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In Our Own Voice

Janet's Parents

Janet's FamilyHarry: She was probably just the average normal kid. She was into building forts; she was into selling lemonade stand stuff and things like that.

Ann: There was no indication at all in her early formative years that anything was amiss.

Ann: She was about 17. She started a job and wouldn't complete it. Started a class and did not complete it. She would get a whole bunch of energy and she would just be a whirlwind and the next time, her door would be closed to her bedroom and she would not come out. She would not dress. She would not comb her hair. It was two different people living in our house at that time. There were many, many suicide tries.

Ann: When you looked at Janet and you saw her on a day-to-day basis and she was taking her medication that was properly within the dosage she needed, you would never know that she was mentally ill.

Ann: I could not believe the shock of seeing my daughter's picture on the front page of the newspaper indicating that she had murdered a woman in Hayden. She had a death wish, we found out later. She wanted the police to shoot her.

Ann: The first thing I knew Janet said, "Mom it was not me." Because to her, she was hearing voices and she felt like two different people.

Harry: She was in what they call a "booking cell." A very, very small room with a glass window in the door. She was in there and no toilet facilities or anything else. So she would have to bang on the door to get the guards to take her in her shackles. The problem is that they were very overcrowded and they are understaffed. So, many times they would not get to her right away. So many times she would soil herself.

Harry: You need to have long-term therapy. They don't receive that in the prison. So, what happens? How are they ever going to come back into society? Just open the door at some point and let them out? That isn't going to do the best for society.

Ann: I want so much to let other people know who have children or loved ones or spouses that it can happen to anyone and there is some help out there. We have to let the world know that mental illness exists here, that there is in families this kind of disorder and this is the extreme of what happened to us as parents when our daughter stopped taking her medication.

Ann: She needs all the assurance in the world that I do love her and that I don't hate her for what she has done. She is our own flesh and blood. We had Janet and we loved her from the time she was born.

Ann: If there was anything that we could have done to ease the pain and suffering of this family, we would have done it. It is a terrible dilemma. You don't know how to react. You don't know what to do.