Zoey Thomas. Photo from Justice for the Thomas Family Facebook Page.
The reason the precious little girl above was kidnapped from her loving family, due to the fact her father, Edward Thomas chose to treat his crippling Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with medical Cannabis.
On March 22nd, 2018, the Thomas Family of Eagle, Idaho, experienced first hand just how harsh the state of Idaho can be when someone chooses to use medical cannabis, rather than dangerous pharmaceuticals.
Edward Thomas with daughter Zoey. Photo from Justice for the Thomas Family Facebook Page.
Edward Thomas is a 29-year-old, Iraq Veteran of the Army National Guard.
He spent a year stationed within a combat zone in Baghdad and suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) caused by the horrors of war he witnessed during his time in battle.
Edward Thomas served his country in Iraq. Now, the state has removed his daughter simply because he found relief for his PTSD and seizures from medical cannabis. Photo supplied by family.
In the past couple of decades, it has been common knowledge that soldiers suffering from PTSD are almost always prescribed a strong cocktail of psych drugs, that more often than not, have toxic side effects that are worse than the disorder itself.
U.S. military vets are committing suicide at a higher rate than seen before and we are losing more of our veterans to suicide. The suicide stats even dwarf the number of fatalities due to war.
Edward Thomas also suffers from a small benign tumor in his brain that has caused several epileptic episodes in the past.
Edward currently works as a customer service representative in Boise, Idaho, to provide for his small family, including his wife of six years, Ashley, and 2-year-old daughter, Zoey.
Edward and Ashley are also currently expecting their second daughter, Scarlet, due to arrive on June 22nd, 2018.
Ashley is a 27-year-old, disabled mother, that suffers from scoliosis, heart issues, as well as chronic depression and Bipolar disorder.
Both Edward and Ashley have found relief from their suffering due to their various conditions, through the use of medical cannabis.
It helps with my nightmares and insomnia caused by my time overseas. I used to wake up in a panic from dreams that I was killed in an explosion or seeing my family killed in one. It helped me stop taking several pills for depression and anxiety and even helps with my chronic pain.
CPS Shows Up to New Home Based on Anonymous Phone Call
Ashley with daughter, Zoey. Photo from Justice for the Thomas Family Facebook Page.
On the morning of March 22nd, Ashley was home alone with Zoey, about to eat breakfast, when two social workers from the Idaho Department of Health Welfare, Child Protection Division, showed up at their door.
Amy Johnson and Holly Lavoie told Ashley that they had received an anonymous phone call with a report of concern for Zoey’s well-being and asked Ashley if they could come inside the home.
Ashley declined and stated that she was busy right then. She says that the social workers pointed out a bong that was sitting on the counter and said that she had to let them in because of the paraphernalia.
Not knowing that this was not true and that she had the 4th amendment right to say no and demand a warrant, Ashley let the social workers into her home.
Edward and Ashley had recently bought a run-down mobile home trailer to renovate and make their own. They had rented space in a park outside of the city of Eagle and had only been there for two weeks before the social workers arrived at the door.
The home was cluttered with moving boxes and animal cages.
Edward breeds guinea pigs for show and as a hobby and had several cages in the living room. Ashley explained to the social workers that they had just moved there and the house wasn’t finished being unpacked or renovated.
The kitchen was also cluttered with dishes that Ashley hadn’t had time to tackle yet, as well as more moving boxes in the process of being unpacked.
The social workers looked around the home and told Ashley that they had to call the police to report the paraphernalia. The social workers waited outside of the house for the police to arrive.
Daddy with Zoey in untidy, just-moved-in home. Photo from Justice for the Thomas Family Facebook Page.
Two officers arrived on the scene and entered the home, Sheriff Deputy Paul Lim and Deputy Austin Eckhardt. They searched around of their own accord and then asked to enter the locked room. Ashley told them that it wasn’t hers and did not give permission for the police to enter it.
Ashley reports that Deputy Lim pushed on the door until it opened due to the faulty door lock, allowing the officers to look inside. Ashley says that she did not give permission, nor did the officers have a warrant to open the locked door.
Inside of the room were five medical marijuana plants, growing under some lights. The fertilizer that was being used is reportedly made from bat guano, which resulted in a very rank smell, a smell that Edward and Ashley say the social workers and police officers attributed to the conditions of the house instead of the fertilizer.
Deputy Lim and Deputy Austin called in more officers to investigate the scene. They located numerous pieces of marijuana paraphernalia, including a scale, bongs, pipes, and containers. They also located Edward’s .45 handgun, which had been secured in a gun box on a shelf in their bedroom.
According to the police reports, the officers took their time as they searched through Edward and Ashley’s belongings, noting every negative they could find within the house; even allegedly masquerading as electricians and contractors in an effort to report on the structural integrity and electrical safety of the home the Thomas Family had just purchased.
They went as far as to point out stains on the carpet, despite the fact that the Thomas Family had just moved in and couldn’t have been there long enough to create that amount of damage.
Edward and Ashley defended their home and pointed out that ALL of their belongings had just been moved to the location, so of course it was not in the most tidy condition. They had just moved in.
As many parents have found is common with these types of situations, even positives were turned into negatives.
“The fridge was well stocked…” “…but had several stains inside.”
“The child was appropriately dressed…” “…but had greasy hands.”
In the photo that was provided in the police evidence, Ashley points out the Pringles can sitting next to Zoey in the stroller and comments “of course they were greasy, she was just eating chips when they took the photo!”
Parents Arrested and Sent to Jail
Photo from Justice for the Thomas Family Facebook Page.
The police confiscated everything they found, including Edward’s legally-obtained firearm.
Idaho is a very conservative state, that strongly supports it’s citizen’s rights to bear arms, and, as a military veteran, Edward is obviously well-trained in the use and safety of weapons, but that didn’t keep the social workers and police officers from using Edward’s possession of a gun against him and taking it into evidence.
The officers and social workers ransacked the Thomas home, ultimately arresting Ashley, as well as Edward upon his arrival at the home. The couple was transported to the Ada County Jail, where they were questioned by officers, separately, without an attorney present.
Both Edward and Ashley were booked into the jail, each on three felony charges – Manufacturing a Controlled Substance, Manufacturing a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver where a Child is Present, and Injury to a Child.
A No Contact Order with Zoey was requested by the Department and granted, forbidding Edward and Ashley from any contact with their daughter.
Fortunately, Zoey was placed in a kinship foster placement with Ashley’s mother and not in the home of strangers.
Having family members nearby in their home state of Idaho to help out the young family is the main reason why they could not consider moving to a state with more friendly medical cannabis laws.
Parents Out on Bail Try to Meet Ever-Changing Demands of CPS to get Daughter Back
Edward and Ashley were able to bail out of jail with the help of their family, each on a $20,000 bond.
They’ve cooperated with the department, jumping through what seems like an endless line of hoops and demands.
They have been forced to rush the renovations on their home, costing them thousands in repairs to appease the requests of the social workers.
No matter what repairs were made they seemed to constantly have something to add on.
They were told to fix the stained carpet, so they did.
Then it became the cracked tile in the kitchen. So, it was fixed.
Everything they could find had to be fixed immediately, including the smallest gap between the fridge and the cupboard.
Then it became an issue with the animals and every “what if” the social workers could drum up. So, Edward made a gate to separate the guinea pigs from the living room.
They were told by social workers that they are being “rewarded” by the department for their cooperation by being allowed to have supervised visits with their daughter.
After a little more work and cooperation, they were given unsupervised visits and promise of 48-hour visits with overnights.
They have yet to hear back on when this will be allowed, despite that they were told they’d be able to have their daughter come home next week if they cooperated fully.
They just keep asking to do walk-throughs of the house; in my mind they are just looking for more reasons why it is unfit.
The social workers keep changing on them, as well as the plan for Zoey’s return home. Currently, Social worker Heather Blair is assigned to the case, with Kristen Nate supervising.
Edward and Ashley have done everything that has been asked, but the department seems to be stalling before their adjudicatory hearing.
Both Ashley and Edward continue to face three felony charges in criminal court as well, with preliminary hearings scheduled for May 25th.
Idaho Wants to Convict These Parents as Criminals – Forever Altering Their Future
Edward and Ashley on their Wedding Day. Hopes and dreams for a happy family are now dashed as they face the future of being labeled as criminals for choosing a natural healing plant over dangerous pharmaceutical drugs. Photo supplied by family.
Edward and Ashley were each offered a plea agreement at their last court date, a deal that would include five years of Felony Probation, if they just plead guilty to the two felonies related to the Marijuana, and a reduced misdemeanor Injury to Child charge.
Both Ashley and Edward turned down this deal, with the hope of fighting back against what they feel is injustice in Idaho regarding their necessity of a safer medicine and a better quality of life.
I feel destroyed that they took our daughter over a healing plant. I feel like our government and justice system are corrupt and unjust. And I want justice.
Taking Dangerous Pharmaceutical Drugs Now Required to Get Daughter Back
Edward and Ashley have since had to return to taking the dangerous pharmaceuticals they were avoiding, in the hopes to control their pain and suffering.
Edward is already up to 150 mg of the anti-anxiety medication, Hydroxyzine, which is intended for short-term use only and includes side effects like involuntary motor activity and tremors, severe headaches, and hallucinations.
These young parents now live in a state of chaos and confusion, combined with physical and emotional pain, compounded with the threat of permanently losing their daughter, Zoey; and, as many expectant parents have experienced while under supervision of the Department – the fear of losing their new baby, Scarlet, upon her birth in June.
Family Advocate and local activist, Serra Frank stated:
When it comes to Medical Marijuana, the laws and policies of the state of Idaho conflict greatly with the Will of The People.
The People of Idaho do not want our Veterans locked in cages, or their children taken away, just for choosing a non-toxic plant over dangerous pharmaceuticals.
We owe our lives and our freedom to these soldiers.
And this is how we repay them? By destroying their families and forcing them into a criminal system just for making the decision to combat their demons with a safer drug?
It doesn’t make sense, and it isn’t what the people of Idaho want.
How You Can Help
Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/justice4thomasfamily/
Change.org petition – https://www.change.org/p/c-l-butch-otter-justice-for-the-thomas-family
Contact Idaho Governor – Butch Otter – Facebook Page
Sen. Marv Hagedorn
Rep. Mike Moyle
Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt
Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director, Russell S. Barron, 208-334-5500
Deputy Director, Health, Welfare, and Family services: Lori Wolff, 208-334-5500
Contact the Director’s Office: https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/ContactUs/DirectorContact/tabid/3833/Default.aspx
Zoey has apparently been allowed to go home to her parents for now, although the State of Idaho still has custody. The criminal charges remain against the parents, and they are required to stay on pharmaceutical drugs with toxic side effects as a condition to have their daughter in their home.
More Stories Contributed By N. Morgan