Editor’s note: “So where was the mother?” is another question people keep asking. Stafonda Hawkins is the mother of the 13-year-old girl who escaped alleged abuse by Timothy Ciboro and his son Esten. Hawkins and the elder Ciboro are parents of a girl, 10, and a boy, 9. All three children remain in foster care.
Had the girl not fled the Ciboros, her mother would still be free in Vegas. There’s just no way that Stafonda Hawkins, a fugitive, was surprised to be cuffed and jailed after the long bus trip back to Toledo. But she came home anyway.
Police have not charged Hawkins, 39, in the abuse case. However, on June 10, she was sentenced in Toledo Municipal Court to thirty days in jail, with 15 days’ credit for time served, on charges of violating probation:
Judge Timothy Kuhlman imposed a 30-day sentence at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio and credited her with having served 15 days.
So does Hawkins walk away free at the end of the month? Unlikely. On June 6, Sylvania Municipal Court also took a bite out of crime:
Judge M. Scott Ramey ordered she complete an alternative education program and pay restitution of $3,991. If she does not meet the terms of her probation, she will be ordered to serve a reserved sentence of 107 days in jail beginning Oct. 3.
The judge set a hearing for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 10 to review her progress.
The June 10 sentencing was for a probation violation related to unauthorized use of property. The June 6 case in Sylvania was for a parole violation related to passing bad checks. When the violation was issued in November 2015, NBC24 listed Hawkins among fugitives sought by U.S. marshals in Toledo. She has a history of legal entanglements:
According to Toledo and Lucas County court records, Hawkins frequently failed to appear for court dates and was served several bench warrants. Hawkins was convicted of felonies in Lucas County that included attempted theft and forgery.
As for Timothy Ciboro, 53, no record of criminal convictions has been made public. Nonetheless, his colorful skirmishes with employer rules, and with the law, extend beyond clashes with his ex-girlfriend. He has been charged with everything from assaulting a first responder to pretending to live in Toledo. The fire department put up with him for eight years and finally fired Fireman Tim in 2004:
He was fired after being accused of demanding a discount on ice cream for a friend at a South Toledo ice cream stand.
Estrangement and the Start of Alleged Abuse
Between 2005 and 2009, Toledo police received a dozen reports of disputes between Hawkins and Ciboro, according to the Toledo Blade. Hawkins bore two of Ciboro’s children during these years, but the Blade cites no reported arguments about children. A 2009 incident might signal the date of a split between the two:
Hawkins was found in violation of a protection order with Mr. Ciboro.
If the girl was born in 2003, she should have started first grade in 2009. Maybe Hawkins and Ciboro had achieved détente by the time he introduced his home schooling methods. The Blade cites no further reports about the family until 2012, after Hawkins left the three children in Ciboro’s care.
Does Hawkins follow Ciboro’s version of Christianity? She has given no interviews. Excerpts of TV interviews with her two sisters, Burnett Smith and Shirley Noble, do not mention God or religion. Both Smith and Noble appear to have been estranged from Hawkins and the Ciboro men since 2012 or so. Back when the extended family was still in touch, Smith never saw Timothy Ciboro give preferential treatment to any of the three children in the house. She says of Hawkins:
“I know she love her babies. And if she had any thinking that Tim would have done this, I just don’t believe she would have left them.”
“We didn’t know. If we had knew that, it never would have went down like that. […] I thought the house was vacant, because I used to go by there to see if I could see the kids, and I never did see the kids, so I thought they had moved. And so I stopped going by there.”
If Ciboro did not want the girl, Noble points out a solution that was available to him:
“Take her downtown […] and just say, ‘I can’t handle this.’”
The sisters and the Ciboros’ neighbors say they missed signs of possible abuse. Pleas of “I didn’t know” serve their interests: if they suspected abuse and failed to act, they are monsters. But someone did alert authorities, according to the Blade:
In 2012, workers reviewed a report that expressed concern about the children.
NBC24 gives details:
The family was again investigated in 2012, this time amid reported concerns about the young children running. The investigation did not find any abuse or neglect, according to LCCS [Lucas County Children Services].
The reference is vague: the word “again” is confusing, and “the young children running” could mean unruly behavior or even excessive jogging. As discussed elsewhere in this series, someone gave Children Services another chance to investigate in 2014.
It does appear that life in the Ciboro household deteriorated after Stafonda Hawkins—troubled though she was—left town. Afterward, people noticed something amiss in the Ciboro household, and they raised the alarm.
Propinqua is the Latin word for neighboring or nearby (singular feminine adjective). It is used in law and philosophy, and in the scientific names of plants and animals, such as the native bee Osmia lignaria propinqua.
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