Make-a-List Monday: Minors in unusual living situations

I thought I’d make a list today of kids under 18 who were had atypical housing arrangements. I don’t mean kids residing with stepparents, adoptive parents, foster care, boarding schools, group homes or residential treatment centers. Nor do I include cases where the child was left with a non-relative in what was meant to be a temporary arrangement.

I mean minors living with their friends, those living with adult friends of their families, those living with a spouse or boyfriend or girlfriend, those living alone, and those living with members of their extended family, provided the extended family were not officially foster parents or adoptive parents.

I know a guy who lived in a situation like that for a few years. I figured I’d talk about him here. I’m using alias names for everyone, and also placing the story in a different state, for privacy. This story is going to last for several paragraphs so skip to the list if you don’t care. This is what he told me:

START OF STORY: Basically, my friend Alec grew up in a tiny sneeze-and-you-miss it farm community in Illinois. Alec was the oldest of three siblings, and his mother abandoned the family when he was like six years old and dropped completely out of sight. There was a divorce but they couldn’t force her to pay child support because they couldn’t find her.

Alec’s father, Craig, was an alcoholic. The only jobs he could get were low-paying manual labor — construction, farm work, that sort of stuff. There was basically no chance of him improving his career prospects because he was more or less illiterate. Craig could write his name, and he could slowly sound out words if he had to, but his comprehension was just about nil. I don’t know if he had dyslexia or an intellectual disability or whether he simply wasn’t properly educated, but it’s hard to find any kind of decent job if you can’t read.

Craig was also an unreliable employee because of his constant drinking. At home, when drunk, he would verbally abuse his children. I asked Alec once if his father ever beat him and he said no, but he did say Craig “smacked him around” sometimes. When Craig wasn’t working, the family subsisted on food stamps and welfare (this was back before the big welfare overhaul in the mid-nineties) and on whatever Alec could bring in from his own part-time jobs.

One day, when he was 16 or so, Alec just fed up with it and left, with no belongings, and only the clothes on his back. He went across town to his best friend from high school, Trevor Martin. By rural Illinois standards, Trevor’s family was rich. Mom was a professional counselor. Dad was an anesthesiologist, which is one of the highest-paying medical specialties. Alec basically showed up on Trevor’s doorstep and asked the Martins he could stay there for two years until he graduated high school.

And they let him. I wouldn’t say the Martins treated Alec like their own son, but they provided for his material needs and they were nice to him and didn’t use them as their verbal or physical punching bag. Alec remains in close touch with the Martin family to this day.

After Alec graduated high school, the Martins’ generosity did not extend towards paying for his college education. I’m not even sure he wanted to go to college anyway, and his GPA wasn’t that great. He opted to join the military. After his discharge he got a high-paying job using the training the military gave him, and he’s doing well for himself.

Technically I suppose this was a runaway situation, but Craig knew exactly where Alec was the entire time, and never reported him missing to the police. Alec continued to attend the same high school, and the teachers knew he was actually living with the Martins, and nobody reported it. I mean, let’s face it, he was in a much better living situation than CPS could have provided him. END OF STORY

Now on to the list!

  1. Anthony Ross Allen
  2. Andria Ann Bailey
  3. Erica Monique Bradley
  4. Kristina Delane Branum
  5. Zackery Lee Brewer
  6. Niki Diane Britten
  7. Monica Cassandra Carrasco
  8. Amber Elizabeth Cates
  9. Christopher Gage Daniel
  10. Tracy Lynn Davenport
  11. Timothy Jacob Davison
  12. Theresa M. Fishbach
  13. Elizabeth Franks
  14. Angela Lee Freeman
  15. Debra Lee Frost
  16. Richard Gorham
  17. Coral Pearl Hall
  18. Tinze Lucinda Huels
  19. Jennifer Jane Hughes
  20. Karen Beth Kamsch
  21. Mary Sue Kitts
  22. Ruth Ann Leamon
  23. Kase Ann Lee
  24. Chloie Rhianna Leverette
  25. Alexandra Cassandra Livingston
  26. Kristopher Charles Loesch
  27. Faloma Luhk
  28. Maleina Quitugua Luhk
  29. Brianna Alexandria Maitland
  30. Tianna Neshelle Martin
  31. Ila Veronica Tucker Maynard
  32. Heather Lorraine Mehlhoff
  33. Launa Renee Merritt
  34. Garnell Monroe Moore
  35. Sophia Felecita Moreno
  36. Tristen Alan Myers
  37. Ariza Maria Olivares
  38. Victoria Jane Owczynsky
  39. Alicia Guzman Padilla
  40. Jose Francisco Fuentes Pereira
  41. Larry Wayne Perry
  42. Eric Wayne Pyles
  43. Christina Marchell Richart
  44. Joseph Rodriguez
  45. Kathleen Edna Rodgers
  46. Qua’Mere Sincere Rogers
  47. Cristina Ester Ruiz-Rodriguez
  48. Alisha Smiley
  49. Roland Jack Spencer III
  50. Rocio Chila Sperry
  51. Edward Ashton Stubbs
  52. Kylan Patrick Stubler
  53. Patricia Lynn Taylor
  54. Mary Rachel Trlica
  55. Daffany Sherika Tullos
  56. Jahi Marques Turner
  57. Leah Jean Van Schoick
  58. Mary Ann Verdecchia
  59. Brittany Renee Williams
  60. April Susanne Wiss
  61. Quinn Renard Woodfolk
  62. Shelby Raistlin Wright


An honorable mention: Marble Ace Arvidson. Although his residence was officially a foster home, his “foster father” was in his twenties — that is, only a few years older than Marble — and many accounts refer to the other residents in the home as “roommates.”

It’s pretty hard to put a list like this together. I may very well have missed a few, or more than a few. My apologies.

5 thoughts on “Make-a-List Monday: Minors in unusual living situations

  1. Lauren October 18, 2016 / 6:04 pm

    Interesting. I am glad Alec turned out ok and that there was good ending for him. The Martins sound like great people. I also think this is an awesome idea for a list. It’s also one of the things that led me to Charley Project. I was searching for a friend from high school was also in an unusual living situation before running away. She lived with her Dad who was going through a divorce from his current wife (not the girl’s mom) so he put his 2 cars, house and his business in his daughter’s name so he wouldn’t lose it in the divorce. Then his daughter accused him of putting a bruise on her face and he was ordered to stay away from her. It took months before foster care realized there was a 16 year old living by herself. When they did they took her to a foster home and she took off.

    • Meaghan October 20, 2016 / 10:30 pm

      “Alec” actually found his mother, accidentally, something like 15 years later. He was 21 and living in California at the time, still in military service. I had just gotten to know him and his story. He was going through a phone book looking for something or other and saw his mother’s name. It’s an extremely unusual name so he was reasonably sure it was actually her. I asked if he was going to get in touch and he said of course not, and seemed baffled that I would even consider that idea.

      His father’s dead now. I’m not sure what happened to his younger siblings, although I know they were both over 18 by the time “Craig” died. A sad thing though: “Mrs. Martin” disappeared over a decade ago, It’s no great mystery what happened — she went on a solo hike in an area she wasn’t familiar with, and never came back, and her family held a memorial service a month or so later — but they never found the body. She’s actually featured on Charley. She’s the only missing person I have any kind of personal connection to.

      “Alec” is one of my dearest friends and a very generous man. He has no student loans and no family, no wife or kids, and he has a very good job, so he has more money than he needs for himself, and he and enjoys throwing it around. Because he came from nothing, he knows what it’s like to not be able to afford the finer things in life, and he has personally funded some of my adventures over the years. I’ve never had to ask for anything. He just gives it.

  2. T.T. October 19, 2016 / 10:22 pm

    Kellie Marie Brownlee was living with her boyfriend and his parents to get away from her abusive stepfather.

  3. Liza E October 27, 2016 / 11:46 pm

    I’m very interested in the Marble Arvidson case you mentioned. His seems like a prime choice for “Let’s Talk About It”– I know I emailed you about it previously, but the ex of his girlfriend is/did do time for assault or somesuch. The concurrence with Hurricane Irene is also interesting, though likely only a complicating factor.

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