Grandson threatens to kill his parents

As I write this, we are all on edge. Our 28 year old, schizophrenic, meth addicted son/grandson will not leave us alone.We don’t talk to him on the phone because he just rants. He is vulgar and describes how he will kill his parents. He posts awful “felony” lyrics on Facebook. And knowing his dad has a heart condition he likes to ask “how’s your heart doing dad?” He is unbelievably gross and threatening. He won’t tell us where he lives. Apparently death threats aren’t illegal. Police can’t help…can’t serve any protective warrants. We, his grandparents live with his parents on a 5 acre lot. We have no choice but to be “locked and loaded”.


Collect the documentation and, hopefully, the process in your state is that you can take it to a courthouse and get an Emergency Petition for a Psychiatric Evaluation approved. This will direct the police to pick him up and take him to an ER where they will, hopefully , have him admitted to a psychiatric hospital for treatment.

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We have recorded all his messages and phone conversations. We should be saving his Facebook posts and we will print them from now on. The police have referred us to an Exclusion officer who will possibly obtain something that will make his trespass onto our property a criminal offense. The sun is shining and the day is beautiful here in Oregon. In another county where our business is located, we have obtained recordings of him beating on the metal gate to the yard with a baseball bat.

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Your suggestions are very much appreciated. He was not so frenzied last night…maybe because we aren’t talking to him at all. Again, thank you.

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You could get a restraining order and he will be arrested if he contacts you. But since this is mental-illness-related, what you want is for him to be processed through the mental health system since he is a danger to others or to himself. You might check into whether there is such a thing in your county as an involuntary psychiatric admission and what the legal route is for making this happen. If there is a NAMI chapter near you they may be able to help.

Please check to see if you have a Joel’s Law, Kendra Act, or Baker’s Law in your state. He is already a known substance user. What these laws essentially allow you to do, with enough evidence, is have him sectioned for a minimum of 2 weeks. After that, especially after recording what damage and threats he has made to the property, submit ALL of this to have whatever protection order you can manage put in place. If it is necessary, ask that he be committed to long-term care for the criminally insane. The worst charge you can bring up against him is Conspiracy to Commit murder. With phone recordings, subpoenaed and verified, these and and will be used to secure some sort of conviction. Commitment to a facility for the criminally insane, can and hopefully will, get you the peace you deserve if it comes to that. I would continue to discuss your concerns with a detective or members of the police. If they cannot get you help with sectioning him, (the least restrictive care option) ask what needs to be in place so that he can be convicted of trespass, crime, ect. This sounds awful, and it is contingent on ALSO letting the counsel know he is both an addict and mentally ill. As he has made threats against you before, there may be enough clout to make it so that not only is he compelled to comply with treatment, but that you have a right to essentially disappear off the map. It’s not something to take lightly, but it MAY be the only solution.

He may cope well enough with medication and rehab but all of this is dependent on his level of compliance. You’ve already gone out of the way to put yourself in a position to protect yourselves but honestly, I would see what you can do to prevent that fate. It’s one of the saddest things I have ever seen and there is no shortage of public vitriol against any and all uses of force against the mentally ill. (much of it warranted and coming from the right place.) The other reality is that, having met others who had to do “the unthinkable”, they NEVER recovered their psychological health again. They were functional but it was something that haunted them to their graves. A lawyer would be able to help with standards for evidence collection. Either via free legal help OR by making phone calls to a law office, if the police are not able/willing to help. A phone call, no matter how short, can and may save his life and his parents. If they can be convinced, please see if they can make copies of their phone records or if they can afford to let one phone “slip” so to speak, while getting their own separate contacts put in from a different carrier. The original phones can be submitted periodically for evidence and it is only a matter of time till they have enough to convict.

Please make them aware of whatever safety measures they can use. Denial of entry is always better than use of force from a legal and moral standpoint. Before a judge, you basically have to show up as “pure”, if things got as bad as going before a jury, even more so. There you are convicted upon the court of public opinion and biases as much as a carefully selected panel of mostly benevolent bystanders. Collect as much date and time stamp-able evidence as you can and get it into the right people and family/friends/legal counsel. Safety Deposit boxes are not protected under Subpoena, so do not rely on them for a means to keep any of the evidence safe. Make copies of the copies and learn about system back ups incase something goes missing or gets corrupted during the course of an investigation, if you get to that point.

I am so sorry you are going through this.

Thank you so much for your thoughtful, detailed reply. We have consulted an attorney who is “getting back to us”. The messages we receive are still plentiful, but as we are not responding, they aren’t quit as gruesome. We’re awaiting word from the county on the “exclusion” question. The laws in our state don’t seem to address a situation such as this. People don’t know what this is like unless it happens to them. It is an actual, living nightmare. The pressure is tearing our family apart.

Lexie, Is everyone taking the threat seriously? Sadly, even though it’s rare, we have seen too many stories of parents who were killed after receiving such threats. As you are experiencing, it’s very difficult to get help. The statistics tell us that few of our family members kill, but it’s most likely to be us that gets killed when it happens.

I am so sorry, you are right, this situation is an actual living nightmare

You’re welcome. Although I really wish I didn’t know most of this information.

Like @hope mentioned, while death threats and violence against family members is rare, it is a scary thing to realize how many people are hurt by mentally ill family members. It is exceptionally rare but for the most part, is largely a tragic and horrible turn of events between close family members more often than not. I have kept track (but never fully compiled) the number of known murders and charges of extreme violence that were filed against family members with known mental illness that ended in death. Unfortunately a statistic of 1 is too high in my mind. But the opposite, letting people wander with “Least Restrictive Options” when they truly NEED intensive help, is unacceptable. Most judges, I’ve found, strongly base most, if not all, of their grant for such petitions on whether or not they have actually experienced such acute forms of violence or self/property harm themselves. And when I say “property harm” what I mean is people whose delusions mean they tend to burn down houses or kitchens or burn hands and arms and faces doing “rituals” that make perfect sense to them but mean nothing but danger to anyone else.

Anything at all where tools of your livelihood and sense of safety are violated stand some chance of getting legal compensation but unfortunately ranks lower in decision making than a threat to life. While this makes sense in a criminal case, mental health, which is party to Civil rules, still has an outsized impact on people’s day to day lives and ability to conduct themselves without deep rooted suspicion or fear. How to strike that balance is something I know the court system has failed at miserably when it comes to treating or helping those with mentally ill family members.

While it is a horrible cliché that paints EVERYONE with mental illness under the same brush, it does not them summarily exclude that such acts of violence and delusions are the byproduct of imaginary fiction. While this will definitely touch a nerve, Andrea Yates, who I know now has had treatment for years and deeply regrets the murder of her 4 children, without speaking fully for her, probably has a very strong opinion on what constitutes a true rapid and accurate assessments for the mentally ill. This case weighs heavily on my mind because a family member with very similar delusions got the right help at the right time but it took MOUNTAINS of evidence to get put to rights. The Social Workers and DMHS staff were largely unhelpful to the extent that things which would not have happened if they had more immediate help for that family member were taken care of. Her children were abused within and by an agency that is supposed to protect and vet caretakers for children.

It’s something that scares me to the bone about my own family members. One of the MANY things I have planned for (as much as it is a morbid topic) is that if their parents were to die, how, when, where, and with what money would I support them?

I am already an emergency guardian and appointed “God Parent”/caretaker in the event that their parents ever meet an untimely death. As much as I’ve never wanted anything of the sort to happen, leaving them to the auspices of “Foster” care is not something I would EVER willingly do, not while I have the ability to prevent it. In particular, what I wish to see changed is that foster carer’s AND kinship carer’s be given the same number of resources when it comes to helping and treating mentally ill, recently orphaned, or unhoused children. As it stands kinship carers never receive the same amount of social supports despite the fact that many are older than their foster caring counter parts (as they are usually grandparents of the other children). The thinking is that children without any parental support are more needy than those with family, and therefore, they should receive less help than others.

They (kinship guardianships) receive the usual tax credits for care but otherwise cannot and do not have the same reach within the foster care system to seek out more help if they need it. While some things have changed since I started researching the area of law, it’s not something that fills me with any great joy. In fact, on my more cynical days, I more inclined to believe that foster care is an excuse to disrupt children’s lives to become someone else’s orphan “pet” rather than a healthy human being. There are too many indicators that while foster care keeps kids alive marginally, it does nothing to address the outcomes of their long term heath, educational, or interpersonal needs and development. If the suicide and MI rates are anything to go by against the general population, you could argue that foster care CAUSES as many if not more or worse problems for some kids than what it was designed to fix. I have no doubt there are parents who should NOT be taking care of kids the same metric of skepticism needs to be applied to carer’s. While this ostensibly means fewer people are selected to do that type of work, it also means that they must put in the effort in social systems to prevent many of the things that cause people not to be able to take care of children, like poverty, untreated MI, poor educational opportunity, and insufficient housing.

My realization after studying how social care systems fail is that we can’t really do anything about people making interpersonal connections and building healthy interpersonal skills. It unfortunately, is something that is entirely up the individual themselves and the opportunities provided to seek out care and healing. After a traumatic upbringing, a child chooses the parents not the other way around. Coming to that realization is something most social care agencies simply think is a foregone conclusion, rather than something that a child has an active role in deciding. (I.e Those with R.A.D, Reactive Attachment Disorder, may always test or feel insecure of where they are or who they are with, no matter how well taken care of they are. Instinctually, that fear of others when they were NOT well taken care of is what kept them alive.) What social systems CAN do is make sure that the causes of some of those life stressors like poverty, access to care, and insufficient housing, is addressed.