Newlywed Bank Robbers: Kylee's Parents

From A Student to Armed Robbery

"What was your first reaction when you found out your daughter had been involved in a bank robbery?" Dr. Phil asks Cindy and Brett.

"Horror," says Cindy. "Disbelief."

"How did she go from A student to armed robbery?" asks Dr. Phil.

"A lot had to do with the friends that we obviously allowed her to hang out with," she says, "and I think a huge part of it was Josh. He took her everywhere. He would tell her what to do, and she would jump. Initially, I thought oh, aren't they a cute couple? They're close together."

Dr. Phil asks, "When she started hanging out with this guy who's an obviously problem " I mean, you knew he'd been in jail " why didn't you just say, ‘This is not going to happen'?"

"A lot of it was we were naïve," says Brett.

"We'd also had him at our house several times, and getting to know him, and talking to him about how he wanted to change, and I mean, I really believed him," Cindy adds.

"You thought you could help him," says Dr. Phil, and both parents agree. "What do you say to yourself when you wake up at 3:00 in the morning, staring at the ceiling, and realize that you have a daughter who is a bank robber?"

"What could we have done differently?" Cindy replies. "What did we do wrong? What can we do to help her now?"

"Are there things that you would do differently?" asks Dr. Phil. "Let me tell you why I'm asking. This isn't over. She's just 20, right? And in my opinion, she's about 14 emotionally. When I ask what would you do differently, that really is kind of what are you going to do differently, because you're not out of the woods yet."

"We learned early on that Kylee responded really well to positive reinforcement," says Brett. "The problem was that she was our child that got in trouble more than any of the other kids."

Dr. Phil takes the couple to task over their answers to his question. "What was going through your mind that you didn't intervene in a strong way? She was doing drugs and alcohol in high school. She was sexually active in high school. She was bringing, by your description, scary-looking guys around. And you didn't intervene."

"I think we were somewhat in denial of what was going on and what the gravity of the situation was," says Brett.

"I've worked as a litigation consultant for 15 years," says Dr. Phil. "You may be called on in this hearing to talk about what would happen with Kylee if she had a reduced sentence or she was probated, and I've got to tell you, as I'm listening to you talk, I have a hard time turning around to a judge and saying, 'These people get it, and they are not going to let her get away with anything.'"
"Kylee's a great kid; she just was difficult," says Cindy.
"She's a bank robber," Dr. Phil counters.
"Well, I know that now," says Cindy, "but she wasn't then."
"I know you're saying she's a delightful young woman," says Dr. Phil, "and I am confident that she is, but the best predictor of future behavior, is relevant past behavior, so if you want to know what she's likely to do in the next two years, what you need to do is look at what she's done in the last two years.
"Bank robber? I mean, that's not a little rebellious," Dr. Phil continues. "That is hugely self-destructive, hugely out of control. And that means there's no moral compass, there's no emotional compass, there's no inhibition that says, 'Whoa, stop, I've known this guy for, like, two weeks before we decided to get married, and now he's waving a gun around and is going to rob a bank, and I'm going to drive a getaway car? Whoa! This is, like, stupid to the 10th power.' That obviously didn't click in her head, which means whatever you've been doing, it didn't work. So you've got to be prepared to do something dramatically different.
"I believe that this young woman can get past this. Her life isn't over, but she needs help. Did you make the decision for her to rob the bank? No. Did you make the decision for her to take up with this guy? No. She made those choices, and she has to own them, but you can be part of the solution."
Kylee was previously diagnosed as bipolar, a diagnosis Dr. Phil questions. He offers to send her to the Lawlis Peavey PsychoNeuroPlasticity (PNP) Center in Texas for a complete work-up.

Dr. Phil asks Cindy, "What are you going to do four weeks from now if she stands before that judge and he says, 'You're going away for five years,' and they put the cuffs on her and lead her out of that courtroom and straight to prison?"

"I don't know how I will cope with my daughter leaving," she says, "when I know that so much of it I could have prevented " and I do feel guilt about why my daughter went astray right under my nose, and I allowed that."

"This isn't over for her," says Dr. Phil. "This hasn't helped her life, but she hasn't ruined her life. That's yet to be seen. That's why anything you didn't do before, it's not too late to do it now. And that's why I say, you've got to play some reality ball with her."

Dr. Phil sits down with Kylee and her parents. "I've asked Kylee a lot of hard questions but the big question that I've said to both of y'all, I've said to you, is people are going to want to know, do you get it?" he asks Kylee.

"I do," she says. "I did not have a sense of right and wrong before, but now I have, watching my parents."

"Do you get that they want what's best for you?" he asks.

"Yes," she says. "They're behind me 110 percent."

"What do you want to say to your parents now that you haven't said to them before?" asks Dr. Phil.

With reddened face and tears streaming down her cheeks, Kylee says, "I just want to apologize for every mistake that I've made, and for how many times I've hurt you guys, and I won't do it again."

Dr. Phil addresses Brett. "If she goes to prison, what's that going to do to you inside as her father?" he asks.

"It's going to tear me up," says Brett. He addresses his daughter. "Might as well tear my heart out of my chest, because I feel like somehow I let you down, I didn't protect you."

Dr. Phil notes that Cindy will miss her daughter as well.

"I'm going to miss her because we didn't have the kind of relationship before " but since she was remanded to our custody she's started making changes. We have gotten a lot closer," Cindy says.

Dr. Phil asks Kylee to stand up, face her mom and dad, and tell them whatever she needs to tell them.

Through tears, Kylee says, "It meant a lot that you would call when I was in custody, even when I was in jail and felt like my heart was getting ripped out and stomped on, because I thought you guys were maybe going to change your mind. Don't give up on me." With that, Brett wipes a tear from his daughter's face, and his wife embraces her.

Dr. Phil sends Kylee to Texas for extensive tests. Is hers a criminal mind, or simply the brain of a naïve little girl?


"The sentencing that's coming up this next week has us all on edge," says Brett, speaking from The Lawlis Peavey PsychoNeuroPlasticity Center. "What we hope is that with the information from the testing today, that the judge will be able to see the type of punishment is not warranted."

Dr. Frank Lawlis, chairman of the Dr. Phil Advisory Board, describes two tests Kylee has taken while at the center. "One, was she a sociopath, was she suffering from any kind of thought disorder, and the other one had to do with her basic interpersonal skills," he says. "Well, what we found is that Kylee has a lot of self-esteem issues. You might call her depressed for a long time in her life, and she has no real sense of joy. And the second thing is she's very naive. She doesn't have any real people skills. So, in a way she's like a 12-year-old."

The results of these tests could have some bearing on the outcome of Kylee's legal case. "I'm worried about the sentencing because it's the fear of the unknown," says Cindy. "Prosecutors have asked for the maximum. They're going for the jugular."

Dr. Barbara Peavey explains, "We'll go ahead and score all of our tests, and put a report together and make our recommendations to the courts."