Beaten by the System

Mom of battered child receives false sense of security from county sheriff's office

"I can certainly understand her frustration," Trombi says. "There was nothing done here by the sheriff's office that was wrong. These are the hurdles involved in civil process. We jump over them when we can, but there are times when we cannot."

What the deputies do, when they cannot locate someone, is leave business cards, Trombi says.

To Van Dyke, it seems a futile gesture. After all, what person is likely to immediately call a law enforcement agency after being told he or she is to be served with a court order?

Donna Van Dyke and her daughter, Brenna, back at home in their Mesa apartment.
Kevin Scanlon
Donna Van Dyke and her daughter, Brenna, back at home in their Mesa apartment.

Trombi says he is glad to know that not one, but two, business cards were left at Van Dyke's apartment.

"That shows we're being diligent," he says.

Had a third try to find Van Dyke's boyfriend failed, or had he not returned any of the requests to contact a deputy, Trombi says her protection order would have been returned to the sheriff's administrative staff and given back to Van Dyke to be resubmitted.

"Three times," Trombi says, "has been determined to be due diligence."

For Van Dyke, the business cards represent a frightening lack of sympathy. She cannot help but think that no one cared about her situation, even though her court papers specifically say that her boyfriend, a large man at 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, allegedly beat her child.

The boyfriend, Shannon Partridge, says he never saw a business card from the sheriff's office. He is more upset that the Superior Court judge required him, in the protection order, to turn over his firearms and ammunition to Mesa police.

He disputes Van Dyke's claim that he injured her daughter. He was not arrested, and no charges have been filed.

"They [Mesa police] asked me if I disciplined her," Partridge says. "Yes, I have disciplined her, but I never beat a kid."

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