Last week we looked at the possibility that Lester Roloff and his Roloff Homes might have been connected to one of the troubled teen facilities where Carol Ann Cole was likely at. Today we’re going to finish up with the connection between Roloff and the Texas Youth Commission.
But first let me say this: People have emailed me, or messaged me or a few have commented various places that have shared what I’ve written about the murder of Carol Ann trying to debunk a lot of what I’d written. Here’s the thing, the things I’ve written come directly from easily available documents anyone with Google can find, I’ve not named a killer, I’ve not definitively come up with a motive, a method or anything else, I’ve just started discussing possibilities and labeled them as such, possibilities. I have to wonder why even talking about the fact of ‘could haves’ is so threatening and frightening to people? It’s what good journalists and investigators do, look at all the possibilities. Another interesting assumption is I keep being told that by writing about this I’m making people believe this is a solved case. Again, no way! I’m only writing about it because it’s unsolved, a huge mystery even to this day.
Walter Pulliam is the link between girls being sent from the Texas Youth Commission facilities to the Roloff Homes that appeared on my radar this week. He worked with the TYC and said in an interview with the Texas newspaper Hill Country News that during his time with the Texas Youth Commission that girls were placed in Roloff Homes. Does that prove that Carol Ann was transferred to a Roloff home and then over to New Bethany in Louisiana? No, but it’s a possibility that must be considered until it can be conclusively ruled out.
Law enforcement has apparently ruled out any connection with Roloff Homes or New Bethany to Carol Ann Cole, but there are no details available to explain how this determination was made.
The differing addresses and places that Carol Ann used as return addresses when writing family and friends brings up another reality of life in the grip of troubled teen residential treatment centers – children sometimes are moved from facility to facility for a variety of different reasons. Yesterday I spent several hours picking the brain of a local mental health professional who only works with troubled teens. He holds a Phd in mental health, has worked in the field over forty years now and he gave me a long list of reasons why children are moved from place to place. Yes, many of them boil down to issues of money and were all the same reasons I’ve seen in my time working in childrens residential treatment facilities. Keep in mind that these are reasons that take place in all treatment centers, not only religious ones. Plus, these apply to more recent years of social work, and may not be entirely applicable to the time frame of Carol Ann Cole’s incarceration in a troubled teen home.
1 – A parent and/or legal guardian appears and forces a change. This could be a change to a facility nearer to their home, or to a facility they wish the child to attend, such as taking a child from a state facility to a religious one.
2 – A parent or guardian disappears. If the parent or guardian drops from view, no longer participates in the child’s life and the best efforts to find this parent/guardian fail then the courts may appoint someone else to be in charge of the best interests of a child. Because this disappearance can affect things such as insurance or program eligibility it can result in a change of facilities.
3 – A judge’s order to change custodial parent or guardian can have the same affect as a disappearance and may result in a facility change.
4 – Parent or guardian moves. This can also disturb a child’s stay, change eligibility for programs or certain facilities, insurances, or state/federal funding towards treatment.
5 – Child’s medical status changes. Some places are not equipped to deal with ongoing health concerns and this could prompt a move.
6 – Child seems stable, but a new diagnosis is made by treatment staff and facility is deemed to be not the best place to treat that particular diagnosis, meaning a facility move.
7 – An administrative problem develops at the first facility and they transfer the child to another place.
8 -Insurance plan is limited and the child is either transferred to discharged to a different living situation based upon what the insurance or state/federal program money will allow.
9 – Child commits a crime at the first facility and this necessitates a move to a facility geared towards dealing with this issue. This happens a great deal when the child becomes violent with staff or other residents and that particular facility is not equipped to handle children with that type of behavioral problems.
Many times when children move facilities it has more to do with money than anything else. What will the insurance pay? Does the child need to become a ward of the state so that they are eligible for Medicaid funding for treatment? Can the parents contribute to the expenses not covered by state/federal funding or insurance?
Why was Carol Ann moved or was she? Likely it would have had to do with funding issues involving the state of Texas.
Another important player in treatment is socio-economic class, insurance and parental wealth. Rich kids, society kids get shipped out to specialized private schools who treat the family with deference and kid gloves. Kids from families with money or just really good private insurance end up being placed at treatment facilities almost as nice as those lovely private schools. In my teenage years in our neighborhood kids that fell into the tag of ‘troubled’ ended up being sent off to Catholic convent schools or boarding schools staffed with either priests or nuns.
Those that come from families that don’t have money, insurance, influence or much going for them, the throw-away kids, are the ones that end up in the hell holes like the Roloff Homes, with parents desperate to help their children, who would do anything for their kids, being pressured to sign over their children to the more abusive religious homes.
Abuse can happen even at the best private schools, but it’s always those at the bottom that seem to suffer the worst of it. Which makes me think that the death of Carol Ann Cole also has deep roots in the class divides of money and society as well as religion. Throw away kids.
Those same kids at the bottom are also the ones that no one bothers reporting missing after they run away, which makes the odds of solving what happened to them when they turn up dead at a much later date very difficult. One of the things that I learned interviewing people working in the troubled teen industry in this area is that Carol Ann’s story might not even be that unique. This weekend I learned from three different murders that have taken place involving former residents of troubled teen facilities that are as big a mystery. Again, these were kids that no one would ever bother reporting missing. Which is tragic as it looks like none of these young women are ever going to see someone tried for their murders. It makes me wonder if this is a trend that no one has noticed yet, children missing then murdered from troubled teen facilities? Would be interested in finding some statistics on this topic.
Next week we’ll try to wrap up anything involving troubled teen homes including the types of treatment those places inflict upon the residents and start looking at the time line of events with an eye to how they might mesh.
If anyone has any information on the murder of Carol Ann Cole or knows how Carol Ann got to Louisiana from Texas please contact the Bossier Parish Sheriffs Dept at 318.965.2203 Please give Carol Ann Cole’s family the peace that comes with closure. This is still an unsolved open case being investigated.
In the meantime if you wish to contact anyone at NLQ about what happened to Carol Ann Cole, or with your own story please drop me an email at SuzanneNLQ@.
Suzanne Titkemeyer is the admin at No Longer Quivering. She’s been out of the Quiverfull Evangelical world for nine years now and lives in the beautiful Piedmont section of Virginia with her retired husband and assorted creatures. She blogs at Every Breaking Wave and True Love Doesn’t Rape. She can be reached at SuzanneNLQ@
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