Grandma caught taking 5 eggs to feed family

Grandmother trying to feed 2 daughters, niece, 2 grandchildren

TARRANT, Alabama – Helen Johnson stared in amazement at the piles of food accumulating in her small Tarrant apartment on Wednesday.

“The last time I saw my house this full, I was 12-years-old and staying with my grandmother,” said the 47-year-old mother and grandmother. “I’ve been crying all day.”

On Wednesday, Tarrant police delivered two truckloads of groceries to the woman, who on Saturday was caught stealing five eggs from the nearby Dollar General. Instead of arresting Johnson, Tarrant Police Officer William Stacy bought her a carton of eggs and sent her home with the promise to never shoplift again.

That in itself, Johnson said, was a blessing. But those blessings now seem to have taken on a life of their own. Tarrant police said they’ve received calls from across the United States and world since hearing of Johnson’s plight. People have offered food, money and clothing.

It’s been so overwhelming, said Tarrant Police Chief Dennis Reno, he had to bring in a second police dispatcher to handle the volume of calls. Police officials today also set up a fund at People’s First Federal Credit Union on Ford Avenue in Tarrant to benefit the Johnson family.

“It’s growing and growing and growing,” Reno said. ” A guy called me from New York and just broke down. He said for two months he’s been angry with police, and he said this has totally changed his mind.”

A food bank from Memphis is set to arrive in Tarrant this evening. “This woman’s getting plenty of food,” the chief said. “She shouldn’t be hungry for a while.”

What a difference a week makes. Johnson’s two daughters, a niece and two grandchildren, ages 1 and 3, live with her in their Tarrant home. The kids’ mother gets a welfare check – $120 a month – but that check was lost in the mail. Johnson herself gets a disability check, which is set to come this week.

By Saturday, the family had gone two days without food. Johnson went to Dollar General on Pinson Valley Parkway with $1.25 and thought that would be enough to buy a carton of eggs. When she realized she was 50 cents plus tax short, she stuffed five eggs in her pocket out of desperation.

She didn’t get far. “Of course when I put them in my jacket pocket they broke,” Johnson said in an earlier interview. “I’m not a good thief at all.”

A store worker stopped Johnson and asked her if she had taken the eggs. She said she did, and they said they had already called the police.

By the time she got to the door, Tarrant police Officer William Stacy was there, and told her to stay put. The officer said he’d already talked to Dollar General officials and they said they weren’t going to press charges.

Johnson didn’t know that, and said she was waiting for him to bring out the handcuffs. Instead, he went into the store and came back out with a carton of eggs. “She started crying, she got very emotional and was very apologetic,” Stacy said. “She tried to give me the money she had on her, $1.25.”

Johnson said she was stunned. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, thank you Jesus for this man,”’ she said. “He is my hero.”

Stacy said he can remember times growing up when his mother had trouble finding ways to feed him and his sister. He had been on a call to Johnson’s house once before, and had gotten a glimpse of the living conditions. The furnishings are sparse, and the family sleeps on mattresses on the floor.

“The story she told me Saturday matched up with what I had seen when I was there,” he said. “I felt like it was the right thing to do. I didn’t want to pass judgment on her.”

She asked how she could repay him, and he told her to not shoplift again. “Sometimes the best route is to not arrest,” Stacy said. “I hope she won’t do it again. I pray she doesn’t, and I don’t think she will.”

Johnson asked Stacy if she could hug him, and he said yes. Unbeknownst to both of them, a man named Robert “Dollar” Tripp filmed the scene on his cell phone and later posted it on his Facebook with the hashtag “feelgoodstoryoftheday.”

The story went viral. On Tuesday, Tarrant police showed up at her home. “I was shook and so scared,” she said. “I thought it was about the eggs. My grandbaby said, ‘Are you going to jail?’ and I said I hoped not.”

Instead, Tarrant police took Johnson to headquarters, where they signed her up for the annual Tarrant Toy Drive, and also are helping to coordinate the offers of food and clothing also pouring in, said Tarrant police Sgt. Larry Rice.

On Wednesday, Stacy and Officer Jay Jenkins took two loads of food to Johnson’s apartment. She couldn’t stop crying, and she couldn’t stop hugging Stacy. “I just busted out and started hollering,” Johnson said of all the food delivered to her home. “I was yelling so loud. I would have been a good cheerleader.”

With help from a nearby church, Johnson spent much of Wednesday reorganizing her kitchen cabinets to make room for all the food. The family, who by Tuesday was down to one slice of bread, had their pick of what to eat.

So what did they eat? “Cereal,” she said. “That’s our favorite.”
Her grandchildren were also happy to see the officers at their apartment. “You back?” said 3-year-old Tamarose, as she grabbed various cans of food to show the family.

Asked what she would do if someone else in need asked her for a slice of bread, she said, “I would give them the whole loaf. And then I would give them Officer Stacy’s number.”

Johnson said her life is forever changed because of the actions of Stacy and the Tarrant Police Department. “My heart,” she said, “is wide open right now.”

Anyone who wants to make a donation to Johnson can do so at People’s First Federal Credit Union. Checks should be made payable to the Tarrant Police Charity Fund c/o the Johnson Family. Checks can be mailed to the bank at 1140 Ford Avenue, Tarrant, Alabama 35217.

Implanted Memories of Sexual Abuse

Parents May Have Case Against ‘Hypnotherapist’

A couple may show that their daughter’s therapist used hypnosis to implant false memories of sexual abuse, a Michigan appeals court ruled.

In 2009, Lale and Joan Roberts had two daughters living with them at home: L, who is a person with Down Syndrome, and her older sister, K. After it was discovered that a friend of the family had engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with K, Lale and Joan Roberts sought help for K from a mental health professional. Eventually Lale and Joan Roberts hired Salmi to provide counseling to K, she began to see Salmi in July 2009. K was 17 years of age when she first started counseling with Salmi. K began to live with family friends at around the same time.

Shortly after Salmi began to counsel K, K purportedly remembered that her father had physically and sexually abused her since she was five years old. Salmi invited Lale and Joan Roberts to attend a group counsel ing session, which was held in July 2009. At the group counseling session, K allegedly confronted her father with what Lale and Joan Roberts maintain were false allegations of sexual abuse.

In September 2009, Salmi reported the allegations to the Department of Human services. Salmi provided the investigators with a handwritten note wherein she described the abuse that K “just remembered.” In the note Salmi stated that K told her that L was also abused at home. Thereafter, the Department of Human services and the Michigan State Police investigated the allegations.

The investigators found no physical evidence that L had been or was being physically or sexually abused. An investigator with the Department interviewed K and K’s allegations, as recorded by the investigator, were strikingly similar to that provided by Salmi in her note. An investigator also interviewed K’s older sister, who had not lived in the home for several years. She described her parents as fundamentalist Christians who hold strong beliefs and practice discipline that she felt was emotionally and physically abusive, but she nevertheless stated that she did not believe that her father would hurt L or K. She also stated that she never observed anything that could be characterized as sexual abuse in the home. The investigator ultimately determined that it was unnecessary to take any action. Police officers also investigated and reviewed K’s allegations, but no charges were brought against Lale or Joan Roberts.

The trial court held a hearing on the motion in January 2013, the trial court entered an order dismissing Lale and Joan Roberts’ claim later that same month. After the trial court eventually denied their motion for reconsideration in April 2013, Lale and Joan Roberts appealed in this Court.

Child sexual abuse is one of the most heinous offenses that a person can commit. And, for that reason, there is nothing more stigmatizing than being branded a child molester. “It takes very little imagination to recognize the damning horror that must ensue to a parent falsely accused of child molestation.”

A diagnosis does not by itself implicate any particular person as the perpetrator of the abuse. More over, a patient confronted with such a diagnosis and no memory of the abuse is less likely to act on the diagnosis to his or her parent’s detriment. In the absence of evidence that the professional contributed to or caused the formation of a false memory or otherwise encouraged the patient to falsely implicate his or her parents, the mere diagnosis of childhood sexual abuse as the underlying cause of a mental disorder does not result in a direct foreseeable harm to the patient’s parents.

The trial court erred when it determined that Salmi did not owe K’s parents a duty of care; Salmi had a limited duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that her treatment of K would not cause K to have false memories of childhood sexual abuse. Therefore, the trial court should not have dismissed Lale and Joan Roberts’ claim on that basis.

Reversed and remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. We do not retain jurisdiction. There being an important question of public policy, we order that the parties may not tax their costs.

Babysitter charged with murder

Victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome
Picture of Thomas Castellon II in front of his cake on his Birthday

After December 2013 Abuse, woman is charged with federal first-degree murder

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – A Fort Campbell woman has been charged with murdering a Clarksville infant who was in her care.

Sheilla Linares is charged with the death of 2-month old Thomas Castellon II. She was served an indictment on Friday, but her warrant remains sealed, according to Stephanie Collins, spokeswoman for the Western District of Kentucky U.S. Attorney’s office.

Linares is charged with federal first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. She is accused of abusing Thomas Jr. on or about Dec. 3, 2013. He died of his injuries four days later.

While her son was in the care of Linares, Lucy Castellon, Thomas’ mother, received a phone call that her son was not responding and had aspirated. She later found out he had brain hemorrhaging and swelling from shaken baby syndrome, according to a previous report.

An autopsy determined the child died from blunt force trauma to the head, and the death was ruled a homicide. Linares admitted to officers that she shook the child at her Fort Campbell home, according to a Clarksville Police report.

Family members were in disbelief when they heard of the injuries. “She was our friend, and I didn’t want to believe it,” Lucy Castellon previously said.  The woman had taken care of their daughter, Aurora, for the previous four years.

In September, the family held a balloon release in honor of what would’ve been Thomas Jr.’s first birthday. At that time, no charges had been filed and the investigation continued.  Lucy Castellon said they have patiently waited on the justice system and knew it was a matter of time, before the case progressed.

Monday  Lucy Castellon said her family is glad an arrest has been made.  “Obviously, it’s a big relief something has been done,” Lucy Castellon said. “They told us she is facing life in prison. It was a relief to know she wasn’t just facing 12-15 years, because nobody’s life can be valued at that. He was our son and would have lived many years. “We have been praying for justice, and we are happy we are getting it.”

A detention hearing scheduled for Tuesday at 11 a.m. in Paducah, Kentucky.  Magistrate Judge Lanny King will preside over the case.