“‘Removal’ shall mean the action taken by the Department, on the court’s authorization, to obtain custody of a minor whose stability and safety are being threatened and who must be protected.”
– Act No. 177, Section 2; “Ley para el Bienestar y la Protección Integral de la Niñez” August 1, 2003
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“I get more homesick by the day. Time goes by so slowly here, it feels like it’s been years passing…”
Excerpt of journal entry, April 7, 2005
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In 2005, the Elias family made headlines around the island of Puerto Rico when details on their unorthodox lifestyle came to light. A man living with three women as his wives and their twelve children, the American family professed a deep love of the Lord and a desire to obey Him in every aspect of their lives: this included the area of marriage, of schooling, of birthing, of vaccinations, and of rejecting governmental interference in their children’s lives through not registering them for birth certificates or social security numbers. When a son died, an eight year old boy named Matthew, the family would not go to the morgue to identify his body. The public of Puerto Rico could not understand why – and they demanded for the government to interfere.
What they didn’t know, and what the government didn’t tell them, was about the unlawful removal of the children that took place only five months before the boy’s death. The nightmares and fears that now wracked them; the abuse and disease that were swept beneath the carpet. The haunting intervention that resulted in the death of a child: an intervention that was later declared to have been unjustifiable according to the law.
A tale of injustice, of persecution, of tragedy, Mere Suspicion is the first half of this epically tragic but ultimately redemptive true story, told from the perspective of a ten year old girl who experienced it first hand.
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