(If you are new to this blog, you may want to read the posts “In a Nutshell” or go to July 2012 and read “Sending out a Letter.” Both of these posts give a brief description of what happened. As Emma’s mom, I am blogging my experiences with Emma and the things she did/does. This is a child who made up a story about rape, accused a priest of molesting her, and then as her attorney was about to file a lawsuit against the priest and the church, Emma accused her mother of physical abuse to stop the lawsuit because she knew her lies were about to be discovered. Emma is now living in Liberty Township, Ohio at the home of her fiance’s grandparents, Merrie and Albert Knopp, attending Wright State University http://www.wright.edu/, and talking about getting married to Tyler Buchheim, an architecture student at Notre Dame. Emma claims her mother poisoned her with DDT and that she had to move to Ohio to get away from her mother. She also claims her future mother-in-law, Sherry Buchheim lives in fear that Emma’s mother will show up and kill her entire family.
Emma and Kayla, Part 2 – With Friends Like This (See Part 1, Below)
Emma and Kayla in 2010
As I mentioned in the last post, as Emma got older, her stories about Kayla’s family got more interesting and more vicious. Emma knew, not knowing Kayla’s family well, that I would not question Sheree about some of the personal and private things that Emma told me. She also knew where to draw the line. For example, if she’d told me Sheree and Jeff took the girls out and were drinking and driving, I would not have allowed Emma in their home, so she always made Jeff out to be a heavy drinker if they went out and claimed Sheree was the designated driver and only told stories about Sheree’s drinking at home. If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you can see that Emma accuses a lot of folks of drinking too much. I would also like to say that I never saw or heard anything inappropriate from Kayla’s parents or grandparents. There was never any reason for me to feel like Emma would not be in safe hands at either of their homes. These are Emma’s stories, and I find them in no way to be credible. From what little I know of them, I thought Sheree and Jeff Barwise, and Roy and Velda Benifield to be fine people.
Kayla’s mom lived about 20 minutes from us, and Emma and Kayla got together usually a couple of times a year when Kayla was down visiting. Later on, Sheree and Jeff bought some property close to us, but it was a while before they started building their home. After visiting Kayla one weekend, Emma came home and told me various complaints that Kayla had about her parents. I didn’t pay too much attention to them because all kids complain about their parents. One story was about how when Kayla had Spring Break, her mother made her babysit the neighbor’s kids her whole week off even though Kayla did not want to do this. At the time, I thought Emma was exaggerating and that maybe Kayla was babysitting to earn some spending money. Who knows if she was babysitting at all.
Emma claimed Kayla told her that Sheree and Jeff had made friends with their next door neighbors in their new subdivision, and they went over there every weekend to hang out on the property and drink with the neighbors. Emma said Kayla hated having to go with them because they usually stayed until about 2:00 in the morning before heading home, and poor Kayla just had to sit there with a bunch of drunk adults because they would not allow her to stay home. Another story I thought odd, but as long as Emma wasn’t involved, I wasn’t going to get into it. I did sort of wonder that if Sheree and Jeff were friends with the neighbors, wouldn’t it have been more likely that they went over to the neighbor’s home rather than hang out on an empty piece of property? (The lots in the neighborhood were very large and the homes in that section were quite a distance apart.)
Later on, after the home was complete, Emma claimed that Kayla always had to keep her bedroom door locked because Kayla’s room was in the basement, and that when the neighbors were over one night, and everyone was drinking, the drunk man from next door wandered into Kayla’s bedroom in the middle of the night, looking for the bathroom.
Another story was when Jeff and Sheree took the girls and the neighbors to a sport’s bar for dinner one Saturday night. Emma said that they went to dinner at 6pm and stayed in the sports bar until midnight. She claimed that all the adults were drinking except for Sheree since she was driving. Emma said that she and Kayla sat at their own table, away from the adults, and it was fun at first because they ate and played video games, but then they were bored and had to just hang around while the adults talked and drank. She enjoyed telling me that Jeff was a big liberal (Emma is very conservative, politically.) and that Sheree and the neighbors argued with him over politics. I have no idea about Jeff’s politics, but because he worked for a well-known liberal news channel, I am wondering if that is why Emma chose to tell a story about his politics.
Emma liked to make fun of Sheree, saying that she had this beautiful kitchen but did not cook. Emma claimed Sheree and Jeff ate out everyday, but one time Emma and Kayla went to the grocery with Sheree and Emma said she spent over $400 on groceries. Emma told stories about Kayla and herself tracking down items for Sheree. That same shopping trip, Emma claimed that Sheree pitched a big fit in the grocery until the store gave her the Senior Discount. Emma went on and on about Sheree fighting with the manager, refusing to show her driver’s licence , claiming she didn’t have it, and Emma told me how embarrassed she and Kayla were at the big scene. It occurred to me some time later that this had been a Saturday, and I thought Senior Day was usually Wednesdays. Also, as I thought Sheree was under 40, I just couldn’t picture her trying to pass for a senior citizen.
For a few years, Sheree wasn’t working or in school, and not long after Sheree and Jeff were married, I believe this was sometime around early 2010, Emma came home after spending the night at their home, telling me how Sheree and Jeff were fighting over her latest purchase of a work-at-home scam. Emma told me that Kayla had told her that Sheree spent a large sum of money on this scam that of course was not legitimate, and that Sheree and Jeff were fighting because she had fallen for these scams before and always ended up throwing away money.
Emma told a story about Kayla making some soup that was something like chicken broth with strips of tortillas in it, and that was what they passed off as cooking in that house.
Kayla lived with her grandparents, Roy and Velda Benifield in Martin, Ga. We met them the first time we met Kayla at church camp, and a few times, they picked Kayla up at our home. They seemed like very nice, very sweet, country folks. One time, they took the girls to Medieval Times in Lawrenceville, Ga. According to Emma, they had good seats, but then paid extra to get the very best seats. Emma said they also paid extra for every little thing that the girls wanted or wanted to do such as taking a tour of something that was like a little museum of weapons or a torture chamber. At this point, I don’t really remember what it was. Emma made it sound like Kayla’s grandparents spent a fortune on them after already spending quite a bit for the tickets.
Emma made fun of Kayla’s grandmother, saying that she kept embarrassing them by saying things like, “Go stand over there next to that cute boy, so I can get your picture!” Emma did come home with a picture that was taken by Medieval Times of Kayla, herself, and one of the knights.
On another occasion, Kayla’s grandparents very generously offered to take Emma with them to Dollywood over Spring Break, but because she had missed to much school due to her vomiting issues, and we had to take Emma out of 9th grade and have her get caught up at home, Phill and I decided she could not spare the time to take off for 5 days. It really hurt to say no, because I knew Emma would have a great time, but she was just too far behind in school. Emma was furious with me for not allowing her to go and couldn’t understand that we weren’t punishing her, but she only had a limited amount of time to finish 9th grade, and we weren’t sure she was going to be able to do it. Emma was never very good about listening to reason, and to her it was just that I didn’t want her to go or that I just didn’t want her to have any fun. (I will talk about Emma’s vomiting issues at a later date. According to Emma, she threw up because her mother was poisoning her with DDT. That is a chapter unto itself!)
When Kayla was looking at colleges, Emma claimed Kayla was interested in going to Ga. Tech, but said Kayla’s grandfather was a diehard Georgia Bulldog, and if she wanted to go to Tech, he would not pay for it. I wondered if her grandparents would really rather send her all the way to Marist, in NY state, rather than have her go to a rival school.
I don’t remember when it was exactly, but sometime around 10th grade, Emma went up and spent about 5 days at Roy and Velda Benifield’s home in Martin, Ga. I remember talking to Emma on the phone, and she spoke rather conspiratorially, whispering and making fun of Velda’s decorating because there were many Gone With the Wind items in the home. Emma even sent me a few cell phone pictures which I still have. Then Emma got mean and claimed that Roy was a Nazi sympathizer, a racist, or some sort of white supremacist. She claimed that he had one room decorated with posters, signs, and memorabilia which showed his prejudice towards blacks and Jews. She also claimed that Roy and Velda used the N-word quite frequently in conversation. I was pretty shocked,and I told Emma I did not believe what she was saying, but Emma kept insisting that it was all true. I never would have imagined these people as Emma described them, but what was I going to do, ask them if they were “racists”?
Kayla’s Boyfriend (Now Husband)
I don’t remember what year, but I remember Kayla was in 11th grade, when Emma told me she had a boyfriend who was a 9th grader, like Emma, and his name was Blair Weaver. I remember Kayla being at our home some time her senior year, before going off to college in NY, and speaking of Blair, and there is nothing that I remember particularly standing out. It sounded like they were a couple of high school sweethearts, and Kayla seemed very happy. I remember Kayla talking about how they were to be helping with Vacation Bible School, but I don’t remember if it was at her church or his. Kayla loved children and talked about being a teacher. When Kayla went off to college, I expected that would be the end of the high school romance, but I guess it wasn’t, as Kayla married Blair Weaver in Aug. of this year.
When Kayla was still in high school, Emma began with the stories about Blair and his family, and to be honest, I don’t even remember most of them. I didn’t even know these people. The one story I do remember was about Blair’s sister, whom I will call Lori. Emma told me that Lori had all these health problems such as brain damage, learning disabilities, and seizures and claimed that Blair and/or Kayla were frequently called out of class when Lori got sick or had a seizure, and one of them would have to attend to her until the parents got there to take Lori home. Emma made it out that Kayla was having trouble getting her school work done because she was frequently attending to this sick young girl. I thought the story odd, but let it go.
Another time, while Kayla was still in high school, Emma claimed that both Kayla’s family and Blair’s family expected them to marry and take care of Lori as she would never be able to live on her own. Emma made it sound like Kayla was being forced into a marriage that she wanted no part of, and that she would be saddled with a sister-in-law to take care of for the rest of her life. I remember arguing with her about how ridiculous this sounded as Lori was still in high school and Kayla was planning on going to college and moving away from Blair. Kayla was a bright young woman, and I could not picture her entering this life of servitude that Emma described. Kayla had plans for her future, and I could not imagine her marrying anyone at this age. When I pointed these things out, Emma got quiet and did not discuss it any further. Kayla went off to college after high school, and did not get married at that time.
Emma frequently called “Lacey” her best friend, but she was a cyber friend whom Emma had never met in person. Emma told many lies about Lacey and her family: Lacey being raped, Lacey’s mother on her deathbed in the hospital, Lacey’s family threatened by her “rapist”, etc. Now I have presented some of the stories Emma told about her other close friend, Kayla. Of course, Phill’s excuse for Emma was always that Emma didn’t lie, these other people told Emma these stories and Emma was just repeating them, so I would assume Phill believes Kayla told Emma all these stories about Kayla, her parents, grandparents, and husband. The problem can’t be Emma.
Do I believe any of the above stories? Not really. As her mother, I look back on so many things Emma said over the years and doubt almost everything she ever said after finding out about lie after lie. Now, I look at all these stories and wonder how we did not see that Emma had a problem, but one also has to consider that the above stories were told over a period of about 7 years since Emma only saw Kayla once or twice a year. I think if Emma had told all these stories at once, I’d have definitely caught on to Emma’s lying. I sure hope so. I hate to think I’m that stupid, but as parents, we want to believe the best about our children, so we overlook a lot of things, thinking they are just a misunderstanding.
I have a lot more of Emma’s stories to share. Some are about friends, neighbors,church members, her church youth group, her high schools (Jackson County Comprehensive High School http://www.jackson.k12.ga.us/jcchs/) and Jefferson High School http://jhs.jeffcityschools.org/, Gwinnett Young Singers http://gwinnettyoungsingers.com/, SEFF (Southeast Electric Flight Festival, Americus, Ga., hosted by the Fayette Flyers of Georgia) http://www.seffweek.com/, http://www.fayetteflyers.com/, etc. I think sharing the stories Emma told about others helps to paint a good picture of the young woman she has become.
If you have any questions or comments, or your own Emma story, you can contact me at Losingemma@gmail.com Anything you ask me to keep private, I will not share on the blog.