Grown children of missing mother face test of loyalties

first_imgA mechanical engineer by trade, Glenn hesitated before answering many questions. During Glenn’s testimony, prosecutor John Lewin played recorded snippets of his testimony to a grand jury last year, when he seemed more relaxed and elaborated on his answers rather than keeping them short. Under grilling from the prosecutor, Glenn admitted that during the trial he has been biased toward his father, whom he hangs out with every month. Lewin asked Glenn if it’s been a long time since he grieved for his mom, Ann. Glenn said he still grieves a little. But he also said that – although it’s only a remote possibility that she abandoned her family – his mother could be alive. No body has ever been found. “It seems that to grieve you have to fully have closure, to know that she’s dead,” Glenn said. Glenn was asked if his mother put her three children’s needs first. He answered that seeing Ann’s letters to the man she had an affair with made him question her priorities. “She was a conscientious mother and she treated me well,” said Glenn, who was 11 when his mother disappeared. “But there was another side with her adulteress affair that makes her not perfect,” he said. Glenn, who described himself as a “follower of Jesus Christ,” said he forgives his mother for her affair. Forgiveness is important to him, Glenn said. When asked if he would forgive John, even if he is convinced his father killed his mother, Glenn paused before answering yes. Later on, Lewin asked Glenn to again assume for the sake of argument that John is guilty. The prosecutor asked Glenn if that were true, would he want his father acquitted. “No, that’s not true,” Glenn said. “Then there wouldn’t be justice for my mother.” With Joann on the stand, one of John Racz’s attorneys asked her if, after arguing with her dad, she had told friends she was convinced he had killed her mom. She answered yes, and admitted that she had threatened to have him arrested, although she added that she never would have gone through with it. Katelin Racz, 23, has not testified and she declined to be interviewed. Prosecutors decided not to call her as a witness after Glenn said he did not remember things from when his mother disappeared, and incidents since then. Joann, Katelin and Glenn all have watched the trial proceed, sitting together in the rows behind their father. “The children have an allegiance to their mother and they have an allegiance to their father, in part because when he was raising them they were young and vulnerable and dependent on him,” said Lewis Yablonsky, professor emeritus of sociology at California State University, Northridge. Martin Kaplan, a professor of psychology at California State University, Channel Islands, said the Racz children could be relying on the justice system. Yablonsky and Kaplan have no connection to this case. “When you take them, not as children, but as individuals who have a very pressing question – did my father kill someone – that’s something they have to resolve,” Kaplan said. “And they’re very mature in saying: I can’t resolve this. I can’t be the judge and jury in resolving it.” One point Joann and Glenn agreed on in their testimony was that they never got a straight answer from their father about what happened to their mother. They also both said John made disparaging remarks about Ann after she disappeared. Joann said her father would tell her Ann had abandoned her children. Joann said she always answered that Ann, who separated from John just days before she disappeared, had left her husband, but not her children. Joann moved out at age 22, but when she became a single mom she occasionally moved back, she said. She relied on her father for money to support her daughter. “I felt that he wanted to help me in time of need, that I had no one else to help me,” she said. “I still consider my dad’s home my home, so I still felt comfortable enough to spend the night if I had to.” Joann stayed composed during most of her testimony, although at times she turned her head away from where her father was sitting. She only broke down in tears when prosecutors projected onto a screen a picture of her daughter, Kayla Ann Mineko Tiet, who is 6. If Ann Racz were still alive, she never would have missed the birth of her first grandchild, Joann said. Joann said she aspires to be as reliable as her mom. Joann also said her mom confided in her about fearing John, and that when Ann and her three children moved to a condo just days before she disappeared, she asked Joann to keep the condo’s location a secret. Joann said she has been in regular contact with detectives about her mother’s disappearance. An attorney for John Racz asked Joann if, after her mother disappeared, she thought her father had done something to Ann. “That is something that I naturally thought of, just because of my mom saying to keep this move a secret,” Joann said. “So that is something that naturally came to mind.” [email protected] (661) 257-5253160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Joann, who was 14 when her mother disappeared, said she loves her father. But she also confessed to suspecting he had something to do with her mom’s disappearance – and said she argued with him about what happened to Ann that day in 1991 when she left to buy fast food for the kids and never came back. Joann said that when she was growing up, things never got so bad she felt compelled to leave. And she wanted to stay with her brother and sister. “I just felt that I had to make the best out of the hand that I was dealt,” she said, “and that I don’t need to move forward with any kind of tension, and just trying to make the best of a bad situation.” A single mother, Joann named 6-year-old Kayla Ann Mineko Tiet to honor the mother she lost. For Glenn, testifying in his father’s trial also was a test of loyalties. VALENCIA – Ann Mineko Racz’s kids were just 14, 11 and 7 when she vanished in 1991 and now, as adults, they sit almost daily in court as their father stands trial for her murder. The eldest, Joann Racz is now 31 and a star witness for the prosecution in the case against John Racz. Glenn Racz, 27, is more reluctant, less loyal than his sister to a mother who had left her husband and planned a life with a new love. The youngest, Katelin Racz, won’t be called by the prosecution in this case that continues Monday in court. In testimony in the last two weeks, Joann and Glenn spoke of conflicting feelings. last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *