Longform

The Case From Hell, Part I

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He might have gotten just that if he and other officials had bothered to read Christopher's painstaking police report, which completely deconstructed Aimee's claims. Smart admits he hasn't read the report, and Christopher says as far as she knows no one else from HRS, the State Attorney's Office, or the Guardian Ad Litem program has come to her office to read it since she closed the case in April. Nor, says Christopher, did officials seek her opinion of the case, despite the fact that she sent them her major findings, most of which debunked Aimee's and Michelle's claims. In a broader sense, Christopher worries about the implications of a case in which an objective, in-depth criminal probe by police carries less weight with the juvenile court than investigations by HRS and Guardians Ad Litem. "All I found was a strict mother and a kid that wanted to run away," Christopher says. "They kept saying this family was dysfunctional. If they were, the system made them that way.

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Steven Almond