Thursday, July 10, 2014

When a Norfolk Southern railroad executive's son disappeared–– nobody noticed.

How often does it happen that an executive's son would disappear and police be unaware of the  corporate details and contact information?  My husband of 23 years, Gerard J. Sniffen, Jr.–– now my ex-husband–– was Assistant Vice President in charge of Communications and Signals for Norfolk Southern Corporation/Railroad in 1998 when our son disappeared.  He was entrusted with communications including computers, answering machines, telephones, and radios used by trainmen, executives and workers at all levels.  He was also in charge of signals at the crossings, and  employees involved with both divisions.  He dealt with vendors and suppliers in communications and signals, some of those included huge companies including Bell South, AT&T, Okonite and Motorola.  We enjoyed several golf tournaments compliments of vendors.  We spent a weekend in Chicago compliments of Motorola, enjoyed Bell South golf tourneys and my husband even attended the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga.   Before the "big job"–– the executive job, which came with its huge bonus and "golden parachute agreement" he had managed construction and track maintenance machinery for the same railroad.

My grandfather, Jasper S. Looney, had given Norfolk and Western Railroad 40 years of his life.  An artist by birth, and master craftsman, he was foreman of the Roanoke, Va. Car Shop. My grandfather  not only supplied leadership for his crew and was called upon to paint portraits and refinish furniture and desks for the offices of the railroad's highest executives.  When the railroad's merged forming Norfolk Southern, we were moved away from Roanoke and I had to leave my widowed grandmother and family behind.

Before I ever knew him, my husband had resigned from Norfolk and Western Railroad, having worked as a mechanic for locomotives. He had gone to work for Carter Machinery working with heavy Caterpillar machinery.  After we married, Norfolk and Western railroad called him back and offered him a management position.  My husband was in shock because, he said, "the railroad never calls you back after you quit."

After the initial separation Bell South could find me anywhere. I even got a crazy $999 offer through the mail. I later found that my husband's lawyer, Michael Broadbear of Atlanta was in with some of the communications executives, with some of the companies they were involved in, a Comradery Hunting Club to be precise.  I even got a fake Bell South bill in Kentucky, paid it and then was issued another.

With this one the first bill was paid in cash at a local store as I was advised, and then I received a second bill and was told I could pay it with a check at the local hardware store.  There in Kentucky my phones were often disconnected and I finally left Bell South opting for a more reliable company with higher rates.  I reported all the incidences in to the Federal Communications Commission knowing my husband and the fact that his position as AVP in charge of Communications with Norfolk Southern,  he and/orhis business associations may well be my problem.

To my knowledge there was never a consideration that our son's disappearance may be a kidnapping. In fact I hadn't known he was missing for several days before being told he was dead.  In the Cobb County, Georgia missing person police reports, there were no records of any railroad telephone numbers, office numbers, coordinator's phone numbers, nor any Norfolk Southern railroad contact information.  The police even waited nearly a week to question or notify me. They never questioned his brother or sister who lived in the same home.  It was absolutely bizarre.

There was no reference to the railroad at all, anywhere in any report.  Since most of my husband's waking time was spent at work or traveling, how could the police contact him when he did not provide them with a work or office cell phone number?  According to police records, he provided no cell, nor office telephone numbers, and no reference of to employment status.  There were only two home numbers shown on the police reports in involved counties: Georgia's Cobb and Coweta and  Baldwin Co. Alabama. Since he was seldom at home how could police have contacted him?

For years I have recalled the time my (ex-)husband got the "big job" as an A.V.P. and said, "You know with my Golden Parachute Agreement, I can commit a felony and still get all my benefits."  I remembering being shocked at the time he said it, and wondered why the ultra-conservative railroad  would ever create that kind of agreement.  Not so long before he went missing I had received a speeding ticket in Cobb County when returning from picking our son up from school. My husband said the railroad police had become involved and "taken care" of the speeding ticket. I thought at the time it was wrong.

I learned through family that when our son went missing my husband drove south on I-75 quite a ways searching for his car, while saying, "It's very important that I'm at work on time tomorrow."  In my opinion if a child was missing, even a 20 year old, and it was out of character,  a parent would not be  so concerned with work but with finding that child. My husband had always placed work before anything else.  Working for the railroad to him was serious business and the railroad was ultra conservative, a stressful environment even for a trailing spouse.

Had I known our son was missing I would have been making phone calls and searching myself, calling his friends, and questioning his brother and sister who lived there with him when he disappeared. I couldn't do that, because I had been ordered out of our home in a very nasty divorce and was not informed of his missing status for nearly a week.  I had no idea he was missing and then shortly thereafter I was told he was dead.

Most fathers would have taken off work to handle the situation and look for a missing son.  Looking back a person can often see things that weren't obvious at the time in the midst of the horrors.

The December before our son disappeared, we had dined and danced at the Annual Christmas Party hosted by Norfolk Southern Vice President of Engineering Phillip Ogden in downtown Atlanta.   Phil was my husband's boss, and at the party dressed up "cowboy style" in country music attire, to complement The Lawmen's music–– Phil dressed nearly the same as he had on the plane Birmingham private jet destined for St. Simons Island.  He was also the most powerful railroad executive residing in Atlanta with Norfolk Southern. My husband said once he couldn't understand how Phil Ogden was able to stay in Atlanta. "The other senior executives all live in Norfolk, stationed at the corporate headquarters."  For some reason Phil got his way with residing in Atlanta, and the exception didn't make sense, he'd thought.

A few years later when by destiny and a little encouragement I landed in Nicholasville, Kentucky I curiously found a small farm to rent right behind a little building with an old train out front called "R.J.Corman." I had no idea at the time that RJ Corman was actually a railroad, and not just a derailment clean-up service.  It was a few more years that I would discover that Phil Ogden was one of R.J. Corman's directors. It was an amazingly small world.   Ogden had planned to testify against me in court in a harassing phone call charge as did the late John W. Fox, Jr., VP Coal Sales, NSC.

I had contacted Kentucky Attorney General Greg Stumbo's office about all that I had suffered in Kentucky with stalking, sabotage, phone tapping and police harassment and spoken with a detective named Steve O'Daniel.  Mr. O'Daniel explained I may have been "brought to the state by one of those gangs who rob people."  They knew about gangs and one of the people I met named Rick O'Donnell had said he actually drove railroad gangs around to their job sites.  The gangs Mr. O'Daniel was speaking of were criminal gangs and not railroad gangs.

Soon O'Daniel himself was in trouble with a Corvette purchase and I wasn't surprised. I had to wonder if he had become entangled with anyone with the railroad since Mr. Corman was a known collector of Corvettes.    One Kentucky man, Scott Robinette, who had spoken about Corman's Corvette collections and stories about some of Cormans activities was found dead not so long ago in a storage facility, apparently accidentally poisoned by carbon monoxide.   Corman colors were red and black like his trains, his planes and many of the barns painted across Kentucky including the farm I purchased.  Scott had told the stories of how the Corman railroad had been built in part with the proceeds gained from activities in the Bluegrass conspiracy - including drugs.  Was it true?
   I've realized so much looking back, like how silly it was to ask Kentucky for help.  It was so widely corrupt with its cash crop being marijuana there was an underground in the state nobody would even believe existed.  I hadn't known marijuana was so prevalent in the state, in fact, I had no idea.  When the rumors were that they'd found marijuana on John M. Montgomery's farm, it was kept quiet and the lessee of the farm was blamed.  The rumors were the crop was valued at $300K. I was threatened by a local grower that he was going to "put some" on my farm. So I realized "getting set up" was an ongoing possibility there.  I was double charged $1200 for state income tax there on one occasion, realizing my stalkers were able to pull strings just about anywhere in that state.   Very powerful.   They were planning on taking every penny I had and I knew it.  As one local said, "They bring women here and turn them into trash. I know one woman they brought here and she's living in a trailer park now."
  For all the single women who plan to live in Kentucky, before you relocate there learn to operate a gun. I couldn't have survived there without my rifles: a .20 gge and a .22, with a 15 clip.  Who would ever believe it?  I spread the word locally if anyone came to my home uninvited I would shoot through the door. It was a pretty rough place to live.  But of course, the rumors spread by my husband and his accomplices had the locals believing I was "crazy," so.... even so, nothing more dangerous than a "crazy" lady with a gun. Sometimes being labeled "crazy" was more valuable than I thought it could ever be.

A Long Island, N.Y. native, my husband's world seemed to center around coal and railroads. He had previously been engaged to a coal miner's daughter.  His Virginia Tech fraternity brothers were in businesses that flourished with coal, including the railroad, and Carter Machinery–– a caterpillar dealership.  Michael J. Quillen, one of his fraternity brothers had formed Alpha Natural Resources after having been born into the coal industry.  Mike and their close friend and fellow fraternity brother Titus A. "Buddy" Wilfore had both lived in coal country in Wise and Scott Counties, Virginia.  Buddy climbed the ladder at Carter Machinery and then moved to Atlanta to rise to the top of Yancey's Caterpillar Dealership.  His first wife had left her home in their divorce and relocated curiously to California.  All sorts of stories circulated regarding her exit and when I left Georgia, I wondered what the fraternity crowd would say about me.  A truck driver was rumored to be involved in her relocation and also years later with the disappearance of my son a truck driver was involved–– a common element I found very curious.

My husband had rounded a few of his "brothers" up to dine with us at a restaurant not long before he had the police order me out of our home.
Nearly a year later I had to come back to Cobb County with the ongoing false accusation charge regarding the harassing phone calls. Curiously, a British man landed directly across from me where I was eating lunch at Sports Authority.  He struck up a conversation moving closer. I explained I was probably going to jail. "If you do, I'll bail you out," he said. It was a good thing because at that point I had nobody else. Even my family had been turned against me. He explained he owned a Caterpillar dealership sympathizing with my situation with corruption that in his situation with his business he "couldn't keep drivers" because the "Cobb County police kept giving them tickets."  He went on to say he had been the lead guitarist in the Searcher's band, and that he lived in Alpharetta, and had several Porsches that he raced all over the world.  I've wondered since if he raced in Brazil because of the other Brazilian references in my story.  I asked him, "Do you know Buddy Wilfore?"  I had thought Yancey was the only Caterpillar dealership in the area, and Wilfore was very high on that Totem Pole.  He said he didn't know him and that's when I knew he was lying.  There is no way a Cat Dealer owner would not know every person in the area affiliated with the same company. He had been sent, and was a stalker. And he had his younger son with him, in fact had custody of both sons.  He was a part of the network that was conspiring wreck my life, take everything I had including my son, assets, animals, happiness and they thought they'd get my strength.  
One other fraternity guy, my husband's Tau Delta fraternity brother and old Virginia Tech friend, the late John W. "Bill" Fox, Jr. was Vice President of Coal Sales for Norfolk Southern and positioned in Roanoke, Virginia which was closer to coal country.  This was the only other occurrence I knew where senior execs were living outside of NS corporate headquarters of Norfolk, Va.

Tau Delta, a Virginia Tech fraternity, had two sectors back in the 1970's. One group was comprised of the drinker/partiers, who rose high on success levels with corporations and upper-crust connections.   One was said to be a Washington D.C. lobbyist.  The other sector was into hippie type lifestyles.  It was odd how they kept a quiet distance in the years after they'd left Virginia Tech and moved into their careers.  Yet when social gatherings occurred some from both sides would intermingle. There was a fraternity brother named "Bullwinkle" who was said to have been moving drugs with his eighteen-wheeler into Blacksburg, Va.

I had grown up with an assistant D.A. in  Roanoke, Virginia, Debbie (C aldwell) Bono who'd said, "Oh we know who 'Bullwinkle' is." I always wondered why he never was prosecuted.

At the 1997 Norfolk Southern Atlanta Christmas Party hosted by VP/Engineering Phil Ogden, several Cobb County, Georgia Commissioners were seated at one of the tables and someone came to point them out to me.  Also an elderly gentleman named "Itis", owner of a ballast company in Alabama, came over and said hello.  We had been treated by "Itis" on his private plane, flown out of Charlie Brown airport in Atlanta and arrived at St. Simons Island for couple days the summer before the party.  There we were treated at a spa and very nice visit at one of the resorts there. Mr. Ogden, Norfolk Southern's Vice President of Engineering, and his wife Cheryl were also passengers on the private airplane.  At that time Cheryl had expressed concern of Phil's retirement and his love for traveling. She didn't enjoy it as much. They had trouble in their marriage at the same time as us but their reconciliation had gone more smoothly.

At the Christmas party they held a broom dance, the railroad's own band "The Lawmen" played, and one of the employees came and danced with me after passing the broom, and said urgently, "Did you get what I sent to you?"  I didn't know who he was or what he was talking about, but he said he'd sent me a computer magazine through my husband.  It was odd, I thought. Why did he send me that?

All of this occurred Christmas before I was ordered out of our home.  The following Christmas Eve   railroaders would be attending our son's funeral, while his body was still being held somewhere in Alabama, released four days after the funeral. It is more bizarre looking back at the sequence of events during that period which are well-documented elsewhere in this blog.

My husband had confided that Mr. Ogden and his wife had separated and reconciled, just like us. He'd also said that one of Mr. Ogden's sons had been killed in a car accident.  Years later I tried to research the accident and couldn't find any evidence of it. I have thought since then perhaps he was thinking of Judge Adele Grubbs daughter instead. She had reportedly been killed Summer 1998 the same period of time all of these things were happening.

Our son, Gerard J. Sniffen, III, "Huey" had lived with his father during our first separation.  He had also been given the information needed to contact his father at Norfolk Southern through the railroad's systems at any time.  This is our son's notebook:

On October 13, 1998 my husband called from "The Forest" (Brosnan Forest, a S.C. Norfolk Southern railroad owned resort) with regrets that he had missed my birthday.  "I will be home Friday and we'll celebrate."  He had been at "The Forest" all week.

Three days later, on Friday, October 16, a knock at the front door was startling. It was time for his arrival but my husband never knocked at the door.  I opened the door to find two Cobb County, Georgia police officers who then ordered me to pack my bags and get out of the house. They even asked if I had a gun.   I had never owned a gun in my life, but several months later I would decide I'd best purchase one and prepare to protect myself.

I moved to Warner Robins with my show dogs and had a friend, Nell Stumpff, there who could help me get a place to live.   Nell would turn out to be the worst type of "friend" anyone could have.  Later I'd realize she'd probably been working with my husband all-along after she began to have me incarcerated and telephone my family telling them lies. Nearly as soon as I had arrived in Warner Robins I was pulled over for a "no seat belt" violation. It was an illegal stop at the time, because in Georgia the stop had to be for some other violation with a seat belt citation being secondary.

Soon after I realized Nell Stumpff was no friend at all, and was working against me I became very frightened and moved elsewhere.  She had continuously showed up at the apartment uninvited and particularly curious about me and my business.  She had done the same thing to another tenant named Sandy Goldschmidt. Later I was told by a neighbor that Nell had investigated Sandy's finances and personal history. Nearly the same time I left Nell's surveillance and control at her rental apartment, our son disappeared from Cobb County, Georgia and reportedly was found dead in Baldwin County, Alabama nearly two weeks later.

Nell's son, Steve, was a drug dealer who lived behind the apartment with people coming in and out at all hours with loud trucks.  It was a frightening place to live.

I signed a lease with Michael Livingston to get away from them and their constant surveillance of the apartment.  Two days later my son was– reportedly dead.

It was odd that when our son's funeral was arranged and held on Christmas Eve at Mayes Ward Dobbins Funeral Home in Cobb County, I was unable to attend.  I was mainly frightened and suspicious knowing something was drastically wrong with the entire story regarding my son's disappearance and death.  There was a protective court order against me. I had been falsely accused and ordered to stay away from my daughter. I knew I would be arrested there if attended my son's funeral. These people were very serious about my destruction and they meant business.  My husband could not have done this alone, and had to have help.

He obviously had very powerful help in all he did. It was a conspiracy.  He wasn't that smart, that rich, that connected nor that powerful.

The former Warner Robins landlord, Nell Stumpff,  had joined forces against me, obviously colluded with my husband or his plans by calling my family members with lies, and even have me arrested on false felony charges which later miraculously disappeared.  I've never recovered from the shock of having felony charges and then have them disappear.

I had even told my lawyer, Stan Martin, "Please get this to court before a jury. I want my day in court against this woman!"

Yet he said, "Just keep quiet and it will disappear."

"I don't want it to disappear!" I told him.  But the charges vanished, amazingly.

Later Stan Martin was caught looking in the ceiling tiles of the late mayor of Warner Robins, Donald Walker, who had reportedly committed suicide.

What a mess I had been given to deal with.  Having been so alone and isolated all those years as a railroad wife I couldn't believe this was the "real world," and there were times I had to pinch myself to know I wasn't dreaming.

Nell had told my family I had "ice-picked" her stove, which was funny.  The woman, a stranger to me, Ms. Calhoun, who lived next door to the apartment bailed me out and put her HOME up for my bail. She knew Nell was lying. I hadn't ice-picked anything.  She said they had wanted Steve Stumpff out of the neighborhood because he was  a drug dealer.  I wasn't surprised.  There was a TON of activity in and out of his trailer, which was right behind that apartment I rented from his mother.

Nell owned a lot of property in Warner Robins and had some influence with some powerful people. She'd had a relationship ongoing with the man who owned the local private landing strip. He'd had a stroke and she had sat with him for a while.  Later I went to visit his son and warned him that I wouldn't trust Nell Stumpff with any member of my family after all she'd done to me.

I was placed in a state hospital based on her lies coupled with my husband's lies, ordered there 72 hours and detained for nearly a week. Had I not had the money to make phone calls I would still be there today. I was wise enough to phone the Georgia Mental Health Advocacy office and was released.  This was the week my son's body was ALLEGEDLY in Cobb County at Mayes Ward Dobbins funeral home.  I could have identified the body had I not been incarcerated by the state of Georgia.

It had all been worked out.  It was absolutely a conspiracy.  I had to leave Georgia knowing my husband's connections and tentacles  whether through the railroad, his family or his powerful  fraternity brothers reached far beyond that state.  My husband's tactics had broken my Virginia family ties and severed my support network.  Even as smart as he was, he couldn't have designed this plan alone.

The haggling in the divorce was over stock options which could absolutely NOT be divided, he had said.

In the Nell Stumpff arrest Peach County Judge Laurens Lee said, "If you will just sign your divorce papers all of your problems will go away."  I asked him at the time in the midst of one of my Georgia handcuff ordeals, "If I don't sign, do you think they'll kill my other children?"

Funny how all of those false charges to intimidate and frighten me disappeared but the memories of the arrests haven't and will never fade from the recurring nightmares I still experience from them.  This is America where these things aren't supposed to be happening.

It was a plan, and I would find out my intuition was absolutely right. I had been arrested more than once and would face more police harassment in Kentucky and ongoing for years.  In Jessamine county, home of RJ Corman, three police officers had swarmed my car and I had to blow in their instrument, count from 60 to 39 backwards, recite the alphabet from D to Q, walk a straight line, touch my nose with my index fingers, touch each finger to my thumb on both hands. I finally asked them if they wanted me to stand on my head and insert my finger in my navel.  It was harassment, but I was in a situation that I had to endure anything that was sent my way, keep my cool, and deal with it. Unbelievable these things could happen in the USA.

Later I was telling an African American waiter at a restaurant about the whole ordeal.  "Aw, man they were harassing you.  They can't do that."

Yes, they can.

They can't, I thought? Well, they did.  Thousands and thousands of dollars were spent in dealing with ongoing legal problems created with false accusations, threats, divorce, legal fees, running scared to death from the people in Georgia and their intimidation tactics and false arrests.  The damage to my health, assets, my remaining family and the remaining children's emotions are permanent and lasting. Nothing will ever remove the scars incurred with what these people in Georgia and Kentucky arranged for me and my family.

I also had trouble with false diagnoses with my health issues in going to a Ky. emergency room with a tooth infection the insurance code came back as paranoid disorder so that  the railroad's blue cross  insurance would not pay.

My husband had pre-arranged the Central State Hospital institution and then lied to my family and encouraged them to have me put away.   He explained that I was "sick" and that he couldn't have me committed because of the pending divorce situation. He and the landlord called my brother and mother and convinced them to have me institutionalized.  When I went back to Central State to get the papers, they read, "Husband unknown, separated, unable to pay."  Later I received a bill for $8500.00 and went back to them and told them something like this,
"I am presently married to a Norfolk Southern railroad executive, Gerard J. Sniffen, Jr..  He has full medical coverage on our family. He arranged to have me put into your hospital. Here are his addresses, at home and at work.  Contact him for proper payment.
I couldn't trust anything.  The police were against me.  The law was against me, physicians were concocting false diagnoses, and I couldn't even trust my health insurance.

I called the railroad's blue cross office in Atlanta and they said I would have to get the University of Kentucky Hospital to change the diagnosis regarding the tooth and they refused. I still have the letters. They were going to make me insane any way they could to make my story appear as a delusion.  Worst I was going broke, fast.  Insurance refunds were being sent back to my husband and he was keeping them. He even kept my wedding bands.  I drove our car for 6 months during the separation not knowing the car insurance had lapsed.

The conspiracy had crossed state lines from Georgia to Alabama where my son allegedly died and then to Kentucky.  I nearly couldn't believe it. I will always believe it was part of the plan so that they could keep the entire illegal activities and falsification of my son's death and false accusations against me, covered up.  As long as everyone was convinced I was "crazy" or "looney," then how could they ever know the truth?  Without documentation there was no way anybody would believe a word I said.

And how could a person fight a situation that spanned states? To get lawyers in each state involved would break a person financially, and normal people would not have the means or training to know where to begin.
My saving grace was that I had the wisdom to gather and save all the documents, arrest records, correspondence records and everything needed to prove every word of my story. The courage to publish it came later because for years I was fearful for my family, remaining children, animals and my own life.  I had written to many authorities hoping to get help and all declined save Senator Coverdell who tried to help.  A year later he was dead.

Having been a housewife and mother all those years and so isolated and alone, having been shipped around for his job and career, I had no idea how cruel people could be.  I believed these things happened only in movies and tv stories being so incredibly naive.

Kenneth Schatten said, "Your husband is the coldest man I've ever talked to in my life."  Maybe that's why the railroad used him to negotiate with labor, I've always thought.

If Schatten only knew how I'd lived all those years, alone and on a shoestring budget.  There was no extravagance, and most vacations were spent on his fishing boat, unless they were paid for by railroad vendors.  Two of our children were prone to seasickness but every vacation was spent at the ocean with his boat.  Life was not centered on the family but on one person. The world revolved around that one railroad executive and the family was secondary in his life.   We made him look good.

It was almost funny when at the divorce trial, Cobb County, Georgia Judge Adele Grubbs made a snide comment in divorce court saying something sympathetic like, "I know it must have been difficult living with her, Mr. Sniffen."  If she only knew the truth, I'd thought.   Obviously she'd been supplied with "inside" information that wasn't exactly truthful.

The stories about our son's Cobb County, Georgia at Mayes Ward Dobbins Funeral home: at the funeral the attendees were "all suits" and from what I was told apparently it was a railroad affair. I recalled from my childhood that railroad employees were always attending funerals.  It was very important.  My Norfolk and Western grandfather, Jasper S. Looney, foreman of the Roanoke Car Shops, had given the Norfolk and Western Railroad 40 years of his life–– having never missed a day's work.  I was impressed at the time the importance funeral attendance played in everyday railroad life.  My grandfather was gifted and talented in music and art, but in Roanoke, Virginia the only way to make a good living at that time was with the railroad.  My grandfather was a perfectionist and when an executive needed a desk to be refinished, or a portrait painted, he was there for them.  I recall attending retirement parties with my grandparents after my Dad had died.

My Grandfather had struggled to breathe the last years of his life and vowed to walk me down the marital aisle before he breathed his last breath.  His oxygen-starved body had supported him, his lips a purplish blue color, yet he made it down the aisle nearly 23 years before the disappearance of this great grandson.  His diagnosis had been congestive heart failure with the hospital curiously removing a "cyst" just over his lung right before he collapsed and died at the hospital.  My grandmother had commented that the small bandage on his chest was from the cyst removal. I asked her why they bothered with surgery procedures knowing he was going to die.  It didn't make sense.  Why would insurance pay for it, I wondered.  My grandparents had complete trust in their doctor, Dr. Bondurant at Lewis Gale Hospital, who was in the railroad family. His father had been a railroad executive.

My own mother didn't attend our son's funeral in 1999, nor did much of our family. We had been removed from family and old friends years earlier with railroad transfers––first to Charlotte, then to Atlanta.  I was alienated from my own family by a husband who didn't want to pay elevated phone bills. There was nothing left in our lives but the railroad and their vendors who entertained us incredibly.  "How is your family?" The vendors would ask at a dinner they paid for.  I wondered why they cared.  They didn't, but it was profitable––and polite for them to ask.

Word traveled back Mayes Ward Dobbins Funeral Home in Cobb County, Georgia even displayed a photograph of me along with our son at the "funeral" they called a memorial service.  I never gave them permission to do that.   Perhaps they were burying both of us in a way. They had, after all, made me an organ donor without my permission on a driver's license and then charged me $25.00 to get it removed.

And I found later that our son's body wasn't even at the Marietta, Georgia funeral.  It was, according to records, still in the Mobile, Alabama Morgue, or at Detective-now-Sheriff Hoss Mack's father's funeral home in Baldwin County, Alabama.

The Alabama detective in charge of the investigation (Huey "Hoss" Mack, Jr.) soon became Sheriff.  His father, Huey Mack Sr., was Coroner and in charge of body storage. Both father and son had said I would need a "subpoena and court order" to obtain any of my son's death records.

How could a funeral be held with a body still in another state? It didn't make sense.  It was odd that the detective in charge of the investigation father was coroner and owned the funeral home where the body had been stored. This was  a "tight" little group, I had thought to myself more than once.

The Cobb funeral home would not even let me have copies of the records either.

In the midst of a very nasty executive divorce, our son disappeared from Cobb County, Georgia and reportedly was found dead in Baldwin County, Alabama nearly two weeks later.  And nobody at the railroad was upset that maybe their son might disappear, because it was apparently kept very quiet.

The main problem with the tale regarding my son was the body did not match the autopsy report.  The Alabama  autopsy report indicated two well-healed, identical three-inch scars–– one found on each knee.   Gerard J. Sniffen, III had no scars on his legs nor his body, had never had knee surgery, nor any accident that would cause such scars.

There were other questionable issues which included a police report describing a long-haired victim when our son never had shoulder length hair in his life.

Identifying finger-print cards supplied from the State of Georgia did not match the victim found on the autopsy table.  An 18-year-old arrested named Gerard J. Sniffen, III in Georgia for a marijuana violation was 5-ft. 10-inches tall and weighed 160 lb.  The victim on the slab in Mobile, Alabama measured 5-ft., 8-inches and weighed 144 lbs.

And according to Alabama Forensics files, a document explains they destroyed the blood drop (DNA)  card after a year. A call to state forensics there will tell you, "We keep those indefinitely." With the entities involved in this mess, you have to pick and choose which information given you want to believe.

This entire post is devoted to the misidentification details.

My second divorce attorney was Kenneth Schatten of Atlanta.  He said there was too much money against me to ever hope to get the truth regarding my son.  Mr. Schatten was a good attorney in the beginning.  Later he withheld my alimony and told me to remove my blog from the internet.  "You're making them angry," he said, and "they've got your son somewhere and told him if he tries to contact you or his brother or sister, they're going to kill you."  Who was "they?" He said, "There's too much money against you. You're never going to get the truth."

I said, "There's not that much money in the world," and Schatten said, "Are you kidding? Do you know how much money is out there?"

It was incredible and I knew my husband couldn't have that much money but once these people had gotten away with what they'd done surely they'd pay anything they could to keep it all covered up.

Jim Knight and later his partner, George Childs, who curiously took over my case, had been my original attorneys during the disappearance and then as soon as my son was supposedly in the ground and I had escaped all the Georgia incarcerations, George Childs, contrary to Knight's wishes, abruptly dropped my case. I knew he wanted out because it was getting so nasty with all of the arrests and death.  But he clearly took the "other side" when he gave his reason as "harassing phone calls" on my part.  It was obvious when he was on vacation and unavailable during my state hospital incarceration, that he was not on my side.

So often through all of this I have thought to myself, "If you can't trust your family that's one thing.  If you can't trust your attorney, then what's left?"

Free speech was all I had left. Hence, the blog. I knew someday if I could survive it all all I may have left was the story, but the story may set myself and my family free from these horrors.

I couldn't imagine who had the massive amount of money that Kenneth Shatten had referred to. My husband's successful friends in the Virginia Tech Tau Delta fraternity were quite wealthy and had taken an interest in our separation.  My husband's father, who had curiously pronounced his death saying, "I don't want to live anymore, take care of your mother," the same year as our son's disappearance had been traditionally secretive about finances and appeared to be a man of middle class means.  And then there was the railroad that I couldn't believe would ever get caught up in something like this.  There were vendors that had taken quite a liking to my husband but that was because he was buying their goods.

In the midst of the fake harassing phone call charges that my husband brought against me, I was advised that my husband's co-workers at Norfolk Southern, his fraternity brother the late John W. Fox, Jr., Vice President for Coal sales and my husband's boss, Phillip Ogden, Vice President of Engineering were both planning to testify against me in the court.  I requested a jury trial and curiously those charges soon disappeared as well.

Steve Tobias, the head of Norfolk Southern had become angry at a Stock Holder's meeting when one of my distant cousins had approached him mentioning my divorce.  He also had mentioned illegal dumping in Maryland and Mr. Tobias had become so angry he'd gone to my husband asking who this man was. I can honestly say I had nothing to do with Bob Kirby's activity–– none at all. I have no idea why he did this or had any interest in any of it.

Railroad vendors were among the wealthiest of my husband's associations, including Plasser American who gave us a nearly free trip to Austria and Germany where we "ate where Nixon ate and slept where he slept," according to one of the Austrians.  Joseph Neuhofer and his wife Betty were our hosts and in Germany I dined with "the richest woman in Europe" who wasn't the Queen. She owned Plasser American.  Later Jim and Patty Higgenbottem and Al Coppola of Okonite were entertaining us on gambling boats and trips, dinners, etc.  My husband with the business he steered to their companies, of course added to their profits.

With all the horrors, not one vendor's gift was worth all that I have suffered.  I have been intent to have remained alive and sane through all I have endured and will surely continue to endure.  I am most thankful to the creators of our United States Constitution and my ability to document this story protected by First Amendment rights with hopes that these horrible things cannot be done to any other woman, child, nor mother nor man or father, nor trailing spouse anywhere–– not ever. be continued

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