Jessie Bender was about to be taken on a two-month trip to Pakistan. Why didn’t her mother and stepfather just claim to investigators that their daughter was jumping to conclusions and overreacting?
The parents’ elaborate lies suggest they had something to hide. Britain’s forced-marriage investigators have seen many a case that started with the ruse of an extended “family vacation” overseas.
Child marriage persists in the Muslim world because Muhammad married a nine-year-old himself (in human years, not Galapagos turtle-years as desperate apologists are bound to claim some time), and Qur’an 33:21 upholds him as a “beautiful pattern of conduct” without exception. Jessie Bender’s story shows that “pattern of conduct” can and does endanger girls in America. “Parents of Jessie Bender, 13, lied about daughter, cops say; Was trying to escape arranged marriage,” from the New York Daily News, March 3 (thanks to all who sent this in):
A 13-year-old girl reported missing by her parents was really trying to escape an arranged marriage in Pakistan, police said Wednesday.
Jessie Bender’s folks told authorities last month their daughter ran off because she didn’t want to go on a two-month family trip to her step-father’s native country. They then falsely claimed she was abducted by someone she met on Facebook, officials said.
However, after weeks of investigating leads that wrangled the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Office and police departments nationwide, authorities say it was all a lie.
“Bender family members misled detectives and withheld critical information,” San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Roxanne Walker said in a news release.
Police soon discovered that another family member had helped the young teen hide out in Apple Valley, about 30 miles from her hometown of Hesperia in Southern California, to avoid becoming a Pakistani man’s bride.
Bender, as well as her three siblings, were taken into child protective custody while authorities decide whether to recommend filing charges against her family, San Bernardino County sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said.
“All of the information that was obtained by investigators will be sent to the district attorney’s office for review,” she said.
They were willing to frame a man to save face:
The parents’ claim that she had been kidnapped sparked a nationwide investigation, involving both local and federal agencies. At one point, a person in Chicago was considered a suspect in her disappearance because the girl’s mother, Melissa, believed she had been communicating with him via Facebook.
“He was the last person she spoke to at 1:47 in the morning,” she told KTLA last month, speaking with her husband, Mohammad Khan. “I don’t know who he is … He claims that he doesn’t have her, but I don’t believe it.”