The Cost of Courage - Part III: The Murder of Nancy and Bruce Schaefer
Nancy Schaefer had the backbone long-evolved out of U.S. politicians. In her 4 years as Georgia state senator and beyond, Nancy Schaefer vehemently defended her constituents, and even families around the country, victimized by the Child Protective Services, or CPS. In addition Nancy Schaefer fought to end the rampant child trafficking trade in Atlanta, Georgia.
Upon leaving office in 2008, Schaefer dedicated herself to publishing her findings on CPS. Schaefer would claim herself that the CPS was wrongfully seizing children from their parents in order to obtain substantial financial incentives from the U.S. federal government. Startlingly, she would find that children taken into CPS custody are 6 times more likely to die and substantially more likely to be sexually abused.
On March 26, 2010, on the eve of publishing a book on her findings, Nancy Schaefer and her husband were found shot in what has been officially dubbed a "murder-suicide", albeit the motive has never been established.
This article will highlight Nancy Schaefer's startling findings on the CPS as well a look into the forensics of Schaefer's death. At the end I also profile Sheriff Joey Terrell, an infamously corrupt character who led the Schaefer investigation and made claims about finding suicide notes from her husband, Bruce Schaefer.
Not only do I wish to honor Nancy Schaefer for her courage and conviction, but her husband, Bruce, who may very well be wrongfully accused of their deaths.
This is part of an on-going series to highlight the stories of individuals who died mysteriously when disclosing information on government-sponsored criminal activity, in particular child trafficking.
- Part I - The Life and Death of Michael Hastings
- Part II: The Murder of BBC pedo-ring investigator, Jill Dando
Criminal activities of the Child Protective Service (CPS)
Nancy Schaefer's testimony on the criminal activities of CPS
Nancy Schaefer discovered a disturbing sum of issues with the United States' handling of parental rights and the seizure of children through CPS. According to her findings, CPS was a highly profitable business which supported the livelihoods of countless corrupt social workers, judges and legislators.
This was because state governments in the U.S. are offered various financial incentives according to how many children are in state custody and various other factors. This financial incentive thus drives corrupt members of these organizations and government bodies associated with them to exploit this system to put as many children into state custody as possible.
CPS social workers and management handling cases would "often be found hiding evidence" in addition to other subversive methods to falsify claims against parents and take their children. Schaefer personally knew of hundreds of such families victimized by this.
Schaefer would state that CPS would most often target poor families as they were not able to afford the legal battles it takes to get the child back. Schaefer says this definition of poor is somewhat vague, however, and includes anyone perceived by the government as "psychologically inferior".
Attempts to silence Nancy Schaefer
Schaefer published her report, titled The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services. When Schaefer brought this information to fellow legislators, she was told, as she puts it, "I can't help these families. I can't help you. I will lose my job."
Despite resistance to Schaefer, near the end of her term she had actually succeeded in passing a bill which limited the powers of CPS, but it was revised at the last second by members of the Republican party and she was told to be quiet about the story.
Soon after in 2008 she was up for re-election and was strongly supported by the conservative mainstream, but she was ousted by the Republican party and replaced with Jim Butterworth.
In spite of all the resistance, Schaefer would begin speaking across the country and advocating for families who had been victims. Schaefer was even interviewed on The Alex Jones Show.
On the day of her death Schaefer was in the process of publishing a book which called out members of CPS corruption by name. In addition she was completing a video which supplemented her research. Due to the death of her and her husband, neither were ever published.
The Murder of Nancy and Bruce Schaefer
Shortly before Nancy's death on March 26, 2010, she contacted a friend to discuss the progress of her book. As it was nearing completion, she had to make a trip to Washington D.C. and was worried for her safety. Nancy said she would ask if her husband, Bruce, would accompany her for protection.
Hours later Nancy Schaefer would die from a gun shot to the back and later Bruce would die from a shot to the chest. Several suicide notes attributed to Bruce were found by Sheriff Joey Terrell who said they contained vague mentions of financial problems.(1) In fact, Sheriff Terrell kicked vague up a notch by stating, "The evidence might be in the letters. It might not. We might not ever know."(2)
Family of the Schaefers disclosed these financial problems, which they believed weren't severe enough to warrant Bruce's alleged actions:
Bruce had complained of investment losses and they had just received a foreclosure notice...
They had put their home up for sale a couple months earlier but had been unable to sell it or another property in such a down market.
The Schaefers' daughter who lived nearby would state that none of them had any major illnesses at the time and that, "Our parents were extremely loving and caring people who took great joy in helping those in need."(3)
A personal friend of Bruce also said he saw him just a day earlier and that, "He seemed like his old self. I have a hard time believing it happened like it happened."(4)
In fact the Schaefers' friends and family conclusively object that Bruce could have possibly carried out something like a murder-suicide. They have brought up several important points about the event which have left them with doubt:
The Schaefer’s were receiving death threats that had accelerated;
There was no indication from Bruce Schaefer of him being under any kind of stress
Why would Bruce decide to kill himself and his wife because he received a foreclosure notice on a home that they had already decided to sell two months earlier?
Why would Bruce consider the couple’s financial situation so severe when their assets still appeared to exceed their secured property debt by several hundred thousand dollars?
If Bruce was under financial stress, why did he not show any signs of it up to an including the eve of the couple’s death?
If Bruce was under financial stress why wouldn’t he seek help from any or all of his five grown children who loved him and would have wanted to help?
Why would Bruce decide to deprive both he and Nancy of seeing the grandchildren who they loved so dearly grow up?
Why would Bruce knowingly take a drastic action that would devastate the children and grandchildren who loved him so much?
Why would Bruce, who was so highly supportive of Nancy’s efforts for decades, including her CPS/DFCS work, decide to kill her just at the peak of one of her most important works?
Why would Bruce commit such an act that was so against his faith and completely out of character for him according to those who know him best?
Why would Bruce jeopardize any chance of the family collecting life insurance benefits by committing suicide and killing his wife?
Source: Garland Favorito
Sheriff Joey Terrell
It turns out the the sheriff in charge of the Schaefer investigation who made the vague comments about the "suicide notes" is an interesting character himself.
In 2009, pastor Jonathan Ayers was ministering to a young woman being investigated by Sheriff Joey Terrell's drug taskforce. After Ayers dropped the woman off, police followed Ayers to a convenience store. When he returned and got into his car they pounced.(5)
The taskforce then pulled up behind Ayers in an unmarked black SUV. Armed agents dressed in street clothes then rushed Ayers’s car. He put his car in reverse and attempted to escape. In the process, he nicked one agent. Another then opened fire, killing him.(6)
Ayers told hospital staff was that he thought he was being robbed. His reported last words were, “Who shot me?”(7)
District Attorney Brian Rickman was able to get the entire taskforce cleared of any wrongdoing and nobody would be disciplined despite Ayers being completely innocent. In addition the cop who killed Ayers hadn't even completed classes to be certified as a police officer and had received "zero training in the use of lethal force".
Rickman would state, however, "I do not see how anybody could say the process was unfair based on the lengths that they went to."(8)
Then, in May of 2014, Sheriff Joey Terrell's taskforce was involved in a drug raid in which a 1 year old was burned by a grenade. As before, Brian Rickman was able to clear the task force of any wrongdoing within 2 days.(9) Interestingly enough, however, a grand jury would state that the investigation was, "hurried, sloppy, and unfortunately not in accordance with the best practices and procedures".(8)
Terrell had a unique view on these events which may suggest a pattern of behavior as was seen in the Schaefer investigation:
There’s nothing to investigate, there’s nothing to look at. Bad things can happen. That’s just the world we live in.
Source: Joey Terrell
While these investigative methods and this dedication to public service may be okay for a Sheriff of Habersham County, they do not pay proper respect to the tireless work of Nancy Schaefer. Sheriff Joey Terrell may be quick to pin Bruce Schaefer with a murder-suicide of him and his wife, but this author remains rightfully skeptical of the Habersham County Sheriff's Department's ethics and intentions.