Zachary, Jennifer and Holly Collins

Zachary and Jennifer Collins were abducted by their mother, Holly Collins, in 1994. Zachary was eleven at the time; Jennifer was nine. Their father and stepmother, Mark and Rena Collins, had custody. Last year, the Collins children and their mother were found in the Netherlands. Holly, who now has seven kids by three different men, had received asylum there. In September 2008, Holly returned to the U.S. with Jennifer. Jennifer is now 23, the same age as me. She claims her father severely abused herself, her mother and her brother, and that by kidnapping her and Zachary, Holly was rescuing them. You can read about that in this article. I can’t seem to find out how Zachary is doing now or what he thinks about his parents; he is conspicuous by his absence from all the reports I have located.

Today a friend showed me this blog by Glenn Sacks, which takes a very in-depth examination of the Collins case and provides court documents for readers to look at. Though it’s very long (it took me about 40 minutes to read, and I’m a fast reader), it’s well worth your time to look at. You can also see Holly Collins’s response, and Sacks’s response to Holly’s response.

The evidence clearly shows that Holly Collins is a whack-job who emotionally abused her children and turned them against their father, who was a decent man and a good parent. Almost every single doctor, therapist, and judge involved in the custody dispute concluded this. Holly’s own family did not support her before the abduction, when she sought to deny Mark access to the children. She’s accused practically everyone she knows of abusing her, and each time either there is no evidence, or the evidence contradicts her statements. She claimed her children were chronically and severely ill and took them to legions of doctors, but curiously, when they went to live with their father their medical problems disappeared. She also got the children to make statements against their father that were clearly not true. For instance, Zachary “remembered” Mark punching Holly in the nose and breaking it, when Holly’s nose was in fact broken (accidentally) before Zachary was even born!

It’s absolutely tragic. The children will never get over this. Even if they do eventually have a good relationship with their father, none of them will never regain those twelve lost years.

Holly, of course, has many supporters. I don’t understand why people tend to believe everything an allegedly battered woman or child has to say without bothering to make even a cursory look at the evidence. Of course, many women and children are abused, and it’s very sad. But it’s also very easy to make up false stories, which cheapen the real tragedy of spouse/child abuse. You shouldn’t place a halo on the head of everyone who has a tale of woe.

From what I’ve seen, many people, including people who should know better, are biased in favor of women and against men in domestic disputes. For example, several years ago my brother and his girlfriend got into an argument at their home. No violence took place, but the shouting was loud enough that the neighbors called the police. When the police arrived, they told my brother to get out of the house immediately and spend the night elsewhere, or they would arrest him. My brother pointed out that he was paying rent for the house, his name was the only one on the lease, and his girlfriend had no legal rights to the property. He was told: tough, get out of here anyway. So my brother’s girlfriend spent the night in his house and my brother spent the night on a friend’s couch. I can’t imagine law enforcement acting that way if it was the woman who rented the house and not the man.

But getting back to the Collins case: Holly will never face justice for her monstrous crimes. According to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, she was charged with parental kidnapping, but the charge was dropped after her return to the U.S. and she pleaded guilty only to contempt of court. She was sentenced to a mere 40 hours of community service and 90 days in jail, but the jail term was stayed, meaning she won’t have to actually serve any time unless she gets in trouble again.

People don’t want to take a close look at this case. It takes a lot of time — as I said, it took me the better part of an hour to read Glenn Sacks’s blog, and it must have taken him much much longer to research, whereas it takes just a few minutes to read the very biased CityNews article. And the truth might make them uncomfortable, might upset their perfect black/white view of the world. I’m convinced that the vast majority of the American public simply doesn’t want to know things, because it would require them to think, and they don’t want to do that.

I can’t think of a story which better illustrates the tragedy and folly of parental abduction than the Collins case. I only hope people besides me and Glenn Sacks will take the time to have a closer look, and not just indiscriminately swallow everything Holly and Jennifer say.

5 thoughts on “Zachary, Jennifer and Holly Collins

  1. forthelost February 1, 2009 / 9:04 pm

    I’m still waiting for someone to claim somehow Jessica Vargas Biatriz is better off with her wanted for homicide mom than her dad. Just because.

  2. VogFoodomcoaf February 21, 2009 / 7:24 pm

    Maaaan, you know there is such thing in the web like search engine, if you don’t, go there to understand why this post is bullshit

  3. Justin October 8, 2009 / 5:51 am

    People have a knee-jerk reaction that the mother is the nurturing one and the fathers are the ones who abuse them. I won’t deny that for the most part, the stereotype is true that he fathers are usually the abusers. But I have met so many women who flat out refuse to even consider that the opposite can be true as well.

    I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and my mother spent a lot of time campaigning to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed. Many of the women she worked with on that were not so much pro women as anti men. If a man was convicted of abusing his children, they wanted him locked up for life. But if woman was convicted of the same thing, they would say she was sick and needed help. They would not even consider that some children would be better off with their fathers than their mothers. A woman would have to be hacking up infants with an axe before they would think otherwise.

    I guess it is easier to think in black and white. Women=good while men=bad. The Klu Klux Klan and other racial separatists like to think the same way because it makes complicated things simple. Either/Or. White Angelo Saxon Protestant=good and everyone else=bad.

    I understand that many women have a problem comprehending that women who are not mentally ill are capable of harming their children. Most people have little personal experience of being on the receiving end of an abusive sociopath that is female and many refuse to believe they exist. Mother=nurture. Not always the case.

  4. IWASTHERETOO June 24, 2010 / 5:44 pm


    As the court – visitation supervisor who documented that asthma attack – let me set the record FULLY correct and straight as you have a view of what happened that is incorrect.

    Your MOTHER fed you a pasta dish that was covered in tomato sauce and she caused you to have an attack – I and the other worker documented it and wrote up the paperwork – and you were MADE sick by your mother!!! You have memories that are embedded in your head by your mother that have a slanted view of Mark and EVERYONE who didn’t agree or back up her presentation of what goes on. It’s called Personality Disorder…and she plays the victim very well…and the chaos that she continues to surround herself in is where she feels comfort.

    I pray for you and Zach and also Chip – there is MUCH pain to go around here and I’m sure for years and years, your anger, pain and confusion will go on and on and on…much like your song during visitation…”Some where out there…” – until you can resolve this and MOVE ON!!!

    • Barry Nolan July 14, 2010 / 7:45 pm

      Dear Iwastheretoo,

      I am currently involved in the production of a documentary film about Holly Collins and her children. We have interviewed Ms. Collins and her children in the Netherlands, Child Abuse experts at Boston Children’s Hospital, other parents and children who have had similar experiences, reviewed voluminous documentation concerning the case and in the very near future I will be interviewing the FBI agent in charge of the case.

      In light of your claim that you were present for a key event, and your strongly held opinion of the case, I would like to invite you to be interviewed – on camera – or if you choose – you can remain annonymous and be shown only in shadow or from behind. You can contact me directly at:
      I look forward to speaking to you.
      Barry Nolan

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