‘Someone Kidnapped My Parents’: Nevada Was Sheltering ‘Elder Abuse’

Around 10 percent of people over 65 are believed to be victims of “elder abuse,” or the exploitation of seniors. In some cases, elder abuse is state-sanctioned, allowing supposed guardians to siphon away elderly people’s life savings and keep them from their own family members. How is such a widespread problem flying under the radar?

Julie Belshe, an advocate for guardianship reform, experienced this nightmare firsthand when her parents disappeared. She eventually learned that they had been taken as wards of the state by “guardian” April Parks, who was indicted on more than 200 felony charges in March.

The New Yorker reported:

The Norths’ daughter, Julie Belshe, came to visit later that afternoon. …

She knocked on the front door several times and then tried to push the door open, but it was locked. She was surprised to see the kitchen window closed; her parents always left it slightly open. She drove to the Sun City Aliante clubhouse, where her parents sometimes drank coffee. When she couldn’t find them there, she thought that perhaps they had gone on an errand together—the farthest they usually drove was to Costco. But, when she returned to the house, it was still empty.

That weekend, she called her parents several times. She also called two hospitals to see if they had been in an accident. She called their landlord, too, and he agreed to visit the house. He reported that there were no signs of them. She told her husband, “I think someone kidnapped my parents.”

Listen to Belshe’s interview on today’s show (above) for the full story.

This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

GLENN: We are going to tell you a story that is truly hard to believe. And it could happen to you. It could happen to your parents.

I want to introduce you to Julie Lynn Belshe. She is a woman whose parents, Rudy and Rennie North, were legally kidnapped. This happened in the state of Nevada. And this is not the only case. It is -- it all stems from these guardians, strangers can become the garden of your parents. It doesn't matter if you're there. They can go to court and become a guardian for your parent. And when that happens, they just disappear.

Julie, welcome to the program.

JULIE: Thank you, Glenn, for having me.

GLENN: I'm reading this story from the New Yorker, and it is hard to believe at first. This sounds like something that would have happened in Nazi Germany.

JULIE: Well, that's pretty much what I've compared it to, because I didn't know anything about guardianship. And when I started looking on the computer and finding the first video I came across was Dorothy Wilson. Diane Wilson was interviewing her mother in an assisted living facility. And her mom was devastated. She was like, "Get me out of here. I'm not going to eat. I'm not going to read. I want to go home." And I didn't know what I stepped into. And the more I started investigating on the computer -- social media helped me tremendously -- I knew I had to do something for my parents, because they're confident there was nothing wrong with them. They needed a little bit of help. They lived on a golf course. Had somebody come in and help them. Take care of them.

I assisted them. My mom had suffered for years and years from CLL. And -- but we had it all under control. And the minute anybody finds out that you have any assets, money, stocks, bonds -- that your worse value, you no longer are a human being. Once the guardian takes you, you are now a ward, and you have less rights than a prisoner.

GLENN: This is truly shocking, and I want to set this up right, so people can understand it. Your folks lived in Las Vegas, so people understand.

JULIE: Right.

GLENN: You would go over and see your mom and dad. They lived on this golf course. You would go and see your mom and dad. Once a day you would stop in, is that correct?

JULIE: I would stop in once a day, and then the last couple of months, before they got taken, we would call each other. And my husband and I have a business. So I was pretty busy. I have three young boys. But I would talk to them every day, if not three or four times a day, make sure they're okay, see them once a week. At first, I was helping them for six months just run errands, take them to the doctor.

GLENN: Right, but it's not that your folks were confused. Your father was reading -- I'm trying to remember here. He was reading Freud. Plato. Nietzsche.

JULIE: Oh, yeah. He's a very intelligent man. He's very articulate.

GLENN: Right.

JULIE: This is collusion, okay? This doesn't start with just the guardian, okay? The guardian is that now we have finally gotten entitled with her --

GLENN: Wait. Wait. Before you go into this, I have to explain to people, what happened.

JULIE: Okay.

GLENN: Your folks, your folks are living on the golf course.

JULIE: Uh-huh.

GLENN: They've lived a good life. They've put their money away. They've saved for their requirement. Your mom is getting ill, but your dad is taking care of her. She's fine. He's fine. Both mentally there.

You're in the area. So if there's any problems -- it's not like these people were just left alone. And one day, somebody comes to the door and claims to be their guardian. Is that right?

JULIE: You pretty much have it right. What happened was, it was on Memorial Day of 2013. And I had plans to go see my parents on that Friday. And in walks hospice care, a worker. The owners actually from hospice care, my parents were drinking coffee and having breakfast.

Pretty much to condense, there was another knock on the door about 20 minutes later. And it was April Parks, the private professional guardian. I like to call them the private for-profit guardian. Because that's all they're in it for. And she walked in and presented herself. And my parents had six people in their home. And told them, they had three choices: One, they could go to -- go with them willingly and go to an assisted living facility. Two, they could call the fire department and the police. They had a chance to go to jail. Or they could be taken out of the home in a gurney. Or, three, they could go to a psych ward.

GLENN: Your parents chose option number one, because they were confused. And a neighbor came out and said, "What's going on?" And they said, "We're just going to look at this like a vacation. Nothing to worry about."

JULIE: Well, that's not correct. What really happened was, all of these -- April Parks, first of all, presented herself as an officer of the court, which she's not. And one of her coworkers told my mom and dad, just look at this as a mini vacation, as a respite. You'll be coming back home.

GLENN: Okay.

JULIE: And my mom was crying and crying, saying, this is my home. Get out of my home. Leave us alone.

GLENN: They were told to pack a suitcase.

JULIE: Uh-huh.

GLENN: And pretty much, whatever they put in the suitcase is all that was left in the end. They got a few items back. But this guardian, then took them across the state, up -- way up north, if I'm not mistaken.

JULIE: Well, she took them by Lake Mead, which from our house is about 45 minutes. It's right close to the border of Arizona.

GLENN: Okay. Oh, yeah. I'm sorry. I was thinking that this was Sun City, Arizona. This was actually in Nevada, wasn't it?

JULIE: Correct.

GLENN: And so they take them there. This is a retirement community. When you finally get in touch with your parents, how many days have gone by?

JULIE: Four days.

GLENN: And no one --

JULIE: Four days. There was no sign. Nothing on the door, until the fourth day, until after the Memorial Day weekend, until she got temporary guardianship of them. And she was now their temporary guardianship because it was deemed an emergency situation.

If something is such an emergency, she was handed the papers two weeks prior, then why didn't she go and get them there? And it's a law that if your parents or your loved one is going to be taken, by law, the court is supposed to notify you so that you can step in and say, "What's going on?" And you can file the proper paperwork.

STU: The law here is just incredible. We can probably spend an hour just on that. But what about the moment when you just go -- because you went to visit, your normal visit, and they were gone.

GLENN: This is Friday.

STU: Were you panicked? What did you go through, as that happened?

JULIE: I was mortified. I mean, the newspaper was in the front. The windows in their kitchen are usually open a little bit. The blinds are open a certain way. The house was just closed down.

I just knew right there and then, something was terribly wrong. I went to Sun City, the country club, the little house there, where they would go and have coffee. And I looked around for them. And then I pulled myself together, and I drove home and told my husband, "My parents have been kidnapped." That was just my gut reaction. Something is terribly wrong here.

GLENN: And you called police?

JULIE: You know, hindsight is always 20/20. I called hospitals first. And the emotions that run with this, are so high and low. The gamut of emotions, that my thing was, I wanted to get an attorney. I wanted to know what was going on. How people can walk in your home and take you and not notify your relative that lives 15 minutes away from you.

GLENN: So your parents, you see them -- and your dad is in the fetal position on the couch. And your mom is crying. And how long does it take you to fight to get your parents out?

JULIE: Well, let me put it this way, it took me approximately two years. And that only came after speaking out publicly to the commissioners, to speaking out publicly and getting two new legislative laws passed here. One is that, if you have a loved one, that you can't -- and you live out of state, you can now become their guardian before that was not legal.

GLENN: Yes.

JULIE: And the other one is that, if you are going to be a private guardian, you have to be licensed, insured, and bonded, and you can only have so many wards. This woman that took my parents was spiraling out of control. It's not enough for them to be greedy about it. But they are sociopaths. They hurt people. They isolate. They trespass the family away from their loved ones on purpose. Because they're getting bedsores, bruises, broken limbs. They're getting inserted feeding tubes. It's cheaper to, you know -- they save money that way. They're accelerating the death, in my opinion, of the elderly because they want their full estate.

GLENN: So when they become a guardian, it's just somebody -- this is a business, really?

JULIE: Oh --

GLENN: In Nevada.

JULIE: This is a business all over the nation. And they're making billions of dollars. And right now, the statistics say they have 1.5 million people under guardianship. No matter how perfect your family is or your estate documents were prepared, anyone can be involuntarily placed in guardianship. This happens all the time, nationwide.

GLENN: Okay. I'm going to take a break. And then when I come back, I want to explain, who are these people? How do they become a guardian?

JULIE: Okay.

GLENN: And how does this happen? When we come back.

STU: If you go to @GlennBeck or @worldofStu, we're going to tweet this story from the New Yorker. It's lengthy, but it goes through all of it. It's one of the most insane stories I've ever heard.

GLENN: You will not believe it's happening. You just won't believe it.

GLENN: Bill O'Reilly joins us in about 40 -- 40 to 45 minutes, to answer the, you know, 32 million-dollar question. You don't want to miss that.

We have to be able to have something we believe in. We have to know what the truth is. Otherwise, things that happen to our guest now -- Julie Belshe, and her parents, will happen to you or your parents. There is a guardian system that is happening all around the country. And her experience was happening in Nevada. She says that it happens all over the country. Who -- who are these guardians that can, you know, all of a sudden claim -- lay claim to your parents, or to you?

JULIE: These guardians are people that don't have to have any formal education. They can take a course that I believe is just maybe a week long. And then they become a guardian.

These people are trained by the masterminds behind this. Like I said before, this is collusion. We have somebody here that's a mastermind, his name is Jared Shaffer. He is the head of it.

So they take them under their wings, and they train them, how to go in and open all the drawers and take everything, and deem these people -- these elderly people disabled people, or whoever they want, incompetent.

STU: The concept here -- looking at it in a theoretical concept, are they basically saying the elderly people can't take care of themselves, so we're going to go in, we're going to take their stuff. We're going to use that stuff to pay for their care, because they're being neglected. Is that essentially what they're trying to say they're doing?

JULIE: That's what they are trying to say they're doing, but they're failing. They keep saying it's in the best interest of the ward. Nothing is in the best interest of the ward. We have a private guardian. We've gone from having several private guardians, since I've gotten into this four years ago, to now there's only two private guardians, I believe. And the public guardian. So we've essentially gone full circle and given the power back to the government, which they love. So it's gone full circle.

GLENN: So what happens is, these people come in, and with your parents, they had a house on the golf course. They had a car. They had their money. And in a two-year period, this woman came in, claimed to be their guardian, because she just went to court. And claimed to be the guardian. And then she liquidated all those assets. Within two years, your parents had nothing?

JULIE: Correct. The thing is, it's so easy for the private guardians -- it was so easy. But now I believe, in my opinion, that they've revered back to doing it again. The family courts. Okay? They're all working together. The guardians --

GLENN: Okay. So I want to go there, when we come back. I want to go there and I want to talk about the court. Because the court seemed to be, I think -- from the way the story reads at least -- knowingly colluding. But that's quite a charge to make. And I'd like to get your opinion on that and see where the court stood, at least in Nevada.

Stop trying to be right and think of the children

Mario Tama/Getty Images

All the outrage this week has mainly focused on one thing: the evil Trump administration and its minions who delight in taking children from their illegal immigrant parents and throwing them all in dungeons. Separate dungeons, mind you.

That makes for a nice, easy storyline, but the reality is less convenient. Most Americans seem to agree that separating children from their parents — even if their parents entered the US illegally — is a bad thing. But what if that mom and dad you're trying to keep the kids with aren't really the kids' parents? Believe it or not, fraud happens.

RELATED: Where were Rachel Maddow's tears for immigrant children in 2014?

While there are plenty of heartbreaking stories of parents simply seeking a chance for a better life for their children in the US, there are also corrupt, abusive human traffickers who profit from the illegal immigration trade. And sorting all of this out is no easy task.

This week, the Department of Homeland Security said that since October 2017, more than 300 children have arrived at the border with adults claiming to be their parents who turned out not to be relatives. 90 of these fraud cases came from the Rio Grande Valley sector alone.

In 2017, DHS reported 46 causes of fraudulent family claims. But there have already been 191 fraud cases in 2018.

Shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

When Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen pointed out this 315 percent increase, the New York Times was quick to give these family fraud cases "context" by noting they make up less than one percent of the total number of illegal immigrant families apprehended at the southern border. Their implication was that Nielsen was exaggerating the numbers. Even if the number of fraud cases at the border was only 0.001 percent, shouldn't we be concerned about any child that is smuggled by a human trafficker?

This is the most infuriating part of this whole conversation this week (if you can call it a "conversation") — that both sides have an angle to defend. And while everyone's busy yelling and making their case, children are being abused.

What if we just tried, for two seconds, to love having mercy more than we love having to be right all the time?

Remember when cartoons were happy things? Each panel took you on a tiny journey, carrying you to an unexplored place. In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud writes:

The comics creator asks us to join in a silent dance of the seen and the unseen. The visible and the invisible. This dance is unique to comics. No other artform gives so much to its audience while asking so much from them as well. This is why I think it's a mistake to see comics as a mere hybrid of the graphic arts and prose fiction. What happens between . . . panels is a kind of magic only comics can create.

When that magic is manipulated or politicized, it often devolves the artform into a baseless thing. Yesterday, Occupy Wall Street published the perfect example of low-brow deviation of the artform: A six-panel approach at satire, which imitates the instructions-panel found in the netted cubbyhole behind seats on airplanes. The cartoon is a critique of the recent news about immigrant children being separated from their parents after crossing the border. It is a step-by-step guide to murdering US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents.

RELATED: Cultural appropriation has jumped the shark, and everyone is noticing

The first panel shows a man shoving an infant into a cage meant for Pomeranians. The following five panels feature instructions, and include pictures of a cartoonish murder.

The panels read as follows:

  1. If an ICE agent tries to take your child at the border, don't panic.
  2. Pull your child away as quickly as possibly by force.
  3. Gently tell your child to close his/her eyes and ears so they won't witness what you are about to do.
  4. Grab the ICE agent from behind and push your knife into his chest with an upward thrust, causing the agent's sternum to break.
  5. Reach into his chest and pull out his still beating heart.
  6. Hold his bloody heart out for all other agents to see, and tell them that the same fate awaits them if they f--- with your child again.

Violent comics are nothing new. But most of the time, they remain in the realms of invented worlds — in other words, not in our own, with reference to actual people, let alone federal agents.

The mainstream media made a game of crying racism with every cartoon depiction of Obama during his presidency, as well as during his tenure as Senator, when the New Yorker, of all things, faced scrutiny for depicting him in "Muslim clothing." Life was a minefield for political cartoonists during the Obama era.

Chris Hondros/Getty Images

This year, we saw the leftist outrage regarding The Simpsons character Apu — a cartoon representation of a highly-respected, though cartoonishly-depicted, character on a cartoon show composed of cartoonishly-depicted characters.

We all remember Charlie Hebdo, which, like many outlets that have used cartoon satire to criticize Islam, faced the wrath and ire of people unable to see even the tamest representation of the prophet, Muhammad.

Interesting, isn't it? Occupy Wall Street publishes a cartoon that advocates murdering federal agents, and critics are told to lighten up. Meanwhile, the merest depiction of Muhammad has resulted in riots throughout the world, murder and terror on an unprecedented scale.

The intersection of Islam and comics is complex enough to have its own three-hour show, so we'll leave it at that, for now. Although, it is worth mentioning the commentary by satirical website The Onion, which featured a highly offensive cartoon of all the major religious figures except Muhammad. It noted:

Following the publication of the image above, in which the most cherished figures from multiple religious faiths were depicted engaging in a lascivious sex act of considerable depravity, no one was murdered, beaten, or had their lives threatened.

Of course, Occupy Wall Street is free to publish any cartoon they like. Freedom of speech, and so on—although there have been several instances in which violent cartoons were ruled to have violated the "yelling fire in a crowded theater" limitation of the First Amendment.

Posting it to Twitter is another issue — this is surely in violation of Twitter's violent content policy, but something tells me nothing will come of it. It's a funny world, isn't it? A screenshot of a receipt from Chick-fil-A causes outrage but a cartoon advocating murder gets crickets.

RELATED: Twitter mob goes ballistic over Father's Day photo of Caitlyn Jenner. Who cares?

In Understanding Comics, Scott McCloud concludes that, "Today the possibilities for comics are — as they've always been — endless. Comics offers . . . range and versatility, with all the potential imagery of film and painting plus the intimacy of the written word. And all that's needed is the desire to be heard, the will to learn, and the ability to see."

Smile, and keep moving forward.

Crude and awful as the Occupy Wall Street comic is, the best thing we can do is nod and look elsewhere for the art that will open our eyes. Let the lunatics draw what they want, let them stew in their own flawed double standards. Otherwise, we're as shallow and empty as they are, and nothing good comes of that. Smile, and keep moving forward.

Things are getting better. Show the world how to hear, how to learn, how to see.

People should start listening to Nikki Haley

ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Okay. Let's take a vote. You know, an objective, quantifiable count. How many resolutions has the UN Human Rights Council adopted condemning dictatorships? Easy. Well. How do you define "dictatorship"?

Well, one metric is the UN Human Rights Council Condemnation. How many have the United Nations issued to China, with a body count higher than a professional Call of Duty player?

Zero.

How about Venezuela, where socialism is devouring its own in the cruelest, most unsettling ways imaginable?

Zero.

And Russia, home of unsettling cruelty and rampant censorship, murder and (actual) homophobia?

Zero.

Iraq? Zero. Turkey? Iraq? Zero. Cuba? Zero. Pakistan? Zero.

RELATED: Nikki Haley just dropped some serious verbal bombs on Russia at the UN

According to UN Human Rights Council Condemnations, 2006-2016, none of these nations is as dangerous as we'd imagined. Or, rather, none of them faced a single condemnation. Meanwhile, one country in particular has faced unbelievable scrutiny and fury — you'll never guess which country.

No, it's not Somalia. It's Israel. With 68 UN Human Rights Council Condemnations! In fact, the number of total United Nations condemnations against Israel outnumbers the total of condemnations against all other countries combined. The only country that comes close is Syria, with 15.

The Trump administration withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday in protest of what it perceives as an entrenched bias against Israel and a willingness to allow notorious human rights abusers as members.

In an address to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Nikki Haley said:

Let's remember that the Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years, long before the United States decided to move our embassy. This is what is endangering the people of Gaza. Make no mistake, Hamas is pleased with the results from yesterday... No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.

Maybe people should start listening to Haley. Hopefully, they will. Not likely, but there's no crime in remaining hopeful.

Here's a question unique to our times: "Should I tell my father 'Happy Father's Day,' even though he (she?) is now one of my mothers?"

Father's Day was four days ago, yes, but this story is just weird enough to report on. One enjoyable line to read was this gem from Hollywood Gossip: "Cait is a woman and a transgender icon, but she is also and will always be the father of her six children."

RELATED: If Bruce was never a he and always a she, who won the men's Olympic gold in 1976?

Imagine reading that to someone ten — even five — years ago. And, honestly, there's something nice about it. But the strangeness of its having ever been written overpowers any emotional impact it might bring.

"So lucky to have you," wrote Kylie Jenner, in the Instagram caption under pre-transition pictures of Bruce Jenner.

Look. I risk sounding like a tabloid by mere dint of having even mentioned this story, but the important element is the cultural sway that's occurring. The original story was that a band of disgruntled Twitter users got outraged about the supposed "transphobic" remarks by Jenner's daughter.

But, what we should be saying is, "who the hell cares?" Who cares what one Jenner says to another — and more importantly and on a far deeper level — who cares what some anonymous Twitter user has to say?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob?

When are we going to stop playing into the hands of the Twitter mob? Because, at the moment, they've got it pretty good. They have a nifty relationship with the mainstream media: One or two Twitter users get outraged by any given thing — in this case Jenner and supposed transphobia. In return, the mainstream media use the Twitter comment as a source.

Then, a larger Twitter audience points to the article itself as proof that there's some kind of systemic justice at play. It's a closed-market currency, where the negative feedback loop of proof and evidence is composed of faulty accusations. Isn't it a hell of a time to be alive?