A Girl Was Legally Kidnapped (A Local Story)

The Daily Mail has this on the father of Lexi, the girl taken from the Page family, the only family she has known:

The biological father of a child seized from the only foster parents she has known because they are not Native American is a serial criminal, Daily Mail Online can disclose.

The six-year-old girl, Lexi, was taken from Rusty and Summer Page so she can be given to new foster parents chosen by the Choctaw nation. Her biological father is enrolled as a member.

The real father, Jay Ellerfobes, can be named for the first time. He has spoken on the case to describe it on social media as ‘#1 story in the nation’.

But crucial new details about his lengthy criminal history, which includes at least felonies, can be disclosed.

He has spent time in prison for, among other offenses, drugs and grand theft, and boasted that he has white supremacist friends. A former girlfriend told Daily Mail Online that he abused her.

The convictions were disclosed as a family services worker involved in the case spoke out to Daily Mail Online to reveal concerns over the handling of the case.

Lauren Axline said that the Native American unit of Los Angeles County’s Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) had been ‘deceptive’ and ‘crooked’ in their handling of Lexi’s case.

The case centers around laws which designate children as Native American and mean that their welfare is the responsibility of their tribe if they have proven tribal ancestry.

But Lexi – and her biological father – have never lived on a reservation or been subject to tribal law before.

He even denied that he was Native American when his mother raised the issue with Los Angeles County DCFS, and told them that he was an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation, of Oklahoma….

The Signal newspaper, the local paper notes:

Amid crying and chanting, county social workers Monday collected a 6-year-old foster child from the Saugus parents desperately fighting to keep her, acting on a court order that concluded the girl’s native American blood requires her placement with relatives in Utah.

Three Department of Children and Family Services officials waited on the Santa Clarita Valley family’s doorstep for 10 minutes until foster father Rusty Page opened the front door and, holding a crying Lexi in his arms, made his way through a gauntlet of reporters as the child clutched teddy bear.

As the foster father arrived at the county workers’ car door, foster mother Summer Page emerged screaming from the house, the couple’s three children in tears with her.

A couple of supporters shouted at county workers, “How do you live with yourself?” and several repeatedly yelled toward the child, “The Page family loves you.”….

Here are a couple audio excerpts from Michael Medved and Dennis Prager who noted this travesty of justice:

Here is an open letter to Chief Gary Batton of Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma from Lexi’s Uncle:

Honorable Sir,

I’m writing to you respectfully and in a spirit of friendship and shared humanity to plead with you over the custody of Lexi Page of Saugus, California.

I am one of Lexi’s foster uncles. My wife’s biological brother is Rusty Page, the foster father. I give you this context only to say that I have interacted directly with Lexi for the past 4+ years. I not only know the intricacies and complexities of this legal case but, more importantly, I and my wife and children have laughed and played and celebrated holidays and vacations with Lexi for these few years. I’ve seen her blossom into an intelligent, respectful, happy, adventurous little girl. I’ve heard her infectious giggle as she splashes with her cousins in the hot tub. I’ve seen her marvel at a collection of colorful summer wildflowers. I’ve seen her dance with delight at her uncles’ weddings. I’ve watched her fall asleep in Rusty and Summer’s arms. I’ve witnessed the extraordinary care she’s received in sickness and in health from two of the greatest parents a girl could ever ask for.

I understand that Lexi is 1.5% Choctaw by blood. I respect her heritage, as do Rusty and Summer. I also understand the reality of what that means: 1 of Lexi’s 64 Great Great Great Great Grandparents was Choctaw. 63 of them were not.

For my part, I grieve over the history of what has been done to your tribe and many other Native American people groups. It was wrong. Any abuse of or discrimination toward a people on the basis of race is deplorable and immoral. I say as a Christian that we have one Creator God who made all of us in His image. For one people to mistreat, destroy, or even be prejudiced agains another simply because of race or ethnicity is a grave offense to me because it’s an act of contempt toward our God. So I’m genuinely sorry and I ask your forgiveness on behalf of those who went before me. Your people have been wronged in unspeakable ways. And I understand any degree of suspicion or self-protectiveness or frustration you must feel.

Since Lexi entered our lives, I’ve read and studied ICWA fairly thoroughly — though just as an uncle and not as a legal professional. ICWA was enacted in 1978 to stop these abuses of racism, and the manipulation and exploitation of Native American children. I, for one, am grateful for this law. Your people deserved this protection then — and you deserve the protection of our nation’s laws now.

That said, I respectfully disagree with the specific way ICWA is being (mis)used in the case of Lexi Page. As you may know, she is being taken away from a foster mom, Summer Page, who is of Native American descent. Furthermore, the court is not placing Lexi with either birth parent, nor any immediate blood relative, nor is she being “returned” to the life of a reservation which her birth father did not identify with. In fact, Lexi isn’t being “reunited” with anyone from her past. She’s been forcibly removed from a safe, stable, loving home after 4+ years and is being placed with an extended relative in Utah who is neither biologically related to Lexi, nor is any part Native American.

I wish you could see firsthand how loved and accepted Lexi was by the Pages, and I wish you could see how absolutely ruined she has been by out-of-state visitations. I wish you could’ve heard her cries and pleadings today that she not be taken away from the only mommy and daddy and sisters and brother she’s ever known. Many experts on both sides of this have agreed in court that removing Lexi from the Page family at this point will be devastating to her. I appeal to you to see that removing Lexi will actually exploit and damage her, contrary to the very heart of ICWA.

And so I appeal to you, sir, to do what is within your power to ask that a “good cause” exemption be granted in the case of 6 year old Lexi Page so that she can stay with her foster family and not be forced to experience the undue hardship of a separation and cross-country move.

Thank you for taking the time to read and consider my request. May God grant you wisdom, justice, and grace.

Matt Hand