One Oklahoma Woman’s Story Of Her Broken Wings Of Hope
Stillwater, Ok August, 11 (The Oklahoma Post) –
*WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SENSITIVE MATERIAL SURROUNDING CHILD ABUSE AND FORCED ADOPTIONS: IDENTITY OF SOME PERSONS HAVE BEEN CHANGED
It wasn’t the support Stillwater parent Carol Swart thought she would receive from the smiling faces of Stillwater, Oklahoma. The pageantry of gamedays and the thought of her family growing in a small college town community was something she had always dreamed of obtaining. Born and raised in nearby Enid, Oklahoma, she yearned for an opportunity to live in a safer community than the one she had just left. Heather, her oldest is now 24 years old and living in Perry, Oklahoma and her second daughter, Denisse is 23 years old and living in Florida. Carol had successfully brought up two beautiful young women who are living great lives with children of their own. Carol still had the responsibility of one special sidekick named Jasmine, a daughter that she had adopted from a family member years ago. At 44 years old, and now a mother of three, every minute of her day counted. We have hidden the identity of Jasmine for her privacy and per state law for children in state foster care.
Transitioning To Orange Country
At the time of the big move east of I-35, Carol was caring for an elderly patient in Payne county, leaning on the skills she had obtained when she was a Certified Nursing Assistant. Caring for people came naturally in her daily life.
Being the caring woman that she had become, Carol had allowed a lifelong acquaintance named Sylvia Gable and her husband to share the residence, a trailer home, with her and her daughter. The pair had known each other, through family, since childhood so the arrangement of helping others by providing a roof over their head, wasn’t strange to the Mom and her daughter. Carol had always helped Sylvia when she could.
The move to Stillwater in 2019 meant that she wouldn’t have to make the two-hour daily commute along highway 412 any longer, allowing even more time for the single mom to spend with her youngest daughter, who at the time was in elementary school.
Carol’s days were filled with multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet. A job providing items for delivery pickup at the Stillwater Walmart soon opened up in June of 2020 and life couldn’t have been much brighter. Jobs were hard to come by at that time. COVID was supposedly hard on everyone that year.
Predators In The Midst
While sharing the home with Sylvia in 2019, Carol would usually put up with the young visitors that would befriend Sylvia Gable. Jimmy [Identity Protected] who was 23 years of age, was invited over to Carol’s home, by her roommate Gable on numerous occasions. Carol states that the man had been harassing her for months and, on one occasion, hit Carol in the face when she denied his sexual advances. Finally having had enough of this person’s escalating abuse, the high-spirited woman physically removed the man from the home. According to Carol, there was a police presence that witnessed the aftermath of the event. The man was never arrested for the attack on Carol. Carol’s young daughter was at the home at the time. Carol was protecting her family and did so in an astonishing fashion, dragging the young man out of the house and physically defeating him in front of the police that had been called by her roommate Gable.
After the event occurred, Syliva asked Carol to move out through an eviction, despite all the adults being named on the lease. According to Carol, her name is on the lease, and none of the renters own the property. The eviction stated that Carol was “nothing but drama”. Gable allegedly contacted the landlord and then used the police to escort Carol and her daughter out of the home. Carol obliged and moved her family out of the crisis, and into an apartment near downtown on Duck Street with her then-boyfriend Roger [Identity Protected] in late 2020.
The COVID Pandemic – Tougher For Some Than Others
Bad Brad’s, ownership, Vern and Kim Wilson, posted on December 3rd, 2020 that the year had been rough worldwide due to COVID-19. That year the power couple continued their partnership with Lions Meadows of Hope, a Payne County adoption service non-profitt, working in the community since 2015 as a current organization, the group was formally known as Oklahoma Lions Boy’s Ranch.The Wilson’s, were involved with various events as they have been a longtime supporter of the organization. During the COVID economic downturn, many of the attornies, agencies, and local businesses supporting the adoption non-profits had to take out COVID PPP Loans to keep businesses from going under. The restaurant industry was one of the state’s industries hardest hit by the pandemic fallout. Times were indeed difficult for business owners.
The owners of Bad Brad’s are well known in the town of Stillwater for assisting with meal events for Lions Meadows of Hope and foster families. Photos of the events feature the smiling faces of grateful volunteers and government agencies celebrating the spirit of providing foster homes to Payne County families. It’s not uncommon for the events to provide manicures, good smoked meals, and grab bags for the foster families; a feat that couldn’t be accomplished without the generous donors throughout the county. Proceeds and generosity should also be extended to the families experiencing very fixable situations within their biological families, not just the foster families and foster/adoption agencies.
It’s not uncommon for the children in foster care to be plastered on social media at these events. Photos are taken of the adopted or fostered children, while the children are in DHS custody, and paraded on the pages of the foster and adoptive parents’ businesses. The owners of local construction company, McKee Construction, and Frios Pops regularly donates and fosters children in the area. They are just one example of the business owners who do this. We will not be reposting those photos.
After her daughter was taken into DHS custody in 2021, Carol became one of those parents who spent countless evenings trying to catch a glimpse of her daughter at one of the events. Something, anything to let her know her daughter was ok.
Carol started working for Bad Brad’s in February of 2021 and the extra assistance they offered, such as watching Jasmine so she could do her job for them well, was appreciated. This was the blessing she thought she needed. Carol was having trouble finding a babysitter, and the Wilsons offered to help out by letting her daughter come to work with her, and occasionally offering to babysit Jasmin if work became too busy. Carol spent her days waking up and getting Jasmine up and around and ready for the day; if there wasn’t school due to summer vacation or the COVID outbreak Carol, at Wilson’s suggestion, would often bring her child to work, settling her in at Bad Brad’s office, while she spent the morning as the Bad Brad’s Pit Master. Many Payne County residents, including foster parents, have eaten the wonderfully smoked meats prepared by Carol.
Nearly a year had passed and the Swart family’s shocking entrance into the Stillwater community had finally started to calm. A different living situation and a new job brought promise to the family. Not having her own business or ties to the loan providers of Stillwater, Carol worked overtime to make ends meet and had to live in humbling surroundings.
Carol believes that the Wilsons of Bad Brad’s were a blessing at the time but, later, Carol believes the Wilsons must have felt like she was struggling and that they were giving information to adoption agencies.
In May of 2021, Carol states she was called into the office of Bad Brad’s and was propositioned by the couple to adopt her daughter. When she declined the shocking offer, her employment was terminated. The Wilsons claim that Carol simply got upset about something and quit.
The Perry Nightmare
Believing that her child was in good care at the time, Carol never thought twice about the plans that were laid out ahead for her, by outsiders pretending to be of assistance. On October 2nd, 2021 Carol and her daughter’s world drastically changed, causing a trauma that may last generations. A verbal altercation occurred at the new apartment on Duck involving, you know who, Sylvia Gable. Officers came out to the scene and no arrests were made. The altercation started with an argument in Carol’s home in regards to Syvia’s opinion of Carol’s then boyfriend Roger. Carol demanded that Sylvia leave the home, but Sylvia refused. When the police came, Sylvia was escorted off the property.
Carol states she had received a black eye that evening. While walking toward Sylvia and demanding that she leave the apartment, Carol stated tripped over some furniture. You know, the bean bags and kid’s toys that so many parents often have scattered throughout their living spaces.
During these events, the minor child was in Missouri visiting with a grandmother and step-grandfather, a home that is safe and family-friendly.
It must be noted that OKDHS was never involved with Carol’s family until this point.
On October 3rd, 2021, the Stillwater Police Department returned to the mix. Sylvia had returned back to the Carol and Roger’s apartment on Duck Street to allegedly apologize for her behavior towards Carol and her boyfriend the previous day. Carol did not want Sylvia at the home and another argument ensued between the boyfriend, Roger, and Sylvia. Sylvia then called the police to falsely report that the boyfriend had punched Carol during the previous evening’s events, giving her a black eye. A charge everyone but Sylvia denies and those facts have never been taken up in court. The police made the boyfriend leave the apartment that was in his name that evening with the expectation of him returning again at some point. The Police did not bring a report to the Payne County DA, who has direct personal ties to Lions Meadows Of Hope’s Elizabeth Beck through First Assistant District Attorney and former police officer Kevin Etherington.
During the calming of the waters following the storm, Carol traveled to Missouri to visit her parents and pick up her daughter as planned. On Monday morning, October 4th, like any good Stillwater mother, Carol hustled around the house to ensure that her daughter was fed and out the door to school.
Upon returning back to Oklahoma with her child, a big surprise was in store. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services, by the representation of DHS case worker Sara Houston, knocked on Carol’s door. Houston informed Carol that she must leave the home shared with the now ex, Roger, or face the State of Oklahoma taking custody of Jasmine immediately.
The caseworker, Houston, stated to Carol that she could not leave the state again because there was now an open DHS investigation. However, there were no courts or charges of wrongdoing. Houston stated that if Carol and her daughter did not go as a pair to the new home of her old “friend” Sylvia in Perry Oklahoma, OKDHS would start the removal process of her child to DHS custody. The option was a shock to Carol, who was wondering how Sylvia’s name was being brought into an OKDHS investigation; however, she wasn’t sure of her rights or the right decision to make for her family, so she felt forced to live with her one-time friend. The decision was coerced and temporary in Carol’s now frantic mind.
During the expedient transition to temporary housing, OKDHS allegedly did not perform a background check on the new home until Carol and her daughter had been living there for three weeks. Sylvia’s home in Perry is not family to Jasmine and is not a licensed foster home. OKDHS did finally perform a background check and found that one of the people, Jack [Identity protected], Sylvia had invited into the Perry home prior to Carol and Jasmine’s entry, was flagged for a child sexual abuse police report. Sylvia’s daughter’s boyfriend had also begun living with Sylvia unbeknownst to Carol, as she had little contact with Sylvia since her eviction from the trailer home a year earlier. Carol stated to Houston that she would simply move and go to her parents in Missouri, a very safe home, but Houston rejected Carol’s attempt to normalize her life.
Soon after Carol and her daughter’s placement in another county, the Payne County Assistant District Attorney set up a meeting, at the encouragement of Sylvia, to discuss pressing charges against her boyfriend, Roger, for the black eye incident that neither Carol nor Roger admits to occurring. However, never was a discussion held by the DA in regards to Carol’s complaints about Sylvia and the forced living arrangement.
Carol openly states that there were moments of extreme despair and confusion, but her suspicions grew as Jack had seemed to disappear from the home the day before the DHS home investigation to determine the child’s welfare. According to reports, Sylvia then was dishonest with investigators about this person living in the home in nearby Perry Oklahoma. At some point, a shallow apology was made by Sylvia to Carol for the developing mess and small steps toward friendship ensued. However, upon learning of Carol’s wanting to move to Missouri. Sylvia soon became toxic again.
The Hot Wings Of Hopelessness
Rightly so, just days later, Carol then flips her lid on the situation and an argument occurred in relation to this person that was living at the home prior to Carol’s placement and her former employer pressuring her to adopt away her daughter. The argument resulted in police getting called to the residence in Perry on October 20th, 2021, just three weeks after Carol and Jasmine had been placed in the home with Sylvia. Not feeling safe in her current environment and not knowing where to go, Carol moved back to Roger’s apartment for a weekend before attempting to go to Missouri with her daughter. It should be noted that Roger was also a longtime employee at Bad Brads and his employment was also terminated by the Wilsons in late 2021.
According to Wilson, Roger was terminated because, “he came in to work drunk and started yelling at everyone.” When speaking to Mr. Wilson, he also contends that Carol was beat up by Roger, and her refusal to press charges is why her daughter is now in foster care; almost a word-for-word quote. The Oklahoma Post’s phone call with Mr. Wilson was filled with contradictions of what other credible, validated, and verified sources have provided the Oklahoma Post. However, this story is about Carol, not the Wilsons.
Upon notice from Sylvia, Sarah Houston made a DHS visit to Roger’s apartment and ordered Carol to go to the domestic violence non-profit Wings Of Hope or face DHS intervention.
The non-profit has strong ties to the Stillwater police department and adoption agencies throughout the county. Officer/Detective Mary Jurczewsky-Kellison the director of Wings of Hope, Officer Lejeune, and Holly Chandler of the Saville Center were involved with these cases and have all been accused (uninvestigated) of fraud in separate court filings.
So, Carol and her young child moved to the Wings of Hope non-profit.
On February 21st, 2022 DHS took Jasmine to placement at Cindy Puggly’s house, at Carol’s request, who was a former friend and coworker doing Walmart deliveries that Cindy was subcontracting out to Carol.
As soon as Carol moved into the shelter Laura Sharp became the newly assigned DHS caseworker and according to Carol, “Sharp said there were no court hearings to remove her child as long as I do what they say. Still, I didn’t have a choice to leave. I wasn’t on drugs and I wasn’t drinking. I didn’t do anything to anyone other than to protect my child. They wanted me to do classes for domestic violence abuse and to begin mental health counseling, something they later tried to say as a reason for not giving me back my daughter. I stopped seeing Laura Sharp at Wings of Hope because she kept demanding more out of me that there was no content to discuss and so I refused to see her. She waited until a new staff member was hired and gave them my file. Then it went downhill.”
Carol was able to manage without the manicures and gift bags currently being handed out to foster parents across the county. She needed an attorney, but couldn’t afford one that wasn’t working for the State. The local Legal Aid Services of Payne county ignored Carol’s calls for assistance. Eventually, a court-appointed attorney was provided by Judge Kulling. Just two days later on February 23rd, 2022 at the first court hearing of Carol’s case she was assigned to court-appointed attorney Sherry Wallace DeBord who is recognized online as being a Perry Oklahoma attorney specifically practicing in Adoption. Carol could not afford the $10,000 needed for a private attorney to protect her legal interests. Judge Kulling gave her a card and ordered Carol to call the court-appointed attorney that day.
Carol didn’t have an attorney leading up to and during a second hearing on February 28th. Carol called and called her court-appointed attorney without being provided a conversation regarding the matter. Sherry withdrew as counsel just a few days before the second court hearing before Payne County Judge Kulling, and just before the second hearing the Wilsons took custody of young Jasmine.
According to Swart, the State of Oklahoma didn’t notify Carol that her daughter was in the process of being removed from Cindy’s home. The location and name of the new foster family were withheld from Carol. When Carol scanned the galley of citizens in attendance at the hearing she spotted her former supervisors, Kim and Vern Wilson, in the crowd.
The mother later learned later that the Owners of Bad Brad’s, Kim and Vern Wilson, used Sherry DeBord, the same attorney who had been appointed to represent her, as their private attorney for their adoption matters. Carol was also informed through the court at the second hearing that Jasmine was now in fact in a foster placement with the BBQ power couple, her former employers. Carol begged the courts to remove the child and objected to the ordeal, but the argument was not heard by Judge Kulling. “So they were a conflict of interest and everybody knew that and still they continue to allow them to take my daughter against my objections. So now these people have my daughter that they want to adopt.” Carol told The Oklahoma Post. We reached out to the officer of the court DeBord and found that she is on vacation at the moment out of state.
Swart went on to say, “I woke up, took my daughter to school or work with me and of course took extra help when Vern and Kim offered, so I could finish the work they assigned to me. The last thing I thought is that they would snake their way into stealing my child. I’m worthy to work my ass off, but you are claiming through your actions that I wasn’t worthy of being a parent to my third child. I was dealing with some really strange and heavy baggage in a short period of time. The fact is I trusted them and they took advantage of me. I don’t wish this experience on any parents. I’m a great mother of three beautiful daughters.”
The Oklahoma Post contacted Vern Wilson for an opportunity to address the allegations against the BBQ franchiser. Vern stated in a phone call that the allegations by Carol are untrue. Vern stated that the rumors involving the children are due to Carol’s refusal to stay at Wings Of Hope. However, there were no court cases or orders for Carol to stay at the facility. When asked about why she wasn’t part of the Bad Brad team any longer, “she quit and wasn’t a part of our life, she moved away, we didn’t hear anything until a year later, and someone that is in connection with her said hey by the way, we knew the situation last year, and hey, by the way, did you know the girl is in DHS custody? And I’m sorry if you think it’s bad that a child that I knew was in DHS custody and I stepped up to try to do something about it, to make sure that she was in a good spot”.
When we asked Mr. Wilson about the steps he had to take with the process of getting involved he explained, ” ..we have to do background checks and mental health evaluations, all those things to make sure we are decent people”.
We went on to ask about the troubles Carol and her daughter may have had when she was an employee with the company. Why didn’t you help them then The Ok Post asked, “When you try to give more hours to people it’s not as easy as you think buddy, they don’t show up, they want to do something else. She [Carol] was trying to work multiple jobs, she was trying to go to school” Wilson explained. All good qualities of a person, a decent person I deducted.
Carol was forced to miss her daughter’s birthday in May of 2022 because the foster parents and DHS refused to allow contact.
According to Carol, her therapy provider said that her outbursts are due to past trauma and current trauma caused by these events, that reacting in a passionate way is even recognized by law. Megan Stewart, a therapist for Grand Lakes has been her therapist since her initial entry into Wings of Hope. Carol went on her own accord to a private therapist because of her distrust for the Wings Of Hope therapy that was also in the process of changing mental health staff.
Carol is also greatly concerned for her daughter’s safety in the Wilson home, but has nowhere to go to report her concerns given the nepotism and interrelations between law enforcement, Wings of Hope, DHS, and other agencies that cause her to have distrust. Two videos Carol has in her possession claim to be of her minor daughter complaining about physical abuse from Vern Wilson, yet she stated she feels she has no one to turn to and no one in any position of authority to trust. Most of the persons I’ve dealt with are somehow related. We did not post the information, because to our understanding no one from the OSBI has heard or viewed the information. We did see one of the videos in which the young girl states that an adult involved with her foster placement has punched the girl and spanked her until she cries.
The Oklahoma Post has also reached out to Ranson in regards to her role on the Lions Meadows Hope Board Of Directors and we received no comment. We could not verify her involvement with the board, with exception of a whistleblower statement from a neighboring foster agency.
“I wanted her to be with family where she knows where she is from. I’m her mom. She and I have experienced enough trauma, of course, I am going to express myself if people are messing with my kids. This judge is basing a whole child removal based on me being pissed off, and that my attitude must change soon is a farce and illegal. How would you feel and act?” Swart explained.
“They allowed my daughter to come to work while they watched her and fell in love with her. They only had her when I worked. Later they asked me if they can adopt her and I said no. And they fired me on the spot. It was crushing to me and I felt like I was in the twilight zone. No one would believe what I told them had happened.” Carol exclaimed. She pushed out the sentence in one breath as if it was the first time someone had looked her in the eyes when providing her allegation of coercion.
Sarah Kennedy has been Carol’s attorney since the fallout of the February hearings of 2022. Carol’s next court date is October 12th, a date on which she will learn if the State of Oklahoma will return Jasmine to her.
(Writing by Gregory Moyer; Editing by Robbie Robertson)
Copyright 2022 The Oklahoma Post
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