Held Hostage By My Father: Ashley, Jane, Teresa, Kathy

The Nightmare Finally Ends
Ashley explains how her nightmare came to an end: “My sister went to the police and had told them what was going on. Danial took me and my son on the run for four months. He had a .22 pistol. He pointed it at me and told me that it would be better if it was just one on the run instead of three,” she says. “I did not care about him as a father. I saw him as a kidnapper. He wanted me to write a suicide letter, telling the family that he was going to drive us into the Missouri River and take our lives. I did not write the letter. I was going to make it for my children."

She fondly remembers the night her father was arrested. “We were at a friend’s house. I heard a knock at the door, and that place was surrounded by 15 or 25 cops. I had told him that he needed to give himself up. They handcuffed him. They literally shoved him in a car. I thought that was pretty awesome,” she says with a smile. “To see him with handcuffs, it was a blessing to me. It was like finally, my prayer had been answered. I could breathe for the first time in 18 years.”

Danial Rinehart is now serving life in prison. His wife, Linda, is serving seven years.

[AD]Ashley visits the cemetery where her children are now buried. “I come here all the time. My children are buried here. Now that I’m free, I can visit them anytime I want,” Ashley says. “The gravestone — my uncle had it specially made for them. I fell to pieces, because my children were finally actually going to get a proper burial that they had never had. And that was all that mattered to me. Ethel, and Jack and Goldie. They were so little. I’d give anything to have them back again. Their spirits are still here, and I know in due time, I will see them again,” she says through her tears. 
Jane Velez-Mitchell, host of Jane Velez-Mitchell on HLN, covered this story when it broke and nicknamed Ashley’s father “The Monster of Missouri.” Jane spoke with Ashley’s sisters when their father, Danial Rinehart, was arrested. Terri and Haley escaped their father’s clutches and told authorities about what he was doing to their sister:

“I was really scared, all of us living in the same place, listening to my dad, whatever he was doing to my sister. I had enough. I just turned him in,” Haley says during the interview with Jane.

“He threatened to kill you if you said anything?” Jane asks.

“Yes, he has. He has threatened to kill me because I had opened my mouth, and I got him in trouble with the cops,” she says. “I love my sister. I’m glad I saved her life.”

“Do you think your mother knew about the incest between your father and your sister?” Jane asks.

Terri says, “Yes, she knew about it. She knew about it since Ashley was 13.”

Jane joins Ashley onstage with Dr. Phil. “You are my hero for speaking out. God bless you,” Jane tells Ashley. “And the sister who risked her life to call the cops — she’s also my hero.”

[AD]Jane says the system let these girls down. “Where was the Department of Children and Families? Where was the school system? And the mother — the mother who said, ‘Oh, I wanted a son, and I’d be willing to accept it from my own daughter.’ It boggles the mind. These poor girls didn’t have a chance because they couldn’t even turn to their mother,” she says.

Dr. Phil asks Ashley how she feels about her mother.

“There are no words. I hate her,” she says. “As far as I’m concerned, she can stay the hell out of my life.”Ashley remembers when she had to face her father and testify against him in court. “For me to look at him in court, it was really hard. It was scary. I had gone so long not being able to say anything to anybody, that I knew that this was my only chance. I had to testify to make sure that he got what he deserved,” she says. “It was very hard for me to have to point at him. Just looking at him was even harder. I wanted to kill him, but I know that the good Lord says, ‘Thou shall not kill.’ I was really scared that he might get up out of his seat, and come after me and try to kill me. When I heard that he was going to jail for life, I jumped up and down for joy.”

Teresa Hensley is the attorney who prosecuted Ashley’s father. She grew very close to Ashley during that time. She joins the conversation via satellite.

“Ashley is very important to me, and she’s very important to my staff.”

Kathy is Ashley’s friend and mentor who has been helping her heal from her traumatic past.

“Ashley was very quiet when I first met her because she hadn’t been around people very much,” Kathy says. “I witnessed Ashley not being able to handle any kind of negativity around her. If somebody was arguing, she would have an episode. She would be very upset. She would bang her head against the wall.”

Kathy allowed Ashley to ride her horses. “I started letting her ride the horse because I saw the connection that they had. I wanted to help her get through those hard times. Ashley taught me that you can overcome anything. She is the strongest and most courageous person that I have ever met in my life,” she says.

Kathy tells Dr. Phil, “Ashley is doing great. I’m so proud of her. She’s not a victim anymore. She’s moved on and she’s going to fight. She’s amazing.”

Ashley is torn over having to one day tell her son who his father is.  

Dr. Phil explains how she can break the news to her son.

[AD]Dr. Phil offers Ashley professional resources in her hometown and the opportunity to visit the PNP Center in Texas for a complete workup for her and her son to help them become as healthy as they can moving forward.

If you or someone you know is being sexually abused, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-HOPE (4673) or the National Child Abuse Hotline at (800) 422-4453.