Investigation Discovery’s ‘Web of Lies: The Child Network’ delves into the dangerous and often lawless process of private re-homing of an adopted child. The arrests of Nicole and Calvin Eason in April 2015 revealed how the couple used online message boards to take in children from adoptive families who didn’t want to care for the kids for various reasons. So, if you’re wondering how they were eventually brought to justice, we’ve got you covered.
Who Are Nicole and Calvin Eason?
In October 2008, Nicole and Calvin Eason took in Quita, a teenager adopted from Liberia by Todd and Melissa Puchalla. At the time, the Puchallas were struggling to care for Quita in part because of her health and behavioral problems, making her unpredictable with their children. The process didn’t involve child welfare officials or any other authorities. The Puchallas only signed a notarized document making Nicole and Calvin the teenager’s guardians. They drove the child from Wisconsin to Westville, Illinois, where the Easons lived in a trailer park.
But soon after that, things began to go awry. Quita was not sent to school, and the Easons packed up and drove away with her. The authorities eventually got involved, tracking them down to New York, where they were at Nicole’s mother’s home. But at the time, the authorities didn’t take any action apart from returning Quita to her adoptive parents.
The federal authorities then looked into this scenario, learning of a disturbing trend of private re-homing, especially with Nicole and Calvin. Nicole’s biological children had previously been taken away from her, with a deputy noting that the “parents have severe psychiatric problems as well with violent tendencies.” Furthermore, the Easons had been accused of sexually assaulting the children they babysat in the past. Quita also alleged similar things later on and said she was asked to sleep in the same bed as the Easons, with Nicole being naked. The teenager further stated there was pornography at the house.
The authorities’ investigation revealed that the Easons were active on an online adoption discussion board in 2006 and 2007. In 2007, they got in touch with the adoptive parents of a minor and lied about having their home checked out by a social worker who also “confirmed” their background. Consequently, the parents drove the child across state lines to the Easons, who later sexually and physically abused the child. They did something similar in 2008, kidnapping another minor who later accused them of sexually inappropriate behavior.
Where Are Nicole and Calvin Eason Now?
A Reuters investigation stated earlier that the Easons had taken in at least six children over the years while lying about their identities. Many adoptive parents also preferred private re-homing because it was cheaper than a formal adoption and was an easier process to go through overall. In November 2015, Calvin pleaded guilty to two counts of kidnapping and one count of transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity with a minor.
Over a month later, Nicole was found guilty by a federal jury of the exact charges. In June 2016, Nicole, 37, and Calvin, 47, were sentenced to forty years behind bars. Furthermore, they had to serve a lifetime of supervised release. As per prison records, Nicole remains incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, in Fort Worth, Texas. On the other hand, Calvin is serving his sentence at the United States Penitentiary in Tucson, Arizona. Both are scheduled to be released in 2049.
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