Honor Loni’s Will. Bring Carter & Mason Home.
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Loni Sisko of Mt. Horeb, WI passed away at the young age of 32 on January 12, 2014. For two years she fought against what started as a rare form of heart cancer that was ultimately removed by replacing the heart with a mechanical one which served her for approximately 3 months at a facility in Houston Texas until her liver failed. Until then, she had gone through an emergency open-heart surgery to remove as much of the cancer as possible followed by numerous rounds of chemo treatments. The chemo started to become ineffective at reducing the size of the mass and options were limited.
Her death left her two boys Carter and Mason (3 & 4 years old ATT) without either parent since her husband had passed away about a month before her cancer diagnosis. After her husband's death, Loni chose for her and her sons to move back home with her mother, Susan and step-father, Tim Frederick in Fall Creek, WI. Loni was luckily able to transfer her job close by to a place in Eau Claire, WI. Her stay with her parents was intended to be temporary until she could restart her life, but was soon faced with this unthinkable disease. She and her boys stayed and were cared for day in and day out by her mother and step-father up until her passing.
In her Will, she clearly leaves her estate and the guardianship of her two boys with her mother, Susan Frederick who had already been the primary caretaker of Loni and her children while she was sick and recovering from surgeries for the last two years. Her Will was drafted, witnessed and signed by an attorney who was also her and her husband's close friend.
After one, short month following Loni's death (barely enough time to absorb the very recent loss of her daughter, much less, grieve), Susan was taken to court by both Loni's mother-in-law and Loni's father (Susan's ex-husband) with allegations that she had been consistently refusing them time with Carter and Mason. Up until Loni's death, all of her family had gotten along just fine and were always welcome to see the boys without any issues. Susan had never had any negative feelings towards anyone and wanted everyone to be as much of the boys lives as they wanted to. So, these allegations came very much as a surprise to her, especially since no personal grievances from the other grandparents were ever brought to her attention before taking her to court.
The case began in Eau Claire, WI in the Eau Claire county court house. The first judge (Paul Lenz) initially recommended mediation and for everyone to try and settle the issue out of court. Susan was more than willing to do so, but both the other grandparents refused and ignored Susan's attempts at following through with mediation. The judge ended up ordering the desired visitation schedules for the other grandparents. But, that wasn't all they were after and that's not even close to where it all ended. The case was later moved to the Chippewa county court house in Chippewa Falls, WI after the first judge eventually removed himself on account of bias on behalf of the opposing grandmother’s attorney. But the damage had already been done as he had written a memorandum that completely defames Susan's character for any other judges to read in any future proceedings of the case.
The next two years consisted of much bitterness, bickering, court hearings, allegations, finger-pointing, etc. It was, to say the least, a nightmare for everyone and everyone who knew about it. The other grandmother had already got what she requested and then decided to contest Loni's Will and the guardianship she placed with her mother. She claimed that Susan was unfit to take care of Carter and Mason due to theft of the boys' social security money, alcoholism and abuse. There was no evidence to back up these claims and can (and were) all easily be proven false... not only by the lack of evidence, but also by friends and family (of both Loni and Susan), daycare staff, teachers, counselors, the guardian Ad Litem (the attorney representing the children) and even an adoption agency cleared Susan and her husband Tim's home as a suitable place for them to live.
Eventually, the other grandmother won the case and the last judge (now retired, Roderick Cameron) removed Carter and Mason from Susan's care just 2 weeks before Christmas of 2016. With only 10 days to prepare after having been with them nearly every day for the past 5 years, Carter and Mason were taken out of the only home they may have ever had their own memories of their mother. Susan could have appealed within a certain time frame, but she had no money left to do so on top of also being ordered to pay all the other grandparent's attorney fees.
Was Susan perfect and did she do, say and react to everything without emotion and frustration? Of course not. And who would after being accused of so many awful things? But none of it would amount to or justify overriding Loni's Will and wishes for her children to be cared for by the person she chose and trusted to do so. Unless a child is in immediate and/or serious danger of abuse/neglect or there is an obvious lack of competency on the guardian's side, there's no reason they should be removed from their home. Susan broke no laws and did nothing wrong to the point of having her grandsons removed from her care and home. A home that had already been established that Carter and Mason were comfortable and stable in after already being uprooted from Mt. Horeb and losing both parents. Furthermore, NO parent should have to worry that the intentions for their children and assets won't be honored following their death.
I am Alexander Clay; Loni Sisko's brother. And this is my campaign or, at least, my attempt to draw public attention to this injustice. The court system is not always fair and this is one of those cases. Just because a judge makes a decision, does not mean that it is right; especially when it involves the lives of children and people they know nothing about and dismissing all evidence or lack of evidence. Too many times the court system fails people and innocent people lose. I can assure you, this is one of those times. I have sat for far too long not knowing what to do while wanting and knowing that something needs to be done.
Overall, it is also in my interest to make known to other people what family court is ultimately capable of doing. It is not right. I also plan on drafting a bill to change how the court system handles family cases similar to this in order to prevent it from happening to other families in the future. I can't turn back time, but I also can't turn my back on this issue. What I can do is make this story heard and known and give my mom, step-dad, Loni, her friends, family and supporters and myself a voice in all of this; a voice that is continually silenced. We are not bad people and we have been horribly portrayed as such by others for far too long. The trauma that my nephews have had to go through should not have led to them being taken out of the home they were already settled in for 5 years.
My sister and her children deserve real justice and her dying Will should be honored and not blatantly disrespected without strong evidence of wrong-doing. There were no crimes committed other than the one I feel has been committed against my sister's intentions by the court system. And I know many people who believe the same. It only proves that if you have the money and know the right people, you can get what you want from the system.
If nothing comes of this, at least it will be some record and here for you, Carter and Mason... to know that no matter what happens in your lives, where you go, whatever other family may tell you, Grandma Sue worked her butt off and loves you, your mom and dad very, very much. She did everything she could to honor what your mother wanted for you two and still does. Very few people know what we all had to go through as a family down in Texas for 3 months and trying to make life as normal as possible. But none of it was normal. Ever. But we made the best out of a bad situation as we could.
I have done what I could and have tried to communicate peacefully with others, but have been threatened with harassment charges multiple times for asking to visit my nephews outside of my mom and step-dad's scheduled visitation. I am expected to apologize for supporting what Loni wanted for her children and I'm not going to apologize for believing what I know is right.
I don’t know what else to do, so please share this story. Share your story. Like. Comment. Question. Send a message. Show your support. I know there will be trolls who try to use this page against me and try to shame me, threaten me… but I have only spoken what I know as the truth... MY truth. I’m only doing what I know is right in supporting my sister’s wishes. I hope someone may be able to help in some way or give advice. If there's nothing that can be done, at least I can say I tried. I tried for my sister. I tried for my nephews who I care for, miss and love very much.
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