The meeting with Detective D was set for Wednesday afternoon at 2. I called my husband, told him, and he arranged to be off from work that day. Feeling that this was just a gathering of information on J's earlier life, her time in the system, and what we'd seen transpire over the last month, I returned from Denver and put the data I'd collected over the years on one of the desks in my office.
I spent Wednesday morning doing what I always do. I worked. When 2:00 was nearly upon us, a wave of nausea swept over me. It made no sense. I had absolutely no dread of the meeting, but now, suddenly, as if the Spirit was alerting me in the way He always has ... I felt sick to my stomach.
I tried to do something "normal." I told my husband I was going to let the dogs out so they'd not have that need once the detective arrived. Outside, the nausea continued. Swelled, even. Inside, I fed the dogs and was just returning their food to the pantry when my husband said, "How many detectives did you say were coming?"
"Well," he said looking out the front window, "there are three cars and four people standing in our front yard."
My heart beat a little faster. "What are they doing?" I asked, unable to move.
A moment later, the doorbell rang.
Dennis and I went to the door together, opened it, smiled. Our dogs stood at our feet, tails wagging. "Come in, come in," we said, graciously.
Three women, one man. Dennis shook his hand. "I believe I met you at the hospital," he said. Then he looked at me, gave me the "I told you so" look.
Detective D, who was clearly in charge, suggested we sit at the dining room table. They had notebooks and files; it would be easier for them. So, we did. I offered them something to drink. They declined.
I honestly cannot remember how the conversation started. Perhaps they asked us what had occurred on that awful night (as we then knew) when J had planned to kill us. What had caused us to send her to the friend's farmhouse for a month. What had happened (the cutting) to lead us to being forced to Baker Act her again. I don't know. Because what happened next, I do remember. And I remember it well.
There was a moment of perplexity between the detectives by something I said. I was clearly innocent of any wrong-doing and so I presented as such. I knew about the allegations of cameras in the bedroom and bathroom. And I was honest about the odd things we had found around the house, things that psychologists and therapists had explained to us were signs of early sexual abuse. I spoke as though I were giving them the information they had come for. They'd asked us simple questions (Question: How do you discipline? Answer: take away privileges. Question: Does she have a bedroom door? Answer: Of course she has a bedroom door! Reply: You understand that as the parents in the home, you have a right to remove her door. Answer: But we haven't. We don't allow locked doors for long periods of time, but we allow closed doors. And, we knock and ask permission to enter, even for our children.) Simple questions. Simple answers.
But that was not why they had come, I guess. And thus, the perplexity.
"Perhaps," Detective D said to Detective SJ, you should read the allegations to the Eversons.
"Allegations?" I asked.
"That J has brought against you."
"Okay." I turned my head to the left, to where Detective SJ sat. She flipped open a manila file and began to read.
She wasn't allowed to take a shower unless we watched.
She wasn't allowed to have a bedroom door.
She wasn't allowed to dress unless we watched.
I forced her to pull down her pants so I could look inside her.
Cameras in the bedroom.
Cameras in the bathroom.
We punished her by hitting her.
She was kept prisoner in her room. (Which I found odd, considering she "had no door.")
I was touching the dogs sexually and smiling.
(There's more, but you get the point.)
I looked from the detective to my husband. Everything moved in slow motion. Whirring inside my head blocked most sound in the room. When my eyes finally reached my husband's face, I saw his eyes rolling to the back. His hand was at his mouth, fingers laying gently against his lips. They quivered.
"Oh my gosh ..." I breathed. "Oh my gosh." This could not be happening. Not our little girl. Our precious precious J. Our funny child who we loved and who loved us with such depth. No!
Then I remembered. I looked back at the detective. I had reports from years before, I told her. Reports that proved she was "transferring."
"Do you have that where you can show it to us?" they asked.
"I sure do," I said, jumping up from my seat and then darting into my office where I'd carefully stacked the old files. My legs felt like they were made of jelly. My hands shook. My head ached. My heart shattered. My vision was blurred by tears. How could she have lied. How could she have done this to us? To us, the two people who had loved her so much. Protected her? Adored her? Gave her everything she could have ever wanted? How could she not know the truth?
I managed to get everything back to the dining room table. They looked over my files, asked for copies. I returned to my office where I made the copies. Just then my phone rang. I looked at the Caller ID. The caller was her new doctor who had performed the psychological.
I answered, said, "I can't talk right now. Detectives ... charges of abuse ... I can't talk right now."
I know now that I shouldn't have answered the phone. I should have just let it ring.