Spin Doctoring

So let’s look further into the lies on the Sonya McCaul case shall we?  Especially as Twitter has become a bit of a confusing place to move through – not that you should be getting facts from social media but the story has kept changing so many times it’s very difficult to start going through it.

First off, if you ever let your children leave the state with a caregiver and they refuse to return them, heads up, this is what according to the Hodgins and their supporters constitutes abandonment.  I just thought I would mention this as the case because that is where it starts.

If you have not read, the Hodgins have once more been denied the right to Terminate the parental rights of John McCaul and they are now seeking preadoptive placement and working on overturning Judge Jackson’s ruling to send the case to Nebraska where it belongs.

To be blunt they are pitting the ASFA against UCCJEA – which seems like a crazy choice to have to make, but frankly I don’t believe that the thought of the consequences of this have really occurred to them.

This whole beginning of the case is splitting an assorted and crazy amount of hairs.  The child was abandoned in Tennessee by her nanny.   The child was abandoned in Tennessee by her father.   Why didn’t her father come to get her if he was that concerned, etc…

John McCaul was threatened with arrest if he went to Tennessee.    There has yet to be a single denial of this threat among the supporters, but according to the Hodgins supporters he should have not followed police orders and come to get his daughter anyway.

This is a man who was familiar with how the law worked and had been out of trouble for a number of years at this point – he had no desire to get himself arrested again which would not have done Sonya any good whatsoever.   So he did what he had the right to do as the custodial parent.    He sent his mother and best friend to get his daughter.

Now let’s break this down.   If you follow police orders and send a representative to get your daughter in compliance with those orders and as is your right, DCS will be contacted so that your daughter cannot come home.

Let us start with Omaha World – the report that was the most unbiased.


So let’s review.   She was declared a ward of the state on October 5, 2005.    The Hodgins took over as faux kinship placement in April 3, 2006.

But let’s go back to what is said on Bring Sonya Home in the FAQ’s.

Coming to TN

Still keeping somewhat the same on the timeline.

Now Kim’s Letter to the Governor.
SonyaComing gov.  letter

Now, the child was not declared a ward of the state in August 2005 when Kim declared she was baby sitting Sonya.    In fact, she was still supposed to have been in the care of her nanny.   So unless there was a plan in place to keep Sonya there at that point, why would she be babysitting her then?

Now the letter from the professionals, also on the Bring Sonya Home Website:


So now instead of being foster parents since she was 21 months old, they claim since she was as year old.     And then they claim that the birth father was successful in overturning the adoption because of a sentence reduction.

Heads up, they filed for termination of parental rights before he was indicted on firearms charges and the reduction in sentence took place a FULL YEAR before they terminated John McCaul’s rights.  In addition, the original argument was that John McCaul had abandoned his daughter.    This is a word thrown around on social media among supporters while kidnapping is one commonly responded to with “Show me the charges.”

As per Court of Appeals, John McCaul did NOT abandon his daughter.

Now the restraining order filed in 2012.

ROtimeline1 ROTimeline2

First off, they claimed that Sonya had been living with them continuously since she was 13 months of age.   She was 21 months of age when she was placed with the Hodgins as a resource placement.      They also mention here that the reunification process was starting.    This is SIGNED by David Hodgins as a legal document.

Compare that to these statements on the Bring Sonya Home Website.


Which way is it?    They knew that the reunification process was beginning but yet this is the face they put out to the public.

Now let’s address contact for a moment.


— This is from the Bring Sonya Home Website


– From the Bring Sonya Home Facebook Page (note the location stamp – for those who still want to say that the Hodgins are not running the page)

THEN from Kim Hodgins’s OWN WORDS in her “Letter to the Governor”


Now this came out last week.

BSH10-12 Contact Question BSH10-12 contact

Everything is John McCaul’s fault.   Not the Hodgins’s – even though Kim herself admitted in the letter to the governor that the media attention is why DCS cut contact off.

Much like so much of the rumors of this case from the Hodgins’s camp, the stories keep changing and getting more and more tragic for the foster parents – so why should we believe them?   How long was Sonya in their care?   Was she in their care in August and Joy Gunn was lying or was she where she was supposed to be this whole time?

This case is every parent’s worst nightmare, going around UCCJEA would mean that an abusive parent can leave the jurisdiction with the child and keep them.   Consider that for a moment.

Part 2 of SpinDoctoring will be Supporter Spin, which is in actuality a very entertaining prospect.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cherie Waack
    Oct 19, 2014 @ 22:38:53

    The factor that confuses me most is if the Nanny had concern about this child’s situation why did she not express them during the months she provided care while residing in Nebraska? It would have been quite easy for Nebraska Child Services to fully investigate her concerns. Nebraska would also have had the ability to make extended family placement if they determined that was required. Her concern regarding the custodial father was only voiced once she was out of state and found out the father was sending proxies to bring his child back home. He was advised to do this by an Officer at the Dickson Police Department. That was October. The former fosters are relatives of the Nanny and it is odd that they have given legal statements that confirm she resided in their home as of August. The switch off in this child’s location and caregiver situation was done without the custodial parents knowledge or permission. There was no DCS involvement at all in August. Lots of conflicting information which hopefully will receive a full neutral review by the Department of Justice. When did it become ok to take a child for a specified period of time and fail to return them when agreed? When did it become ok to remove the child from the approved caregiver and place that child at a location that is unknown to the parent and with another caregiver unknown to the parent? In present time this would have resulted in an Amber Alert being issued not an officer informing the father he faced arrest.


    • Paula
      Oct 20, 2014 @ 08:01:35

      I don’t think there where concerns. I believe the Hodgins saw a picture of Sonya and she took Sonya down for them. They believe they are the perfect parents and wanted a daughter to raise, considering how David’s daughter was abandoned because his love of Kim was more than the love for his child, it has to be wondered how much of her drug problem comes down to this abandonment. When she got into legal trouble her father was asked to foster his grandchild but he refused, shows how much family means to him they are only concerned with beating John and destroying Sonya


  2. margaret59
    Oct 22, 2014 @ 02:04:36

    Nice job of summarizing the issues. I am flummoxed that people think that there is a competition for a child? Are children a prize?


  3. Cathy Probst
    Aug 06, 2016 @ 12:02:39

    This story, of which I only became aware a few weeks ago, is truly beyond the pale. What happened to Sonya as an infant is truly outrageous. I am not into blaming the victim, but it is infuriating to realize that this whole issue of Sonya’s abduction as an infant could have been OVER in no time at all. For Jennifer Gunn, the original culprit in this crime, to have crossed state lines and then not returned the child, is a FEDERAL OFFENSE. In such a situation, there is an agency which should be immediately notified. It is called the FBI. If the McCauls had done this, the Feds would have been forced to investigate, Jennifer Gunn, the kidnapper, would not have been able to hide(her mother could have been prosecuted for aiding and abetting and obstructing justice if she concealed her daughter’s whereabout’s) and the whole thing would have been over, with baby Sonya on the way back to Nebraska forthwith! Sometimes it’s not good to not know the proper channels of enforcement to go through. I personally do not know one family member or friend of mine who would not have called the FBI the minute that criminal individual, Jennifer Gunn,, changed her phone number! And before that: when she didn’t come back on schedule, Anyone I know would have said, “have our child back here in 24 hours or I’m calling the FBI.” One’s head spins to think how fast that miserable woman would have returned that child. What a shame that the McCaul family didn’t know to do that.


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