Alana Jo Avenger, sleeping peacefully, before SIDS took her life. Image supplied by family.

Alana Jo Avenger, sleeping peacefully, before SIDS took her life. Image supplied by family.

Mother Prevented from Riding in Ambulance with Her 3 Month Old Baby, Baby Dies

Crystal Avenger recalls how frightened she was when she saw the ambulance in front of her apartment in El Dorado County, California, on March 18, 2015.  Crystal pulled up to the curb, jumped out of her vehicle and ran towards the ambulance, praying that nothing had happened to her children.  The El Dorado County Sheriff’s officer bellowed at her,

“Where are you going, you have to move your vehicle, NOW!”

Crystal tried desperately to inform the officer that one of her children might be in the ambulance, but he would not listen, threatening her further if she did not move her vehicle.  Crystal Avenger, mother of six children, watched the ambulance pull away.

Alana Jo 4

Crystal and Christopher Avenger’s daughter, Alana Jo, who died from SIDS. Image supplied by family.

She would find out that it was, in fact, her three month old baby girl, Alana Jo, in the ambulance without her parents, alone.

Could SIDS Be Hereditary, Side Effect of Vaccine Injury or the Result of Neglectful and Abusive Parents?

Crystal had an uneasy feeling when she saw the ambulance.  She was always fearful that something might happen to one of her babies because of her family’s history of SIDS.  SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, is the sudden unexplained death of a child less than one year of age.  The child’s death remains unexplained even after a thorough autopsy and detailed death investigation.

Crystal, her mother and two sisters

Crystal, her mother and two sisters. Image supplied by family.

When Crystal was 12 years old, her mother, Marcia Jo Smith, lost her three month old daughter, Samantha Nicole.  Crystal grew up in a large family of five children, Samantha Nicole was the sixth child.  The autopsy of Samantha Nicole identified the cause of death was due to SIDS.  Crystal became very depressed when her sister died and she explains,

“I was mama’s helper and took care of Samantha and my other sisters.”

Her voice cracked with emotion as she continued,

“I wonder if this could be hereditary, because Alana Jo was my sixth child, and according to the autopsy she also died of SIDS. And then my mom passed away a few months after Alana Jo, on June 16, 2015.”

Hepatitis B Vaccine Injury Completely Ignored as Possible Cause of Sudden Infant Death

Christopher and Crystal have five girls and Christopher has one girl from a previous marriage.  The children are Reanna (age 11), Ceyara (age 6), Anayjah (age 5), Maylayah (3) and twins Sariah and Ariah (age 2).  Alana Jo was Crystal’s sixth child born on December 13, 2014.

Crystal stated that Alana Jo received a Hepatitis B vaccination in the hospital shortly before her death.  Approximately one week prior to her death, in March 2015 they took her back to the hospital for a sick visit and she was diagnosed with a common cold.

On the morning of March 18, 2015, Christopher awoke and noticed his daughter, Alana, didn’t look normal.  His voice laden with emotion as he recalled,

“I picked her up from the bed and her arms went completely limp.”

He immediately called 911 and frantically followed the 911 operator’s instructions for CPR on his baby.  The other children were watching in horror as Christopher tried desperately to revive Alana.

Parents Assumed “Guilty Until Proven Innocent”

There were two investigators at the Avenger home after the ambulance took away their daughter and Crystal stated,

“I asked them to leave and they refused.”

According to Crystal, one of the investigators told her that both parents had to go to the hospital.  Crystal began to get her other five children ready to take with her and the investigator told her,

“You can’t take your children, leave them with your friend, they will be fine.”

Crystal stated that she is a stay at home mom and she does not leave her children with anyone, but the investigator forced her and her husband to go to the hospital in a police car without her children.  She said,

“They made me feel like I didn’t have any rights.”

Crystal reluctantly complied and got into the police car with her husband and went to the hospital.  When they arrived at the hospital, a doctor came into the private room, told her that her baby had died and asked if she wanted to see her.

Crystal said that an investigator with the hospital coroner frantically waved the doctor away and told her that she cannot see her baby because they had already transported her.  Crystal began to cry and stated,

“I just wanted to see my baby.”

Crystal Avenger, holding her daughter Alana Jo. Image supplied by family.

Crystal Avenger, holding her daughter Alana Jo. Image supplied by family.

Christopher and Crystal Avenger had just found out they lost their three month old daughter and they wanted to go home and be with their children.  According to Crystal,

“They separated my husband and me when we just wanted to be together because we were grieving and they took my husband into a separate room and questioned him for hours, from 5:30 am to noon.”

Crystal continued,

“It was very strange, they did not want us to go home.  Even after the separate interviews, they made us wait outside and the deputy would not take us home.”

Crystal said that she believes that the investigators were waiting for a search warrant for their home.

Christopher stated that when they were at the hospital,

“They would not let us leave, I felt like I was under arrest.”

In an incredibly emotional state of mind, investigators interrogated Christopher for hours with an accusatory line of questioning, like,

“Are you a sound sleeper? Were there blankets on your baby? What kind of medicine did you take?”

The sheriff’s investigator even demanded that he take a blood test for drugs, and when he asked why he was told that was standard procedure.

When the El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputy finally took them home, they were told a search warrant had been obtained and that the family would have to stay with a friend or family for the night.

CPS Swoops in to Take Remaining Four Daughters into State Custody


Photo supplied by family.

The Avenger family struggled through a relentless investigation in which the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department deputies and the El Dorado Department of Health and Human Services Agency, Child Protective Services (CPS) emergency social workers were openly suspicious towards Christopher and Crystal with regards to their child’s death.

The next knock on their door on March 27, 2015, just nine days following the death of baby Alana, was Child Protective Services with seven sheriff’s deputies.  One deputy grabbed Christopher by the arm, while another stood in his doorway to prevent him access into his own home.

The emergency social worker, Herb Russell, handed Christopher two custody warrants, for Anayjah and Maylayah Avenger, but removed four children; Anayjah, Maylayah, Ariah, Sariah.

Christopher was allowed to speak to his children, but how could he explain what he didn’t understand.  According to dad, the Avenger children screamed, cried and refused to get into their car seats, and Christopher could only watch in shock as the white mini-van with his four children pulled away.

When the children were gone, Christopher reviewed the paperwork the social worker gave to him.  The document dated March 27, 2015 at 7:23 pm and signed by Judge Steven C. Bailey, states,

“A petition has been filed in Superior Court of El Dorado County, Juvenile Court alleging that the minor comes within the provisions of Welfare and Institutions Code 300, and the court having read and considered the affidavit/declaration of Social Worker Vitalii Cloraii and proof having been made by probable cause.”

Christopher continued to read the attached Declaration in Support of Custody Warrant and it contained information that he declares is false.  He later asks his court appointed lawyer, Dennis Brimer,

“There is no proof for anything in this report, what is the burden of proof, show me where the evidence is?”

Mr. Brimer responded,

“They don’t have to do that.”

Since the removal, Christopher has had visits supervised by the El Dorado County CPS worker, Mark Hamerlud.  During the visits Christopher exclaims,

“He is yelling at my kids and how am I supposed to protect them?”

Christopher reported these incidents to a supervisor and he was told,

“He (Mark Hamerlud) is aggressive because he loves so much.”

Christopher continued that there were false accusations against him during the visits, so he went to the judge and requested that the visits be recorded.  According to Christopher, Judge Steven Bailey refused to let him or anyone else record the visits.

Father Continues Relentless Fight for Return of His Four Daughters

A detention hearing was held on April 1, 2015, the paperwork contains a Confidentiality of Placement which states,

“The children, Anayjah Avenger, Maylayah Avenger, Sariah Avenger and Ariah Avenger, are currently placed in a confidential certified foster family home.  In compliance with 308(a) of Welfare and Institutions Code, the Department is requesting that the location and identity of the care providers remains confidential.”

Christopher states,

“I have called everyone, I called the FBI and said my kids have been stolen and they are missing.  They responded that this is not a crime and they would not investigate.”

Christopher Avenger with two of his daughters. Image supplied by family.

Christopher Avenger with two of his daughters. Image supplied by family.

Christopher Avenger states that he has complied with every request, he has taken two drug tests a week as requested.  He also states that he has received a notice in the mail that he is required to pay El Dorado County $1,000.00 a month,

“They took my kids and now I have to pay them? I just don’t know what to do.”

Christopher asked his daughters if they were allowed to dance and sing anymore and they told him that they were not.

Christopher and Crystal Avenger have a video of their girls dancing and singing posted on Facebook here.


How You Can Help

Supporters are asked to contact the Governor of California, Jerry Brown, c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, California, 95814. Phone (916) 445-2841, or email. He is also on Facebook, and Twitter.

Contact State Senator Ted Gaines, State Capitol, Room 3070 Sacramento, CA 95814 Phone: 916.651.4001 Fax: 916.651.4901 – email here.

Contact Representative 4th District, Tom McClintock, 2200A Douglas Blvd, Suite 240, Roseville, California 95661, (916) 786-5560 or email him here. He is also on Facebook, and Twitter.