By Allan Benner (Standard Reporter)
Kelly Campbell was overcome with emotion as she struggled to find words for her 12-year-old twin daughters who have been missing for at least a month.
“I’m sorry this has happened to you. I will not stop until you are home,” she said, relaying a message to her children Paige and Alexandra Misener. “I love you so much and I will not stop.”
A Canada-wide arrest warrant was issued last week for their father, 46-year-old Clayton Misener of St. Catharines, who is believed to have fled the province with them about Aug. 20. He is wanted for disobeying a court order and abduction in contravention of custody order.
Adding to the fear and uncertainty Campbell and her husband of almost two years, Jason Whittington, have been coping with since the alleged abduction, Misener has published the runningaway.ca website on which he makes allegations of sexual abuse against the couple.
Whittington and Campbell emphatically deny those allegations, suspecting they are likely the result of an undiagnosed psychological disorder.
“We watched Clay fall apart for the better part of a year,” Whittington said.
St. Catharines lawyer Jeremie Nadeau, representing Campbell and Whittington, said the court order Misener is charged with disobeying would have required him to undergo psychological evaluation.
“He was ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation to assess what the issue is and is there any danger to the children,” Nadeau said. “I don’t expect that he will comply with that either.”
Campbell said the allegations, repeated numerous times on Misener’s website, were previously investigated by police and dismissed.
“Jason isn’t being investigated or charged with anything,” Campbell said. “If there was any actual truth to these allegations that Clayton is making, we would have stopped fighting out of fear.”
Regardless, the family has suffered as a result of the allegations.
“The amount that people have been messaging us, it’s been devastating,” Campbell said.
“It’s amazing how people can read something on the internet and assume it’s true. I just think it’s basic human decency … I would never message someone and say, ‘Your ex-husband took off with your kids. That must mean you’re a shitty person,” she said. “Who would do that?”
Campbell said people have messaged her and Whittington on social media saying: “You should kill yourself. Those girls should never be around you or your pedophile husband again.”
Adding to their anxiety, Campbell said two men in a truck recently stopped in front of their Canfield home, and one of them took a photograph of their property after their address was posted on Misener’s website.
“The OPP advised us to step up security in our home, in and outside,” she said, referring to the Haldimand OPP detachment. “It’s very disheartening that people would support this.”
The allegations and abduction have taken a toll on Whittington as well, who was overcome with emotion as he recalled his last conversation with the girls.
“He loves those children like they’re his own,” Campbell said.
Police believe Misener is in Nova Scotia, possibly driving a grey Toyota Corolla with Ontario licence plate CSWH 819.
Campbell said police are following up on leads, trying to contact friends or acquaintances Misener may have in that area, “but he does have friends and family across Canada, so he literally could be anywhere.”
Nadeau said police are also investigating the website itself, but said he was not at liberty to discuss it.
Although Niagara Regional Police do not believe the children are in any danger, Campbell said she isn’t as confident.
“We fear for their safety. That’s why we keep on fighting because we’re not sure. And not to sound dramatic, but we don’t even know if they’re alive right now,” she said.
“We disagree but we have to follow what the protocols are. We’re trying to encourage police to take his mental health seriously right now. We’re hoping in the future we could put out an Amber Alert, just to get more coverage. We feel the girls are in danger.”
If the girls are happy and safe, as their father says, Campbell said he should not be afraid to prove it.
“Don’t hide behind a computer. Take a video of them. Have them call somebody. Let FACS (Family and Children’s Services) or CAS (Children’s Aid Society) or police agencies see them,” she said. “Do anything instead of hiding them.”
And if Misener is sincere about the statement he posted on his website asking for “time to make it right,” Campbell said the best way to do that is to come forward.
“If Clayton would like to make things right, I would encourage him to turn himself into police and allow someone to bring these children to safety,” she said, again struggling with her emotions.
“I would ask that he not harm them just to get back at me,” she added through her tears. “We want to make things better, but we can’t do that until the children are home. He needs to go turn himself in.”