Before the Stroke


Act I: The Plot


Act II:  

The "X" Secured


Act III:

  The Kidnapping


Act IV, Sc.1:

      The Isolation


Act IV, Sc.2:

   The Plundering


Act V, Sc.1:

      The Dumping


Act V, Sc.2:

          The Rescue



    The Indictments


Appendix I:

  The Perpetrators


Appendix II:

    The Friendship



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                        Act III: The Kidnapping

                                                        Stars, hide your fires;

                                                                                                           Let not light see my black & deep desires.

                                                (Macbeth I,iv,51)


        Amelia was back in her own home approximately four months when, during the first week in January, 1986, Charles & Carole permanently left the state with Amelia.  This move to Bend, Oregon, seemed to be well planned, quite likely long before they secured the power of Amelia's "X" on the generic Power of Attorney form.


       At her criminal trial, Carole gave testimony that it was their  intentions to remain in Carson City with Amelia, but a job offer "unexpectedly came up, paying $400 more" than what  Charles' old job paid ($1,428.00 vs. $1827.25).  It was an offer they "couldn't refuse."  


    What the Duttons did not add is that their 1986 income in Oregon

    was $1,500 less than their 1985 income (and for only 10 months) in

    Carson City ($23,456.00 vs. $21,957.oo).  Plus they (Amelia, that

    is) had the added expense of moving.


        On December 11, 1985. Charles and Carole, using Amelia's funds, bought themselves a new Ford LTD Station Wagon, paying $13,128.42 cash, replacing their red, 1976 Ford Torino, with 98,000 miles on it.


        And for Amelia's transportation, after they brought her home  from the Convalescent Center, they bought, again with her  money, a used wheelchair, located through the Reno newspaper's classified, paying $50.oo.  (This was disclosed to the sisters by Carole during their brief encounter in September.)


    (Quite likely, the purchase of the Ford LTD was prompted by

    Charles receiving acceptance of employment in Bend, Oregon.  

    One is tempted to wonder if the top of-the-line LTD model was

    less necessity than a competitive affront at Dorothy; in

    July Dorothy sold Amelia's VW Dasher and refused Carole's

    subsequent "demands" to buy Amelia another car for them to

    have a second car to drive.)


              December 11, is also the date on the Carson City newspapers used to wrap            Amelia's personal belongings in cardboard boxes; (family photo albums, cherished mementos from years past, including a first anniversary gift  from her parents to her and her first husband, Gene Lewis.  In the ensuing months his plane was shot down in the South Pacific.)  All of  these comforting keepsakes remained packed and unavailable to her for  the next 8 years, until November 18, 1993, when Karren Ruesing of Senior  and Disable Services Division,  Joseph Quinn and Amelia (in the garage of  Amelia's Bend house) unpacked them.  They were abandoned in the garage; Amelia was abandoned in the Care Home.


            Amelia was in a frenzy of excitement as she pointed out old photos of her parents, siblings, and childhood and school friends.   She kept the photo album in her lap for the rest of the day.  The next day, the Care Home said she took the album to bed with her.



         On or about January 3, Carole drove to Bend, Oregon to look at housing; she charged Amelia $500.oo for the trip, plus $141.oo for snow tires, purchased in Bend from their friend John Newcomb.  Within a two-week period (Dec, 24 - Jan. 9), Carole writes to herself $1,680 in checks (excluding the tires), drawn on Amelia's account.


        While in Bend, Carole undoubtedly was in contact with her long-term friend, Karren Newcomb.   Karren is the owner of Karren Newcomb Real Estate, and represented Charles & Carole in the purchase of the Bend house.   


            [Karren's husband, John Newcomb, a policeman, was visiting Charles & Carole in Carson City at Amelia's house, 5 months earlier, on Charles' birthday, July 17.  (It was at this birthday gathering that Carole told Dorothy and Fontella of her intentions to care for Ami in order to get themselves a house.)  Years later, two consecutive arrest warrants issued against Charles were somehow "lost" in the Deschutes County Sheriff Department.  Although the warrant for Carole Dutton  also listed the co-defendant, Charles, the Sheriff Department did not inquire if there was another warrant; the lost warrants only came to the attention of the D.A.'s office through Karren Ruesing’s persistent inquiry of why the Duttons were  not being  arrested.   The third, hand delivered to the Sheriff, resulted in the arrest of both Charles & Carole, 17 days after the indictments were signed.   The  incident was investigated by the District Attorney, and it was concluded the two consecutive lost warrants were a “coincidence.”]



           Upon their return to Carson City, Carole paid a Mary Harrison $216.oo (Amelia's funds), on January 6, for watching Amelia for 36 hours.  (One might assume that Charles, Carole, and Pam all drove to Bend to look at the new house, leaving Amelia, her questions not uttered, alone with Ms. Harrison, wondering, afraid to think the unthinkable.)


          Amelia's neighbor, Natalie Pullin, stated that once when she and Helene Elder visited Amelia at her home (several weeks before they all departed Nevada), she was crying and wanted to talk but couldn't find her words.  Suddenly, with total  determination and supreme effort, Amelia blurted out, "This is my house, my house, I don't want to leave.  My house."


        The neighbor, Helene, told Quinn that when they left Nevada, Amelia was "screaming bloody murder," and (to paraphrase her continuing emotional description) her partly paralyzed body pityingly clasping the air as they carried her out to the car.


         Dorothy best described the incident in her affidavit:


   "In early January, 1986, Helene called me, frantic and crying

   so much that she could hardy talk.  She told me of seeing Ami

   being forcibly carried, at one point 'dragged,' from her home

   to the new car they bought.  That Charles and Carole had to

   'pry Ami's hands off the porch post' to get her out to the car, 

   and that Ami was screaming.  I don't believe Helene was ever 

   the same after seeing that incident."


          Helene later related this incident also to Fontella Kirk and Natalie Pullin (Amelia's other neighbor); both have signed affidavits.


          Helene Elder, widowed, died in the Carson-Tahoe Hospital, April 16, 1990.  She never heard from Amelia.



        When Charles, Carole and Pam left Bend, Oregon and moved to Carson  City, Mike moved in with his girl friend, Debbie Bergio, in Milwaukee, Oregon.  Sometime during the next several months,  Mike & Debbie followed them to Carson City.  At one or more    times, Mike & Debbie were living with Charles and Carole in Amelia's home; possibly after they first arrived, until they became settled in their own apartment. 


        [Debbie went to work at the Round Table Pizza, in Carson City.   When Mike & Debbie later became married, the wedding was held in Gladstone or Oregon City, August 17, 1985.  Sometime after the wedding, the couple returned to the Carson City-Reno area. 


    Dorothy & Fontella were not informed of their grandson's pending wedding, much less invited.  At no time during their residency in Nevada, did Mike attempt to contact his grandmother and aunt.   By his cruel silence, he turned down Dorothy's post-wedding invitation for dinner at her home.   The "hurt" felt by both Dorothy & Fontella was/is particularly poignant and long lasting; they had always been "closest" to young Michael.   The elderly sisters never considered their only grandchildren (Bill, Mike & Pam) to be an issue in the family's growing estrangement, if not virulence.  


    [One is tempted to speculate to what extent were Mike and Pam’s innocence                 or knowledge, if not active participation, in the abduction and exploitation of                 Amelia; and/or to what extent Carole dominated their loyalty.   They were both                 (especially Pam) impassioned witnesses for their parents at the criminal trial.                  Financially, the two received a total of $11,023.08 from Amelia, excluding sharing

    in the rent, utilities and assets paid for by Amelia.  Their son Bill, the oldest,                 appeared to have been less active in the gluttonous feeding frenzy.   Bill received                 only $1,120.50 from Amelia's account; this  writer does not recall if he was a                 witness at his parents' criminal trial.]   


               The statutes of limitations blocked civil recourse against the Duttons' children for                the recovery of money and assets they had received from Amelia. This delay was                caused by the inaction of Amelia's first conservator, Mr. Coyner, resulting                in prolonged litigation down the road.

          After Charles & Carole (and daughter Pam) left Nevada with Amelia, Michael and Debbie moved into Amelia's house.  They stayed only a "few months," and, as the sisters found when they drove by on March 18, 1986, to visit Helene Elder, "the yard is a mess, loose garbage, food, papers, etc. littered her little patio."   There was also a "gas turn-off notice" on the door, for an unpaid balance "of about $120.oo."   They "tore down (the) storage shed" leaving it in a pile in the backyard.   No rent was ever paid to Amelia;  Charles & Carole paid their son's utility bills (totaling $1,006.48) from Bend, using Amelia's account.


     [May I succumb to temptation and deluge a tangential bit

     of gossip that, I hope, will be read in the intended spirit

     and not merely as an exercise in scandalmongering:  Amelia's

     neighbor, Helene, told Dorothy that while Mike & Debbie were

     living alone in Amelia's home, after the Duttons had moved

     to Bend with Amelia; each morning a Coca-Cola delivery truck

     would arrive soon after Mike left for work, a young man

     would enter the house and stay for about 45 minutes.]



        Carole was to later testify that she used Amelia's funds to pay her son's expenses because he was watching Amelia's house until it could be sold.   Carole was careful not to add that her son and daughter-in-law lived there only until March; Amelia's house sat vacant, the grounds deteriorating, and did not sell until August 1, 1986, five months later.


        Amelia's wishes were clearly stated a year earlier, when Charles & Carole first moved into Amelia's home (May 2, 1985).    Dorothy typed out an agreement, "X"ed by Amelia, that rent would be free in exchange for maintenance and care of her home, but that the utility bills were to be paid by the occupants.   Carole did not honor Amelia's wishes then, nor did she later.


       Charles & Carole, as parents, taught their children well the lessons of  appreciation and obligation:  Mike was to later charge (and receive from) Amelia's cornucopia account $225.oo for "25 hrs. labor" on her Bend, Oregon house.  (This was while he was also accepting, at various times, $3,860.03 "from" Amelia,   via Carole Dutton.)



        Charles did not inform his mother, Dorothy or his aunt when or where they were moving to with their friend, Amelia.   (It was a month or two later that Dorothy accidentally learned of Amelia's whereabouts.  She received a notice of renewal for a Reader's Digest subscription she had given to Amelia; the renewal notice had Amelia's Bend, Oregon address.)  Dorothy wrote a letter to Amelia.  It was never answered nor returned.


         While Mike and Debbie were living in Amelia’s house, Amelia's neighbor, Natalie Pullin, said she asked Debbie for Amelia's address.  "She said Carole would get in touch with me -- which she never did."


To quote further from Natalie's affidavit:


     "This young couple never took care of or watered Ami's yard.

     All her flowers and new trees she had planted died.  They

     removed Ami's storage shed she had in the back yard.  When

     they moved out, Ami's house looked like a dump."  (Amelia had

     drawn a scaled, systematic plot of her home and backyard, with the

     various plants and trees color coded.  Ever an artist, she painted

     a 2o” x 30” portrait of herself in her garden, with her straw sun hat,

     tending her garden with hoe in hand and her two black daschounds

     near by.)


Of significance, Natalie adds:


     (Before they moved to Oregon) "Carole would discourage me

     from visiting with my friend, Ami. . . .  Carole was always

     evasive about any discussions of Ami and their relationship

     with her, and Carole always kept Ami at her side."




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