about your alleged client, because it's all a matter of public record. 

You tell Bill Redmond he isn't the only guy who will stick up for his sister. The difference is that mine lost her son, and his employs a pedophile, who had access to her boy's body.

Official Response: Try me. The last guy who did found it not to his liking.  Go one step further in this sick charade, and you and your client will find out what I can really do as a researcher and a writer... Not this Vaudeville act, I assure you.

pH 12.11.16

***

Friday, December 9, 2016

But First...

***

A copy of the email I sent to our attorney:


Hi, T******. Some thoughts about this letter...

First, if you look up Ryan's profile you see that he is a divorce lawyer who also does some estate planning and workman's compensation. This isn't his area of expertise, either... And the ham-handed language of the letter bears that out.

The fact that William Redmond is also with the firm makes me believe that Martha Redmond called up a relative, who handed it off to another junior where he worked.

Also, this document is not on company letterhead. The entire thing was run from a copier... I can tell from my years in the printing business. Ink smudges; toner doesn't. You can literally knock it off the surface of the paper, especially a linen fiber paper like this one (see attached pic). 

Why would he do that when the company already paid for letterhead printed in ink, matching the envelope?

For the same reason he's doing things - supposedly on retainer - that aren't really his brand of law. Because he didn't tell his boss, that's why. I doubt that, had Martha Redmond retained this firm, they'd have handed a C&D/harrassment assignment to someone who does estate planning, workman's comp and divorce. I smell a rat, Godfather!

The clincher: The watermark is backward. No pressman would ever, ever print on the wrong side of a watermarked letterhead... Not for a law firm.

So this smells like made-up bullshit to me. I bet if you called up Richard Reed, the lone remaining Partner, he'd have no idea what you were talking about.

We'll see.

Paul

***

Followed up with:


Further grist for my theory... Companies print letterhead for several reasons, mostly aesthetic ones but also for technical ones.

Letterhead and envelopes are ordered at the same time. Makes perfect sense.

No company would simply generate their letterhead through their in-office copier, because they're fussy about "tick marks". They like a clean sheet...

But more than that, if you intend to print out a letterhead with information on it, as firms do, you have to print it on a press in ink. Because toner doesn't sink into stock. So a stack of paper that had been copied as letterhead (with the company info at the top) is taller on the printed half than on the blank half. So running a copy through a copier again won't work. Why?

The thicker side of the sheet goes more slowly through the fuser rollers (think of an old-school laundry press) than the blank side, causing skewing, which ruins the job.

Further, not all copy machines are equal. Some use higher temperature rollers (the toner is baked onto the sheet via heat, pressure and oil). It is very common for pre-copied materials to have their text/images melted off the page and the text/image is then "ghosted" onto every following sheet - again, ruining the job.

That's why letterhead is universally printed on a press, using real ink, which does not increase the thickness of the paper, and is impervious to heat/oil/pressure once it dries. The purpose of letterhead is to add info later. And that can only happen one way.

So that letter is, in all likelihood, a back-door deal that Martha's trying to pull off. Let me know what you think.

***

See where I'm going with this, Dear Reader? That's okay... They don't either. The other hotshot big city lawyer I know, an old friend, had this to say:

Agree that it is not the most professionally written letter. Possibly just a formality and as a precursor to a TRO. Listen to your lawyer - that's why you pay him or her! :-)

Yep.

You want to know what that letter says? You really do, don't you? I want to tell you so badly... No, seriously, if I did you wouldn't believe it, I know. Let me think about it. Maybe I will, I don't know. Should I? You think I should?

Why not? What the hell do I have to lose?

pH 12.o9.16

***

Friday, November 25, 2016

Updates, For Those of You Who Must Have Them

***

Happy Black Friday... Officially the first night in a long while in which turkeys in America will get some real sleep.

There are only a couple-three minor things to tell you about. The wheels turn slowly, and none of us are going anywhere.

The best news is that former Kalamazoo County Commissioner John Taylor lost his bid to unseat longtime County Clerk Timmy Snow.

I personally asked a number of people to vote against Taylor. I stuck a Tim Snow sign out on the corner of my sister's yard, about 60 feet away from the spot where Charlie died. I tweeted rude (but truthful) things about Taylor regularly...

And in the only Blue county in southwest Michigan, Democrat Taylor lost by a few hundred votes. I'm taking partial credit; get a job, John.

Taylor, of course, was the one who ignored our plaintive bleats for help in the matter of my nephew's tragic accidental death, which County ME Joyce "Hacksaw" deJong and her mindless henchmen have falsely (maliciously?) labeled a suicide.

A half-point to their side, though, with regard to the retrial of Leo Ackley in Battle Creek. What did anybody expect? It took place in the same venue as before, preceded by headlines akin to 'Baby Killer Gets New Trial'.

The same pathologist who discredited deJong's work in the David Ferris case (which now has her embroiled as a defendant in civil court) testified for the defense. There really is no process or means by which this County Death Queen's rulings can be reversed, so obtaining a second opinion is about the only thing you can do around here... And in Ackley's case, sound expert testimony seems to have escaped the purview of the jury's blinders.

So, winter sets in. A blanket of snow will cover our lawn and Charlie's resting place. The matter will not rest, but hibernate like a bear, content to slumber and wait while the pages of the calendar turn slowly, like the wheels.

pH 11.25.16

***

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Post-Script Redux Part II, Jr.

***

There's not a hell of a lot left to say about KDPS Case No. 15-010549. It's more or less time for Uncle Paul to get out of the way now, and let the courts take over... Since money and secrecy are the only things the bad guys care about, those are the things we shall seek to deprive them of.

My work is done anyway. I've made sure this blog will keep flying on its own, ripe with keywords and powered by truth and love. The search engines have it now, and anyone looking for WMed, Joyce deJong or even Kalamazoo County will inherently run into the ghost of young Dennis Charles Wolf along the way.

The loathesome toads I've surfaced, like Joyce the Butcher and Tom Rabbits and Lyin' Jo and Kai Crony, they're stuck in a long shadow for the balance of their careers. I can't help them. They can't help themselves.

Obviously, this is the story of Charlie Wolf, a delightful and innocent boy, but I'd like to dedicate it to another Charlie... My father, Charlie Heller. This one's for you. For teaching me The Lesson of the Football and every other important thing I know.

Just tried to do like you said, Dad, all those years ago in the front yard:

Big swing, now. That's the ticket!


Paul F. Heller. August 2, 2016

Monday, July 25, 2016

Long Road Behind

***

Thank You, Dear Readers! Look at that meter spinning away. Each page view is a slap in the face of these unconcerned, quasi-public clods, like Tom Zavitz , who said that this blog about my nephew Charlie "doesn't have a lot of readership".

They just don't get it.

Each page view cuts deeper into their cyber-world like a sandblaster filled with Ones and Zeroes. This happens whether they know it or not. Yet, even as the wondrous nature of Search Engine Optimization and Artificial Intelligence turns their very identities into bot food, they stubbornly refuse to budge over what amounts to a clerical correction.

They just don't get it.

The clumsy compilation prepared by Jo Catania , WMed's lead (like the metal) investigator dismissed our stack of testimonials as being "emotionally driven". As though they could be otherwise... Some were that (although certainly not the one from his pediatrician), but most of them spoke to my nephew Charlie's good nature and happy existence; they are factually driven. The rest of her summary was equally devoid of veracity - by intent, I suppose.

They just don't get it.

False witness has been borne against a child who cannot defend himself. It starts with the lies that comprise Kai Cronin's report, which falsely accuses the victim of a crime. (Suicide is illegal in all 50 states, as is attempted suicide.) When this was made known to the County, it was essentially quashed, buried in an "investigation" that has so far resulted in the generation of absolutely nothing - only the aforementioned summary, which was obviously hastily written, and laden with grammatical and factual errors alike.

They just don't get it.

My sister and I met with a grief counselor last week. We were told that what we went through is the sort of thing that causes PTSD. (Of course. ) Beyond that, the unending struggle to change this wonderful, unlucky kid's official cause of death from Suicide to Accidental has prevented us from even having a grieving process. That's been staved off, and is likely - in part or in whole - still to come, once our mission has finally been completed.

They just don't get it.

This is Day Number Three Hundred and Sixty Four. One year since the last time any of us has had a normal day or a restful night. If I stacked up 364 silver dollars , they'd stand almost as high as Charlie's shoulders. They'd amount to more than a third of his body weight. And the ambulance company would want all of them (plus more) as compensation for their services.

They just don't get it.

"Drown your sorrows in good deeds," our neighbor Jim told us, throughout the 16 weeks that elapsed before Jim went to find Charlie on the Other Side. And we have tried to do that. Charlie's Mom, in her son's name, has given over 700 floral arrangements, in vases, to those who needed their spirits lifted: Veterans. The elderly. Cancer patients. Addicts. Victims of abuse. People who have lost. People who can't lose anymore because they are alone.

They just don't get it.

The name of his nonprofit is Charlie the Merchant.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because, Dear Reader... I think you get it.

pH 7.25.16

***


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Correspondence Course

***

Just like they did back in the heyday of LUNCH Magazine, the people are speaking... Well, they're asking questions, anyway. I will try to answer the ones that seem to be the most common. What follows is sort of like the tallowy fat that's so hard to clean off the screw augur after all the meat has been ground. Chewy:

***

Q:  Was your nephew one of those plays-video-games-all-day kind of kids, or did he like to go out and do dangerous stuff? - Titus Brunson, Portage, Indiana

A:  Yes. Charlie enjoyed both of those pursuits immensely. Screen time was preferred, of course, but he loved swimming, trampoline jumping, bike riding, tree climbing, sledding, you name it. He was also into all manner of sports, playing soccer, tennis, golf, baseball, bowling... Even judo.

***

Q:  It is coming up on the one-year "anniversary" of Charlie's passing. A tough day for sure? - Ignacio Albatrosso, Osceola, Florida

A:  It will be tough, for everyone who knew him, to be reminded by that milestone. Of course. But we don't wish to blacken any square on the calendar. The date itself deserves no particular infamy. The 26th of July did not do anything wrong.

***

Q:  Do you think Charlie would of grown up to be a Democrat or a Republican? - Margaret McGill, Springsteen, New Jersey

A:  I feel safe in saying that, from the moment of his birth, Charlie Wolf had it in his mind that he was going to be an Independent.

***

Q:  Kinda sad, thinking how he lived his entire lifetime in a country at war... Do you think Charlie understood that in any sense? - Max Rockatansky, Perth, Australia

A:  He sure did. Charlie rests right next to his grandma and her husband, who was a U.S. Army veteran. With my Dad being an Air Force veteran, and my brother having served in the Army, Charlie was keen on the military. In fact, one of his neatest days came at the Air Zoo in Portage, when he got to meet scores of World War II veterans who were being honored there.

***

Q:  If you had to guess, what would you say was your nephew Charlie's favorite food? - Sarah Lee, Philadelphia, Mississippi

A:  By far, it was pepperoni and milk. (I've tried it. Not bad.)

***

Q:  So, you really worked with that (expletive) investigator at Pizza Hut? You're not bullshittin' about that part? What was he like back then? - Savannah Moss, Buckhead, Georgia

A:  Ironically, yes. Kai Cronin and I were both Pizza Hut delivery drivers in the early 1990s. He was a quiet guy, kept to himself, mostly... His brother Matt was nice enough.

***


Q:  Who is it in your County that has the authority to overrule the suicide determination on your nephew's death certificate, as determined - incredulously, I might add - by this Medical Examiner, Joyce deJong? - A. Dershowitz, Joliet, Illinois

A:  That would be Joyce deJong. It's how she's managed to maintain such a stellar batting average over the years. Probably what underpins her massive obstinacy in the case.

***

Q:  Obviously, your sister must be seeing a grief counselor. What about you? - Polly Hannah, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

A:  Yes, she is. I have a grief counselor, too... His name is Leo Fender.

***

Q:  How can you NOT be a pessimist and say, "It can't get any worse?" - Sam Clemens, Deertick, Montana

A:  I'm actually an optimist - I believe it can!

***

Q:  You act like you know everything about everything. You're not a lawyer. Where do you get off making all these accusations against the authorities who control your miserable existence? - Dom Rabbits, Lapeer, Michigan

A:  Well, I did write the Pre-Jury Selection Questionnaire in the Bob Bashara murder trial in Detroit a couple of years ago, when I worked at Decision Research... He got convicted, but hey.

***

Q:  You are going up against some very wealthy interests in this. You know what they say about how the rich and powerful take care of their problems... Aren't you worried about the Powers That Be retaliating against you? - Otto Bleishtift, Newton, Kansas

A:  Not really.

***

Q:  No matter what happens, this won't bring him back. What difference does it make? You know the truth in your hearts. Maybe you should let it go. - Corey-Reese Manci, Pismo, California

A:  Keep surfing, dude. Keeeep surfing.

pH 7.16.16

***

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Random Notes from a Declared War

***

We have survey results! Good old science... The following question was submitted via random sampling:

"A person is found dead at the base of a cliff. No one saw what happened. What should a Medical Examiner conclude?"

___ Accidental
___ Homicide
___ Suicide
___ Undetermined

Although the pool of respondents is admittedly small, to the naked eye, people overwhelmingly doubt suicide - a belief that is mirrored by official statistics - more than five to one. That's also apparently what common sense leads one to think, but common sense isn't so common, is it?

***

If you were out on a boat fishing, and encountered a snarl like this one, you wouldn't waste your time trying to untangle it. You'd just cut the damn line off and throw it away... Well, this isn't that. What we have here is a county (Kalamazoo) that contracts with a state university (Western Michigan) which contracts with a private medical school (WMed, a.k.a. Homer Stryker School of Medicine), which gets funding from private entities (the Stryker family, Bronson and Borgess Hospitals) and public entities (numerous other counties which contract with them for forensic pathology services, not to mention Michigan State University and whatever scraps the state Legislature throws their way). They also charge quite a bit for tuition, and they offer medical services to the community.

Is all of that perfectly clear? Is the flowchart understandable? How about the accountability ladder? Would you like to try scaling this wall? It's a nifty racket; the mafia would love to have something as sweet as that... Oh, wait. They do.

***

The President of Western Michigan University is John "Nothing" Dunn. He was made aware of Charlie's case a long, long time ago. But he thinks in great swaths of time, he does. One of the things he has been known to say is, "Western has been here for a hundred years, and it will still be here a hundred years from now." That's not exactly inspiring to faculty, staff or students. He's congenial, they say... In fact, even though he is the 4th highest paid university administrator in the state of Michigan (at $440,000 and change annually), he gives everything above and beyond his original hire-in salary (which was a paltry $371,000) to the university in the form of scholarship donations.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Homer Stryker School of Medicine (WMed) is John "Nothing" Dunn...

***

Say, maybe with all those shipping containers full of cash, WMed might someday master the technologies of cryogenics and cloning. That way, they could bring Charlie back in a test tube, and he'd have a chance to complete his fulfilling and productive life which was tragically cut short on that terrible day. In fact, that may be what they have in mind; after all, Joyce deJong kept some of his tissue as samples, along with some blood she sucked out of his heart (with a needle, I'm saying), and even some vitreous humor -  that's the fluid in your eyeball - again with the needle.

So thorough.

***

In researching her legal and professional history, a number of cases turned up in which pathologist-for-hire Joyce deJong asserted - against the physical evidence - that homicides had taken place. (Some of those have been explored here already.) To be fair, though, there was also an instance in which her opinion was used against a coroner who had declared a child's death to be homicide. She testified against his work, exonerating the accused family members in the case... So she does know the difference; shame on her where my nephew is concerned.

***

I will tell anyone who listens what a great job the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety's men and women did for us that night, almost a year ago now... A couple of the department's captains, however, have covered themselves in something other than glory. One of them is even eligible for the 2016 Golden Idiot Award for stating something to the effect of, "Look, the kid put the rope around his own neck."

Yes, and that's generally been the case in every single accidental hanging death that has ever taken place. Thanks for playing, sir, we have some nice parting gifts in the back for you as you kindly exit the rear of the studio.

***

A lot of folks would rather I didn't bring this up, but it bears mentioning. In each of the past two years, a young female student has turned up dead in a WMU dorm room. In both cases, "cardiac arrest" was to blame. One was 18 years old, the other was 19 years old. Were I a fiction writer, I'd be looking long and hard at something like that - a real mystery in an obscure, opaque place with lots of dark corners and creepy characters...

But I'm not a fiction writer.

pH 7.o5.16

***

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Chapter Twenty Six - Sneak Preview


***

Walt Disney was no saint. This we know. That is why his face served as the caricature for the Arizona State University Sun Devils mascot named Sparky.

One of the things that earned Sparky -- er, Walt his reputation (never mind his money) was the infamous nature movie in which Disney placed lemmings on a Merry-Go-Round type of device, flinging them off of a cliff through the miracle of centrifugal force, thus propagating the myth of lemmings hurling themselves to an unspeakable fate.

They don't really do that. However, the same cannot be said about the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners... Yeah. They do that.

***

I'm not sure if he knows this or not, but John Taylor is my County Commissioner. Has been since '03, the year Charlie was born. That'd be the reason I sent the following email to him several weeks ago:

***

Date: Jun 4, 2016 2:12 PM
Subject: Fwd: Dennis Charles Wolf
To: Taylorjt91 <Taylorjt91@yahoo.com>
Cc:

Hello, my name is Paul Heller, and my nephew is Dennis Charles Wolf. He died in a hanging accident in his front yard last July 26, 2015. The ME (Joyce deJong at WMed) ruled his death a suicide. That determination was based not on any factual evidence - to the contrary, in fact, with demonstrably false statements being listed as the reason for the inaccurate conclusion they reached.

Our family and attorney pleaded with them for months to change it. We were postponed and put off, then finally given a flat refusal, and cruel silence since then.

I have taken the time and initiative to explain this in a heartfelt and (I hope) honorable way on my blog, which I ask you to please read.

http://andmakethemcry.blogspot.com

We have all the evidence to back our every claim, obtained through the FOIA... And would like to think we need not sue WMed to correct the public record, although we are more than certain that legal action is warranted by this point.

As you might imagine, the grief of losing a 12 year old boy in such a way is beyond description. To have a malignant and false public record made of it by WMed is so much worse.

Against our stated wishes, and against their own investigator's assurances to our family, they still felt compelled to perform a full autopsy on Charlie. And they billed you for it.

In accordance with MCL 52.201f, we ask the Commission to consider removing ME Joyce deJong.

Per MCL 52.201a, the ME directs the duties of its office's investigators and is responsible for their decisions. Well, their decisions (of which she has legal ownership) are provably erroneous, and their response in the 10+ months since has been an affront to their own code of professional conduct. Please bring before the County Board our request for action.

Thank you for your time, which I know to be valuable.

***

Mr. Taylor's initial response was direct and to the point. It went like this:












***

One week went by... Funny, if I just ignore my boss, I get fired. Anyhow, I decided to nudge my reticent public servant, but gently:

***

Dear Sir,

I await the grace of your reply.

***

To which he responded:













***

That's pretty damn annoying. Not even a cursory blow-off email. As Charlie would've said, "Fail!" But, hey, he's a County Commissioner... Not exactly Summa Cum Laude material, if I may be so bold as to generalize.

So I left him with this sneak preview, and I'm leaving you with it, too, Dear Reader. To give you an inkling of what I'll be bringing in the very near future, the way a cat brings home his prize chipmunk:

***

Date: Jun 18, 2016 9:14 AM
Subject: Dennis Charles Wolf
To: Taylorjt91 <Taylorjt91@yahoo.com>
Cc:

Two weeks and no reply? I'll be blogging about you next... And wholeheartedly supporting the next person to run against you. Do your job or find something else to do. Ignoring your constituents is the dumbest thing you ever could have done. There will be justice in my nephew's case whether you like it or not, sir.

And now you're one of the bad guys in this story.

Don't bother responding now!

***

And, finally, he did what I told him. He didn't bother responding.

That's what a taxpayer gets for $12,240 a year.

A worthless shill.

pH 6.28.16

***

Friday, June 24, 2016

Chapter Twenty Five - The Playground

***

The Internet is a playground. It is a playground where fortunes have been made and lost in seconds, a playground where reputations have been built and destroyed. It is the playground where predators seek victims. Where people have been bullied to death.

It is my playground. It has been since 2001. But I learned all I needed to know about playgrounds before the invention of the home computer.

I had it all figured out by the end of my first semester in Kindergarten, when one of those mean-ass Slaughterbach kids annihilated his fellow Kindergartener with a snowball in the ear at point-blank range... Never turn your ear on a Slaughterbach, that's what I learned.

That was only the first of so many lessons, the first of so many acts to which I was a party or a witness, that took place on the hallowed grassy field behind South Westnedge Elementary School in the 1970s. And after.

***

It's a charter school now, called Paramount Academy. A sizeable extension on the West end of the building, and its parking spaces, took up some of the yard, but it remains a classroom unto itself for the general population of pupils in attendance.

Never mind my stories about it; my sister and I mined the playground for its importance in Charlie's life, too. We live more or less across the street from the school.

He didn't go to Paramount - he was enrolled in Kalamazoo Public Schools, which would have paid for his college tuition through the Kalamazoo Promise (another example of Stryker philanthropy). But he played there often, on that yard with sloping hillsides coming down from the North and South.

Charlie went to Parkwood Elementary for Grades One through Five, whereas we Heller kids all went to South Westnedge for First, Second and Third Grades, and then to Parkwood for Grades Four through Six.

When Charlie 'graduated' from Parkwood at the end of Fifth Grade, before moving on to Middle School, the keynote speaker at their ceremony was hometown hero T.J. Duckett. That's a pretty good keynote speaker!

The Ducketts grew up on Clover Street, one block over from us. They were all great athletes, but T.J., the youngest, had the best career out of them all. He was a first-round draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons after a record-setting career at Michigan State, and he went on to play also for the Seattle Seahawks and the Detroit Lions.

T.J. told the kids that day to hold on to what they had learned on the playground  at Parkwood, where he had scored his first touchdown... Remember, he said, to look back at all these things right now that might seem hard, and to understand later that these most important lessons, learned out on that playground, were actually the easiest ones they will ever have to learn.

So Charlie knew that playground, too. He knew them both just as well as I ever did.

***

When I moved back here, I was mortified to find out that my nephew was unable to ride a bicycle without training wheels. Our Dad, of course, made sure that we knew how to ride a bicycle at an early age. He would push us up to riding speed across the lawn and hope that we could master Newtonian physics in time enough to avoid catastrophe; fat chance.

Theresa didn't really want her son to learn the hard way like that - pushing a kid on a bike across the lawn is hard, y'know? So we dressed Charlie up in his helmet and knee pads and elbow pads, like Jeff Bridges in "TRON", and took him to the Paramount playground where gravity could do all the work.

From the South slope, we sent him coasting down the grassy hillside; it is actually quite a steep grade, so he could get a good head of steam going before crashing. We did this until he got it figured out, and he was an expert pedal-pusher thereafter. He learned how to use his brakes, too.

***

I cannot claim to have been a perfect Uncle to Charlie. There was one instance, at the school yard, where things went somewhat awry. I came across a couple of boomerangs in 2012, a bright red plastic one that worked perfectly well, and a wooden one that did not (see also, "a stick").

Here at the house, the risk of property damage became quite clear in the first couple of throws with the red boomerang, but I was intrigued. One summer day, I decided to take it to the school yard, and I brought Charlie with me.

We found a number of children already playing there, all of them a bit younger than Charlie, who had just turned 11. They wanted to play with the boomerang, too, and that got the attention of their parents, who wisely shepherded them indoors. Charlie and I had the whole yard to ourselves.

The Sun was shining brightly that day, so it was pretty easy to lose sight of the boomerang when it flattened out against the sky. That is how Charlie discovered that he was in fact very good at throwing a boomerang. By that I mean he threw it perfectly. It came right back to him... With a thud.

Medically speaking, he was all right, but he said he wanted to do something else, so I took him to Nana and Granddad's for lunch. Lesson One of the playground: You can't stay out there all day.

***

July 4th 2015. The family gathers to do our patriotic duty. Between us all, we probably detonate $500 worth of fireworks in the skies above Paramount. This is the result of recently relaxed restrictions on fireworks in Michigan, one of the only good things our idiot governor has done.

As the skies darken, and our big show begins to draw competition from the other ones going off around us, we all revel in and marvel at the smoke and the glow and the noise. I was very happy to see my nieces and nephews taking part in the grand American celebration marking the anniversary of our Independence.

How were we to know that Charlie only had 22 more days on this Earth?

***

Absent the light, the playground grew larger, no longer just a few dozen strides from end to end. It reverted, reverberated back to the size it had been when I was five years old, struggling to cross its vast expanse through the knee-deep snow, Slaughterbachs in hot pursuit...

I could not cross it now if I tried.

pH 6.24.16

Monday, June 20, 2016

Chapter Twenty Four - Names and Numbers

***

The phone rings on the table next to me. I look at it. The publisher's assistant - again. I answer tersely, because I'm busy: "What."

"Hey, look, remember what the boss said? Enough with the emotional investment already. No more ad hominem attacks, either. We want data, like we said. C'mon, bro, I went out on a limb for you, remember?"

I pause, hoping to limit my actions in the next few seconds; I really should just gently push the button to hang up the phone, rather than smash it to smithereens.

"Fine."

***

The data I uncovered in the course of my research is admittedly dated, but it is a comprehensive study that examines discrepancies between the M.E. Investigator's cause-of-death determination and the forensic pathologist's determination in the same cases.

The study involves all deaths reported to the Medical Examiner over a 10-year span in one of the largest, most diverse counties in the United States. Out of a total of 15,771 cases, there were 1,908 instances in which the judgment of the forensic pathologist (such as WMed's Joyce deJong) happened to differ from the opinion of the on-scene Investigator (think Kai Cronin). That's 8.25 percent of the time - roughly one out of every 12.

Why is this significant? I have no idea. It wasn't my study. Perhaps we'll learn more together as we crunch the numbers.

For example, out of those 1,908 little tiffs, 107 of them were ruled Homicide by the forensic pathologist (FP). In those instances, the Investigator was unable to determine the actual cause of death 87 times - "Undetermined". The rest were divvied up between other causes, such as Accidental death or Natural death. (In none of these cases did the Investigator believe that a determined Homicide was instead a Suicide - interesting.)

In the majority of disputed cases, 900 of them, the FP ruled death by Natural causes; of those, the Investigator ruled it a death by Accident 135 times. 10 were labeled Suicide, 10 were ruled Homicide, and the rest (745 of them) were Undetermined. So in 20 out of these 900 cases, the Investigator suspected foul play, but that was dismissed by the person doing the autopsy - a shade more than 1 out of every 50.

Of the 755 fatalities ruled Accidental by the FP, out of step with the on-scene findings of the Investigator, Undetermined was the Investigator's claim 718 times - Natural death was cited in 16 of those, Homicide in only 8, and Suicide 13 times. So Investigators' findings of Suicide were corrected, in a sense, in 13 out of 755 cases... Statistically speaking, 1.3 times per year.

In 70 cases, the FP ruled that the cause of death was Suicide despite the assessment of its own Investigators, which considered 9 of them to have been Accidental, 9 more to have been Natural, 3 to have been Homicide... And 49 of them Undetermined.

In 61 cases wherein cause of death was listed as Undetermined by the FP, the Investigator's call went like this: 25 Natural, 13 Accidental, 17 Homicide, 6 Suicide. Six. Suicide is, by far, the least likely category for all contested Undetermined deaths as ruled by the pathologist. Less than one-tenth.

The study was conducted in 2000 in Fulton County, Georgia (the Atlanta area). Its co-author is Joyce deJong.

***

Her views have most likely evolved since she counted up all those dead beans in Atlanta. Here in Michigan, there is never any reason for the Investigator to differ from the Medical Examiner above him or her, thanks to a law basically assigning ownership of all Investigator actions and protocols to the M.E., Joyce deJong... That eliminates those pesky gray areas.

Of course, deJong's take on this whole study is that, even with a "high" level of "concordance" between FPs and their on-scene Investigators (at least the autonomous kind), the M.E. should always dig as deeply as humanly possible into any corpse they want. This approach is why so many attorneys have begun to label the work done by medical examiners across the country as "junk science".

Joyce deJong knows a lot about the disagreements that exist between such professionals. After all, she was still a trainee in Fulton County there in 2006 when she went right over her teacher's head in a murder case, oh, yes... We have the data.

***

Joyce's attitude about never being wrong was already in full bloom when she was allowed to work on the case of Carisa Ashe. Ashe gave premature birth to her daughter Destiny in 1998. Destiny spent her first four weeks in the hospital, followed by just two days at home before she died. No overt signs of trauma were noted by ER doctors, who ruled the cause of death to be Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Under the supervision of a Dr. Michael Heninger, Joyce got to perform the autopsy. In the course of her work, she detected subdural bruising above the baby's ear (but no skull fracture), and commensurate bruising of the brain itself. While there was no bleeding in the eyes, there was some blood detected around the optic nerve sheath. There was no other damage to bones or soft tissue. No one in her home ever witnessed any abusive behavior.

But there you have it, she said, Shaken Baby Syndrome. Murder. Joyce deJong would go on to a long career of putting taxpayers behind bars for that same crime (real or imagined.

In fact, her zeal to do so up in Cadillac, Michigan has now landed her in court as a defendant in a federal lawsuit. Her slop-job there was so handily refuted by another pathologist that the prosecutor dropped the charges - hence the lawsuit brought on by the wrongly accused and imprisoned David Ferris II up in Cadillac, Michigan.

Atlanta detectives were so dubious that they did not arrest Carisa Ashe; rather, they served her with a murder citation at her home. The fact that deJong's instructor, Heninger, disagreed with her findings (he concurred with the initial SIDS diagnosis, a fact that was not disclosed to the jury in Ms. Ashe's trial) did not bother the prosecutor... It bothered the judge, though.

After years of delay, and facing the possibility of life in prison, Ashe took the "Alford Plea" in 2005 - attracting such delicate headlines as "Baby Killer Goes Free!". This got her a 5-year stint on probation... And the deal also included Carisa Ashe voluntarily undergoing a tubal ligation.

That's right. The government sanctioned the sterilizing of a woman. Straight-up eugenics, just like the Nazis... All due to the insistence of rogue pathologist in training Joyce deJong.

***

Isn't there some intersection, I ask the publisher's assistant, where raw data and language can actually meet? Are there not words to sum up or convey the meaning of these numbers? Or one word? I don't care if the editors get rid of it later. I'm saying it here and now about WMed, their quasi-public employees and their macabre brand of junk science, which conspire to torment my family:

It's just evil. That's all it is. Nothing new or different.

Pretty much, it's all one can expect when any amount of power is given to an apparently raging narcissist like this one... Pure evil, and nothing less. In this space, I will continue to treat it accordingly.

pH 6.2o.16

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Chapter Twenty Three - Toe to Toe

***

It is Sunday, August 23rd, 2015. The sun is approaching its zenith in the sky. I am sitting on a lawn chair in my back yard, hunched over, on the phone, rubbing my non-phone hand frantically over the quarter-inch of down that passes for my hair at that moment.

I'm on the phone with my boss at the bar. I don't mean someone in management. I'm talking to the owner. He is one of the kindest, most accommodating, most understanding people for whom I've ever punched clock. We've both had a rough summer as far as tragedy is concerned.

I'm telling him that I can't work my scheduled shift, because my sister tried in despair to kill herself the night before, Saturday night. Nobody knew - except her - that she had eaten a cocktail of medications (all of which were prescribed to her for her recovery from gallbladder surgery). But it didn't work.

Her body, probably because it had already been exposed to and developed antibodies against those particular agents, did not lose that fight. She woke up, barely, when I rousted her late in the morning. She had one of Charlie's baby pictures, in a nice frame, on the bed next to her.

(According to an ABC News report, bereaved parents are roughly twice as likely to suffer from an early death. That often translates into suicide, but also into heart attacks or other maladies brought on by the unending stress, and from the obvious health issues related to drinking, drug use, "comfort" food - all common coping mechanisms.)

The boss tells me not to worry about it, that he understands, that everything will be covered, that I need to take care of my family, and to take care of myself as well. I thank him profusely, hang up, throw my head back and openly weep in the sunshine.

It has been four weeks since Charlie died. Three weeks since Joyce deJong and her henchmen lied about the cause of death on his official Certificate. (The Certificate itself is dated July 27; the autopsy wasn't conducted until the 28th.) This would all be so much easier if everybody else in the family hadn't already gone up to Manistee.

***

There is a park, not sure if it's State or National, up in northern Michigan that we Hellers have gone to just about every summer of my existence. If ever there was a magical place, this is it. Set way back in the woods, camp sites are set out in various "loops" (i.e., Orchid Loop, Hemlock Loop, etc), all of them within walking distance to the dunes and shores of Lake Michigan.

I'm not going to tell you exactly where it is, because I'm selfish, and it's already too hard to get a spot there when you want one. It needn't get any worse in that regard, or it will become like that restaurant a reporter once asked Yogi Berra about: "Nobody goes there, it's too crowded."

Charlie LOVED going to Manistee, as we all did as kids. He would roll around the loops on his scooter or bicycle with his cousins, plummet off the cornices of the sand dunes, dive for rocks on the bottom of the Lake (if it wasn't too cold for swimming). When the waves were up, you could body surf until the sunburn sent you trudging back to the cool shelter of the canopy above the cluster of campers.

The annual Manistee trip was just four weeks away when Charlie's tragic accident occurred. He was particularly stoked about it, because we had not allowed him to go the summer before. We didn't go either. This was to exact a lasting and memorable form of punishment on the kid after he had taken part in some petty vandalism, along with a bunch of other naughty neighborhood kids, perpetrated upon an empty, bank-owned house.

It was nothing too serious, and we made him clean some of it up, but I and others told Theresa to do something to quell the sort of behavior that might someday get him into trouble. And neither of our cars were up to par for the road trip that year either, and we didn't have dog-sitting arranged or anything...

So we canceled the trip. To punish Charlie.

How he cried to me over the phone as I sat at my office desk at Decision Research, how he pleaded and begged for some other form of punishment, anything, anything... How I sat there, stone faced, feeling like a concerned uncle and a real asshole at the same time.

What would you change if you could do it over again? I have a lot of regrets. Anybody would. Some are worse than others. But that one's pretty bad.

***

One thing I didn't mention about the Manistee campground - and I hope this will keep you from looking for it - there's no cell phone reception out there. It's just too far away from everything, and is kind of behind a big hill besides. So when my sister tried to kill herself, with everybody but us up there (for the second year in a row), I had no way to reach anyone.

I texted my sister Marian in New York. Told her what had happened, that I didn't know what came next. I asked her not to text anyone. There was nothing anybody could do at that point, so why ruin their vacation, the only peace they'd had in a month? Besides, Renee is a nurse, so I left the decision-making process up to her. She and I did a pill count and tried to figure out what was what while Theresa slept.

After talking to my boss, I moped around the house. Theresa got up around that time. After lunch a couple of her friends came over. They were all sitting around in the lawn chairs when I left the gaggle of them to go over to my parents' house to take care of Stewie.

My Mom and Dad have a cat whose picture is in the dictionary next to the word 'Rotund'. He has been Knighted by the Queen as Sir Cumfrence of Girth. A small moon orbits him everywhere he strolls. There are large brown patches of dead grass where he has laid on the lawn.

As with other members of the bovine species, Stewie requires much feeding and watering. And the folks also keep a bottle of Bushmills in the cupboard, and Lord knows I needed a bite of that, so I headed over there. It is the house I grew up in, the only place I have ever known as home. It is, as my brother likes to say, a safe place.

I'm not sure how long I was there. A couple of hours, maybe, however long it takes that cat to eat. I killed some time, watched some TV, listened to the house settle... Might have even done a load of laundry. Swallowed some golden gravel. Headed back.

As I pulled in the driveway back at the house, the two friends who had come by were both leaving. Theresa and Renee went inside the house. I went to the garage - The Cave. The sun set. The pinks and purples faded to darkness.

Theresa came out to The Cave about an hour after the streetlights came on. She had been swilling wine with her friends, obviously, a grieving person who was no longer all that interested in her own well being. But something else was wrong.

As she sat across the coffee table from me, I observed her speech and motor functions crumble away. Sentences became strings of unattacheable words, at first, and then further devolved into soft consonants: "Zh-th-v-sh-f-wa-ba..." And she began dropping her phone. Again and again. Each time, it would break into three easy pieces. But, like David Hasselhoff with that ungainly cheeseburger, she couldn't get it together.

After a while, she stopped trying, got up from her chair and lurched out of The Cave. I sat there, for a couple of minutes, trying to figure out what in Hell I had just seen. I then went inside to see how (or what) she was doing.

I caught her in the kitchen with a large glass of wine clutched in both hands, a big grin on her face. I protested, "Hey, no. Put that down. We're cuttin' you off." (Words that have seldom, if ever, come from my mouth.) Renee agreed, and we tried to pry the flagon from her fists.

She didn't like that. Suddenly, her mobility and dexterity were restored as she struggled not to let go of her drink - no problem; I tipped her glass over sideways into the sink, emptying its carefully fermented contents down the drain. She liked that even less, and hollered some damning and hurtful things at me, but it was all stuff Renee already knew about, so as Charlie liked to say, "It did not affect."

We muscled Theresa over to a chair and sat her down in it. She stood right back up. We ordered her to sit. To her credit, she tried, but missed the seat entirely. Went right down on the floor. Not good. We hauled her up and plopped her down in the chair amid bawling insults and invective hurled from the depths of her lungs.

Then she went for it. As I stood next to her, trying to talk with Renee over her loudness, she threw the punch. I saw it coming out of the corner of my eye in plenty of time and locked up the abdominal wall. It made an impressive sound on impact. I looked down at my poor sister with sadness in my eyes.

"You hit like a girl," I said.

***

My old buddy Larry and I used to have a mutual acquaintance, a co-worker from Pizza Hut (at about the same time Kai Cronin also worked there) with whom everyone became friends. She hosted summertime parties, cookouts, that kind of thing. Her name was Robin. She was very attractive. Everyone wanted her... I'm pretty sure Larry got her.

Anyway, it was Robin who once told me something that I always believed to be true, something about Larry. She assured me that if I was ever in real trouble, like in a hostage situation or something, I could sit there with no fear. None.

No matter what, just because Larry is your friend, you'd know that Larry would come through the wall, or the window, or the ceiling, or the floor... Somewhere. He'd come in, kill all of your captors, and get you out. When you need him the most, no matter what, he's bound to show up.

At 10:45 that night, after my sister threw the punch, when I needed him the most, Larry showed up. Very suddenly, the front door opened, and Larry stuck his head in. "What's going on?" He said. He really was just dropping by on a hot summer night with a couple of beers, just like Mick had showed up out of the clear blue sky the Monday morning after Charlie's death.

We briefed him on our not-cool situation. Renee felt we should take Theresa outside and plop her in the chair by the fire. Walk her around a little bit.

"Can you guys handle her?" She asked us.

"Oh, yeah," I said. "We've handled much bigger drunks than him." The three of us took a second to laugh.

Then we dragged Theresa outside and watched her carefully. She seemed obsessed with the fire, tried to get very close to it at times. In between intervals of struggling, she would lapse back into her non-speech pattern, then catatonia. We put her in a nice, comfortable chair (the kind that is difficult to get out of) and more or less kept her there until she became loud in her protests, even flinging herself into the pile of firewood at one point.

So we dragged her back inside and watched her drop two straight glasses of water on the floor, and then we threw her on the bed. I really thought we were looking at a psychotic break that night. Renee thought she was just plain drunk and stressed out. Larry wondered what would we would do if she woke up the next morning the same way. We resigned ourselves to the uncertainty of the night.

***

It was three days later, after we had dropped Renee off at the train station at the end of her very long vacation, that Theresa told me it had been an attempted suicide on that Sunday night, as well. She'd switched her pills around so that we confiscated her blood pressure medication, believing it to be the pain killers... That's how nefarious it was.

She said she decided on those nights that she didn't want to live anymore, not without her son, not after she had been told that Charlie had committed suicide. By then, in late August, she had filed a FOIA for the police records from the month before. That takes time.

Anticipating that the reports would surely contain some sort of evidence to support the M.E.'s cause of death, she saw no reason to go on. Would the reports contain a suicide note, or something definitive, something medical?

No, as it turns out, they wouldn't. Had she not survived her second attempt - every bit as lethal as the one the night before - she would have never known that the determination of suicide was based in no way upon anything even remotely resembling reality. She would have gone to her grave, too, content to be with her child in Heaven. Or at least next to him in the cemetery.

And none of this would have ever been discovered. 

She doesn't think that way anymore, now that all has been made clear through the police reports, and from the damn poor lies that comprise the Medical Examiner's shamefully wrong conclusion. The fact that Joyce deJong refuses, like a truculent mule, to fulfill her public obligations and change this obvious farce is explained so well by her unprofessional history.

***

At the train station, Renee told me to put my sister's ass in the psychiatric ward if she gave me any serious trouble, but that stuff like this was to be expected. She wouldn't go so far as to call it normal, because in this thing, there is no normal.

***

The annual trip to Manistee is a couple of months away yet. I'm already looking forward to it. I'm going.

pH 6.16.16

***

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Chapter Nineteen - Notice of Intent

Happy Birthday, Charlie! This one's for you.

***

See, here's what happens: In Psych 202, I was taught that anger is part of the grieving process. This isn't academic so much as it is organic. Indeed, Theresa's grief counselor told her that picking fights and battles is a healthy outlet for emotional release. It is one of the many coping mechanisms that one's brain will deploy in order to keep itself from coming apart entirely.

To lose one's child in such an horrific manner, and to have failed at life-saving attempts, is enough to qualify a person as having suffered from "extreme mental trauma", according to my source at Kalamazoo County Mental Health. Compound that with an obviously erroneous black mark like a suicide determination, and you can't necessarily imagine the feelings she is going through.

My KCMH source (this is the beauty of having grown up in Kalamazoo - I know just about everyone) tells me, in fact, that there are really no qualified therapists who can help anyone deal with something of that magnitude. There's nothing anybody can do. But the brain will not accept that; it will work the problem incessantly, the way someone's tongue keeps exploring a broken tooth. That's why it gets turned into anger, intrinsically, almost the same way carbs get turned into fat.

So, anger... Some people just snap under the strain, you know. Often, they turn their rage inward, whether in an acute manner (like suicide) or a chronic one (like depression). Or they lose their ability to contain their pain and turn it loose on others. Nobody knows where anybody's breaking point is - the dude from "The Jenny Jones Show" blasted his fellow man to death with a shotgun for sandbagging him on TV with a gay crush. It's crazy.

However, those are rare reactions, the ones that go so far. Most people try to find outlets that are positive, so as to make some lasting memory out of the loss of their loved one. To honor her son Charlie, who would have just turned 13 years old, Theresa started a charity that gives bouquets of flowers to people who might need to have their spirits lifted. She has given away some 600 floral arrangements to date.

But that doesn't let the hurt out. Especially not when the hurt was made so much worse by a bunch of petty, arrogant bureaucrats who can't get over how offended they feel that some commoner would deign to question their decree (even though it is unlaughably phony on its every facet). They'll rarely even bother to yank the silver spoons out of their mouths long enough to reply anymore. They comprise a herd of offensive boorish prigs, and nothing more elegant than that.

And that, I must now disclaim to you, is not even remotely the thing that makes her feel the worst. The thing that makes her feel the worst is that WMed, after dissecting her son's prepubescent body, handed it off to a man who had served time in prison for raping a teenage boy he had stalked on the Internet. A pedophile. We'll get to that later... You can't make this stuff up.

All of it makes them an appropriate subject for the grieving process's anger phase. I raised Charlie as if he were my son for four and a half years, and I'm going through it, too, as you have read in this space for quite some time now.

I do things my way. Theresa does things hers, and that's why there are all these official complaints and grievances flying around the State of Michigan these days. She worked in government for a long enough time to know who to call (and, again, we grew up here). She's not going to stop until every last... Well, she's not going to stop.

In the process of her trying to have the State force Joyce deJong - who has a track record of doing shoddy work -  to change the death certificate, Theresa was told that only the County can handle such matters. They gave her the email address of a so-described County Administrator, Thom Canny. So she told him the whole story. That's a neat trick, the way these professionals take care of themselves. Mr. Canny, it turns out, is Kalamazoo County's Corporate Counsel.

(By the way, is there anybody there who isn't double-dipping? I mean, we've revealed that the Compliance Officer is also the Dean of Finance at WMed... Joyce deJong has more titles than the public library does, and charges good money just to talk to attorneys, pediatricians, etc... Even the Chairman of the Board of Directors at WMed, John Dunn, is also the President of Western Michigan University.)

This Canny fellow invited my sister, very politely, to a meeting with himself and deJong and the County Director of Health and Community Services. To address our questions and concerns. To look at anything she thinks might help explain said questions and concerns. Bring anyone you want along with you, he says. The purpose of this meeting, I suspect, is not to change the certificate's cause of death to accidental; if that was the case, they'd have just changed it and sent it to us.

The aforementioned County Director, by the way, is the stepmom of one of my best childhood buddies. (See how that keeps happening?) Her husband was one of my Dad's colleagues at WMU. I ate many meals and spent many nights at their home over the years.

He attended Charlie's funeral. I spoke with him there. I sent him a link to this blog a couple of weeks ago, and now his wife is mixed up in this? Why? To try and talk my sister down, convince her that WMed's blatant bullshit is somehow true? I would hope not... Very strange.

I guess I could just go over to the house and catch the man mowing his lawn. I could ask him what the Hell is going on here. And he might even tell me, since he's known me since before I was born.

But why should I? Why should any of us bother with these people anymore? Especially when the entity on the other end of the line is their corporate attorney? They've had ten months to rectify this situation. Ten agonizing months of foot-dragging, stonewalling, obfuscating and sweeping dirt under the rug.

Between the deliberate delays, the falsified pretenses and the back-channel planning, there is no question in my mind (and none in the mind of the lawyer who told me this) that Kalamazoo County has set itself up to be sued handily with an NIED claim. That's Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress. Not familiar with that one? Heh.

Anyway, why should we settle for yet another meeting with some more of WMed's insiders, when I can instead attend (and speak at) the County Board of Supervisors meeting on the second Monday of every month? Or at some other time and place of our choosing; generally, a courthouse.

pH 5.29.16

Friday, May 27, 2016

Chapter Eighteen - Appendix 'A'

***

PSYCH! Don't you love it when someone implies that something is about to reach its epic conclusion, and then the thing just turns on its heel and... doesn't? I hate that, too. It's kind of like that one time when Lyin' Jo Catania told my sister that Charlie's case was going before a "peer review".

But then it just... didn't.

Welcome back to the story of WMed, ladies and gentlemen, otherwise known as The Land of Make Believe! Anyway, where did I put that long form copy of the M.E. report? Oh, there it is, on my phone. Anybody want to parse an official piece of garbage with me? Come on, it's fun. We can do it the way they taught us back in journalism class: Line by line.

However, I should begin by advising you that the report I'm about to tear apart is repetitious in one regard. Again and again, at the start of each false sentence, the report advises the reader that it was the "mother" (my sister, Theresa) who "advised" this, that or the other thing that they made up.

Never mind that much of what the M.E. advises that she advised is easily refuted in police reports and on police car dash-cam audio. I was also there, by the way, and I would advise you that nobody gathered in some cozy den or library over single-malt scotches and some cherry Cavendish to sort all this out. That didn't happen.

Recovering from abdominal surgery and destroyed by the loss of her only son, despite her own efforts to save his life, Charlie's Mom laid in bed moaning and wailing and keening and sobbing and crying and writhing while detectives stalked through her house and sand-blasted her with questions, which she tried to answer through her physical, emotional and spiritual agony.

She was also on prescribed narcotics at the time, per her doctor's post-operative instructions. Pretty much nothing she said that night, under such extreme duress, would be allowed as evidence in a court of law. Everybody knows that. But besides all of that, the coroner's report still got it demonstrably wrong. I'm not accusing them of merely dissembling - I'm saying they flat-out lied.

Anyway, the following statements are the result of an unholy union between Medical Examiner Joyce deJong and her Investigator, Kai Crony - er, Cronin. They are in direct conflict with a couple of the Ten Commandments, but that's okay by them, so everyone grab a shovel and let's start digging.

***

CASE SUMMARY: Death of a 12 year male presumed suicide by hanging.

Presumed by whom? KDPS Lab Tech Terry Thomas reported he had responded to an "accidental hanging", and damn near every witness interviewed said that Charlie was not depressed, suicidal, or even acting in an unusual manner... In any event, even if you did wrongly presume that, why a full post-mortem autopsy if you knew he had died of hanging? Whatever could be the rea$on, Joyce?

SYNOPSIS: Dennis Wolf... was found by neighbor, hanging by the neck and unresponsive... pronounced dead at 2035 by W-Med Dr Metzgeers.

Uh... Who? I've seen this "Metzgeers" spelled several ways throughout their jumble of paperwork, "Metzgers", "Metzger"... Here's all I know about this person: He is a horse thief, a card cheat, a barnyard rapist, and his wife is fat and ugly and is a lousy cook besides. He wears an adult diaper and uses a penis pump to inflate his ego. How can I get away with saying all that about him without fear of a defamation suit? BECAUSE HE DOESN'T EXIST.

He's just another figment of WMed's wild imagination. No such person was ever at our home. I can show you all of the cops' dash-cam videos, and I can identify every person in them. Don't believe me? Call 'em up and ask for the guy's voice mail. There is nobody there by any of those names.

Medical Examiner Jurisdiction invoked pursuant to MCL 52.202.2.1 (a): The Individual died by violence.

No, he didn't. He died of an accident, the kind that unfortunately takes place more often than anyone would care to know. Again, cf. KDPS Lab Tech Terry Thomas's reports of an accidental hanging. And MCL 52.202 is most commonly used in the deaths of hospice patients and prisoners in custody, not in accidental deaths of children.

Arrived and met with KDPS officers, EMS paramedics and W-Med physicians advised that the decedent appears to have intentionally hung himself and despite life saving efforts the decedent was pronounced dead by Dr. Metzgeers at 2035 07-26-15. Neighbors, unknown persons at the time of investigation, had seen the decedent walking around the tree, "It appeared that he was looking for something in the tree", approximately ten minutes later another neighbor, walking her dog found the decedent hanging in the tree, unresponsive. Both neighbors and the decedent's mother, THERESA HELLER, advise "it took some work to free the decedent from the rope before we could lower him to the ground."

I have pored over every word of the police reports, and no police report states what the M.E. says. None of them. Not even close. As if this whole "investigation" didn't instantly reek of wrongdoing on the part of the coroner's office, then they turn around and quote an "unknown person". That's so bush-league I shouldn't even dignify it, but worse than that, it's a lie, because a known witness, Travis Horton across the street, told the police he saw Charlie hanging there at 6:30 pm, an hour and a half before the 911 call was placed, but he didn't take it seriously. Further, neither Theresa nor any neighbors told police about the state of the rope and the difficulty of taking him down. Our house guest, Psychiatric Nurse Rhea Canlas, did and said that... And I can assure you that she did not refer to her best friend's little boy as "the decedent" when she did so.

Theresa did advise that one of the decedent's best friends is at Bronson hospital for a suicide attempt by hanging that occurred 1-2 days prior, a 14-year old female.

That is nothing but fiction. No friend of Charlie's - indeed, no person of any age, race, gender, color or creed - was at Bronson hospital for any such thing. This is a fabrication. It did not happen. I defy anyone on this planet to demonstrate that it did. In court, Joyce deJong will have to say that she has no idea what her own statement means, because no such thing ever happened.

Theresa advised that the decedent was excited for a visit with his father, that he had planned a pool date for 7-27. Following the phone call, Theresa advises, the decedent was very upset, decedent stating the father made him feel bad and would not be picking him up.

Charlie saw his Dad whenever either one of them wanted, and the "pool date" was a regular Monday event over at Uncle Vince's house. People who don't know us are trying to explain a family tragedy in a way that suits their own motivations; disgusting.

But they also go on to state that "very little is known" by us about Dennis, Charlie's Dad. That's kind of funny, since I gave Captain Ledbetter his phone number and, literally, drew a map to his house and told him what kind of vehicle would be in the driveway. Lab Tech Terry Thomas also photographed several text messages from Theresa's phone. Text messages showing their normal pattern of cooperation and co-parenting.

DISPOSITION: Due to speculated reason for death, transport to W-Med for post-evaluation.

Finally, a kernel of truth. They admit speculating, and they used that speculation to justify taking his body to the morgue instead of to a medical facility, which would then have released him to the funeral home of the family's choosing. It's a cross between hideous and ridiculous.

According to my dictionary, "speculation" is a noun. It is defined as "the forming of a theory or conjecture without firm evidence".

And that just doesn't cut it.

pH 5.27.16

***

NEXT WEEK: Chapter Nineteen - "Notice of Intent to Sue"

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chapter Seventeen - The Police Reports

***

The following are excerpts from reports submitted by the incredible professionals at the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety. Before asking you to rely on their word and judgment, which is based on an oath to provide service and protection, I would like to thank them again for how hard they tried to save my nephew's life on July 26 of last year. For standing with us while we wept in our yard as the darkness crept in that night. For attending Charlie's funeral. In gratitude, I will let them tell the story as they know it.

***

"As I neared the address a female came into the roadway and began waving her arms. I could see a young child laying on the ground on his back. A female was kneeling next to him attempting compressions on his chest. Approximately 2-3 feet from the child laying on his back was a tree with a rope hanging off one of the branches. The rope did not go all the way to the ground (unsure on exact distance from the ground, however, it was more than a couple of feet). The rope had several knots in it forming loops of different sizes. There was a white table with metal legs set up between the tree and the rope. The table was closer to the rope nearly touching the rope. The table had small spots of vomit on it. In front of the table was a tennis shoe that matched the shoe that the victim was wearing on his other foot." - PSO Kelly Pittelkow

***

"I arrived shortly after PSO Pittelkow. Upon arrival I observed a male child, Wolf, lying on the ground. The child's mother, Theresa Heller, was performing chest compressions. Wolf appeared to be a grayish color and was limp. I saw that Wolf was only wearing one shoe, which was on his right foot. A matching left shoe was on the ground a few feet away. I could see marks on his neck that appeared to be consistent with a rope pattern." - PSO Ryan Shank

***

"I arrived on the scene and observed the child lying on the ground near a tree with officers performing CPR on him. I was handed a bag valve mask and I attached it to our oxygen tank. The child had a large amount of vomit coming from his mouth and had ligature marks on his neck. I assisted providing rescue breaths using the bag valve mask until I was relieved by PSO Shank. After being relieved from the bag valve mask, I performed one complete round of CPR on the child." - PSO Emily Kane

***

"I arrived on scene and observed the child lying on the ground near a tree. I further observed a table near the tree with a rope hanging from a branch. The child had vomit coming from his mouth and had ligature marks on his neck. Officers began chest compressions on the child. I assisted in providing rescue breaths using the bag valve mask... I then completed approximately 4 rounds of chest compressions, until the child was pronounced deceased." - PSO Ryan Perez

***

"PSO Perez and I arrived on scene together and I observed PSO Shank giving the subject (Wolf) chest compressions... This is a residential neighborhood with a 25mph speed limit... The tree that Wolf was hanged from was a large Maple tree located to the west of the residence in the front yard. This tree had 4 steps that were constructed out of 2x4's on the west side of the tree. At the top of the 4 steps was a crotch in the tree where branches split off. At that crotch there was a small wooden platform. There was a plastic table that was underneath the tree very near the rope upon my arrival. This table was moved during CPR for ease of access to Wolf." - PSO John Stolsonburg

***

"Upon arrival, I saw Wolf lying on his back and several officers were performing CPR on him. I saw a rope with several knotted loops hanging from the large tree in the middle of the front yard. I also saw a medium size folding table standing on its legs just off to the side of the hanging rope and I saw one shoe on the ground. Wolf was wearing the other matching shoe. LIFE EMS paramedics arrived and began life-saving efforts. Wolf's mother, Theresa Heller, was present and becoming distraught as the minutes passed... I performed one round of chest compressions on Wolf. As more officers arrived, I then began to manage the scene." - Sgt. Michael Treu

***

"INTERVIEW WITNESS (JENNIFER COTE): Cote advised that she lives in the area and was walking her dog past this address. Cote said that she noticed Charlie hanging from his neck from the tree. Cote said she initially thought he was just joking around. Cote advised that she called his name and he did not respond and he appeared lifeless." - PSO John Stolsonburg

***

"Heller identified herself to me verbally. She also identified the child/victim as her son, Dennis Charles Wolf... Theresa said that Dennis commonly uses the rope to swing from the tree. Theresa said that Dennis is a normally happy child and had been acting normal all day. She did not think that Dennis would have intentionally hung himself. She said that Dennis had mentioned he was looking forward to going swimming the next day. Theresa asked about our rescue efforts. I explained that we were continuing CPR and that we have to pause sometimes for the AED to assess him. When Theresa's parents arrived I left her in their care and assisted again in rescue efforts." - PSO Ryan Shank

***

"On 7/26/15 at 2008 hours I was contacted by dispatch on a rescue at 3809 S. Park Street on an accidental hanging. Upon arrival I made contact with Lt. Handlogten and Sgt. Treu who advised known male was found hanging in a tree by his neck unresponsive. Life saving efforts was underway as I arrived on scene. Victim Dennis Wolf was pronounced dead a short time after my arrival on scene. Capt. Ledbetter was contacted and detectives were being called in to investigate the incident." - Lab Tech Terry Thomas

***

"Canlas described Wolf as having no movement, not gasping, being discolored (yellowish) and not breathing. I asked her to describe to me how Wolf was positioned. Canlas said that the plastic table was positioned under the tree and that Wolf's legs and buttocks were pushed against the table. Canlas said that the table was resting on two legs and was unable to fall over due to Wolf's body weight resting against it. Canlas said that she beleived Wolf's legs were off of the ground." - PSO John Stolsonburg

***

"The family advised they were parishioners of St. Joseph Church in Kalamazoo. I contacted the church and spoke with Father Mike Hazard who responded to the scene." - PSO Ryan Perez

***

"Dr. S. Hendren called the time of death of 2035 hours. The child's mother became very distraught and went inside the residence. Other PSOs on scene alerted that the mother had armed herself with a firearm. She immediately placed the weapon down and came back outside. I went inside the residence to conduct a protective sweep of the residence. During the protective sweep I located several long guns inside the residence. The weapons were taken for safekeeping and I turned them over to Lab Tech Thomas on scene." - PSO Brett Bylsma

***

"After the family was notified of the victim's death, I was advised that the mother of the victim had gone into the house to get a gun. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that the mother was safe and was with Sgt. Treu near the front entrance to the house. Sgt. Juday, PSO Bylsma, PSO Stolsonburg and I performed a protective sweep of the house to make sure there were no injured parties inside and to make sure the guns were located so nobody would harm themselves." - Sgt. Michael Ferguson

***

"After the child had been pronounced deceased, I overheard an officer yell 'gun' and was told that the child's mother ran inside to get a gun to possibly commit suicide. I began alerting and directing the medics and doctors to move away from the house and take a position of cover in the event a firearm was discharged. After the scene was declared safe, I allowed the medics to go back to their duties. I saw neighbors begin walking towards the house so I decided it would be best to put police line tape at the intersection of Parker and S. Park to prevent neighbors from entering the area." - PSO Emily Kane

***

"After Wolf was pronounced dead, Theresa Heller ran into the house and locked herself in her bedroom as she grabbed a long gun. After a couple minutes, Heller came out without any weapons and once again broke down in tears. She told me that she didn't know how to use the gun. She also told me that she gave her first child up for adoption and she waited 20 years before having 'Charlie' and he was everything in her life." - Sgt. Michael Treu

***

"I stood by with Theresa for over an hour and a half while the scene was processed. During that time Theresa continued to imply that she was going to try and kill herself. She never said when or how she was going to do it. She advised she no longer had anything to live for. Scene command was made aware of Theresa's mental condition. The information was passed on to the family so Theresa would not be left alone." - PSO Kelly Pittelkow

***

"MEDICAL EXAMINER: M.E. Kai Cronin responded to the scene. M.E. Cronin contacted a removal service who responded to the scene." - PSO Ryan Shank

***

"Medical examiner Kai Cronin arrived on scene and investigated the incident. Cronin used body tag #0076932 after Wolf was placed and secured in the body bag. Cronin advised an autopsy would be conducted at Western Michigan University Forensic Pathology Department with date and time unknown. Wolf was removed from the residence by Daniel Removal Services." - Lab Tech Terry Thomas

***

"Charlie seemed fine and happy and asked Paul to drop him off at his dad's house but Paul told him he couldn't because he had to go to work. Paul left around 330pm to go to work and was at work when this incident occurred. Charlie was inside the house when Paul left. Paul said that Charlie was a happy, funny kid who did not have any problems with depression, etc and had no recent problems that they knew of. He said he did not believe that Charlie was suicidal... Paul said the rope out front had been there for years, that all the neighborhood kids liked to play on it." - Det. Kristen Cole

***

"INTERVIEW WITH FRIEND (Calvin C******l): C******l stated he has been a friend of Wolf's for the past few years and last spoke with him on 7/25/15. The only contact between C******l and Wolf at that time was Wolf saying 'hi' as he rode his bicycle past C******l's house... I asked C******l if he noticed anything unusual or different with Wolf in the days leading up to this incident and C******l stated 'no'. C******l explained he commonly played with Wolf and Wolf's demeanor had not changed." - PSO Matthew Bruce

***

"I asked Cote if she has had interactions with Wolf prior to today and she said yes. Cote advised that Wolf has watched her dog in the past and that he is a sweet child." - PSO John Stolsonburg

***

"I spoke to Charlie and Rita Heller together in the kitchen of the home. They both said that they live down the street and were close to Charlie and his mom. They both said he was a happy kid, funny and smart with lots of friends. He recently turned 12 yo and had approx 40 kids at the house for his birthday as he was well liked. They said Theresa did not have problems with Charlie and he was not known to be depressed or have any suicidal thoughts." - Det. Kristen Cole

***

"Detective Dahlinger and Detective Hecht made contact with Wolf and learned that he was aware of his son's death. Wolf had been told by Charlie's mother, Theresa Heller... Wolf feels Charlie's death was an accident and that it couldn't possibly be a suicide. Wolf stated that Charlie didn't have any problems and that he was a happy kid. Wolf recalled Charlie being a little upset when he didn't pick him up as planned on the date of Charlie's death. Wolf described Theresa Heller as a good mother that allowed Wolf to take Charlie whenever he desired... Wolf stated that whenever Theresa Heller couldn't afford something for Charlie, his grandparents would step in and buy him whatever he needed."- Det. Sheila Goodell

***

"INTERVIEW WITH FRIEND (Delaney M*******n): Delaney described herself as a 'very close' friend to Wolf. Delaney stated Wolf had made a statement to her about how he was 'going through a phase' a couple of weeks ago however Wolf never stated what the phase was. Delaney stated she didn't notice anything unusual or different with Wolf." - PSO Matthew Bruce

***