updated 9-26-2001 -


Date: 9/1/2001 8:25:06 PM Pacific Daylight Time

From: (spiker)



By Edgar J. Steele

August 31, 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 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 , with a notation for the Christine Defense Fund.

Contact: Edgar J. Steele, Attorney at Law
102 S. Fourth Ave.
Suite C
Sandpoint, Idaho 83860
tel: (208) 265-4153

Editors Note: Believe it or not, there isn't one Attorney, pastor or politician in the whole county of Josephine, Oregon that would help the Christines pro bono as hasAttorney Steele.

On behalf of staff, we thank Attorney Steel and may God bless him and curse those that deserve it.


From: A Voice For Children

To: A Voice For Children

Sent: Saturday, September 01, 2001 1:50 PM

Subject: Press Release: "We want your baby" - The Vulltures are circling - your baby is next on the Infant First ! Database

The whores of Baal are dancing at the altar of the Black Magus money priest - dancing around and around until they serve up the infant to the demonic sacrifice that they worship - the money that rules their reality and drives their bloody machine .....the vultures are circling .....

Kitzhaber just signed the Oregon Children's Plan to intervene into EVERY child and family in Oregon this same way, stating that the state has determined that 60% of Oregonians are :"at risk familes" - that's 2 out of 3 ...... that's 2 million people of Oregon's 3 milion population..... once assessed, (we just saw new job descriptions on these home intervenors that it requires a drivers license and two years in a job with meal or hospital experience - there you go - and RIGHT NOW they are moving in the countires to filll all these new jobs the Childrens' plan created to come into everyones homes ) and in a shared database permanently, forced into "voluntary" compelled services contracts or lose your children and go to jail.....

You will be just like Ruth, like thousands of women in America at this time, having committed NO CRIME and no conviction of any crime, your are cihldren ripped from your breast and will never be the same child that it would have other wise once there is an encounter with the agents of the beast - the children can never trust again that their parents can protect them and the state plays this one up continually to break them. ...... they only can profit from "broken familes and people" who then they can" fix" and "corrections institutions" "teach" them to "compromise" (fornicate with the money priest !) ... the children and the parents have no lifeline who will help them, but to expose the genocide and have faith like the rest of us who are at war with this beast that Gods vengeance SHALL STAND and which is at the door at this time......

Why are there not a hundred people who storm that hospital to protect this angel being sacrificed in this ancient evil slaughtering of the infants by insane people posessed with the same evil spirit acting out their bloodthirst on the innocents ????? The state has already thought of this and has installed prison security lock down systems to prevent parents from fighting as the vultures eat their babies and send them away without their children - like they are going to do with Ruth....

The thought of these disgusting prison degenerates touching Ruth and restrainig her in handcuffs while pregnant is almost more than I can stand to imagine - when you are in jail them touching you is the most repulsive abuse no one can imagine who has not been naked and probed by male and female nazi drones - the horror stories we know of guards kicking pregnant women and killing their infants and causing miscarriages - but more they want the money for the live birth...

The federal government actually calls it a "bounty" that is paid out for more infants adopted out (they call that a successfully completed case) .... they won't seperate monkeys in the zoo from their infants for fear of breaking the bond, but LOOK AT THIS ...... these are INHUMAN ROBOTS WITH BLACK HOLES INSIDE WHERE A SOUL WOULD BE ...... VAPORIZE THE ROBOTS NOW !!!!!!!


pamela gaston, a voice for children



Subj: [APFN] Fwd: Handcuffed mother gives birth - baby snatched - nurses weep!

Date: 9/27/2001 8:02:49 AM Pacific Daylight Time

From: "Edgar J. Steele" <>

Handcuffed mother gives birth - baby snatched - nurses weep!

Good evening, fellow lemmings -

September 26, 2001. Ruth Christine gave birth to her fifth child in Missoula, Montana the night before last. Before the mother's pain killers had even worn off, little Abbey Rose was seized by Montana authorities and is now being held at an undisclosed location. Ruth was shackled and handcuffed to the bed upon which she gave birth. Hospital attendants who witnessed the birth reportedly wept at the spectacle.

The baby girl's condition is unknown, but Ruth is mightily worried. "Brian (Ruth's husband) has severe allergies, for which he requires constant medication and which little Abbey Rose might inherit. Without the colostrum that my breast milk would have provided, I worry about my baby's health." Colostrum, the mother's milk that is usually a baby's first few meals, provides important immune system reinforcement. No breast feeding. No bonding. No kidding.

Ruth was denied the opportunity to call anybody, even her lawyer, as she was taken in chains to the hospital delivery room.

Welcome to the New World Order, where it "takes a village to raise a child" and parents are only custodians for their own children, children "owned" by the State.

The morning following birth, after the baby had been spirited away, Ruth was dragged before a judge, bound and still senseless from medication, to be served with a warrant for her extradition back to Oregon on charges that she abused her other daughters and helped her husband to "kidnap" them from the Oregon authorities who had pledged to adopt them out to others. Ruth is expected to be handed over to Oregon within a few days. The abuse? The kids weren't fat, like normal American kids today. Oregon state officials claimed the girls were malnourished, yet just two weeks later pronounced them fit, in good condition and normal.

The state alleges that Brian struck Lydia as a part of her toilet training and she had fallen down, sustaining a cut on her forehead and a skull fracture. The fracture was not disclosed by initial examinations or a CT Scan, but a State-retained doctor eventually expressed the opinion that Lydia had one, nonetheless.

Oregon's Services to Children and Families (SCF) has promised to haul little Abbey Rose back to Oregon, to be put up for adoption, too. I and other Christine family lawyers, serving unpaid, are actively opposing this and rushing to have Brian's mother, Teri Christine, named guardian, a role she has provided to baby Olivia, Ruth and Brian's fourth baby girl, since birth. Although the three other girls, aged 3 to 6, had lived with Teri Christine for a year before Brian and Ruth went on the extended road trip that ended when Grants Pass, Oregon officials seized their daughters, state officials refused to allow them to return to her, instead shuttling them from one Oregon foster family to another over the past year.

Only after months of legal maneuvering has Oregon finally given up trying to get baby Olivia taken from her grandmother and returned to be adopted out with her sisters. All members of the family are Indiana residents.

Allan Coon, Josephine County (Oregon) Circuit Court judge, just this afternoon issued his order that the three older girls are to be adopted out, with the formal proceeding to terminate Ruth and Brian's parental rights allowed to go forward. This order followed on the heels of a spirited hearing before Judge Coon in Grants Pass less than one week ago, at which a number of local residents rallied to protest the treatment accorded the Christine family.

The three little girls subject to today's court order: Lydia, Miriam and Bethany Christine

Judge Coon stated in his order that the parents forfeited their right to be reunified with their daughters when they allegedly "kidnapped" the girls at gunpoint last month, after being told by SCF that the girls were to be adopted out regardless of what they did. The judge noted that the Christine parents both faced "serious Ballot Measure 11 offenses in the State of Oregon" (including a mandatory minimum sentencing law that would mete out the same punishment as if they had kidnapped the children of strangers and fled across state lines). Brian and Ruth Christine were apprehended in Montana and have since been held in separate jails and denied any opportunity to communicate with one another. Brian will be extradited to Oregon at the same time as Ruth.

The judge's order ruled out any possibility of a guardianship in lieu of a permanent adoption. Ruth's parents have recently come to Oregon from their home in England and are attempting to be the adoptive parents. No reason was given for refusing to consider Brian's mother for adopting the girls, which would at least unite all four (hopefully five, now ) sisters.

The potential guardianship of baby Abbey Rose by her grandmother in Indiana took a severe turn for the worse when Milt Datsopoulos, the lawyer we retained, even after I promised him the payment he required for filing guardianship papers, withdrew via facsimile message literally at the last moment, as last weekend began, thereby all but guaranteeing that the baby would be born without guardianship papers being timely filed, thereby opening the door for Oregon to step in and attempt to seize the baby.

Though Mr. Datsopoulos, of Missoula, Montana, had promised to help the Christine parents and their unborn baby several weeks ago, he offered no reason for his withdrawal, other than that the case was too "complex." Datsopoulos heads what is reputed to be the largest law firm in Missoula. I am prevented from filing the required paperwork myself because I am not admitted to practice law in the state of Montana, as I am in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and California (lawyers must be separately admitted to practice in each state in which they practice, by passing that state's bar exam along with all other lawyers fresh out of law school in that state).

The fund appeal for the Christine defense costs stalled when the World Trade Center disaster occurred. A little over $2,000 had been collected at that time, barely enough to pay Datsopoulos the amount he estimated for filing the guardianship papers.

Even if we get the guardianship papers filed and little Abbey Rose out of harm's way, we still have three major pieces of litigation ahead of us: Ruth's criminal trial, Brian's criminal trial and the proceeding to terminate their parental rights. Costs are anticipated to be substantial, particularly if we have to hire lawyers and/or experts. I, of course, am admitted in Oregon and am representing the Christines pro bono (for free), as a public service since their plight is such an important object lesson in governmental bureaucracy run amuck.

Donations may be made to the Christine Defense Fund, PO Box 1255, Sagle, Idaho 83860. Credit card donations may be made by logging on to (joining is free) and sending funds to with "Christine Defense Fund" noted in the distribution directions.

The Christines, both devout Christians, welcome your prayers for their family, as well.


Forward as you wish. Cut and paste, delete...whatever.  I don't even care if you take what I write and send it to others,  claiming that you wrote it. It's all grist for something or other.

"I didn't say it would be easy. I just said it would be the truth."

- Morpheus

(Additional information)

Christine Family Home Page - Truth Gateway on State Services, Parents & Childrens Rights, Adoption & Family Advice

The Christine Story

Farther Rescues His Children by Paul Walter


CPS: Child Pornographers


To Evaluate Your First Born Child, Oregon's Senate Bill SB 965




compiled by Dee Finney


Sent: Friday, June 01, 2001 12:00 AM
Subject: APFN Alert - Standoff in Idaho



APFN Release:
(Idaho Standoff)

    Subject: Trouble in Paradise....
    Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 20:16:09 -0700
    From: "Edgar J. Steele" -

My name is Edgar J. Steele. I am an attorney with an office in Sandpoint Idaho. I have been asked by JoAn McGuckin to provide representation to her where her court-appointed attorney's representation ends, as well as for her six children, now the subject of the highly publicized "standoff" in Sagle, Idaho, which is the rural township where I maintain my personal residence. Here is the statement I released to the press this afternoon:

Edgar J. Steele =
102 South Fourth Avenue, Suite C
Sandpoint, Idaho 83864

Admitted in Idaho, Oregon, Washington & California
Facsimile: (208) 265-5329
Telephone:(208) 265-4153

PRESS RELEASE - IMMEDIATE May 31, 2001, 4:00 p.m., Sagle, Idaho

Contact: Edgar J. Steele, attorney for JoAnn McGuckin and her children

Sandpoint, Idaho. A modern American tragedy in the making. That?s what the Sagle, Idaho, McGuckin family ?standoff? represents.

The McGuckin family home and the 40 acres upon which it stands were recently sold for a pittance by the county government for past-due taxes.It brought only $50,000, while the property is in prime territory, with fully half of Beaver Lake on its eastern edge.

Dad died recently, after a long and valiant struggle with multiple sclerosis, not of ?malnutrition and dehydration,? which has widely and falsely been reported as the cause of death. Just a couple days after this tight-knit family buried Dad, county government lured her out with a promise of money and free groceries, then arrested her, leaving them only to have to deal with the kids. That was a mistake, of course, but not their first.

Rather than allow this tightly-knit family a decent period to grieve the loss of their beloved husband and father, the county government instead is doing its best to make the family?s worst nightmare come true.

For years, Mrs. McGuckin has been fearful of the government taking her property and her kids. Today, that fear is realized, with the issuance of an order through Child Protection Services, making the six children
its wards. Of course, the Sheriff can?t get near the house to make good on that order.

She has been jailed on a charge of felony child endangerment, allegedly for not providing a proper home for the children, including food, hygiene and education.

Well, admittedly the running water is off temporarily, because the well pump broke and, what with Dad?s severe condition as his days drew to a close, they just didn?t have the time or the money to deal with it properly. So, they drew water from the crystal-clear lake on their property for washing and to flush
their toilets with.And, yes, the laundry did pile up, but what family doesn?t have a few domestic backlogs when it loses its patriarch?

And the children are home schooled, fact which makes them politically incorrect, even by North Idaho standards.

But, they do have food, contrary to reports, and the power was hooked up and paid for when Mrs. McGuckin was arrested.

Are they armed?Who knows?Nobody has seen any weapons and no gunshots have been fired. Sheriff Jarvis has shown great prudence in executing the orders he is lawfully obligated to follow.He did not cut off any essential services, as has been reported.He has vowed to keep his men well away from the house and allow
us time to effect a peaceful resolution to this crisis.

That resolution must begin with the release from custody of JoAnn McGuckin and the rescission of the order giving custody of her children over to the government.Friends and family stand ready to accept responsibility for the children while Mrs. McGuckin puts her life in order and proves the outrageous charges against herself to be false. However, the demand by the county Prosecuting Attorney that the bail, initially set for $10,000, be elevated to $100,000, effectively guarantees that Mrs. McGuckin will not be given that opportunity.

We are now asking the court for a reduction in the bond requirement and will then seek a modification to the CPS order, whereby the children are given over, as a single unit, to the custody of a trusted family friend.Then, we will take on these outlandish charges and give them the ignominious end that they deserve. We are also investigating this highly-questionable attempted seizure of the McGuckin family home.




Phil Jarvis, Sheriff Bonner County, Idaho (208) 263-8417
Send E-mail To:
========================================================================== wrote:

I live in Sandpoint and have been a private party, working to try and help in the situation.  As it stands, the county took the families property two years ago, and sold it... it appears to have been a sweetheart deal, but no proof yet.  the Land is prime timber property 40 acres, with lake front access to beaver lake... you figure the math, It is yet to be confirmed but it appears it sold for a mere 50K...  The family has endured a father's slow death from MS. The children were homeschooled and from what I can gather from a brief visit with a
> friend, they were a respectable family, the view from the air showed a clean homesite.   It all is stacking up to be a county con job.  We are trying to get the mother out of jail, but funds appear to be what is hold things up.  the Atty: is trying to get the 100K bond down to a "reasonable" amount.  I know a fund has been established to help the family, but do not know the specifics YET.  

The Atty is Edgar J. Steel if you need to contact with support.  There will be a press conference at 4 PM  I hope to be there with cameras blazzing, I will try to keep everyone informed... this all appears to be a media/county gov. demonizing operation to cover things up....

Re: Children, Dogs Hold Off Idaho Sheriff - CONTACT INFO:

Stalemate continues = By KEITH KINNAIRD

"I'm furious; absolutely furious," said Jarvis. "The press is blowing this completely and totally out of proportion. It's counterproductive."
The children, whose ages range from eight to 16, cut contact with outsiders shortly after their mother, JoAnn McGuckin, 45, was arrested on Tuesday. McGuckin, who was described as being mentally disturbed, is charged with felony injury to a child for allegedly neglecting the children. McGuckin was arrested at Garfield Bay Resort to avoid frightening the children into a confrontation. She complained of chest pains during her arrest and was taken to Bonner General Hospital, then to the county jail. Deputies told the kids their mother was being hospitalized, but the children became suspicious and fled into the home. Someone in the home then sicced as many as 27 dogs on one of the deputies. Deputy Bill Tilson fired on the pack of dogs so he could get away, but it remains unknown if any of them were injured or killed.

Children End Standoff in Idaho

June 2, 2001 Posted: 11:23 p.m. EDT (0323 GMT)


Five children ended their five-day standoff with authorities Saturday and voluntarily left their rundown house in rural Idaho where they had been holed up with weapons and half-wild dogs.

Describing sheriff's deputies as tired but happy, one sheriff's department official said authorities got the ending they wanted.

"It was exactly the one we were hoping for: safely, quietly with no undue pressure on the children," said Bonner County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Robert Rahn.

The children are being treated at Bonner General Hospital in Sandpoint, Idaho, according to Director of Nursing Susan Montgomery.

Rahn said the children will be turned over to the state's Children's Services Department, which would then be in charge of their care.

Authorities earlier identified the children as Kathryn, 16, Mary, 13, James, 11, Frederick, 9, and Jane, 8.

He also said the family's property was still secured for investigative and safety reasons. Rahn said several agencies had offered to help with the more than two dozen dogs.

The sheriff's department said family members, close friends of the family and some sheriff deputies had spent the day in talks with the children.

The standoff began Tuesday when the children released as many as 27 dogs on sheriff's deputies when they tried to take them into protective custody after their mother was arrested for child neglect. Their father died two weeks ago.

Neighbors said the children were afraid their family would be split up if they gave themselves up to police.

Benjamin McGuckin, 15, brother of the five children who had left the home and was taken into protective custody Thursday.

Until Friday, the remaining children had not talked to anyone. On that day, people the children know visited the house, but the children stayed in a back room and would not talk to them face-to-face.

"They got within the threshold of the house and were able to communicate with the children orally," said Bryce Powell, the attorney for JoAnn McGuckin, 45, the mother of the children.

"They brought in food and water and were able to deliver a message from my client to the children which stated, 'I love you. I hope you are okay and please cooperate with this man, Mr. Powell.'"

Sheriff: Mother 'not cooperative'

The children's mother, who remains in jail on $100,000 bond on a charge of felonious injury to children, was "not cooperative" and would not be taken to the home to talk to the children, Rahn said.

A bail reduction hearing for the mother was postponed Friday after a storm knocked out power to the court.

Mrs. McGuckin's husband and the father of the children, Michael McGuckin, died about two weeks ago after being bed-ridden for several years with multiple sclerosis, Rahn said.

Powell said the mother and children have gone through an excruciating ordeal since then. He said the family is "extremely poor," and that the mother had trouble getting Social Security payments in recent weeks. On top of that, he said, their water well broke and they couldn't afford to fix it.

"They had no money and were doing what they could to survive," he said.

It was not clear when Benjamin left the house. He approached a neighbor's house Thursday and they then contacted authorities.

Local attorney Edgar Steele said he had been asked by Mrs. McGuckin to represent the family. He said Benjamin had "been walking around in the woods for two days before approaching the neighbor.

Steele announced Saturday he was voluntarily withdrawing from the case because he had been cut off from all access to Mrs. McGuckin by the Bonner county sheriff.

The lawyer called that action "outrageous" and said he "had not abandoned the McGuckins" and would provide free legal services to the family if any member personally asked him for help.

Steele said he had been representing Mrs. McGuckin on civil issues, pending the criminal charge against her. He claimed the county seized her property for $8,000 in back taxes and then sold it for approximately $50,000.

He also said the standoff has attracted the attention of anti-government groups, and Internet reports say members of such groups are moving into northern Idaho in response to the standoff.

"Now some of these people, I've seen some of the Internet reports, seem to think somehow that this is another Ruby Ridge in the making," Steele said.

Ruby Ridge was the 1992 shootout in Idaho in which the wife and son of white separatist Randy Weaver were killed during a standoff with federal agents.

Powell said intervention by militia groups would not help.


Friday June 1 2:49 PM ET
One Child Leaves Idaho Stand-Off, Helping Police

Armed Children Hold Off Police - (

SANDPOINT, Idaho (Reuters) - One of six children who have used a pack of attack dogs for several days to keep police away from their rural Idaho home has left the compound and begun to help officials, police said on Friday. Police said 15-year-old Benjamin McGukin went to a neighbor's home late on Thursday and accepted an offer of a ride to a meeting with authorities who are attempting to end the four-day standoff in Garfield Bay, about 35 miles north of Coeur D'Alene in rural northern Idaho.

``He has helped us and is being cooperative,'' Sgt. Robert Rahn of the Bonner County Sheriff's Department said.

Remaining inside the ramshackle house are five other McGuckin children, aged 8 to 16.

Authorities said they believed the children had several firearms inside the house, while outside a pack of some 30 attack dogs roamed the property.

The confrontation, which has raised painful memories of a 1992 incident at nearby Ruby Ridge in which federal agents shot and killed the wife and son of white separatist Randy Weaver, began Tuesday when police arrested the children's mother.

JoAnn McGuckin, 46, was arrested after leaving with a police deputy who lured her from the home with an offer of grocery money. She has been charged with felony injury to a child, with officials citing neglectful care of her children.

The children's father, Michael McGuckin, died of multiple sclerosis earlier in May.

Neighbors have described the family as reclusive and deeply suspicious of government and social agencies -- a situation that grew worse after county officials last fall moved to sell their 40-acre property at auction to pay back taxes.

Following the mother's arrest, police returned to the property intending to place the children in the custody of social services workers. But one of the sons yelled ``get the guns'' and another child released the attack dogs out of the basement, officials said.

Police have pledged not to try to force the children from the house, and have been seeking to re-establish contact after a brief conversation on Wednesday was interrupted by a low-flying news helicopter.

Local lawyer Edgar Steele met with Joanne McGuckin Wednesday and said he would also represent the children's interests.

``The real crime these people have perpetuated is that they are poor,'' said Steele, a former attorney for the white supremacist group Aryan Nations.

At a news conference on Thursday, Steele said authorities wanted to disperse the children in foster care, effectively proving the family's worst fears of a government conspiracy to victimize them.

``This is exactly what she was afraid of, and that's exactly what they're trying to do,'' Steele told reporters.

Officials said they acted in part on the advice of a 19-year-old McGuckin daughter who had left the home earlier to join the Navy and now felt things were reaching a crisis stage.


Teen in Idaho Standoff in Custody
By Nicholas K. Geranios
Associated Press Writer
Friday, June 1, 2001; 9:56 a.m. EDT

SANDPOINT, Idaho –– One of six children involved in a standoff at their rural home was taken into custody overnight after he went to a neighbor, authorities said Friday.

Benjamin McGuckin, 15, who initiated the standoff and is said to be an avid reader of survivalist magazines, went to a neighbor's house late Thursday and accepted the neighbor's offer to drive him to a meeting with authorities, Bonner County Prosecutor Phil Robinson said.

The boy met with a sheriff's deputy, a social worker and two doctors, a pediatrician and a family practitioner.

Although there was "some indication that he was suffering from malnutrition," the boy did not need to be hospitalized and was in the custody of the state Department of Health and Welfare, Robinson said. Robinson said he believed the boy was staying at a juvenile facility in Sandpoint pending more long-term arrangements.

The children's mother, JoAnn McGuckin, 46, was arrested Tuesday on a warrant charging felony injury to a child. Since then, the children left at home – ages 8 to 16 – have refused to leave the house. Two older children live elsewhere.

The other children who remained inside Friday have been identified as Kathryn, 16, Mary, 13, James, 11, Frederick, 9, and Jane, 8.

It was not clear who is in charge, Robinson said.

The standoff began after the mother was lured out of the house by sheriff's deputies. The father, Michael McGuckin, died recently after a long illness and the family has been described as having fallen on hard times.

The prosecutor said he had not met with the boy, nor is the boy the subject of a criminal investigation.

"I don't anticipate filing any charges," Robinson said.

An older daughter, Erina, 19, has been helping authorities try to resolve the standoff, but it was not immediately clear whether Benjamin would join that effort.

"We hope that maybe they can give us some insight into how to wind this thing down," Robinson said.

The standoff began when deputies went to the house for the children after the mother was lured out of the house and arrested. The plan was to put the youngsters in state custody. But the children spotted them, and Benjamin led the others in loosing a pack of vicious dogs and shouted "Get the guns!" Robinson said.

Prosecutors said in court Wednesday that the children were malnourished, dirty and deprived of heat, and that the mother had been spending the family's meager financial resources on alcohol.

Attorney Edgar Steele, representing the mother, disputed the assertion that the children had been neglected and is attempting to get her bail reduced. And Northern Lights, the local power company, said that contrary to previous reports, the house has had electricity throughout the standoff.

Steele went to the house Thursday, but said the children would not speak to him.

A family friend picked up a 200-pound box of staples for the children at the Bonner Community Food Center last Friday, director Alice Wallace said Thursday.

Wallace characterized the McGuckins as "a normal family that has fallen on hard times."

The father of the family died May 12 after suffering from multiple sclerosis for several years. The county coroner attributed McGuckin's death at age 61 to malnutrition and dehydration.

Caring for her husband and the children apparently took a toll on JoAnn who became increasingly paranoid over time, according to those who know her. She blamed chemicals sprayed on roads for her husband's illness and feared the government would take their home and children.

The family refused help from social service agencies and the young children were kept home from school.

The standoff with the children raised the specter of nearby Ruby Ridge. Three people died in that 1992 standoff – anti-government isolationist Randy Weaver's wife and son, and a federal deputy marshal, one of several sent to arrest Weaver on a weapons charge.

© Copyright 2001 The Associated Press


Friday June 1 5:51 AM ET
Kids Remain Holed Up in Idaho House

Armed Children Hold Off Police - (

By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS, Associated Press Writer

SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) - A lawyer who represents the mother of six children holed up in a northern Idaho house suggested the stalemate could be resolved by bringing the mother to the house.

But attorney Edgar Steele said he would not have any part in such an effort if the goal was to separate the children into foster care. He said family and friends stand ready to take them in.

``This is exactly what she was afraid of and that's exactly what they're trying to do,'' Steele said at a news conference Thursday.

The children, ages 8 to 16, have been hunkered down in their ramshackle home with sheriff's deputies at bay since Tuesday, when their mother, JoAnn McGuckin, was arrested on charges of injuring a child. Their father, Michael McGuckin, was buried last week.

After her arrest, deputies went to the house for the children, who were to be placed in state custody. But one of the boys spotted them, yelled, ``Get the guns!'' and set the dogs loose.

Steele disputed the assertion that the children had been starving and living in unhealthy conditions before authorities tried to remove them to social service agencies. He planned to ask a Bonner County judge to reduce the $100,000 bail for JoAnn McGuckin and reunite her with her children.

Deputies had no luck trying to negotiate with the children Thursday. Authorities say they will simply wait out the standoff near Sandpoint, about 40 miles north of Coeur d'Alene.

The children are said to be well-armed and proficient with weapons, although Steele noted that no weapons have been seen in the standoff.

A family friend picked up a 200-pound box of staples for the children at the Bonner Community Food Center last Friday, director Alice Wallace said Thursday.

Wallace characterized the McGuckins as ``a normal family that has fallen on hard times.''

Michael McGuckin died May 12 after suffering from multiple sclerosis for several years. The county coroner attributed McGuckin's death at age 61 to malnutrition and dehydration.

Steele, who recently represented Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler in a lawsuit, spent two hours Wednesday with the mother.

``This woman is perfectly capable of taking care of the kids and herself,'' he said, though he conceded the family had become reclusive since the father's illness.

Steele went to the house Thursday, but said the children would not speak to him.

The specter of nearby Ruby Ridge is inescapable. Three people died in that 1992 standoff - anti-government isolationist Randy Weaver's wife and son, and a federal deputy marshal, one of several sent to arrest Weaver on a weapons charge.


Thursday May 31 11:58 PM ET
Police Seek to Negotiate in Idaho Kids Standoff

Armed Children Hold Off Police - (

SANDPOINT, Idaho (Reuters) - Hoping to end a two-day standoff, Idaho police on Thursday sought to coax six children out of their rural compound where they have been holed up with a pack of attack dogs and possibly a cache of guns.

The McGuckin children, aged 8 to 16, closed themselves off in their home on Tuesday night after their mother was arrested. Since then, police have kept vigil outside the property, which is located in Garfield Bay, about 10 miles north of Sandpoint in rural northern Idaho.

``We're putting no pressure on the children. They haven't broken any laws,'' Bonner County Patrol Sergeant Robert Rahn said Wednesday. ``We're exploring avenues such as family members and friends.''

The police standoff has brought many local residents uncomfortable memories of the 1992 confrontation in nearby Ruby Ridge, where federal agents shot and killed the wife and son of white supremacist Randy Weaver on his property.

The children's father, Michael McGuckin, died of multiple sclerosis earlier in May, and neighbors have described the family as reclusive and deeply suspicious of government and social agencies.

``That's exactly what we're dealing with,'' Rahn said.

The mother, JoAnn McGuckin, 46, was arrested on Tuesday after leaving with a police deputy who lured her from the home with an offer of grocery money. She has been charged with felony injury to a child, although officials declined to discuss details of the case.

When police returned to the property intending to place the children in the custody of social services workers, one of the sons yelled ``get the guns'' and another released a pack of attack dogs out of the basement, officials said.

With those dogs still roaming the property Thursday, police were seeking to communicate with the children over loudspeaker, and had enlisted the help of a 19-year-old sister who had recently moved out of the house, Rahn said.

He added that one of the first priorities was figuring out how to get the dogs under control. ``We're working on several options, the humane society and vets,'' he said.

While police repeatedly said they planned no abrupt action, neighbors warned they could be in for a long wait if they hope the children will leave the home of their own accord.

The children have reportedly been caring for themselves for the past year, eating soup made from lake water and lilies, and have grown used to living in a home that has no power, water or heat.


Thursday May 31 11:19 PM ET
Armed Children Hold Off Idaho Police

Armed Children Hold Off Police - (

By MARK WARBIS, Associated Press Writer

SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) - Armed with rifles and a pack of wild dogs, a family of six children hunkered down in their ramshackle home for a third day Thursday, refusing to accept help from government officials they feared and distrusted.

Bonner County sheriff's deputies blocked off a dirt road in northern Idaho and waited patiently, not wanting to provoke further paranoia from a family that had worked hard to cut itself off from the outside world. It was not clear whether the children were talking with them.

Alice Wallace, director of a community food center, characterized the family of JoAnn and Michael McGuckin as ``a normal family that has fallen on hard times.'' The children are ``great kids. They're well-mannered, they're polite, they're respectful.''

Now, she said, ``They're scared, I'm sure. Your dad dies a couple of weeks ago, and then your mother's taken away from you - that would be a little unnerving, don't you think?''

McGuckin was buried last Friday and his wife was arrested Tuesday on charges of injuring a child. After her arrest, deputies went to the house for the children, who were to be placed in state custody. But one of the boys spotted them, yelled, ``Get the guns!'' and set the dogs loose.

``I think they have been raised to be leery of government officials and maybe some law,'' Wallace said Thursday.

The children - ages 8 to 16 - have each other, rifles they know how to use and 27 half-wild dogs in a run-down home without water or electricity.They also have enough food to hold out for a while. A family friend picked up a 200-pound box of staples for them at the food center last Friday, Wallace said.

The specter of nearby Ruby Ridge is inescapable here. Three people died in that 1992 northern Idaho standoff - anti-government isolationist Randy Weaver's wife and son, and a federal deputy, one of several sent to arrest Weaver on a weapons charge.

Authorities say they will simply wait and not rush the situation in Sandpoint, which is about 40 miles north of Coeur d'Alene.

According to the Rev. Dennis Day of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Sandpoint, the family's eldest daughter, is 19-year-old Erina. She is cooperating with authorities.

Still in the home are Kathryn, 16; Benjamin, 15; and four younger children - Mary, James, Frederick and Jane - whose ages Day did not know.

A longtime friend, Mary Peters, offered a 10-year-old photo of the McGuckins in happier times, smiling with five of their eight children. She said she was met with snarling dogs and a shotgun-toting family member the last time she stopped in to offer help.

``They were thinking we were all their enemies,'' Peters said.

The hard times began when Michael McGuckin, who had worked at a lumber mill, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis several years ago. The Bonner County coroner attributed his May 12 death at age 61 to malnutrition and dehydration.

Acquaintances say his wife believed chemicals sprayed on area roads had caused her husband's illness.

``She was quite paranoid about the government, and I don't know what led to that,'' Wallace said, adding it prevented JoAnn McGuckin from signing up for state aid.

The family refused help from neighbors and their former church, but did routinely receive food from the center, Wallace said, downplaying reports that the children had been subsisting on lily-pad soup and lake water.

The younger children were kept home from school. With no money for utilities, they did without heat, electricity, telephone and running water. They dipped water from the nearby lake.

The children were occasionally seen swimming or on errands by neighbors who live around Garfield Bay, 10 miles south of Sandpoint. Still, residents say the family avoided contact.

The situation reached a crisis Tuesday, when JoAnn McGuckin was offered cash and a trip to the store by deputies. She was subsequently arrested on a warrant charging felony injury of a child - a charge authorities have refused to elaborate on.

In court Wednesday, her long red hair loose about her shoulders, she asked that the court appoint an attorney and was ordered held on $100,000 bail. Prosecutors said she had been spending the family's meager financial resources on alcohol.

Sandpoint lawyer Edgar Steele met with McGuckin Wednesday and said he would demand her bail be reduced. He also said he had gone to the house Thursday to try to talk with the children but failed. Steele said he would be one of McGuckin's lawyers and is representing the children's interests.

At a news conference at which he was critical of local authorities, Steele said they wanted to disperse the children into foster care.

``This is exactly what she was afraid of and that's exactly what they're trying to do,'' Steele said.

He said he had been to the house, but the children would not speak to him. He planned to try again Friday.

He said he spent two hours with the mother on Wednesday.

``This woman is perfectly capable of taking care of the kids and herself,'' he said, though he conceded the family had become reclusive since the father's illness.

Steele suggested the stalemate could be resolved by bringing the mother to the house, but said he would not have any part in such an effort if the goal was to separate the children into foster care. He said family and friends stand ready to take them in.

He disputed the state's charges against McGuckin - that the children are hungry, dirty and living in primitive conditions.

``That's all pure rumor,'' Steele said. ``I'm not sure why she was arrested.''

Bonner County Sheriff Phil Jarvis accused a television station of spoiling the negotiations between a Catholic priest and a relative of the six children Wednesday when its news helicopter appeared overhead.

KREM-TV news director Rich Lebenson said Thursday the station did not know that talks were going on and would review its policies.


Thursday May 31 10:02 AM ET
Idaho Kids Hold Off Deputies

By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS, Associated Press Writer

SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) - For years, Michael and JoAnn McGuckin kept their children close to their dilapidated rural home, fearing illness and imagined government plots to take the home and split up the family.

Now the six youngest, ages 8 to 16, are holed up inside with a stash of rifles and a pack of vicious dogs.

With their father dead and their mother arrested, they are refusing to answer negotiators who have been trying since Tuesday to coax them out. The children released the dogs when deputies first approached the house, and one yelled ``Get the guns!'' before the officers pulled back, Sheriff Phil Jarvis said.

``I'm not going to force an issue with children,'' Jarvis said Wednesday. ``We are waiting for them to calm down. We want to convince them we are there to help.''

In the minds of many in the area is the 1992 shootout at nearby Ruby Ridge, where the wife and son of white separatist Randy Weaver were killed during a standoff with federal agents. But Jarvis said this standoff is different because authorities aren't out to arrest anyone inside the home.

It was triggered by Tuesday's arrest of JoAnn McGuckin, 46, on a warrant charging felony injury to a child. Jarvis declined to elaborate on the charge.

A county judge set bail at $100,000 for McGuckin on Wednesday. Prosecutor Phil Robinson said she had been spending the family's meager resources on alcohol.

Deputies lured her from the house Tuesday with grocery money, and she was taken into custody after going to a store with a deputy who had brought the cash.

But when deputies returned to take the children to state social services, the children locked themselves inside the home.

``This is a mentally ill woman and she has her children scared to death,'' Jarvis said.

The stalemate at the McGuckin home, on a dirt road about a mile from the tiny Lake Pend Oreille community of Garfield Bay, continued early Thursday. It wasn't clear whether the children were communicating with officials.

Mary Peters, who knew the McGuckins, said the family was more sociable before Michael became ill with multiple sclerosis.

She brought out a decade-old photo of the family in a church directory showing a smiling Michael and JoAnn McGuckin and five of their eight children. Michael worked in a lumber mill to support his family then, she said.

The illness and the financial struggles that followed took a mental toll on JoAnn, Peters said. She became convinced her husband's illness was caused by chemicals sprayed on the roads, and that the government was planning to take the children and their home, Peters said.

``We haven't seen the kids for five years,'' she said.

The home is now rundown and no longer has power, water or heat. The children, kept home from school, have been largely caring for themselves, subsisting on water dragged from the lake and what food they can find, Jarvis said. The family refused help from social service agencies.

When Michael McGuckin died three weeks ago, the official cause of death was dehydration and malnutrition.

A 19-year-old sister who left the home recently after an argument with her mother was helping deputies try to draw the children out, Jarvis said.

They have told the children over a loudspeaker that they will be fed, housed and taken to see their mother, he said.

Law enforcement officers made contact with one of the children briefly Wednesday, but the contact was broken off when a news media helicopter swooped overhead, Jarvis said.

The Rev. Dennis Day, who officiated Michael McGuckin's funeral at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Sandpoint, about 10 miles from Garfield Bay, said the family rebuffed all offers of help and seemed consumed by paranoia.

The oldest of the children now lives in California and has little contact with his family, Day said.

``Everybody saw this coming. They were dirt-poor. The kids didn't have the right things to eat,'' Day said. ``They really alienated themselves from the world.''


Thursday May 31 8:34 AM ET

Idaho Kids, Holed Up at Home, Resist Police

SANDPOINT, Idaho (Reuters) - Police played a waiting game on Thursday morning, hoping that six children holed up in their rural home for two days would break their silence and talk to authorities offering help, a Sandpoint officer said.

Police overnight kept a vigil outside the house on a dirt road in a hamlet near Sandpoint in northern Idaho, and would try again to end the standoff with the six McGuckin children, aged 8 to 16, that began on Tuesday, an officer said early on Thursday.

With their father recently dead from an illness and their mother in police custody, the children ignored officers' attempts to negotiate with them on Wednesday, instead unleashing several ``vicious'' dogs on the police, the officer said.

``Everything is status quo this morning,'' said a Sandpoint officer. ``We're hoping things change this morning.''

The standoff began on Tuesday when police arrested the mother, JoAnn McGuckin, 46, on a warrant charging felony injury to a child. An officer had lured her outside with the offer of taking her to a store.

Their father, Michael McGuckin, died several weeks ago of an illness, the officer said.

After the arrest, police went to the home and tried to contact the children with a loudspeaker to take them into protective custody, but the children would not cooperate and locked themselves in the rundown home, the officer said.

The dogs, described as vicious by police, were going in and out of the house since being released by the children on Wednesday, the officer said.

The officer, who declined to be identified, said police feared that the children might have guns and were patiently waiting for them to shed their fears so the stalemate doesn't evolve into something more explosive.


Wednesday May 30 4:40 PM ET

Children, Dogs Hold Off Idaho Sheriff

SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) - Six children, believed to be armed, refused to leave their rural home and instead released a pack of dogs on sheriff's deputies who had arrested their mother, authorities said.

Deputies retreated from the house after a two-hour standoff Tuesday and planned to peacefully wait out the children, Sheriff Phil Jarvis said Wednesday.

``I told them, `We're just going to defuse it, we're leaving,''' Jarvis said. ``I'm not going to get into a Randy Weaver thing.''

In 1992, at nearby Ruby Ridge, the wife and son of white separatist Randy Weaver were killed during a standoff with federal agents.

Officers on Wednesday were concerned about a boy who has taken a leadership role.

``It's not worth a confrontation with a 15-year-old who believes he is protecting his family,'' Jarvis said. ``We are trying to talk him down.''

The children, ages 8 to 16, would not respond to calls from social workers or law enforcement officers. A 19-year-old sister who left home has been assisting authorities.

``We know there are six children in there and guns in the house. The kids are trained to use the guns,'' Jarvis said.

More than 20 dogs have been running free at the scene, he said.

``They hunt. They pack like wild animals,'' he said. ``They took down a moose a little while ago.''

The home lacks power, water and heat. The children have essentially been caring for themselves for the past year, Jarvis said.

The incident was triggered by Tuesday's arrest of the children's mother, Joann McGuckin, on a warrant charging felony injury to a child.

Authorities believe McGuckin, 46, is mentally ill. Her husband died more than a week ago, Jarvis said.

Deputies returned to the home to get the children and put them in the state custody, but one of the boys ran to the house and yelled, ```Get the guns,''' the sheriff said. ``They let all the dogs out of the basement.''


Randy Weaver's Return From Ruby Ridge (

... Randy Weaver's Return From Ruby Ridge Back Home in Iowa,

He's Got Memories -- and a Message, ...

The Ruby Ridge Prosecutions, by Blackman & Kopel

... The Ruby Ridge Prosecutions. by Paul Blackman & David Kopel. Which is better: letting

criminals go free, or prosecuting both a crime victim and a criminal? Folks ...

Description: Examining the complexities of the criminal prosecutions resulting from Ruby Ridge, and questioning...

The Shooting at Ruby Ridge



Description: Department of Justice report regarding internal investigation of shootings at Ruby Ridge, Idaho

Ruby Ridge

Revolution. ... FBI Assault At Ruby Ridge. In 1992, the

FBI conducted a military siege of a rural Idaho ...

Description: Condemning the FBI's actions toward the rural Idaho family of Randy Weaver, in which they killed his wife...

Ruby Ridge

Ruby Ridge. In 1992 a federal force of US Marshals, FBI

and BATF agents conducted a murderous assault ...

Ruby Ridge Updates -- What's Happening & What Can We Do?

... Is Janet Reno To Blame for Ruby Ridge? ... If

you have something to say (preferably constructive), let's hear it! ...

Massacre at Ruby Ridge

Massacre at Ruby Ridge. ... Don Black. The Wall Street Journal, June 30,

1995, p. A14. Ruby Ridge: The Justice Report. By James Bovard. ...

Remembering Ruby Ridge -- September 16, 1999

... September 16, 1999 Remembering Ruby Ridge. Memo To: Jack Danforth, Waco Investigator

From: Jude Wanniski Re: Take a Look at Ruby Ridge. ...

Bo Gritz and Ruby Ridge: "I as there." A Patriot Newspaper ...

Bo Gritz and Ruby Ridge: "I Was There!"
(Reprinted from Vol.1, No. 1, October 9, 1995 hard copy issue of The Patriot) ...

CNN - New charges filed in Ruby Ridge shootout - August 21, 1997 ...

... New charges filed in Ruby Ridge shootout. White separatist and FBI sniper charged. August ...

Return to Ruby Ridge

... Return to Ruby Ridge. ... A Rare Visit with the Rebel of Ruby Ridge - Report from

Time Magazine, May 29, 1995, on their interview with Randy Weaver. ...

EOTW - The Siege at Ruby Ridge

... back to ARTICLES. The Siege at Ruby Ridge. BATF's entrapment of Randy Weaver, an

outrageous precursor to the Waco inferno, led to the violent deaths of three ...


Department of Justice Ruby Ridge Report. V. RECOMMENDATIONS.

Law enforcement officials confronted ...

Ruby Ridge and American ATF Nazism


The Dangerous Nazi Precident at Ruby Ridge. ...


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