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Friday, July 30, 2010

The Kyron Horman abduction at the 8-week mark

By Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon—

I am feeling a great deal of empathy for the family of Kyron Horman, who spoke at a press conference today, eight weeks after their 7-year-old son was abducted.

Eight weeks after my four children disappeared from Oregon 14 years ago, my lawyer was able to obtain a PO Box number in Eden, Utah. It was our first clue to the general location of my children, somewhere in the mountains east of Ogden.

I later learned that mail was being received there, but not actually picked up by anyone, and that the letters I had been writing to my children's mother's last address were actually being forwarded to a woman in Hillsboro, a person named Evelyn Taylor.

By then, I had already learned that several people were involved in the kidnapping, that it had been in the works for months.

I learned even later that it is not illegal to receive mail intended for abducted children.

Later still, I learned that more than 200,000 US children are abducted by family members or persons known to the victims every year, and that the majority involve multiple perpetrators.

You learn these things one at a time when your children disappear.

A lot of numbness sets into your bones at the eight-week mark. The world feels completely empty.

And it stays that way.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Parental abduction wisdom, pt 9: When the police figure it out

By Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon--

The Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office announced yesterday, more than 50 days after Kyron Horman disappeared, that they were now convinced that a crime had taken place in the disappearance of Kyron Horman.

While it took law enforcement more than a month to decide that the disappearance of a 7-year-old child was a criminal matter, Kyron's family knew it right away.

When your child disappears, like mine did 14 years ago, you know right away that a crime has been and is being committed. Sometimes the police never figure it out….

Most of us who are parents knew by the end of the first day Kyron went missing that a crime had been committed, somewhere, somehow, by someone.

This child was not lost, had not wandered off on his own, this child had been taken, whether by a stranger or by a person known to the child, we did not know, but what we knew for certain was that a crime was being committed against this child and against this child’s family.

ALL of us who are parents of kidnapped children, parents of children who have vanished with or without a trace, we knew right away.

The police needed more than a month to come to that conclusion, in a case as obvious as Kyron Horman's.

They are MUCH slower when the issues aren't so clear-cut, like when the children have vanished along with a parent or family member.

The police will take reports of missing children and there’s a filing system for those reports, where they usually wind up.

But if a family member, if a parent is gone with the child(ren), then local law enforcement rarely forwards the report on to the Oregon State Police, which explains why so few abducted children are ever listed on the OSP website, which also explains why the Sheriff’s Office is unaware of any other children missing in Oregon “that meet the criteria.”

Many of those children are gone forever.

And that’s a crime, the same crime that began on the day each child disappeared, a continuing crime, crimes with beginnings but no end.

Try to tell them that when your child disappears, you'll see....

Monday, July 26, 2010

Jim Pepper Hour of Power on KBOO 90.7FM

Portland, Oregon—Nick Gefroh will host the Jim Pepper Hour of Power from noon until 2:00 on Wednesday July 28.

Here’s the link for live streaming audio:

I will bring my collection of rare Jim Pepper recordings and Nick will bring his, and you’re right, the show IS two hours long! It won't be long enough! You'll see….

Friday, July 09, 2010

Parental abduction wisdom, pt 8: To murder the soul

By Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon—

Former Portland police detective C.W. Jensen recently gave his opinion regarding the presumptive motive for the abduction of Kyron Horman:

“If you are really, really angry at someone, you can kill them, or you can kill their soul by taking their child away, and that’s what I’m afraid happened here.”

Every year, more than 200,000 US children are abducted by family members or persons known to the victims. The crime is horrific, but only a tiny percentage receive any attention by the media, the public or law enforcement.

In all of these cases, the abductors intend to murder the soul of the victim parent by causing their child to disappear, and are willing to murder the soul of the child victim as collateral damage.

High-conflict custody battles are common; parents use their children as weapons in far too many cases, but the abduction of a child is indeed tantamount to murder.

When my four children disappeared on February 12, 1996, 14 years ago, kidnapped by my former wife and a group of Mormon officials in three states, no one was interested. Four children vanished. Zero interest. Ho hum.

My former wife wanted to murder my soul, and was willing to put our children through hell to do so; the Mormons that Kory and Chris Wright organized to carry out the abduction wanted to re-engineer my children’s personalities, at a cost to my family that was irrelevant to them, and through a process that led to the death of my son Aaron Cruz.

Those Mormons included Evelyn Taylor and Mormon Bishop David Holliday in Washington County, Mormon Bishop Donald Taylor in Clark County and Utah resident Steve Nielson, who would become my former wife’s fourth husband, who I would later learn slapped my children around throughout their marriage.

Retired Portland police commander Cliff Madison, interviewed today about the Kyron Horman case, made a comment that resonated with my experience, referring to the revelation that Terri Horman, Kyron’s stepmom, might be involved in the 7-year-old’s disappearance:

“They’ve just been hit with a big right hook, because all of a sudden the possibility of someone within the family being involved. It is a shock, because we all refuse to believe that until it is thrown in our faces.”

It is that refusal to believe, on the part of law enforcement, the media and the public, on the part of the courts, that refusal to believe that a family member would kidnap a beautiful child, that stands in the way of recovery and of achieving justice in many, many cases.

That refusal to believe that a family member would do such a thing causes the wheels to turn slowly, if at all.

In most cases, the family is entirely on its own. No cops, no detectives, no media, no public outcry…ho hum….

In the months and years that followed the disappearance of my children, I nearly died from shock, from grief, from bereavement, from depression and from suicide, when I had run out of hope and was overwhelmed by the pain.

My mother died four years after the abduction began, without seeing or hearing from her grandchildren again. That fact alone speaks to the character of the people involved in the abduction.

Remember that kidnappings are continuing crimes, crimes with a beginning but no end….

The abduction of Kyron Horman has thrown the fact in our faces, that a person in a trust relationship with a child, a family member, could inflict harm on this scale, and law enforcement, the public and even the media are getting involved.

There was a time when they could have expended just a little bit of energy and saved my family, could have saved Aaron’s life….

Now there is Aaron’s Law on the Oregon books, soon to be modeled in other states, and with it a drive to end parental and family abductions in this country.

I hope that they find some time to take an interest in that, too.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Parental abduction wisdom, pt 7: Complicated Grief and a Continuing Crime

By Sean Cruz

Portland, Oregon—

I began the Parental Abduction Wisdom series in 2009, but the subject was so painful that I had to step back after posting the sixth installment, “The Little Girl in the Blue Dress”, nearly a year ago.

Kidnappings are continuing crimes, however, and the damage to the Cruz family continues to mount with the passage of every minute of every day.

The present case involving the disappearance of 7-year-old Kyron Horman illustrates the concept of a continuing crime very clearly: the public generally understands that this child is just as kidnapped today as he was when he disappeared several weeks ago. The crime continues….

My experience, as the victim of a parental, family and Mormon kidnapping, has been entirely different. Few have understood the continuing nature of the crime, many have wondered at why I haven’t let the crime (and my children) go, and some have expressed frustration that I haven’t “moved on.”

I want to note here that each of my critics can pick up the phone and speak with their living children any time that they want to…and that none have experienced the disappearance of their child….

Before I saw the Oregonian article linked below, I had never heard of "complicated grief syndrome", but I realize that it attaches to cases of child abduction, like mine, which began with the abduction of my four children in a Mormon kidnapping.

Unlike deaths, time and aging bring no closure to kidnapping victims. There is no "coming to peace with it." Only the mending of the relationships can bring closure.

Kidnappings are "continuing crimes", meaning that the crime has a beginning but no end, not before the victims are reunited and the kidnappers see justice served.

I want Mormon kidnappers Kory and Chris Wright in particular to take notice of that last statement. The crime has no end. Justice…will…be…served!

So long as people believe that they will get away with abducting a child, they will do so. In the case of Mormon zealots like the Wrights, they will relish pulling off a child abduction, if the purpose is to absorb the child into their belief system.

More on this later.

I am reviving the Parental Abduction Wisdom series with this post. There is no end in sight.

Here is an excerpt from the Oregonian article on Complicated Grief Syndrome:

“We are built to love, biologically programmed to attach. To lose that relationship, as everyone does, is to meet sorrow.

“Early in grief, humans yearn for the one who died, until we recognize that search is futile. Psychiatrist M. Katherine Shear says this transformation occurs in the brain circuitry and we eventually come to peace. ‘Death is a part of life and we have the mechanisms to come to terms with it,’ says the Columbia University professor.

“But in the 1990s, Shear and other researchers realized that about 15 percent of the bereaved suffer ‘complicated grief,’ stuck in a loop of despair. Their longing for the loved one overcomes all other desires. They either avoid any mention of the dead or become totally preoccupied. They daydream about being together and have suicidal thoughts. Brain imaging shows their reactions differ from people who progress through the grieving process. Researchers want complicated-grief disorder and its treatment included in the 2012 American Psychiatric Association diagnostic manual.

“No one tracks how losing a young, healthy child in war can push parents and other survivors to suicide. Yet, complicated grief almost exclusively occurs after the loss of a person's closest, most rewarding relationships. Losing a beloved child is one of the most obvious risks, and losing an only child, greater still.

"’Debra wanted to be with Michael,’ George says, ‘Wherever he was.’"

The complete article is titled: " Measures of Sacrifice: Answering the call to military binds a patriotic Oregon family", here:

My heart goes out to this family.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

2010 Jim Pepper Arts Festival announcements coming soon!

By Sean Cruz

(Portland, Oregon) We’ll be going live midsummer! Meanwhile, see the following brief (!) Gunther Schuller bio. The complete one will run a couple of volumes! Please note the last paragraph, referencing Gunther's 85th birthday this year, being celebrated at more than a dozen tribute concerts around the world.

Gunther's leaving us after the conclusion of the Jim Pepper Arts Festival to fly directly to Greece, to one of those tribute concerts, where he'll receive another honorary doctorate to add to the dozen or so others….

On September 28 at Portland State University, he will be honored as the Founding Occupant of the Jim Pepper Hunga-Che-Ada Flying Eagle Chair in the Department of Native American Studies, fulfilling Oregon Senate Joint Resolution 31 (2005), “to further the study of Native American music and its relationship to jazz.”

As the Jim Pepper Chair, Gunther will be with us for two weeks as an artist-in-residence, working with the University, students and faculty, and with the Portland community, to leverage the genius of Jim Pepper, the brilliant Native American saxophonist, singer, dancer, bandleader, innovator and composer, into an instrument that makes real differences in real lives, building a path to higher education for Native American students, financed with Jim Pepper Remembrance Scholarships.

The 2010 Jim Pepper Arts Festival will culminate at Trinity Cathedral on Oct 7, 8 and 9 with the American premiere performance of “Gunther Schuller’s Witchi-Tai-To: The Music of Jim Pepper”.

This series will feature the Portland Chamber Orchestra, Gunther Schuller conducting, with the Jim Pepper Remembrance Band and the Intertribal Veterans Powwow Drum from Ft. Defiance, Arizona. Native American poet and storyteller Ed Edmo will also be on the bill.

All Jim Pepper events are benefits for the Native American Studies Department, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, at Portland State University.

Let's not forget to wish Gunther a happy birthday while he's in town.


Gunther Schuller (b. 1925, Jackson Heights, NY)

Gunther Schuller has earned prominence as a composer, conductor, jazz and classical performer, author, educator, administrator, music publisher, record producer, and all-around advocate of other innovative musicians. He is the winner of several major honors including the Pulitzer Prize, MacArthur Genius Award, DownBeat Lifetime Achievement Award and inaugural membership in the American Classical Music Hall of Fame.

Born to an artist mother and a New York Philharmonic violinist father on St. Cecilia’s Day, which celebrates the Patron Saint of Music, Schuller’s destiny was clear early on. Within his first 15 years, he would discover talent for both art and music. That combination would lead to some of his most exciting compositions, including his well known Seven Studies on Themes of Paul Klee (1959). Another famous combination of interests, classical music and jazz, would go on to define his career and secure his place in the musical history of the 20th century as a leader in the “Third Stream” movement.

He began as a composer, studied flute, and then switched to French horn. Schuller had already performed professionally under the baton of Arturo Toscanini and Antal Dorati before becoming the principal horn of the Cincinnati Symphony at age 17 in 1943. In his two important years in Cincinnati, Schuller first met Duke Ellington and developed an insatiable appetite for live jazz. By the time he joined the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in 1945, Schuller was spending much of his time at the dozen or so clubs on Broadway and New York’s legendary 52nd Street with his wife, Marjorie Black Schuller (1925-92).

His early involvement with the New York jazz scene eventually led to a life-long relationship with the Modern Jazz Quartet’s John Lewis, then a young bebop pianist with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. In 1950, Lewis suggested Schuller replace an absent French horn player on the third and final Birth of the Cool session led by Miles Davis. Schuller would go on to record two more albums with Davis, including 1958’s Porgy and Bess with Gil Evans, and several more with Lewis as a major collaborator. Together they created the Jazz and Classical Music Society in 1955, founded the Lenox School of Jazz in 1957, performed on each other’s recordings (1955-65), and co-led the Third Stream ensemble Orchestra USA from 1962-65.

Despite collaborations with musical titans like Milton Babbitt, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, and Dimitri Mitropolous on the classical side and Charles Mingus, J.J. Johnson, Lee Konitz, Gerry Mulligan, Bill Evans, Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Scott LaFaro, and the Modern Jazz Quartet on the jazz side, Third Stream music was mostly maligned by critics and poorly supported by the public. But Schuller, who had gained classical recognition for his composing of works like Symphony for Brass and Percussion (1950) and his first book, Horn Technique (1962), never missed a beat. With references like Leonard Bernstein, conductor of Schuller’s Triplum (1967) with the New York Philharmonic and a close friend, Schuller’s star was on the rise in the classical world.

He left the Met in 1959, and continued to freelance on French horn with artists like Dizzy Gillespie, Gil Evans, Miles Davis, Johnny Mathis, and Frank Sinatra until retiring to focus on composing in 1963. That year also began his twenty-two year association with the Berkshire Music Center where he presented Tanglewood’s first-ever jazz concert (1963), and served as Head of Contemporary Music Activities (1963-84) and Artistic Director (1969-1984).

In 1967, Schuller left his position as Associate Professor of Composition at Yale University to become the President of the New England Conservatory in Boston. At the helm of the NEC, he created the first conservatory-level degree program in jazz, founded three important jazz repertory orchestras including the Grammy-winning NEC Ragtime Ensemble, formed the Third Stream Department, and assembled an amazing array of talented faculty including George Russell, Joe Maneri, Ran Blake, Russell Sherman, Jaki Byard, Victor Rosenbaum, John Heiss and Benjamin Zander.

Before Schuller’s performances with the NEC’s Ragtime Ensemble helped spur the worldwide revival of interest in Scott Joplin in 1972-73, he would write the first of his seminal jazz books (Early Jazz: It’s Roots and Musical Development, 1968), tour Eastern Europe extensively for the U.S. State Department (1963-78), receive the first three of his eleven honorary doctorates in music, and premiere two of his operas (1966’s The Visitation and 1970’s The Fisherman and his Wife). In 1975, Schuller orchestrated Joplin’s opera Treemonisha and premiered and recorded it with the Houston Opera, also performing it on Broadway.

Also in 1975, Schuller founded the first of his three companies, Margun Music, to publish the works of composers like Alec Wilder and many younger, less-known composers who deserved public recognition. Before being sold in 1999, Margun, and its sister company GunMar, published over 1000 works. GM Recordings, Schuller’s independent record label, released its first recording in 1981—the piano music of twelve-tone composer Robert DiDomenica—and celebrates its 20th anniversary and the issuance of over 115 jazz and classical recordings in 2001. Schuller has received the Alice M. Ditson Award (1970) and many other honors for his selfless championing of other musicians.

After retiring from the presidency of NEC and his directorial position at Tanglewood, Schuller spent most of the 1980’s as one of the primary on-call composers for orchestras performing contemporary classical works. He also premiered his jazz ballet, The Great Gatsby (1987), in Pittsburgh, wrote his second award-winning jazz book, The Swing Era (1989), and edited Charles Mingus’ Epitaph for its posthumous premiere at Lincoln Center in New York (1989).

The 1990’s were arguably Schuller’s most productive decade. He collected a throng of awards including the MacArthur Genius Award (1991), the DownBeat Lifetime Achievement Award (1993), the Pulitzer Prize for Composition (1994), the BMI Lifetime Achievement Award (1994), Musical America’s Composer of the Year (1995), the DownBeat Critics Poll Jazz Album of the Year with Joe Lovano (1995), and Columbia University’s William Schumann Award for lifetime achievement (1989).

He co-directed and transcribed early jazz music for the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (1991-97) and in 1997 released his controversial treatise on conducting, The Compleat Conductor (Oxford University Press). He also won the Gold Medal in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1997), and was commissioned to compose a piece for the 30th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death, The Black Warrior, which premiered in Birmingham, Alabama (1998).

In 2000, he arranged several of Native American saxophonist Jim Pepper’s compositions for orchestra, jazz band, powwow drum and singers.

“Gunther Schuller’s Witchi-Tai-To: The Music of Jim Pepper,” was recorded in Cologne, Germany on Tutu Records, Gunther Schuller conducting the WDR Radio Orchestra, members of the Jim Pepper Remembrance Band, and Yellowhammer, a Ponca Southern-style powwow drum and singers from Oklahoma.

Approaching his sixtieth year in professional music in 2002, Gunther Schuller has composed nearly 180 works and is still active as a world-traveling conductor, public speaker, and label president/producer with GM Recordings. He is currently documenting his unique life experiences in a long-awaited autobiography and celebrating his 85th birthday at more than a dozen tribute concerts around the world.