Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
The missing daughter he's never met
Dan Wilson has court-ordered custody of his 13-year-old daughter, Ashlyn.The two have never met.
This incredibly tragic story played out on my "Crime and Punishment" radio show Sunday night, where an emotional Wilson discussed a crippling loss I can't even imagine.We were joined by FBI agent John Hallcok, who told listeners about the ongoing search for the missing girl.It was part of our exclusive series "The Lost Children", which features a new case on the second Sunday of every month in conjunction with the Missing Children's Society of Canada. (To listen to the entire interview, click HERE
and then type in Sunday Mar. 9 and 7 p.m. to listen)In a nutshell, Wilson and his then 22-year-old fiance, Tara Wilson, learned in 1994 they were going to have a baby while living together in Iowa. Tara's family objected to this news and quickly whisked their daughter back home to Oregon.What followed next can only be described as a father's worst nightmare.Dan Wilson was served with a restraining order telling him he could have no contact with Tara or his soon-to-be-born child. The family had convincted a justice official - based solely on their own claims - that he had raped her and posed an ongoing danger.In fact, the entire story was bogus, a smokescreen designed to buy the woman some time. Because by the time Dan Wilson hired a lawyer and got a court date to fight the stunning allegations, Tara Wilson and her newborn child were gone.As in out of the country.Hallock said the FBI have learned family members somehow helped get them across the U.S. border and into western Canada.Meanwhile, Tara Wilson's false claims were thrown out of court when she didn't appear. A judge ruled Dan Wilson had sole custody. A federal warrant for kidnapping was issued for the mother of his child.More than 13 years have passed. The warrant still exists. Tara Wilson is still a fugitive. And Ashlyn Wilson is now a teenager.Hallock said there have been numerous reported sightings of them in B.C., Alberta and Washington state. Yet somehow Tara Wilson has eluded capture.And Dan Wilson has been forced to watch the daughter he's never been able to hold grow up through computer enhancement photos, as you see below.NOTE - actual photo at 3 months taken off a passport application, computer enhanced photos at aged 8, 10, 11 and 12
Wilson had plenty to say Sunday. Although he thanked FBI for the work they're now doing, he's frustrated with the way his case was first handled by police.He believes police didn't take him seriously or try very hard to find his daughter because, even though he had court-ordered custody, he figures the popular thinking was "oh well, she's with her mother."Wilson believes a much greater effort would have been made if the roles were reversed and it was the non-custodial father who abducted the child from its mother.Wilson also worries what his daughter has been told by her mother all these years. He figures she's been brainwashed into thinking he's an unloving, uncaring man.I wonder how a mother could be so cruel. No doubt Tara Wilson loves her daughter. But how honest is that love when it comes the price of keeping a child from her father - who has done absolutely nothing wrong here, don't forget.Tara Wilson is the criminal. Dan Wilson is the victim. And so is Ashlyn Wilson.Dan Wilson said he's angry at Tara for what she's done but isn't out for vengeance. He just wants to meet his daughter, to tell her how hard he's been looking for her and how much he loves her.One thing Wilson will never get is the 13 years - and counting - that he has lost with her. Those can never be replaced.
Now Wilson - and law enforcement - need your help. Tara Wilson is still believed to be in Canada. If you have any information on this case, please go to the following links and speak up. A computer enhanced photo of Tara Wilson has also been prepared.-MISSING CHILDREN'S SOCIETY OF CANADA-FBI-NATIONAL CENTRE FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN-OREGON STATE POLICEFinally, here's an email I received from Dan Wilson late Sunday night following the show:Thank you so much for what you have done for me, and what you are doing for many others!!!Some more things I thought were important;Tara's family in Oregon cover story to their peers when they took Tara home was that "Tara was raped by a guy she knew from bible study". (Who would dare dispute such a story or ask further questions?) They totally avoided that Tara was engaged and that they knew me.Some years later when Tara's father Dr. Wilson was confronted in his office about Ashlyn, he denied having any grandchildren as none of his children were married.The means of Tara's being on the run and staying hidden are believed to be mostly from her family and facilitated by networks of Seventh Day Adventists who conduct "underground networks" to hide and provide for single mothers who are on the run.Tara has been and would likely be involved in:-Music performance or instruction in viola, piano, guitar, or other instruments;-Seventh Day Adventist Church, (Saturday worship, no work or commerce on sabbath friday night to saturday night);-Sign language;-Vegetarian;-Home school;-Horses;-Outdoor recreations;-Rural or isolated, self sufficient, secretive living;Tara would be a noticeable person; Very beautiful, Tall- about 6 foot, probably medium build, long blond hair, no cosmetics, no jewelery.Tara probably has many false identities, appearances / disguises and cover storiesIronic that the motives for Tara and her family are based in their pride of family position and reputation in their church, friends, family...In short it was too embarrassing to have a good Seventh Day Adventist daughter of theirs who chose to have sex before marriage. That would be immoral and a sin.But it is not immoral or a sin for them to;-lie about Tara being assaulted and raped,-lie about the existence of Ashlyn,-lie to law enforcement about whereabouts of Tara and Ashlyn and their role in hiding them,-break the law of the land and the rulings of the courts,-lie to anyone about anything to maintain the run,-lie to Ashlyn about her father,-keep a child (Ashlyn) from her father,-keep a father (me) from his daughter,-deprive their daughter and granddaughter of having anything like a normal life and opportunities,-put their daughter and granddaughter in the position of felony fugitive in hiding and taking away Tara and Ashlyn's ability to go to the police, hospital or other emergency services,-cause law enforcement agencies of county, state, national, international levels to spend uncountable amounts of money and time which could have helped others.The list of hypocricies goes on and on.Mike, again I want to tell you, but I cannot find words to convey how much it helps me and others that you are doing what you are doing. When I feel so helpless and anguished by the ineffective systems and my own limitations of time, money and abilities, to then have help from a stranger (YOU), makes me cry tears of gratitude which cannot be communicated with words!THANK YOU for all you are doing !Keep up the good work because you are helping other people to make the world a better place...not many things people can do that are more noble and truly great than that!God Bless You Mike!Sincerely,Dan WilsonFather of Ashlyn WilsonGot a comment on this case or the issues surrounding it? Post it below.