In August 2015 I was contacted on one of the pen pal websites by a guy named Brad, from a village in Michigan. Brad is a 35 year old veteran who works part time as a mechanic. He is also a village council trustee, with ambitions to become a village president one day.
We started talking on a daily basis, He was very charming and entertaining and seemed very reliable, always responding to my messages almost instantly.
Brad told me that he was married for the second time and his wife was pregnant. He said that although his current wife was better than the first one, he wasn’t happy and has been thinking about divorce for some time. In fact he got married to her because “there was nothing better available.”
He said his first wife divorced him after only a couple of months after his first child was born. He claimed she was crazy and cheated on him with “6 different dudes”.
In fact, his other partners cheated as well and one apparently tried to poison him, using eyedrops that she was adding to his drinks.
Brad’s army career was cut short due to developing a nerve condition following a course of vaccinations.
Needless to say, I started feeling sorry for him almost instantly.
About 3-4 weeks after we started talking Brad told me he was deeply in love with me. And all he wanted was to take care of me until we get old together.
I found the recent development quite shocking and over the top and kept reminding him that he was married and I wasn’t interested in neither an online nor any other kind of affair.
I live in England and the plans he had for us seemed unreal, to say the least.
Anyway, in November, shortly after his child was born he applied for divorce and presented me with a picture of his complaint for divorce.
By that time I was in love with him. He seemed perfect, despite the fact that he didn’t have much money or education and other social differences between us. I found myself talking to him for hours every single day, messages, FaceTime, Skype.
In December Brad informed me that he couldn’t stay under one roof with his soon to be ex wife, and decided to move in with his parents. He bought me a promise ring with our names engraved on it and was going to give it to me in Canada, where we were going to meet in March. He kept sending me letters and cards, where he called me his wife, as well as little craft items he made himself.
We seemed to have a great connection, I told him all about myself. He was aware that I have been suffering from depression, my ex husband was abusive towards me, and knew all my other problems.
After a couple of weeks from his divorce application I started enquiring about the progress of the case and asked if he received any additional documents from the court. His answers were always very vague and evasive. He claimed to be calling the court every couple of weeks and finally presented me with a temporary custody order.
Every single time I expressed doubts about the authenticity of the divorce process he would swear that he was getting divorced, as he couldn’t live without me and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. When told that my friends and family had doubts too, he would say that they were simply jealous of our happiness.
I also found myself constantly worried about his health. There was always something wrong with him, either it was his nerve condition, headache, blackouts, amnesia, joint pains, indigestion, you name it! He even claimed to be diagnosed with mild brain damage! I spent many sleepless nights thinking and being worried about his ill health.
One day I asked him to give me his dad’s number as I would like to be informed if something happens to him. He gave the number to me.
In March 2016 we finally met in Canada. We exchanged the promise rings and started our vacation.
I quickly realised that something wasn’t quite right with “my future husband.” He didn’t want to go out anywhere, would rather stay at a hotel or a cottage, had childish tantrums, refused to eat and found pleasure in me feeding him with a spoon. He was prone to anger outbursts, snatching a map from my hands at one point, shouting at me when I was on my phone, accusing me that I didn’t come to Canada for him but just on holiday.
After such irrational actions he used to apologise and promise not to do it again.
I also noticed that I was the one paying for almost everything — shopping, restaurants and attractions (when I was successful to persuade him to actually do some sightseeing).
I also gave him all the remaining money I had for fuel before he drove back to the U.S., as he claimed he couldn’t afford it.
After I came back to England, he continued as if nothing had happened, apologised again for treating me badly, and promised to visit me in England in June.
In the meantime I found pictures of him and his soon to be ex wife on various internet sites, confronted him about it, demanded an explanation. He claimed that she was trying to hold onto them and he will tell her do delete them. After a few days some of the pictures disappeared.
I constantly insisted on being updated about the divorce proceedings. Every time he claimed that he had to contact the court as they failed to send him certain document. Eventually in May he presented his final divorce order, signed by the judge, the court clerk and stamped with an official court stamp. Then he said that we can finally start planning our wedding.
In June he came to see me in England. I introduced him to my daughter (who we decided was going to be my bridesmaid) and my friends. However, quickly things went down the hill and his behaviour seemed even more erratic than in Canada. He would cause constant arguments, dress up in the middle of the night and pack his suitcase threatening he would sleep on the street.
One evening he smashed my remote control against the wall. He claimed he had hernia and didn’t want to go out anywhere again. If I convinced him to go out, I was the one paying for most of the things, bought clothes for him, an electric toothbrush, was buying his favourite food, just to make him happy. During arguments he was always shouting, “you didn’t do sh*t for me!”
After he went back home to the U.S., the same scenario followed. He expressed his never ending love and apologised for his inappropriate behaviour.
Every time I had doubts about his real intentions or authenticity of his court documents he would show more proof, like emails he was exchanging with his ex wife where they discussed her final departure from the house.
He promised to take me to his village to introduce me to his parents, show me all the places he told me about.
In September I flew to Chicago, quickly the new accusations started Apparently, I went there to see Chicago, not to see him. Took him to The Art Institute, from which he stormed out after about 45 minutes. When I tried to find out what the problem was, I was shouted at again and found out that “I thought I was better than him because I was walking around the museum looking at all the paintings!”
He told me that after 2 days he only had 120 dollars left, at that point we still had 12 days of vacation left. However, when I checked his wallet it turned out he had 600 in it!
All the time in Chicago and later in a lakeside resort where we rented a cottage, he slept with a loaded gun either under his pillow or on a bedside table. One night he just got out of bed grabbed his firearm and went downstairs; I could hear him walking around the house with it. In the morning he claimed he did not recall doing it! It should be mentioned that Brad is a firearms fanatic and according to his account he owns almost 40 different guns.
At that point I was almost 100% sure we would not go to his village in Michigan, and that either he was still in a relationship with his wife or someone else. I was, however insisting on being taken there. One day when we were driving from a cottage in another town when he suddenly developed cramps in his hands and couldn’t drive anymore, we had to go back to the rented house.
I was crying to the point of choking and not being able to breath, begging him to tell me what the truth was. He was looking at me emotionless and shouted that he wasn’t in a relationship with anyone but me, and that I was being paranoid.
One day he locked himself in the bathroom and then the bedroom, covering his ears and sobbing. Didn’t want to talk to me or get out of it.
I decided to call his father. Introduced myself and said what the problem was. The person on the other side sounded very young for a man in his late 60s; however he promised to come to the cottage and talk too his son.
After about an hour of waiting I decided to inform Brad that his dad was apparently on his way. He went absolutely mad, accusing me of betrayal, alienating him from his dad, said he couldn’t trust me! Jumped in his car and drove off, then started calling me ordering to pack up my things and saying that he was going to drive me back to Chicago.
Daddy never showed up, as expected . It turned out a few days later it obviously wasn’t his father. Till this day I have no idea who I talked to.
On my last day he finally promised to take me to his village after finding his “motivation.”
We drove through that village with the speed of light, without stopping. I told him that it was the last straw and it was all over! More verbal abuse followed and I was told to f*ck off! I was sure then that he was still married and didn’t want to be seen with me.
When he took me back to the airport in Chicago he apologised for treating me badly and for not being able to behave better. He reassured me about his deep love for me.
On the day of my arrival back in England I contacted the court in Michigan and was told that there is no record of such divorce case.
I called Brad and he claimed that the court lost the records! Only when I told him that I was going to hire a private investigator he admitted forging all the documentation and could not offer any explanation with regards of his actions. He said he was hoping that everything would just fall in place.
I decided to email his wife with all the evidence and was informed that not only they aren’t divorced, she is expecting another child with him.
The news was absolutely devastating. My depression deteriorated as more facts were emerging.
I found out about 3 arrest warrants that were issued when he wasn’t showing up in court with relation to child support for the child from his first marriage. I also discovered that he was deliberately putting my health in danger (for confidentiality reasons I can’t reveal any more information regarding this matter). He lied about seeing a psychologist. Made up stories about his sister who apparently works for one of the government agencies looking for a job for him as an air marshal. Claimed to be a treasurer for the village council, meanwhile he does not hold any special role except being a trustee.
Two weeks after coming back from the U.S., I had a hemorrhage on my way back from work; turned out it was a miscarriage. When I contacted Brad about it, he just said he was sorry.
As far as I know the prosecutor did not press charges with relation to him forging 4 different documents. His wife is divorcing him and I suspect he is now sponging off of his parents who most likely are paying for his legal representation.
I truly believe Brad is a very dangerous man who destroyed many lives and he will not stop. The fact that he is allowed to own and carry firearms is also beyond me.
He is a true master of deception, he can lie his way out of any situation, often playing the disability card and making his victims feel sorry for him.
I suspect that his wife is not aware of who she really is dealing with and how viscous and dangerous he can be.
I will never forget how he looked at me during one of the arguments with his cold piercing eyes, full of anger and hatred. I have never seen or experienced anything like that before. I felt I was standing in front of the devil.