My biological father spent the majority of his adult life incarcerated for one thing or another. At some point he was institutionalized… maybe he was born that way. I just don’t know. He was the youngest of his siblings, with around 40 years between his age and the next to youngest sibling. They said he was spoiled rotten and likely had little direction with aging parents and no other siblings in the house.
My mother divorced him while he was behind bars. She married again, divorced, and remarried by the time I was five. My biological father gave up his parental rights at her request and her husband adopted me. Years later, I reconnected with my biological father, realizing that my dad was not my birth father, and we began writing each other often. I was 12 years old and he was incarcerated again. Over the next five years, he was in and out of prison more than once. I would have to look back over the letters to piece together exactly how many times. I remember him going to
Texarkana and not telling me where he was
going that time, because he was afraid I would try to go see him.
In 1989, I was 17, he was on parole, and having only a few months of freedom, he caught a charge. This time, it was far more serious than any other time. He had been drinking and had a firearm. He had been in an argument with a female and someone called the police. I do not know exactly what happened. However, he received multiple charges, including attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault of a law enforcement officer, and unlawful carrying of a weapon. The police chased him and he likely shot at them and missed. They returned fire and he took a bullet in the abdomen. He was not a good man, he worse a worse husband I’m told repeatedly, and an absent father, but he was still a human being with rights, even incarcerated. He had parents and he had children. To anyone else, he was just a convict, but I am his youngest child. Within a few weeks of my bio-father being locked up in Wichita County Jail, I was invited to participate in a drum & bugle corps in
Suddenly, I was less than an hour away from the man I never knew and I was able
to go see him for an hour. I never saw him again. He never saw anyone in our
family again. He was sentenced to 35-63 years in federal prison and he never
made it out. Hutchinson, Kansas
From what I can tell, over the next 8 ½ years, he was transferred from one state to another, from one facility to another, from one cell to another, from general population to solitary confinement SIXTEEN DIFFERENT TIMES. My mother always said they moved him around so he didn’t get to know a place long enough to plan an escape. Being a teenager, I didn’t know a thing about the system so I didn’t question her story. She didn’t know what was really going on, either.
In 1994, I was married and had a baby. My bio father, Richard, began calling me collect several times a day, asking me to make long-distance calls to his attorney in
He was very agitated and nervous when we talked. He seemed panicky and I didn’t
realize what was happening to him, nor did he explain. Nevertheless, I was very
busy being a young mother, and was soon to be raising a child alone, so I lost
contact with him. I received a Christmas card about a year or two later from
him then nothing more.
For the next decade, however, I was constantly searching for my two siblings, whom I had met once at the age of 18, then lost touch with them as well. It was difficult to establish a meaningful and consistent relationship with them, having grown up without even knowing about them. They were both older than me and had families of their own. My search for them also included the search for any new information about my father. I didn’t know where he was incarcerated anymore and didn’t really know how to find a federal inmate. I always did an online query for inmates through the Bureau of Prisons, but his name never returned anything. I looked them all up on google but never found anything. Every few months, I did public data searches on all of them and never found anything until January 2004. And this time, I made a heartbreaking discovery. He was dead.