THE CHRISTINE CASE - Grants Pass couple accused of kidnapping their own children

The Christine Case


Grants Pass Couple Accused of Kidnapping Their Own Children


 Copied from Fight CPS and Win

Press release received from Edgar J. Steele on September 1, 2001

MISSOULA, MONTANA - First, they took her three young girls on an anonymous and unverifiable phone call that one looked kind of sick. Then they moved heaven and earth, trying desperately to take the baby she bore a month later, though it was several states out of their jurisdiction. Then they had her arrested and thrown in a Montana jail for "kidnapping" her own children. Now, she is about to give birth to her fifth child and they are trying to snatch it, too, after which they want to lock her and her husband away in prison for a long, long time.

Pretty serious stuff. Must be a modern Bonnie and Clyde. "How many people have they killed?" would be a logical question. Well....none, actually. What have they done wrong? Their most serious crime: they loved their children. Their biggest mistake: they trusted that truth would find a way.

Ruth Christine whiles away her time in a Missoula, Montana jail, while Oregon officials move to have her extradited to stand trial on charges that she helped to kidnap her own children. Ruth is counting the days until delivery of her next child, too - anytime during the next couple of weeks.

Oregon's Services to Children and Families (SCF) has had its counterpart in Montana, Child Protection Services (CPS), pay a call on Ruth and her doctor yesterday. Nobody is to be allowed into the delivery room except their people. Immediately upon birth, the baby is to be taken from Ruth and handed over to Oregon. No cuddling. No breast feeding. No bonding. No kidding.

Edgar J. Steele, an attorney based in Northern Idaho, with offices in California, has agreed to take the lead in representing Ruth and Brian Christine in what has become a modern-day David and Goliath story of citizens against a government seemingly out of control. "They just refused to play ball," said Steele from his office in Sandpoint, Idaho. "They must have seemed like easy marks, apparent itinerants living in a bus with their three little girls, parked not far from the public library in Grants Pass, Oregon."

Ruth and Brian had chosen to spend a few years traveling with their young family and earning a modest income from his internet-based business dealings. He would use public-access terminals, like those found in public libraries, to conduct business.

Apparently, somebody in Grants Pass didn't think that was right, so he or she called authorities to say that one of the little girls "looked dehydrated." She did look a bit under the weather, truth be told. It was hot, being midsummer, and the little girl was just getting over an illness. When authorities arrived, they found she had a bandaid on her forehead where she had bumped her head while playing. That was enough.

By the end of the day, Brian had been hauled off and booked for "child endangerment," the three girls taken by armed deputies to a foster home and Ruth left dazed, penniless and 8 months pregnant, alone and confused in the converted bus which had served as the family home for the past two years.

Once Brian was released, he and Ruth chose to fight the legal system on their own, spurning the offer of a county-paid public defender. They did all the wrong things, according to the system, just as people often do when they dare to represent themselves in a courtroom. They didn't realize the stakes that were involved. They believed that eventually truth would find a way and they would get their children back. They were wrong.

Along the way, Ruth traveled home to Indiana to have her baby. She eventually left baby Olivia behind with her mother and returned to Oregon to help Brian in the struggle to regain custody of their three little girls.

"We want Olivia, too," said the Oregon officials, and began a marathon court proceeding designed to have the baby taken from its grandmother, who had been appointed its legal guardian, and brought to Oregon to be placed with a foster home. Only three days ago, the Indiana judge that had become embroiled in the struggle laid down the law: Indiana refuses to allow Oregon to have baby Olivia.

About a month ago, Oregon made it clear to Ruth and Brian that they were never to see their children again, as they were about to be adopted out. Desperate, the couple allegedly plotted to take their girls and run away. They were tracked down in Montana, turned in by those they considered friends. While Ruth sits in a Missoula jail, Brian awaits extradition to Oregon from his cell in Billings, on the other side of the state, destined to stand trial on a host of criminal charges stemming from the alleged "kidnapping."

Meanwhile, though the couple's newest baby is about to be born in Montana, Oregon has convinced Montana authorities to seize that child upon birth and transport it to Oregon to be adopted out with the three older Christine girls.

Steele pledges that the baby will not be taken without a legal struggle. "Nor will the three older girls be adopted out to strangers without a pitched battle of epic proportions," said Steele. "This case represents the modern trend of Big Brother come to life in America. We have to stop it here or there will never be any stopping government from taking anybody's child for any reason."

"The criminal charges will be the toughest," said Steele. Though the Christines' alleged acts were born of desperation about never seeing their little girls again, the system just won't allow that as a justification. In a very real sense, the system drove them crazy, and now it wants to lock them up for doing the very things it is itself guilty of having driven them to do. This isn't right and I hope that we can get a jury that sees things that way. Meanwhile, we have our work cut out, just keeping the kids from being placed permanently out of reach while we deal with the criminal charges."

While Steele is providing his legal services pro bono (for free), he notes that there will be considerable costs to be expended in the Christines' defense, nonetheless, and asks that donations be directed to the Christine Defense Fund, PO Box 1255, Sagle, Idaho 83860. Donations can be made via credit card over the Internet by logging on to and directing donations to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., with a notation for the Christine Defense Fund.


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