Contributed to TLB by Medical Kidnap and Health Impact News
A Michigan teenager was close to death in CPS custody in December, but advocates worked together to fight for her life. Abbie Odonnell, now 15, is much better, but now her twin sister Alexis, who remains in a juvenile detention facility, has deteriorated to the point where her family fears for her life. Her mother says:
She won’t survive another 7 months.
Before Child Protective Services and the state of Michigan became involved in their lives, the girls showed no signs of any eating disorders. After being taken from their home and family, Abbie has developed anorexia and bulimia, and Alexis has bulimia.
It took social media and an article from Health Impact News on their Medical Kidnap website to get help for Abbie, whose condition had become very serious in December, and she is now on the road to recovery.
When the article was written, she was in the hospital and was scheduled to go back to the Wolverine Secure Treatment Center upon her release from the hospital. Because of public attention and the efforts of many advocates, she was never placed back into Wolverine. In mid-January, she was transferred to River Centre Clinic, an eating disorders treatment facility in Ohio.
Since that time, she is seeing trained therapists, and has now reached her goal weight. She had previously lost so much weight that she was down to only 92 lbs under CPS custody. Her mother has been able to visit her recently, and she is in the process of being reunified and going back home.
Now it is her twin sister Alexis who desperately needs help. Her family was alarmed when they saw the condition Alexis was in at court last week in shackles, and the family has again reached out to Health Impact News and their readers for help. They have not been allowed to take pictures of Alexis, but the description of her current condition is shocking.
Girls Punished and Removed from Parental Custody for Smoking Marijuana One Time
Their story of CPS involvement began when Abbie and Alexis were 13 years old. Though their family does not excuse what the twins did, they have been devastated by the excessive consequences that the girls are suffering. The girls are being punished after admitting to smoking pot on one occasion. A photo of them with marijuana paraphernalia wound up on Instagram and Child Protective Services was contacted.
A social worker showed up on their doorstep and demanded that their mother, Laura Dalton, go to the courts and file charges on the twins for being “incorrigible” – in other words, not following the rules. If she didn’t, Laura was told that she risked having the girls taken from her. Laura believed that the system was trying to help her family.
She was wrong.
When the twins were sick and missed school one day shortly after that time, CPS showed up the next day and took the twins into custody. CPS also took their 15 year old sister Alyssa, who had nothing to do with the situation. Alyssa was placed in one foster home, and the twins in another.
The twins’ foster home proved to be an abusive placement. First Alexis, then Abbie ran away from the abusers. After they were found, instead of the “protective” system applauding them for being strong enough to leave an abusive situation, the probation officer and CPS demanded punishment. Abbie and Alexis were sentenced to a year at the Wolverine Secure Treatment Facility as a consequence for going AWOL from the abusive foster home.
See original story:
The girls’ grandmother wants to know what this is supposed to be teaching her granddaughters. She says that this goes way beyond teaching them a lesson. The trauma they have faced will affect them for the rest of their lives. With everything that is happening to Alexis, the rest of her life may not be very long unless things change.
Alexis – Hands and Legs Shackled, Forced Drugs, Health Deteriorating
Since being taken from her home, Alexis has become bulimic, and her condition has rapidly deteriorated in the 5 months of her incarceration at Wolverine. When she came to court last week, her legs were shackled. Her hands and her legs were shackled when she went to a dietitian the same week. Her hair is falling out. She has sores on her knuckles from forcing herself to throw up. Her tongue is black. Her menstrual cycles have stopped. During court last week, Laura learned that her daughter is now being given birth control pills, without her consent, in an effort to get her cycles started again. This ignores that the underlying cause of her amenorrhea is likely malnutrition from the bulimia.
She is experiencing frequent nose bleeds. Her grandmother tells Health Impact News that her eyes are sagging, and that she looks anemic. The girls have an olive skin tone, but “she’s white now.”
There is no feeling in her eyes. They’ve taken her spirit out. Her spirit is gone.
Her mother has learned that these are all symptoms of bulimia which indicate that the condition has been present for some time.
When Alexis saw a dietitian last Thursday, her blood sugar was down to 48. She hadn’t eaten for 2 days. Normal fasting blood sugar is 80 to 110. Below 70 is considered hypoglycemic. After eating a banana, it came up to 52. She has passed out at least twice at the Wolverine facility. Laura says that the dietitian told her that, with these numbers, this is affecting Alexis’s brain.
Laura has pleaded with Wolverine to get her daughter help, but they still have not sent her to a doctor or hospital. She recently described Alexis’s symptoms to Abbie’s eating disorder therapist, who warned her that, while the effects of anorexia are readily apparent to anyone watching, the effects of bulimia can be even worse, insidiously so, because most of the damage is internal. Their esophagus can rupture from repeated vomiting. Bulimia can also lead to electrolyte imbalance and heart attack. Laura is frightened for Alexis:
The internal damage is even scarier. She could bleed internally and nobody would be there to help her. She would be locked away in her cell.
Laura has learned that the staff at Wolverine is not trained to deal with bulimia and other eating disorders, and she desperately wants Alexis to be transferred somewhere where they can help her, before it is too late. When Laura recently described Alexis’s symptoms to an eating disorder therapist, she was told that Alexis is past the point of being able to pull herself out of this. Her body is conditioned to “purging after eating,” and the bulimia has affected her mind. She requires help to get through this. But that help isn’t happening at Wolverine. They do not have the training.
Instead of acknowledging the real mental health issue that is occurring, staff at Wolverine has stated to Laura that:
commenting on weight and her eating has been reinforcing the undesired behavior [of bulimia] …
At the facility where Abbie is, meals are planned according to specific guidelines. She is on a 2600 calorie diet in order to maintain her weight. When she eats, she generally has about an hour or so to eat, and someone is with her the entire time. She has made considerable progress in the 3 months she has been there.
In contrast, Alexis is on a 1300 calorie diet, and generally is given 10 to 15 minutes to eat. Her condition continues to deteriorate. She does not always have someone watching her when she eats.
The staff at Wolverine has allegedly been trained not to draw attention to the eating disorder, but this is not the way to handle it according to an eating disorder specialist consulted by Laura Dalton.
Pleas have allegedly fallen on deaf ears for Alexis to be transferred out of Wolverine and into a facility equipped to help her with her bulimia. According to court documents:
Recently, there have been concerns that Alexis is struggling with her eating disorder. Wolverine is taking the proper precautions, as recommended by this worker, to determine whether or not Alexis needs treatment elsewhere.
Both Alexis’s mother and grandmother are asking how much more she will have to go through before they listen. They do not believe that Wolverine is concerned about Alexis’s well being.
According to a court document, Wolverine staff wrote:
How is Alexis benefiting from continued treatment at Wolverine when her health has deteriorated so badly? Would it not be more beneficial to not neglect her medical health and to place her in a facility equipped to help her deal with her bulimia, before it is too late?
The one positive thing is that Alexis is no longer being housed with a resident accused of murdering 7 people. After this frightening housing arrangement was reported in December by Health Impact News, Alexis was immediately transferred to the other side of the facility. This happened on the day the article was published. She is now in the Life Skills Endeavor program. Her family hopes that she will be transferred out of Wolverine altogether.
Separation of Twins is Very Hard on Them
The girls have been accused of using anorexia and bulimia for attention and as an attempt to manipulate the system into allowing them to be together. This has been repeated over several months by the social worker and the probation officer. The social worker now appears to recognize that it would be better for the twins to be together, but the probation officer has reportedly made it clear to the family and to the court that the intent is for Alexis to serve out the 7 remaining months of her sentence at Wolverine. She does not want both girls to be together in the same facility, even if it is an eating disorder clinic specially equipped to address their bulimia and/or anorexia.
Remember that the sentence is for escaping an abusive foster home.
According to the Michigan Department of Corrections, adult prisoners in prison are allowed between 2 to 8 visits per month with family members, including siblings. Only the prisoners who are considered great threats to security are limited to 2 or 3 visits. All other prisoners are permitted between 4 and 8 visits, depending on their level.
Yet, these young, teenage girls have been repeatedly denied visits. State policy says that siblings in foster care are permitted one visit per month with each other.
It is unclear what has led to state policies allowing violent adult criminals far more visitation rights with family members and siblings than children who are in the foster care system.
There is ample data showing that children need time and relationship with parents and siblings, and twins even more so. There is no manipulation going on here; it is a valid psychological need.
Mounds of research show that separation of twins is extremely difficult on the twins, to a level which may be difficult for non-twins to comprehend. According to the book Twin and Triplet Psychology: A Professional Guide to Working with Multiples:
The most frightening prospect for many twins is the loss of the co-twin. Elizabeth Bryan (Chapter 11) shows how the death of a twin is probably the most traumatic event in the surviving twin’s life, often greater than that of the death of a spouse. Source.
Patricia Herrmann is the mother of medically kidnapped teen Marcky Herrmann – “A Child in Canada.” Though Marcky is now free of Canadian Child Protective Services, he and his twin Nathan are still suffering the effects of being traumatized by the forced separation. While Marcky was held captive, his mother spoke many times of the devastation that both of her twin boys felt from being separated.
See Marcky’s story:
There is a deep soul yearning between twins to be together; it is not manipulation. Before CPS entered their lives, Abbie and Alexis had never been separated from each other. Just before court last week, they had a brief visit for perhaps 10 minutes. This was their first time to see each other in 2 months.
It has been much longer than that since either twin has seen their older sister Alyssa.
Last weekend, both Abbie and Alyssa were at last able to see their young niece for the first time in almost a year and a half.
To what end does the state of Michigan keep these children and even the twins separated from each other? It seems apparent that the twins’ health would benefit greatly from being reunited. What purpose does it serve to force Alexis to serve 7 more months in Wolverine at the grave risk of her health?
The social worker has reportedly recommended that the girls be reunited and return home, but the probation officer insists that the twins are displaying the eating disorders in order to be together. She has reportedly dug in her heals in her demand for Alexis to remain at Wolverine. Her mother doesn’t know if her daughter will survive that long, unless she gets help – help which Wolverine is unable to provide.
Hope for Alyssa
The twins’ older sister Alyssa is reportedly supposed to be coming home soon from the lock-down facility where she has been since she turned 17 (the legal age to live on her own). Despite all of the challenges she has faced, she is doing very well academically, and has a 4.0 GPA. She made the President’s list. She has also reportedly reached 100% of her programs goals.
After the Health Impact News article reported that her wisdom teeth had become impacted and her gums were very swollen, Alyssa was taken to get her wisdom teeth out.
She enjoyed her first day pass at home this past weekend. She was able to go home and spend time with her mom and young niece.
Laura was also able to visit Abbie this weekend. Abbie contacted Health Impact News to express her deep gratitude for all the prayers and the work that the advocates and media have done which she says literally saved her life. She also thanks the staff at the River Centre Clinic in Ohio for their love and support that they have shown.
Now, Abbie is pleading for help for her twin in this video message that she sent for our readers.
What You Can Do to Help Save Alexis’ Life!
The family is asking for help. Friends have set up a Facebook page for the public to get involved in bringing these girls home – Free the Odonnell Girls from cps.
Abbie and her family believe that Abbie got the help that she needed because of the prayers by advocates and the many phone calls and letters on her behalf. They believe that media attention and the public has made a huge difference, and that now, that attention is needed once again to help save Alexis’ life. She needs to go to a facility that is trained in treating eating disorders. Laura is very discouraged:
I just don’t know what it takes to get her help! It’s a whole repeat of Abbie!
Following are people who may be contacted on behalf of Alexis and her family:
Governor Rick Snyder may be reached at 517-335-7858 or 517-373-3400, or contacted here.
Phil Pavlov is the Senator serving the family’s district. He may be reached at 517-373-7708, or contacted here.
Paul Muxlow is their Representative. He may be reached at 517-373-0835, or contacted here.
Representative Ken Goike serves the district of the Odonnell girls’ grandmother, and may also be reached at 517-373-0820, or contacted here.
Wolverine Secure Treatment Facility may be reached at 989-776-0400.
Also, supporters are welcome to mail cards and letters of encouragement to the girls, and the family will ensure that the girls get them.
Abbie, Alexis, or Alyssa Odonnell
PO Box 14864
Detroit, MI 48214
Another Medically Kidnapped teenager in Michigan is finally back home, but her mother is forbidden by CPS to live at home.
Michigan Teen Medically Kidnapped and Placed in Juvenile Detention Facility as Her Health Deteriorates
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