Destiny Furlong was a typical 12 year old girl. Outgoing and smart, she did well in school. She participated in extracurricular activities and had many interests but the top two were: 1. Becoming a veterinarian and 2. Performing arts. Destiny is friends with a girl who was in the movie “Twilight” who inspired her to be on “America’s Got Talent”. She was even in the process of finding a talent agent.
Her mother, Karen Furlong, is a 38 year-old dedicated, responsible single mom who has worked at Target for 12 years. Karen is a pretty conservative woman who is always dressed appropriately, does not have any tattoos, rarely swears, attends church regularly and drives a BMW. A background search revealed a total of four previous addresses and no criminal history. Her father was a stock broker originally from Canada.
Destiny and her mom have always been very close. They enjoyed running marathons together, going to amusement parks, museums, dining out and watching movies together. Destiny has an older brother, Mathew, who is almost 21 years old and lives in Los Angeles. Destiny’s father is from the UK and spent many years out of the country while Karen waited for him. When he finally moved back to the U.S. he stayed in another part of the country and eventually, the long-distance relationship dissolved.
In May 2012, 12 year old Destiny Furlong got a little thumb tack poked into her back at school. It was removed at school and left a tiny little mark which was barely noticeable. About a week or so later, Destiny began to exhibit physical symptoms such as tightening of the jaw, a lump at the puncture site and weakness. Her mother, Karen, took her to the Riverside County Community Hospital and Destiny was diagnosed with Tresmus, a less serious form of Tetanus. She stayed in the hospital for 6 days due to having an infection and an inability to walk. However, the hospital may have released her too soon.
A visiting nurse was assigned to Destiny and arrived at their home two days later. The nurse’s observation was that Destiny shouldn’t have been released from the hospital and still needed hospital observation. She suggested to Karen that if Destiny did not improve soon that she take her daughter to Rady’s Children’s Hospital in San Diego. When Destiny did not improve and seemed to worsen, Karen drove her daughter to San Diego and Destiny was admitted to Rady’s due to the infection. The hospital was advised of the prior hospital stay for the same condition in Riverside.
The hospital staff claimed that the regular care rooms were full and that they needed to place Destiny in the Teen Eating Disorder ward temporarily. Karen stayed at the hospital with Destiny 24/7. Within the first 24 hours several psychologists had come into Destiny’s room to do “evaluations” which they claimed was “routine”. When Destiny was admitted to this hospital, she could barely walk and needed assistance in the bathroom and the shower. A nurse was assigned to assist Destiny with these needs however, this nurse was very rude and degrading to Destiny as the nurse made it very clear that her opinion was that Destiny was faking it and that it was “all in her head” and literally knocked Destiny’s head into the bathroom shower wall. Both Karen and Destiny demanded that this nurse be restricted from Destiny’s room. The hospital complied and re-assigned the nursing staff.
After a few days, the doctor came up with a new diagnosis: Conversion Disorder. According to WebMD, this is:
Conversion disorder is a mental illness characterized by the loss or alteration of physical functioning without any physiological reason. These physical symptoms are the result of emotional conflicts or needs. The symptoms usually appear suddenly and at times of extreme psychological stress. A lack of concern over the debilitating symptoms (la belle indifference), which commonly accompanies this illness, may be a clue to distinguishing it from the physiological disorder it may mimic.
This is when Destiny’s stay at Rady’s became very strange. Destiny had become very interested in eating disorders (due to being in this ward of the hospital no doubt) and looked it up on her laptop. Destiny began eating less and less. She actually acquired this disorder for real and got so bad that at one point the nurses would threaten to put a feeding tube down her throat if she did not eat. A team of 13 psychologists/psychiatrists began assessing Destiny’s mental health. Remember, she was placed in this eating disorder ward TEMPORARILY but never moved her. She continued to receive antibiotics for her infection and was physically recovering however, Destiny was still too weak to walk as she had not been eating well and her body was tired from fighting the tetanus infection.
Karen stayed with Destiny for 20 days without going home. When Destiny had come up with the “eating disorder” the two had a squabble about it being a pre-existing condition prior to the tetanus because Destiny was now claiming that she has had an eating disorder for a while. Destiny was so adamant about it that Karen grew concerned. She felt she should call Destiny’s school to inquire whether or not she had been eating lunch as Destiny claimed she had not been. The school confirmed that Destiny seemed to be eating just fine as an administrator verified with classmates about it. This embarrassed Destiny and she became upset with her mother for not believing her and calling the school. Destiny then told her mother that she did not want to go home with her and that she wanted to live with her Aunt Stella.
It was a typical mother-pre-teen riff. How many of us can relate to this? Some of you may even say, “Gosh, that’s nothing compared to the way me and my daughter…” Just put yourself right here, right now, instead of Destiny and her mom, you and your daughter because this is the moment that these two last had any sense of normalcy. Destiny was captured by CPS and they have absolutely NO plans at all to reunite them. The social worker told a therapist to “prepare your client for coping with loss and finding out that she’s never going to see her daughter again.”
On June 2, 2012, after discussing Destiny’s release with the doctor, it was determined that Destiny was well enough to go home in a few days. Karen decided to drive back up to Riverside and bring Destiny some fresh clothing and check on the house, look over the mail, etc. On the second day in Riverside, Karen called the hospital to see what time Destiny could leave and the nurse that had been physical with Destiny spoke to Karen and told her that Destiny was not, after all, going to be released that day and to call back the next day. Later that night, Karen received a call from the hospital wanting to know where she was and why she had not showed up to pick up Destiny the day prior. Karen was very confused and began explaining the conversation with the nurse however, Karen was placed on hold and someone claiming that they were from social services picked up the line and informed her that they were taking Destiny into custody and was going to be placed with the Aunt, Stella. Karen objected and promised that she would be there as soon as it took to get gas in her car and drive down there. The social worker, Angela Franklin, of the Riverside Department of Social Services, told Karen that Destiny did not want to live with her anymore and wanted to go to the Aunt’s so not to bother but Karen drove as fast as she could to Rady’s Children’s Hospital. By the time she arrived, Destiny was gone.
Angela Franklin did not place Destiny with her Aunt like she had promised both Destiny and Karen, instead she was placed in a foster home. A detention hearing was held on June 6, 2012 but Destiny was not there. There were false allegations in the Petition which Karen contested adamantly. Another hearing was held on June 11, 2012 and more false allegations now claiming that Karen medically neglected Destiny! This is, no doubt, because Karen was not “buying-in” to their system. Nonetheless, the court ordered reunification and weekly visitation, pending the contested jurisdictional hearing, including telephone contact with Karen, her older brother, Mathew, as well as the Aunt Stella.
The worker refused to schedule any visits claiming that Destiny did not wish to see or speak to her mother or her brother. When CPS took Destiny from the hospital, Destiny had a brand new $600 cell phone which was confiscated at some point and to this day Karen has no idea what happened to it. Destiny was directed to use the house phone and was able to speak with her Aunt Stella. Stella questioned Destiny about physical abuse or if her mom ever hit her and Destiny said, “No, never.” After that, Stella was told not to talk about the case whatsoever with Destiny, and not to speak to Karen or Mathew at all. The worker made it sound so serious to Stella that she truly believed that she wasn’t allowed to speak with Karen or Mathew at all. It wasn’t until Christmas that Karen finally spoke to Stella at church. Both finally learned many truths which we will get to later.
Angela Franklin did refer the case to the relative placement assessment department but there is no indication that it was conducted.
Let’s back up for a minute, after the first hearing, Karen had a meeting with Angela Franklin at the CPS office early one morning. This woman came out of left field and told Karen, “I know your kind. You abuse your child in secret so it’s hard to see, but I see it. You even reek of alcohol.” Karen said, “Really? Why don’t you breathalyzer me, heck, I drove here, why don’t you call the police and have me arrested for DUI?” The worker shrugged it off but referred Karen to drug test. They tested her for every drug under the sun and also performed an 80-hour ECG alcohol test. This is NOT protocol. There were never any allegations of excessive alcohol consumption or about alcohol abuse whatsoever. This test detects alcohol sugars going back 80 hours. That’s more than 3 days! So, the 80 hour test came back positive (for alcohol sugars! These tests are often false positives if there is even the slightest infection in the urinary tract or kidneys.). This is, to me, absurd to have ever even done an 80 hour test on her because 1.) she had absolutely no reason to expect this test, 2.) she was not in any kind of program and was not legally prohibited from drinking, and 3.) her daughter had been illegally removed and she was being denied any contact, what reasonable person would NOT have a glass of wine to calm the nerves? Consequently, Karen had to enroll in substance abuse classes which she completed without incident. Karen has never had a DUI or any drug arrests or convictions whatsoever. Karen even Live Scanned herself which came back clear.
On July 31, 2012 the contested hearing was held. Rather than object, argue or perform any defensive actions on behalf of his client, Karen’s attorney, Daniel Vinson, allowed Karen to be threatened, coerced, intimidated and bullied into agreeing to cooperate with a case plan. Despite providing Vinson with exculpatory evidence as well as a list of witnesses to subpoena in support of her innocence, he said that she should just cooperate because the Department was going to give Destiny back immediately. This is the hook-line-and-sinker question that the always ask you: “ Wouldn’t you do anything for your child? If you just cooperate with the case plan, you will get your child back right away.” So, reluctantly, Karen agreed and that was the plan, for Destiny to come home right away.
Right after that hearing, the social worker, Angela Franklin, stalked Karen around in her car. Karen went to the store and ate lunch. The worker even parked her car behind Karen’s, cornering it in, while she watched Karen eat lunch at a restaurant. When Karen came out of the restaurant and saw Angela Franklin, she simply smiled and waved at the worker and then the worker sped away.
Karen was finally able to speak to Destiny on August 2, 2012. Destiny was ecstatic to hear her mother’s voice, she sounded so happy and excited to know she could go home. They had a very good talk and expected to see each other within the next few days. But that never happened.
The next day Destiny was relocated to a “more restrictive environment”. The social worker claimed to Karen that the foster mother had issues with Destiny’s “behavior problems” as well as fear that she would have to deal with false allegations of mistreatment.
On August 4, 2012, social services called Karen on her way to work and demanded that she attend a TDM (Team Decision Meeting) where they were going to decide to let Destiny go home. These meetings are usually held for this reason or if a child is in the home, these meetings are to remove the child again. It is CPS’s standard protocol however, they are usually scheduled in advance, not done at the last-minute. Nonetheless, Karen took called in to work to let them know she just couldn’t make it to work yet. This is usually very frowned upon to do when you work in retail but since Karen has been there so long and her HR Manager knew the situation and was extremely supportive of Karen, knowing Karen and Destiny had a great mother-daughter relationship and that the return of Destiny was paramount.
Once again, the social workers and their supervisors played both Karen and Destiny. Destiny was there, being held in a room against her will, screaming. The new caregiver had a very bizarre smirk on her face that Karen thought seemed very odd. Karen could not tell at the time exactly what was wrong or going on. Karen was told that Destiny did not know that her mother was going to be there and was screaming at everyone to not make her see her mother! So the caregiver left with Destiny and Karen saw two other children literally carrying Destiny, holding her arms as if Destiny couldn’t walk and appeared somewhat limp. Then they held the TDM. Karen was so upset that she was about to lose it. She excused herself to the restroom and Angela Franklin escorted her to the bathroom as if she was making sure that Karen didn’t leave to go after her daughter.
Of course, the decision was NOT to return Destiny and to deny any and all contact between Destiny and her family. No one has seen or heard from Destiny since this day.
A new worker was assigned to the case after that. Her name is Sonia Correa. This worker never even met with Karen until January 2013 as she had canceled every single appointment to meet face to face. Karen has several voicemail which evidence this worker’s perpetual cancellations.
A birthday visit was approved though. Karen, Mathew, Stella and a few other family members were looking forward to celebrating with Destiny and had it all planned. The worker canceled that at the last-minute.
So, then the worker claims that Destiny hit her head and was taken to the hospital. She was referred to Rady’s again. They did this without telling Karen or getting permission to take Destiny back to Rady’s Creepy Hospital.
Destiny was referred to counseling at Novell & Novell Counseling Center, in Temecula, CA, and a psychological evaluation. The “counselor”, Bonnie Kendig, is merely a MFT (marriage family therapist), which is the easiest accreditation one can obtain to be a “counselor”. If Destiny had been as psychologically damaged by “abuse” then the standard medical approach for therapy, for a child, would be an actual Psychiatrist with a medical degree. Also, the social worker’s report claims that Destiny does not show up for counseling quite often or the counselor cancels the appointments. So, does Destiny actually go here or what? I personally went to this place and waited for over an hour on the day at the time Destiny’s appointments are. She did not show up.
In November 2012 Karen filed court documents requesting an ex-parte hearing to address the worker’s incompetence as she had failed this family, denying all visitation, communication, reunification, and for failing to perform any case maintenance activities. Karen also made the court address the lack of family placement assessments. At this hearing, the worker came out of left field with new allegations. This time very serious false allegations that were not only offensive to Karen personally but held criminal consequences. A special investigator was assigned to interrogate Karen about how many boyfriends she had and other things of that nature. These allegations are so horrific that if they were even the slightest bit true a criminal investigation would most certainly have been initiated. But there was no police investigation or inquiry whatsoever. It was purely an intimidation tactic to distract the court from the social worker’s apparent incompetence and utterly pitiful job performance. But that wasn’t the last of those allegations, it gets worse.
To Karen’s surprise, however, the court ordered that the department perform the relative assessment as well as order the department to provide visitation to the entire family. The court also ordered that reunification cannot happen if there is no contact or visitation and ordered that Destiny’s counselor begin communicating with Karen’s counselor to establish some kind of reunification strategy for mother and daughter. (Remember, the worker claims that it is Destiny that does not want to see or talk to her mother or brother.)
Almost immediately after this hearing, Sonia Correa claimed that Destiny went out of her way to speak to a middle-aged man named Eric Mortensen who is the CEO of the foster family agency, Kamali’i Foster Family Agency and gave detailed accounts of how her mother raped her and had 5 boyfriends over at one time and that she was raped by them all! Then, allegedly, Destiny saw a doctor for extreme anxiety and depression which she allegedly told this doctor was due to this sexual abuse. This doctor alleges that she consulted with Destiny on November 29, 2012 and filled out a Request to Administer Psychotropic Medication on December 3, 2012. The request claimed that the child’s need for this drug was an “emergency”. However, the doctor didn’t even submit the Request to the court until February 15, 2013. So much for an “emergency”.
The Department continued to be in contempt of the court order to assess a relative for Destiny’s placement as well as the visitation. The worker, Sonia Correa, claimed in her report for the January Status Review Hearing, that “no one had ever come forward for relative placement until December 10, 2012.” This is a blatant lie, Stella had been promised the day CPS took Destiny from the hospital that she was being considered and assessed and she called the worker quite often to check the status of the assessment and Angela Franklin’s report claims a referral was sent to the RAU Department.
As far as the therapists communicating, this was also thwarted by Sonia Correa who said that Destiny’s therapist simply “refused” to comply, as she believes that Destiny should not ever have to speak to her mother ever again.
Karen Furlong has reported her daughter as a missing person to the FBI. It is not common for the FBI to seriously consider these reports and Karen is still waiting to find out if they are going to do anything about this.
Destiny Furlong needs YOUR help! Pass this story along and anyone in the Temecula, Murrieta, Sun City, Menifee, Perris, Hemet, Winchester areas of Riverside County who knows a child who attends public school in those areas and ask them to find Destiny in their school and get a message to her:
Destiny, your family is very
worried about you!
They love you and miss you
ESPECIALLY YOUR MOTHER!
A version of this column originally appeared in donnellyjustice.me.