Modern Divorce - The Do-Over For A Better You

Part 4: A shift in the case of missing Baby William

September 08, 2021 Attorney Billie Tarascio Season 3 Episode 4
Modern Divorce - The Do-Over For A Better You
Part 4: A shift in the case of missing Baby William
Show Notes Transcript

When Baby William's Grandmother, Andrea Gouchenour and her sister Rachel Guernsey drive around town to put up posters for the missing baby and her mother, Madeline Jones, they're shocked to see Madeline's mother Cassie, making her youngest daughter tear the posters down while she waits in a car. That's when their thinking changes. 

Setting up with the evidence they've collected, the two women start poring over phone call and bank records from the Jones family's phones looking for a pattern. That's when they discover something that provides the first real break in the case, using Modern Law's Billie Tarascio to push some buttons, along with a group of Facebook sleuths.

Billie Tarascio (00:01):

Hello, and welcome to the modern divorced podcast. I'm your host, Billie Tarascio. I'm the owner of modern law, a family law firm in the Phoenix area. I've been a divorce attorney for more than 15 years. I've got four kiddos and I'm divorced myself. And on this podcast, we're going to cover everything related to divorce. Be it legal issues, financial issues, children issues, blended family issues, counseling mediation, and more. I hope you enjoyed the podcast.

Nancy Conrad (00:30):

Welcome back. I'm Nancy Conrad, picking up the story of missing baby William and his mother, Madeline Maddie Jones for the modern divorce podcast. In our fourth episode, we are from Andrea Goeken, our Jake's mom and first-time grandma to the missing baby William. When the baby first went missing, which was right after Jake, the father was supposed to have court ordered parenting time with William. It was because he was quote sick. The Jones family said they couldn't deliver baby William for that reason on the day before he disappeared with his mother. Well, it seemed kind of suspicious, honestly, but well, there was the possibility of it being the truth. You may recall. In our last episode, there was a critical point later in that fateful summer when Andrea and her sister, Rachel discovered something that decidedly changed the way they thought about the case.

Andrea Gouchenour (01:26):

Um, the moment that I think it really changed for me was when we had had a rally where we had volunteers come to get the flyers that we printed out, we print out thousands of flyers and we had volunteers come that we would put up flyers for us all over Mesa. And when we left the rally, we had bought donuts and we'd bought water bottles and all these kind of things for the rally. And we had all these donuts and water bottles. And I said to my sister, what are we going to do with these? And she said, well, maybe there's a women's shelter around that. We can, you know, just women's shelter, women and children. We can go take these to the women's shelter. And so I literally was navigating on the phone so we could find a place to take this big box of donuts and bottles of water and things, and I'm navigating with her.

Andrea Gouchenour (02:13):

Um, and as we turn around to head to the women's shelter, there's the Jones' car with the little girl running out to pull off the poster. And that was the moment that I thought no family that was really thinking she was missing would want one less iota of publicity. And so that's when you knew, that's when I felt like the shorty that they're involved. Like that's what I knew was that moment, because I thought if my child was missing and people, I didn't like were hanging up posters saying, find her, I would say, thank you. You know? Um, so that's the moment that it felt like, okay, there's no more scary for you. I mean, the scary feeling was how long will they hide her? The scary feeling was, did the Jones' parents hurt them? You still had all those kinds of feelings, but it no longer felt like a stranger could be involved in taking them.

Nancy Conrad (03:14):

Did you feel like the police were looking at Jacob as a suspect?

Andrea Gouchenour (03:20):

Yeah, they had, they came up to Montana. They questioned, um, family members. They came to our farm, they came to our house. Um, so they were very active. That way we went into the police station, got interviewed by the police. Um, had a couple more calls where they would ask some clarifying questions. Um, I was pretty proactive with Jacob. I encouraged him to be, um, I said, show them where you spent money, show them, you know, where your finances have been so they can see what you've been doing. Um, Billy had advised us not to actually turn over our cell phone because we've been communicating with her and she had a concern that, that made, uh, breach attorney client privilege. And so that was, that was her impression. And so we, we didn't actually turn over our cell phones, but we did turn over all of our, you know, all of our receipts about all the places we've been in spent money.

Andrea Gouchenour (04:12):

And then the other thing that I was, uh, really proactive about was as we came across leads, cause we did hire a private detective. Um, as we came across leads, as soon as I had, even as smidgen of information, I would send it to the detectives. You know, here's what we've discovered. Here's what we've discovered. Here's what we've discovered. And so I tried to be proactive and, and then it, um, I think because Jacob was stolen list of subs, suspects, they didn't fill us in on anything. They couldn't talk back. And so they couldn't say, oh, we know that or, oh, that's helpful. Or here's what we found out or here's what we think they wouldn't tell us anything.

Nancy Conrad (04:53):

Then it becomes a new ball game for the Gouchenours and for the social media sleuths still while there was no actual proof. And as Andrea had explained, there was zero feedback from the police. So many people continue to think Jake had done something awful and the Gouchenours were helpless to defend themselves.

Andrea Gouchenour (05:15):

And that felt really scary too, because Jacob was getting, um, threatening text messages about just from strangers the first day of the first Sunday after this happened. So they went missing, I think it was on a Friday or Saturday. It's funny to me. I don't know the details anymore. I didn't think they would ever be unsynced from my brain. But as we, um, went to church, we were sitting there and his phone just [inaudible] went to turn it down. And he's like, mom, look at this. And there were strangers on Facebook saying, I will do to you what you did to this baby. Like, and it was the classic. They thought the ex-husband did it kind of thing. So the public was getting really crazy. And so it felt like could we be in danger, but then still have young children? I mean, my youngest daughter at the time was three years old, four years old.

Andrea Gouchenour (06:02):

And the other thing is, I didn't want Jacob alone. Yeah. We didn't want him left alone because originally we were going to get him all set up and then we're going to leave him there to start his life down there. And when all this was going on, I thought, Hmm, I don't want him. I don't want him to be alone. I didn't want strangers to hurt him. I didn't want the Jones to make up some new story. It just felt really just, just scary. And so, yeah, we tried to always have somebody with them. So the ugliest one ones of them were for the first few weeks. Um, well maybe even the first few months we were pretty good at blocking them as fast as they were coming in. Um, so that probably helped in retrospect, I probably should've screenshot things, but at the moment you just think I want this gone. This is right. This is icky and awful and you just want it gone. So, um, yeah, probably for just the first, it seemed like the, as the public became aware of everything and as even for the public facts, weren't fitting together that they quickly, um, maybe weren't pro Jacob, but didn't necessarily weren't anti Jacob. If that makes sense.

Nancy Conrad (07:10):

The threats did indeed start disappearing as more and more evidence became available on social media, which helped support Andrea and her belief that Manny and the baby had not been kidnapped by some random stranger.

Andrea Gouchenour (07:23):

Yeah. And when we first discovered the Facebook page, I can't tell you how good for the soul it was because people were discussing the facts that didn't fit. And we thought somebody has to use it, you know, cause sometimes you don't know if, if what's true and real is, is obvious to everybody else, you know? And so it was, it was hard in the beginning because we didn't know if just everyone thought he was a monster and thought that, you know, the baby was gone and all those kinds of things. And when we started seeing the Facebook page discussions, it was really good for our souls. Cause it felt like, okay, the truth will be understood that, you know, there's cause what we really needed was if somebody else was involved, maybe they were involved because they believed Jacob was a bad guy and they thought they were helping mom and baby. And so what was really important to us was the turn, the tide so that if somebody had information, they weren't afraid to share that information. So as people, very organically were sharing the story back and forth and gosh, this doesn't add up and gosh, this was my bad experience with the Jones and this and this, I thought, okay, it's a possibility that somebody will not stay quiet. That knows something. And so that was what felt the best was um, yeah, just that somebody might be willing to come forward. So

Nancy Conrad (08:48):

Talk to me about that period of time, where you were in limbo. Um, and the whole family was in Lynn limbo, not knowing where the baby was, because this was a period of about what was it like almost four months,

Andrea Gouchenour (09:03):

Four months? The hardest part was well, a hard part. I don't know if it's the hardest part, hardest part is financially. Um, what do you commit to, you know, the, the private detective was thousands of dollars a week. Um, Billy's help was a lot of money to do that. We had subpoenas, we had, um, court reporters, we had different court hearings. We had no records that we had to get. So all those things and then flying back and forth between cities and printing flyers and you know, just there was a lot of expense. And so one of the things that was difficult was how do you put a price tag on this goal that our family had to find him and the baby and make sure he was well. And how do you, how do you say we're going to spend X amount of dollars?

Andrea Gouchenour (09:53):

And when you get there, you stop. Like, it just felt, so if your resources aren't to help your family, what are your resources for, you know, so it just felt very surreal that part, but it was strange to me how easily they could make my life expensive. Just as a, for example, she went to the courthouse and filed a restraining order against me that costs her about an hour of time. I don't even think there's a filing fee, you know? Um, so then I spent hours and hours and hours gathering evidence and documents. I hire an attorney, the attorney approaches them about dropping it. They say, no, we're not going to drop it. I fly to Arizona the day before the court, they drop it. And so things like that literally costs them nothing and cost me thousands and thousands of dollars. And it, and they had a knack for doing that.

Andrea Gouchenour (10:46):

Like just for instance, with, uh, filing the order for the baby emergency, that he can't be away from her for more than two hours at a time. Again, filing that with was very simple, but the process of paying for the pediatricians and having another court hearing and you know, all those kinds of things, most of the burden of that would fall on our side of things. And that was like, it just felt like a skill that they had. We often said that we said they are so creative. They're so creative in making, making our life harder. You know, how easily they could do something really quick. That would cause all these.

Nancy Conrad (11:22):

that's the frustrating thing for me because we see that out in the public now and in social media lies end up taking on a life of their own and become so costly to the people that are on the brunt of that. And what you were talking about just describes, this is the cost of a lie,

Andrea Gouchenour (11:42):

Just as another example. So predate all this. When, um, before we got Billy involved, when we had the first attorney and he had to set up parenting time, we said, we'll do it under any conditions, pretrial, you know, cause that we had to have a trial for the judge to hear everything, but we said, pretrial, give us any conditions and Jacob will meet them. And so the, um, the attorney got arranged that he would be able to go to another parenting center and we said, that's fine. And so when we show up to sign the paperwork for the parenting center, she had already come and said, if Jacob comes, he can't feed the baby, change the baby. Like she had all these rules that he wasn't to do any of these things with the baby yet couldn't bring toys for him. Couldn't I mean, it was a long, very long list.

Andrea Gouchenour (12:32):

And um, the parenting center said we can't abide by this. Well, because they wouldn't have abide by that. We couldn't see baby. So that's how powerful she was because she, I don't know because she threw a fit and because she told still, cause she told that parenting center, that was one of the times we had it in writing that Jacob had, um, hurt the baby. So, so dramatically that it needed a reconstructive surgery on his little private parts. Um, that was in the writing in this parenting center that he had had to have surgery to reconstruct things. So that lie, for example, delayed him meeting baby for months and months and months and months. And so that, those kinds of things, again, it took her very little effort, but the ripples to us were so dramatic and profound. We had gone to court and basically asked the judge if we could have access to their records, um, which this is Billy's idea.

Andrea Gouchenour (13:27):

And I thought there's no way that judge is going to give me their records. And we made the argument because I do accounting. I said, you know, there might be patterns that I would see that the place might not see as quickly. And I thought, well, this is just an exercise and going to ask him, but he's going to say no. And the judge said yes. And so we were able to get their phone records. We were able to get their credit card records or bank records. So I knew everywhere they'd spent money, the months leading up to the disappearance. And so we took them. We actually print, I don't know if Rachel told you about this. We printed out a map. Oh my goodness, what was the size of that map? It was 10 by eight, this huge map on the law. And we use the GPS coordination, the, uh, not GPS, but the longitude and latitude on the phone records and had pinpointed all the places they made calls during the day.

Andrea Gouchenour (14:15):

And then we took the police report and with a different color, we pinpointed where they said they were during the day. And we could go, oh, look at noon there, phone calls ringing from here. But they told the police, they were here. And so we could really easily find the spots where this wasn't adding up. And, and, uh, we had the records of where they'd pulled out the extra money. And so all those things were starting to, to kind of come together for us. But the thing that really came together was when we looked at the phone records. So

Nancy Conrad (14:44):

Rachel picks up the story from here

Rachel Guernsey (14:46):

And through that, we were able to get GPS coordinates and things like that off of their, from where they had been and get, see you had called and whatnot. I had this huge map, you know, like, you know, in the shows they always have strings and things going on. I had that in my basement. I had the Maverick printed out was probably, um, 30 by, I don't know, 60. Wow. I, it was huge, this huge map. And like I said, I don't know Arizona super well. So I had to blow it up big enough to see the streets at a, you know, this GPS location versus this time going off of what they claimed was their story for the day. And I had pins going for each person and where each person's phone went and I zigzag and said, and I was like, that's not what they said.

Rachel Guernsey (15:32):

They were, they said they were over here, but they're like 10 miles away over here. And you know, so I was able to do that. Um, and so going through those same phone records on the night, Maddie supposedly went missing. I saw that there was a random midnight call from a phone number. So I went through every single phone number on there. Um, you know, on the record, looked up who everyone was because I'm going to do as much work as I can. And, uh, I find out this is Stacey Barrett's phone number and it's a midnight call.

Nancy Conrad (16:09):

It's a new name and the case, Stacey Baird, who is that? Well, it turns out Stacey's a good friend of Cassie Jones. The phone records show numerous calls between the two of them and several oddly timed ones on the night, baby William and his mother Madeline go missing. It opens up a potentially juicy new lead that had Andrea and her sister, Rachel thinking. This was an opportunity,

Andrea Gouchenour (16:32):

The spreadsheet of what friends called normally and how often they called and the pattern that they found was that the one gal, Stacy, Stacy Baird, um, that they usually talk to her once a day. I mean, pretty consistently for the two months leading up to the disappearance. And then the day before baby goes missing, there's a dozen calls and then radio silence. There were no calls after that. And I called Billy and I said, gosh, we'd really like to question this gal because we think that she must be involved. It just doesn't make sense that somebody who talks to every day, once baby goes missing, she's not saying any news, you know, there was no calls just seemed unusual to me. And so w Billy made the arrangements for us to, uh, have that position with her. And we went through and got the court reporter, got the, you know, the videographer, all those things lined up.

Andrea Gouchenour (17:23):

And then the day of the, um, deposition, she didn't show up. And so the rule was, if you have a court order to come to a deposition and you don't show up, you can call the police. And so we called the police to report that she had not showed up. And that's when the place finally let us in on it. And they said, that's because she just turned herself in. Um, you guys really scared, or when you called her in for the deposition, she didn't want to lie under oath. So is here talking to us, please don't say anything because we need to find where baby is. And that was the moment he thought, you know, this is, this is getting real.

Nancy Conrad (18:00):

It certainly was. In fact, even without knowing what was going on with this new lead, the social media chatter was abuzz now, but this time it was already late September and baby William had been gone since June. The social media sluice on Facebook had drawn their own conclusions that the two were in hiding. Although there was no proof. In fact, some of the Jones's neighbors began taking notes of the comings and goings of Cassie and Roland, Alex Jones in the hopes that they might see something. And one night when it looked like they were packing up the car for a trip, things really took a turn. And the public heard about it on the five o'clock

NEWS CLIP (18:41):

News was custody arrested for trying to board a plane today at sky Harbor, where they were heading is still a mystery. Chris Grove picks up our coverage from here, gone since June. It is appearance of Madeline Jones and her son one year old, William has left more than just broken hearts behind. Now, there's a cloud of mystery changing this case day by day, Mesa police believe Cassie and Roland Jones may have helped their daughter Madeline vanish. It was Roland who called police to report his daughter and grandson missing the Jones. We know also spent months trying to convince the courts that the baby's biological father, Jake Gouchenour was unfit to be a parent.

NEWS CLIP (19:27):

Um, we spoke with [inaudible] attorney tonight. She believes the Joneses were trying to vanish too, by escaping on a plane here at sky Harbor.(Billie Tarascio) We actually had people that said, they're going to run. We're going to follow them. So that may be Facebook, maybe how, um, we stopped them at the airport from running. Now that the grandparents are in custody, there could be a deal on the table to find William and his mom . (Billie Tarascio) "We said to the judge is, um, they're a flight risk. Do not release them on bond unless William is returned. And if William is returned, then release them on bond and we'll work it out. Justice will have to, um, play itself out." The Joneses were processed and both here at the Mesa police department, I'm told they're about to see a judge know at the fourth avenue jail in Phoenix reporting live in Mesa, Chris Grove at ABC 15 NEWS. Well,

Nancy Conrad (20:25):

This was huge news reports showing Cassie and Roland Jones in shackles was a gigantic relief to the Gouchenours. Hundreds of people on Facebook sounded off their congratulations and their hurrahs, but there was still no baby William and no Maddie Jones. In our next episode, we learn what the police were up to and to an end in our story.

Billie Tarascio (20:51):

Thanks so much for listening to the modern divorce podcast. Remember anything we've heard today or anything you read online is not the replacement for actual consultation with an attorney and does not create an attorney client relationship. Even if you called in and we spoke to you, you were anonymous and we don't have your details and you have not become a client of modern law. However, we would love to speak with you, or you should seek out the advice of legal counsel or counseling or any other expert near you. And if you have an idea for a show topic, or you need to speak Mina tourney in Arizona, you can reach me at info. I N F o@mymodernlaw.com.