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By November 27, 2012 Read More →

A mother paid the ultimate price

Many of us have faced condemnation by strangers, friends and family members for having been romantically involved with someone who turned out to be a sociopath. It takes a very strong person not to allow this condemnation to turn to self-doubt; we may blame ourselves as much as others blame us. I have been lucky because the experience of getting to know other victims has taught me that many fine people have been conned.

Furthermore, many of the conned tried to do their homework, they tried to protect themselves. Although highly intelligent, they were simply out maneuvered by an individual who was a professional con artist, a criminal who earns a living by preying on others.

To all those who blame victims I ask, “What price should victims have to pay for this mistake?” When will we recognize that relationship fraud is a crime and punish it as a crime? I also ask whether the children of these relationships should pay a price for their parent’s mistake. Isn’t every child entitled to the best upbringing the least disordered, most moral parent can offer?”

There is a painful side to trying to support other victims and the past month has been especially difficult. A woman victim I came to know, admire, like and respect paid what is really the ultimate price for her mistake. Normally we think of “the ultimate price” as being death of self, I disagree. The ultimate price is the death of a child.

You all know her as Cappuccino Queen but I know her as Hera, a beautiful, brilliant and brave woman who fought the system trying to save her son from what was his fate. For months I have wanted to write about her but I could just not get the words out as the story is just too painful and shocking to discuss.

It all became personal for me, because the last Sunday in October I planned a trip to Washington DC to join “the Mothers of Lost Children” in a protest outside the White House. Hera lived a short distance from there so we were to meet up, and perhaps she would join me at the protest. She purchased 4 tickets to “Boo at the National Zoo” and the two of us were going to take our sons Prince (14 months) and Ari (age 10) in costume. The Saturday before the trip my best friend, Ari and I were at a pumpkin farm close to my Connecticut home celebrating the arrival of fall when Hera called to tell me that Prince was being transported by helicopter to the hospital and was not expected to live. She brought him as commanded by the court for visitation and “something” happened.

Time froze for me the moment of her call. I forgot where I was, who I was with and was oblivious to everything and everyone. My son and companion heard it all, that a baby was likely going to die or was already dead.

That week was unsettling for Ari who struggled to make sense of how this could have happened. He knew we planned to go to DC to see Hera and Prince at the zoo and to “protest” out in front of the White House. Instead Prince’s funeral was to be that Thursday and I questioned the wisdom of exposing Ari to the cold truths here. On Wednesday morning, I sat him down and said, “I’m sorry you had to hear about this terrible story. Everyone in Washington is going to be very sad, and I question whether we should still go.” He said, “Mamma, I think what you do is very important, you help people. I want to go to Washington DC.” We did go, and the trip is its own story.

We still do not know why that Saturday Prince did not survive the visit with his father. I am teaching statistics this semester, and so got to wondering, “What is the probability that some random terrible event would happen when Prince was with his father versus some other time?” I realized it is actually possible to calculate this probability as follows:

1) The first unsupervised Saturday visit was August 25th for 7 hours, since that time Prince was with his father a total of about 22 hours.
2) From 10AM August 25th when the visits began, until about 1 PM October 20th when Prince stopped breathing, there were 1347 hrs. (56 days + 3hrs.).

The probability that this event randomly occurred on the father’s visitation time is 22/1347 or 16 in 1000.

To read more about Hera’s story see today’s Washington Post.



9 Comments on "A mother paid the ultimate price"

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  1. slimone says:

    Dr. Leedom,

    I am so glad that you posted this update. I have a ‘confession’ to make. And it is kind of hard to say…but here goes.

    I wasn’t sure Cappacinoqueen was ‘real’. I had a voice inside my head trying to convince me she wasn’t. That she was too eloquent, too composed, too able to relay her story to all of us, when she was under such duress.

    But another part of me KNEW it was all real. And it absolutely was breaking my heart. I understand that now. I understand I could hardly stand to read, in such eloquent detail, what she was going through, and the abject fear she had for her child’s life. It was almost too much to bear, for me.

    This further validation of Hera and Prince’s horrible tragedy helps me face the reality of the ultimate price she paid. That we all paid with her.

  2. Ox Drover says:

    Liane, I am so sorry that Ari was exposed to this, but also glad that he was able to process the sadness of the loss of another child’s death.

    In the community in which I was brought up, some of my earliest memories have to do with deaths in the family and in the community. With births and deaths now taking place away from the family and home, I think children in our culture today are not allowed to know that death is part of life…. or to grieve with the broken hearted or to know that even a SENSELESS DEATH is part of “what happens” in this world as well.

    So I think that the way you handled this horrible event with your son is a good thing. I have no doubt that this will have a lasting impact on your son, and allow him to process this in such a way that it will strengthen his character and his empathy and his appreciation for helping others.

    The senseless death of a child (of anyone really) should have an impact on those who allowed the senseless death to happen. It should have an effect on society as a whole and hopefully change the way things are done in our “family” courts so that the RIGHTS OF THE CHILDREN to a nurturing home should be enforced, rather than children being used as battering rams or pawns.

    But how is the court to “know” what is right for the child when LAWYERS without any training are the deciders of the fates of children?

    When you put the story of Dr. Amy Castillo up on Love Fraud years ago I wept when I read it, and I thought to myself “this must be a rare event” but since then I have seen countless cases of the same kind of thing…one parent killing the children they were given over the objection of the nurturing parent.

    The march you were scheduled to attend, I have watched this group protest time after time (I get e mail notifications from them) and I do feel their pain and I appreciate that they are willing to continue to march and bring attention to the cause of the CHILDREN.

  3. G1S says:

    Liane,

    Thank you so much for posting this.

    We need to remember that the courts are the product of centuries of elitists. Even the kings couldn’t read or write-that ability was left to the clergy and lawyers.

    http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2009/07/22/is-law-an-elitist-profession-discuss/

    There is no such thing as “children’s rights,” at least not in the court. The premise that parents have rights to their children is based on children and wives being a husband’s chattel.

    http://www.pobronson.com/factbook/pages/100.html

    The judge gave my suicidal son to the woman who caused his suicidal ideation-no questions asked-and yanked him out of psychiatric facility where he was under treatment for transport across state lines with no investigation whatsoever into where he was going or with whom.

    It would have been the ultimate sacrifice if my son had died.

    And if he had died, I honestly believe that I would have chosen to follow him as quickly as possible by my own hand.

  4. Sunflower says:

    My thoughts are still with CQ. I clicked on the link in the WP and found her blog. Wonderfull blog written by a very strong woman. God bless her.

  5. newlife43 says:

    I was just wondering about CQ yesterday and how she was holding up. Thank you for posting the update. I have tears in my eyes after reading some of her blog. Thank you to everyone who posts here to remind us that sociopaths are really as BAD as we think they are and to get and stay away from them permanently, no matter how much we miss them or want what they gave us back.

    I pray for CQ every day. We are with you, CQ, all over the country. In our thoughts and in our prayers.

  6. Eralyn says:

    Thank Lianne for putting your personal view on this horror story. I am ill with the thought of her poor son and I can’t decide what I truly feel. If Luc did do something to that little boy, I hope he receives his due punishment here and on.

    I keep going back to Cappuccinoqueen telling us how she had just dropped him off and described Princes behavior and attitude before and her final good-bye full of love to him as she left. I can’t get it out of my head that Prince was not a dying child!

    I also believe his first seizure was with Luc.

    This brings us to all the facilitators who ignored Hera/cappiq’s fears which were valid. I hope she heals and grows as she sounds like she will but I hope she can help these women and children with no voice in these courts. I really believe I suffer from some form of survivor type guilt as I went through much of the abuse in the courts CappiQ did but I have my daughter with me. I don’t have much else but I have her. So many people minimized or completely ignored my valid fears but I fought anyway. I still don’t feel many believe the father is the monster I know he is and capable of anything. At least his Aunt knows but even she got weary of the fight after over 3 years.

    It takes a toll. It’s more difficult than anyone can imagine to fight a whole court system with your child at stake while people can’t or won’t believe what you know you’re dealing with.

    I am so sorry for Hera McLeod. I hope there is justice here on earth.

    I read her story on “Dastardly Dads” website today also, just an fyi….

  7. Slimone, you were not alone in your doubt. I thank you for your honesty. I wish I had just been a good storyteller, but unfortunately it is all true and what the Washington Post could get away with legally publishing was actually milder than the full story.

    Liane, I appreciate your support. Without your tips, I would not have had the hope that I could have won the game of chess with the psychopath. Unfortunately, as many of us know too well….psychopath’s dont play by the rules – ever. And instead of joining me in the game of chess, he blow up the chess board all together.

    While there is still a criminal investigation into my son’s death, those who have been following my story on cappuccinoqueen.com and here on lovefraud are likely with me – we all know what happened.

    Thanks for your support everyone.

  8. Truthspeak says:

    Liane, I appreciate your insight to this tragic, tragic event. And, I very much appreicate the way that you approached it with Ari. You DO help people – that’s your professional “calling,” and your participation in ANY legitimate event that brings truths to those who are either wilfully ignorant, or simply don’t know is vital. That Ari recognized this and supported your participation is a HUGE testament to what a strong and self-assured human being he is.

    CQueen, I want to say that I had the same misgivings that Slimone expressed, and I will apologize for my mistrust. Today, I am suspicious of everyone and everything – not a day goes by when I don’t meet or speak to someone and I wonder whether those people have an agenda, or not. It’s no excuse, but my experiences are what created this mistrust. I sincerely apologize for my misgivings.

    And, it’s not that you are not articulate, my dear. But, you have a strength and resolve that I cannot begin to attain, and such strength under duress is admirable, but it’s also disconcerting for those (LIKE ME) who don’t have that quality.

    Brightest blessings

  9. slimone says:

    Hera,

    I wish you all the support, love, insight, kindness and healing anyone could ever hope for, or receive.

    My heart is with you and your family.

    Slim