A Parent Confronted: Mandy, Becky

Abducted, Then Abandoned

"I hate my biological mother for what she has done to me," Mandy says. "My biological mother kidnapped me when I was 8 years old, and we were on the run for two years. She lied about my father and other male family members molesting me. This is the excuse that she used to kidnap me.

"One day, I remember she began questioning me about my father touching me. When I told her no, she would question me again, over and over, and when she didn't like my answer, she sent me to my room. She ended up convincing me that my father must have molested me. After that, we went shopping for RVs, and I was told that this was going to be my new home. We just packed up and started driving across the country. I was told that I could pick what my first name was to be, so I wanted to be Samantha. We were on the run for the next two years of my life.

"All of a sudden, she said that she had to return to go back to court, and when she got to court, she was put into jail," Mandy remembers. "And then she left town. She abandoned me. How could she leave, just like that? She doesn't deserve to be called my mother. I want to confront Becky because I want her to know the pain that I have been dealing with all these years. She took my childhood away. I don't want a relationship with her at all."

Mandy's mother, Becky, says she does not regret going on the run with her daughter. "I didn't do anything wrong. I'd do it again in a second," she says. "The only thing I'd do differently if I had to do it all over again is to leave this country. I was protecting my child from a child molester."

Becky goes back to the beginning. "I started noticing a lot of changes with her. I started putting all these pieces together, that it all made sense. I noticed that she had thrown away her nighty and her panties in the trashcan. One night, Amanda had returned from a visitation with her father, and she just started screaming at the top of her lungs. There was nothing I could do to calm her down. I called a psychologist the next day. Amanda told the psychologist that she was molested by her father. Oh, my God, it was hard to process.

[AD]"There was a hearing to take place. My lawyer told me, ‘Go underground, leave. Don't even show up.' We took off across country, and we left. There was no question in my mind I was not going to let her go back to that family. I was underground for two years. My attorney called me. He said we need to go back to court. I didn't have a choice. I was up on the stand. I got ripped apart. It was like I was in another country. What am I in, Nazi Germany? The court told me, ‘You are never going to see your child again.' I passed out. It's been 20 years since I've had a real conversation with my daughter."

"I've been told that I look just like my mother, and it just makes me cringe inside. I hate that I look like her. It's something that is never going to go away. If I had the means to do plastic surgery, I think I would," Mandy says.

"I know she has children," Becky says. "I would love that opportunity to be a part of their life. I see other people with grandchildren. I want that to be me someday."

"She has not earned the right to be their grandmother. My children don't know anything about her. My stepmother is their grandmother, and she always will be. I don't ever want my kids around her or to meet her," Mandy says.

After seeing Becky's interview, Mandy tells Dr. Phil, "I think she's delusional." She explains that she was made to believe that her father really molested her when there was never any proof.

Becky joins the conversation. She hadn't seen her daughter in 18 years, until two years ago, when she knocked on Mandy's door and attempted reconciliation. Mandy was not interested.

[AD]Becky tells Dr. Phil that she didn't abduct her daughter; she had full custody of Mandy when they left.

Dr. Phil clarifies, "Did you husband have visitation rights?"

"Yes."

"And you denied him those rights when you took her?"

"Absolutely," she says.

"So, you were in violation of the court order?"

"Yes."

Dr. Phil questions Becky's claim that her lawyer advised her to take her kid. "So, an officer of the court instructed you to violate the court's orders? I find that really hard to imagine. Did he tell you to file a complaint? Did he tell you to use the court system in any way?"

"No. He said, ‘Do no go back. If you go back, they are going to take her and put her back into the home that molested her,'" Becky says.

Mandy speaks up. "How come I have no recollection of it?"

"I have no idea," she says.

Dr. Phil asks, "If you were so focused on protecting your daughter, when she was returned, why did you disappear for 18 years?"

Becky says she tried contacting her daughter many times. She also sent letters and cards.

Mandy says she received the letters but never wanted to reach out to her mother. She was shocked when her mother showed up unannounced two years ago, after an 18-year absence.

"That's the only way I felt that I could contact you," Becky tells her.

[AD]"Because it's about you, and that's all it's been about, is about you," Mandy says. "You don't care whether I'm ready or not. You've never cared."

"I do care, Amanda. I love you," she says.

Dr. Phil again questions Becky about why she didn't try to see her daughter sooner.

"I moved back, and I tried contacting the social workers. They were not compliant with me," she says.

Mandy tells her mother what she went through.

Becky stands by her statement that she would do what she did again. "Any mother who has been told that their child has being molested " they're insane not to," she says.

"That's not true. What a mother would do is proceed through the system to prosecute this person," Dr. Phil says.

Becky claims the system failed her and accuses her daughter of being brainwashed. Mandy says that's a common statement her mother uses.

"Could you have made a mistake here?" Dr. Phil asks Becky.

"All I can go on is what I was told. He molested her."

"He never molested me! I am not a molested child!" Mandy tells her.

"OK, I was under the impression at the time that you were. I was going to do anything in my power to make sure you were safe," she says. Becky says Mandy told her she was molested.

"Blame," Mandy says. "That's what it's been about."

Dr. Phil tells Becky that her story doesn't add up. "Do you entertain the fact that there is a fair chance that she's telling the truth, that this never happened?"

"I pray to God that it didn't, for her sake."

"And if it didn't happen, then that means you reacted wrong and disrupted her life in a very damaging way. Would have any remorse for that, if that was the case?"

"I'm not going to give you an answer because that's what you want to hear," she says. "I did what I had to do because that was the information that I had. Yes, I would be remorseful if that's the way it was, but I did what I had to do."

Dr. Phil tells her he's not trying to get her to say something he wants to hear; he's just trying to foster a connection between the two women so they're not estranged the rest of their lives.

The mother and daughter try to see from the other's perspective.

 

[AD]Mandy says she's not hearing anything from her mother that makes her feel better, but she didn't expect to. "I just wanted the chance to sit down and have her hear my side of it, and what I've had to deal with, because you have no idea," she tells her mom.

Becky acknowledges her daughter's anger, but tells her she thinks Mandy would make the same choice as a mother in the same situation.

Dr. Phil offers the women a chance to talk privately backstage, but Mandy says, "There isn't anything more to say."