Face to Face

"I feel that I should have custody of Cameron because I can provide for him. I can raise him. I love him and I want him home," Chris says. "The day I decided I wanted Cameron back was the day I got out of jail. I think it's unfair that Jan has custody of Cameron. Jan is evil. I don't trust her. She takes things and distorts them. What she portrayed me as being isn't who I am. I am not a monster, you know, I'm not this evil person. I'm not going to sit back and let her walk all over me and try to destroy my name. If the courts don't grant me custody of my son, I'm still going to fight. The quest to have Cameron back with me will never end."

Jan sits in the audience with Dr. Phil, facing the man she's been hiding from for almost a year. Alongside Chris is his attorney, Melissa. She is representing him in seeking to regain custody of his son.

"I want my little boy back," Chris tells Dr. Phil. "I want him home with me and the rest of the family. Everybody wants him back. I miss him."

"But you do understand your wife's mother's position here, that you caused the death of her daughter?" Dr. Phil asks.

"No, I didn't," says Chris.

"You didn't?"

"No," Chris says. 

"What happened that night, it didn't cause her death," Chris says. "There's no way it could've. And I really don't want to get into the particulars about the case because that's not why we're here."

"Well, was her skull crushed?" Dr. Phil asks.

Melissa interrupts. "I think that's a misrepresentation. She had a skull fracture. I wouldn't say it was crushed, but the EMTs had looked at her prior to Chris leaving, after the phone had been thrown or something had happened, and they could not find anything in that area, and they left under her instruction. She did not want medical treatment," she says. 

"Why did you go to jail?" asks Dr. Phil.

"False accusations," says Chris. "They claimed that I did something that I didn't do and they arrested me, and I'm still trying to figure out how they could've arrested me for … There's no way."

 

Dr. Phil asks Jan, "How do you feel about being here with Chris?"

"Well, there's a lot of false statement up there. I have Sheri's diary," she says.

 

Dr. Phil questions Chris. He denies having a drinking problem or a history of domestic violence.

 

"Melissa, your position is that under the state law, that these issues of his wife's death, and the allegations that Jan is making are likely to not have a bearing on the court's determination of his fittedness as a father?" asks Dr. Phil.

"No, and I don't believe they should. I think there's nothing unfit about Chris as a father," says Melissa. "I think he's a good father, and I think this is a tragedy that his son has been hidden from him. He hasn't gotten to see that boy since the day he called the police to come open up the door and found his wife there and saw his son for the last time."

"Chris, is there anything that you haven't said that you want to say, that you want people to know about this si

tuation?" asks Dr. Phil.


"I'm not a bad guy," he says. "I'm really not. I get along with everybody. Family comes first for me."

 

Dr. Phil asks Jan, "Do you believe that he should have no role in this young man's life because of your belief that he killed your daughter and the court's determination that he caused her death? Are you saying that therefore, he deserves no role in this child's life whatsoever?"


Jan turns and speaks directly to Chris. "I'm going to tell you right now, I'm going to look right at you and it's really hard to look at your face. But I have tried very hard to forgive you. I have tried very hard to say you didn't intentionally do it, but you knew your anger, you have been told to go to anger management … and it is your responsibility to start taking care of yourself and your family, and you did not do it. You don't even know how old your son is. You were wrong about his age. That's the kind of father you are?"

 

Jan continues, her voice beginning to shake. "I will tell you this: In all honesty, if you were drunk driving a car and killed my daughter by a car accident, a one-time thing that would kill my daughter, and I knew for a fact that you would be a good father, I wouldn't have any problem with that, Chris. None, none, but I know your violence. I know your record. I've seen your records. I've seen everything. I've read my daughter's horrible diary of how you treated her, and I'm going to stop the cycle of violence with Cameron."

"Is there anything that he could voluntarily do that would cause you to not contest this?" Dr. Phil asks Jan.

"I don't think so because he has never even tried to get a hold of his son," she says.

Chris argues that he didn't know where his son was, but Jan tells him he only had to contact her attorney through his own attorney.

 

Dr. Phil summarizes, "So, what you're saying is, there' s no theory or actions that he could take that are going to make you feel comfortable with this situation?"

 

"No. His own son is afraid. No," says Jan, shaking her head.

Dr. Phil asks Melissa if she has anything to say as Chris' legal representative.

 

"Well, I find this interesting because she has another grandchild, a child of Sheri's, that she's taken from that father. That there is a court battle going on in the New Mexico court system right now. So, I think she's just trying to take these kids as a way of holding onto part of Sheri," she says. "I know Chris would be willing to give her visitation, as is allowed by New Mexico statute, once we're through this issue of overturning the guardianship. But Ch

ris needs to have his son. He has a legal right to him, and he has a good home, family support, and he will be a good father."

"Just in a matter of days there's going to be a hearing on this," says Dr. Phil. "I just implore all of you truly to be fiduciaries and put this child's interests above your own. This child is what truly matters."