By Amy Silverman
By Olivia LaVecchia
By Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons
By Chris Parker
By Michael Lacey
By Weston Phippen
Take My Child, Please
Too many parents: Your cover story demonstrates the incredible lengths people will go to so they can hang on to a child ("Indian Takers," Paul Rubin, March 22). All the people in the article who wanted little Raven Laws were well-meaning.
The mother and father, who of course had biological rights to the girl, had drug problems, which (in the mother's case) she had seemingly solved. But even the father seems to have gotten his act together enough to at least provide daycare for Raven.
This is not to say that they deserved custody of the girl, because once a tweaker, maybe always a tweaker. Only time will tell whether the court's decision to give Raven to [the mom] was a good one.
And what an interesting twist, with the foster family, the Bessingers, apparently hiring that phony Indian tribe to try to claim custody of Raven to keep her away from mom Shelly Walters. I think they thought they were doing what was best, because of Shelly's past scrapes with the law. Also, they had fallen in love with the little girl and couldn't stand to lose her.
But the Bessingers let things get out of hand when the two Native American women took Raven from her mom's house while Raven's teenage sister was home. I'm surprised some criminal charges weren't filed over that.
Maggie Hamilton, Phoenix
Investment in the future:I'm just wondering how long it will be before the Bessingers decide that they need to be compensated for all their time spent caring for Raven Laws.
Honestly, it doesn't sound like her mother has been too grateful for the fact that they raised and cared for her daughter. I wouldn't hold it against the Bessingers for wanting to be reimbursed for their time and money.
And I completely agree that Child Protective Services is a joke. Anyone trying to do right by a child knows that CPS is completely incapable of doing what's in the best interest of a child and that it worries more about the rights of the shitty parents.
Bonnie Powers, Wickenburg
Growing Native: This was a really interesting story that I read from the start to the end. I started off thinking that the old couple was getting screwed by the system, but then they hired the Indian tribe to keep the mother from getting that little girl. In the end, I guess Raven is going to have a hell of a time making it in life.
Ralph Ontiveros, via the Internet
Shades of gray: This was a good story about Raven Laws. What was going on was very complicated, but Paul Rubin, whose stories I love, put it together. The problem is I'm still not sure where I stand on the case. Nothing is easy in life, I guess.
Janie Snowden, Tempe
Custodial incompetence: This is one fucked-up saga, and while it's great that everything is working out for little Raven, I've got to point out a few things.
The Bessingers went overboard. No matter their motivation, they went about it the wrong way, lying about cops showing up at their house to harass them. Come on!
They also claimed there was abuse by the mother. If indeed there was abuse, why did the Bessingers take so long to report it?
On the other side, the mother, Shelly Walters, seems very ungrateful for the three years of free child care she got from the Bessingers.
This story just goes to show how fucking incompetent the morons at CPS really are. The agency uses the drug-felon parents as partial justification for removing the girl from the Bessingers' care. It then goes on to endorse the father as the child's primary caregiver while the mom is at work? (And he keeps skipping out on his drug tests.)
Finally, what's up with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office? It can go after a child as an adult in an alleged child-porn case ("Doubting Thomas," Sarah Fenske, January 25), but it can't make a case against the two Native American women, who are self-admitted kidnappers.
Name withheld by request
Judge, not: Lisa Daniels Flores (I cannot, in good conscience, address her as Judge) should be removed from the bench. What was she thinking, returning Raven to her dysfunctional parents? I pray that Raven does not end up being another physically and sexually abused child.
Name withheld by request
Fans Club Us
Giving the people what they want: After reading your article, which Robrt L. Pela wrote before seeing Ted Neeley's show, I can only surmise that the writer is jealous of someone who can perform a show from 30 years ago to sold-out crowds coast to coast at age 66 ("Christ Complex," March 22).
Neeley has other projects going, but the public has asked for him to do Jesus Christ Superstar. The tour was to end this June, but because of the public, the citizens of this country (and other countries like Spain and Italy), it's now going to start a second round starting in November 7. The last tour Neeley did was to be for three months but ended up being three years. He says as long as people love the show and want to see it, he will continue to do it.
Susan Kern, Lakewood, Colorado