Shoars kids happy after being reunited

The Shoars children were so happy to be together again. Source: Shoars family

by Health Impact News/ Staff

When Arizona Judge Bruce Cohen dismissed the case against Tabitha and Jeff Shoars on April 6, 2016, the family thought that their nightmare with Arizona DCS (Department of Child Safety) was over. They moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, to try to rebuild their lives and heal from the trauma of being separated for 600 days. They were happy. Laughter once again filled their home.

The children welcomed home their new baby sister this week, on Tuesday, August 23, 2016.

Just 2 days later, on Thursday, August 25, 2016, their lives were abruptly shattered. Out of nowhere, Arizona DCS swept in and once again seized the children from their family.

At about 2 pm local time, Tabitha sent this message to one of our Health Impact News writers:

My kids are gone !!

Two Arizona Child Protective Services social workers, DCS Representative Victoria Jones and DCS Supervisor Amy Fox showed up in Nevada Thursday and announced that they had an emergency pick-up order. They seized the Shoars children and headed back to Maricopa County, Arizona. The family was devastated and blindsided.

It was 2 years before, on August 14, 2014, that the Shoars were first separated. While Tabitha and Jeff were out on a date, the children were home with a babysitter. Four year old Khloe fell and hit her head while playing, and collapsed later that evening. When her parents got home, they found emergency vehicles at their home. Tabitha was directed to go to the Children’s Hospital. Investigators told the couple that, while they were investigating, the children were to be taken into state custody for 72 hours. Khloe was taken off of life support the next day, and her siblings never came home. Instead, they were placed into various foster and group homes.

See original story: 

Arizona CPS Takes 7 Children Away from Parents after Accident

No criminal charges were ever filed against anyone, and the autopsy was inconclusive about the cause of death. She had been born very prematurely, at only 27 1/2 weeks, and had a brain hemorrhage at birth. Numerous professionals have stated that they believe she suffered a brain aneurysm.

Tabitha and Jeff fought for 20 months to get their children back from state custody, and on April 6, the case against them was finally dismissed.

Children Kidnapped by State of Arizona Finally Returned to Parents After 600 Days

Arizona CPS Required Parents to “Ransom” One of Their Children to get the Others Back

A fact that was not released at that time was that not all of the children were returned. Their oldest son Ian, who is autistic, remained in state custody and has since been forcefully adopted out. At the time, Tabitha reported that they were told that the state would allow the rest of the children to come home if they could keep Ian in custody. There was not a reason given, but the Shoars did not feel as if they had a choice.

Note: numerous families have told Health Impact News that they were given a similar “choice” by Child Protective Services, and that the only way that they could rescue ANY of their children from state custody was to leave one behind. The parents are then guilt-ridden and traumatized, but they were left feeling like they had no choice. Brenda Maney of Kentucky was placed in just such a situation, where the only hope she had to save her autistic older son’s life was to “voluntarily” surrender her baby daughter for adoption. See their story:

Medical Kidnapping in Kentucky: Mother Coerced to Give Up Daughter to Adoption in Order to Keep Son

Children Felt Safe in New Home – Away from Arizona Where Abuse Previously Occurred

After all the trauma that the Shoars suffered at the hands of Arizona, the Shoars decided to leave the state for good. They moved to a new home in Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 1, 2016, and started the healing process.

Tabitha kept in touch with Health Impact News. During phone calls, our writer could hear happy, playful children’s voices in the background. The kids were delighted to be back home with each other and their parents.

They have still had nightmares, though, and some of the children sleepwalk. Bentley, who is 4, spent some time in a group home, and shows signs of being molested. Even though the signs first appeared in foster care, and the parents reported it, DCS allegedly did nothing about the allegations.

Shoars Devin and Bentley

Devin and Bentley. Source: Shoars family

Since the children have been home, they have gradually told their parents tales of abuse in foster care. As long as they remained at their house in Arizona, they often expressed fear that DCS would take them away again. After they moved out of the state into Nevada, Tabitha says they visibly relaxed, and would often say:

I feel happy. I feel safe.

Those safe feelings would soon leave, however.

New Baby Born Amid Complications

Before they left Arizona, Tabitha learned that they were expecting a new baby. She felt much safer with the pregnancy after they moved to Nevada.

When her water broke at just over 33 weeks of pregnancy, she went to the hospital, but the doctor sent her home. Tabitha’s maternal instincts told her that something was wrong, so she went to another hospital, but again, the doctor sent her home.

Both doctors said they wanted her to keep the baby in for at least another week. She told Health Impact News that she was really scared for her baby and that a nurse said that the baby’s heart rate was “flat” – not a good sign.

The next day, August 10, she went to a third hospital, where they recognized that she was showing signs of infection and that the baby had to be born immediately if she were to have a chance of survival. Baby Ny’Tallieya was born, and spent some time in the NICU after her birth

Tabitha doesn’t know if one of the doctors got upset with her for refusing to accept what they were saying, when she knew that her baby was in danger. However, within days social workers from Nevada CPS showed up at the Shoars home with allegations that Tabitha had induced her own premature labor, and that someone, somewhere alleged sexual abuse with her other children.

Nevada Social Services Investigates – Finds Nothing Wrong

The Shoars later learned the allegation of sexual abuse came from Arizona. They said that early in the investigation after Khloe’s death, there were allegations made of sexual abuse and neglect, but those were unsubstantiated and unfounded. Some of the children had even been subjected to sexual exams and were cleared.

When the social worker showed up at their house, the family was terrified. The kids reportedly ran into their rooms and shut their doors, because they didn’t want social workers to take them. Social workers were there for a couple of hours as the Shoars tried to straighten it out. The social worker allegedly told Tabitha that it was obvious that she was a good, protective mom, and that the house was in surprisingly good shape with having so many children. Tabitha says that the social worker saw how terrified the children were of CPS as well as how secure they were with their parents.

Shoars Makenize

Makenize. Source: Shoars family

She said, because of the nature of the allegations, the children would still need to have a forensic interview at the CPS office. Tabitha and Jeff said they were very scared, but they knew that they had done nothing wrong. The social worker was very reassuring. The baby was still in the hospital, and they were afraid that if they didn’t comply, they might come after the baby. They agreed to come to the CPS office on Thursday. The baby was released from the hospital on Tuesday without incident. Tabitha reasoned that, if they wanted to come after them, they wouldn’t have let her come home.

Arizona DCF Workers go to Nevada to Kidnap Shoars’ Children

As it turns out, Nevada CPS wasn’t who they needed to worry about. It was Arizona. The Shoars had no idea that Arizona CPS still had them in their cross-hairs.

The Nevada social worker had assured them that the interview was just so they could get this new case closed out. She had looked into the Arizona case and said to Tabitha that the case makes no sense. She didn’t even understand how Arizona had a case down there. She reportedly told Tabitha that she had no concerns about her or the new baby.

Interestingly, the social worker pointed out that Nevada has enough tourist and gaming money in the state that they didn’t need federal money to balance their budget like Arizona does. Health Impact News has documented how Arizona, as well as other states, have used federal funds for foster care and adoption to help balance their state budgets.

Shoars Xzaviar

Xzaviar is almost 5. Source: Shoars family

Nonetheless, on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning, the children expressed fear about going to the interview. Tabitha and Jeff tried their best to reassure them, because the social worker had already reassured them. The children didn’t want their daddy to go to work, but he kissed them goodbye and promised them that he would see them that evening, little realizing that Arizona had determined that wouldn’t happen. Tabitha tearfully reported:

We promised them that everything was going to be ok and they would be coming home!

Tabitha, her friend Nikki Vinson, and the children arrived shortly before noon on Thursday. They were taken one by one for the forensic interview. When all was said and done, Nevada social workers again stated that they had no concerns and that the Shoars were good parents.

Meanwhile, an emergency order from Arizona came through the night before to take the children. As the interviews finished up, two social workers from Arizona DCS showed up to seize the children, telling Nevada CPS that the case in Arizona was not closed.

When the Nevada social worker asked to see paperwork showing that the case was not dismissed, Arizona refused. How could they produce such documents when they don’t exist?

According to court documents that the family received on April 6, 2016, the case was indeed dismissed by Judge Bruce R. Cohen, as Health Impact News reported April 7:

Shoars case dismissed April 2016 with family picture

Edited Shoars photo with family including Khloe

Case Dismissed.  Photo provided by Shoars family.

Federal Kidnapping? Old Charges that were Dropped Reappear

Arizona DCS Representative Victoria Jones and DCS Supervisor Amy Fox brought a notice of removal to Las Vegas as well as a temporary custody notice, which was signed by Judge Susanna C. Pineda on August 23. The grounds for such were listed as “violation of court order – court order pickup” and “alleged sex abuse and neglect.”

According to the Shoars, the alleged abuse and neglect are simply the recycled allegations from almost 2 years ago which were unsubstantiated; however, they are recycled onto new paperwork to make it look like this all stems from recent events in Arizona. They were not even there.

Jeff Shoars wants to know:

What court order did we violate?

The case was dismissed. The family was free to leave the state.

Nothing in any of the paperwork that the Shoars received Thursday indicates any statement about social workers having the jurisdiction to cross state lines to seize the children. The family has been out of the state of Arizona, and thus out of their jurisdiction, since June 1. The children were officially enrolled in Nevada schools.

None of this stopped the social workers from Arizona, who alleged that they have been “looking for them” for some time.

Tabitha reports that she has the same phone number that she did when she first contacted Health Impact News almost 2 years ago. She never received any calls from anyone in Arizona who was looking for her. The Shoars say that neither the grandparents, friends, or attorneys were contacted by anyone looking for them.

Children Scream in Terror: Family Terrorized by Arizona DCF

According to Nikki Vinson, a friend of the Shoars family who witnessed the incident, a social worker waltzed into the room where the children were, saying:

We’re CPS from Arizona, and we’re here to take you. You’re going back to Arizona with Ms. X. [Ms. X is a former foster parent of 4 of the children.]

Immediately, the children started screaming and crying, as their mother tried to console them and understand what was happening. One of the social workers demanded that Tabitha stop talking to them and just leave, as she complained that she will have to drive those kids all the way back to Arizona for the next 6 hours. She said that Tabitha was “upsetting the kids.”

It is obvious that Tabitha was not the one upsetting the children.

Trigger Warning. Tabitha was able to record the response of the children to the news that they were being taken, where they are screaming in terror.


Devin, age 9, reportedly told CPS:

I’m not leaving my parents.

Oldest Child Fears for Life in Return to Arizona Foster Parent

The children were demonstrably happy and secure in their parents’ care, but Arizona Child “Protective” Services is willing to remove the Shoars children from their safe, loving home and place them in a house where they are terrified to be. The children cried hysterically, and several of them cried out that “they’re going to kill us!”

The oldest child Cionhiah, age 11, reportedly became despondent when she heard the news, saying:

I’m not going back to Ms. X! She’s going to kill us! She’s got weapons!

She kept saying that she wanted an attorney.

Shoars Cionhiah and Akira

Cionhiah and Akira. Source: Shoars family

Nikki reports that, with multiple police present and looking on, one of the Arizona social workers grabbed Cionhiah from behind and dragged her out of the room, kicking and screaming. Social workers reportedly threw both Cionhiah and Devin on the ground and tried to restrain them. The social worker allegedly was laughing at all this. Nikki asked:

You think this is funny??

When Health Impact News asked about Cionhiah’s response to Ms. X, Tabitha explained that X is one of the foster parents with whom 4 of the children stayed at one point, and that the children have disclosed some disturbing things about their time in foster care. The kids reportedly were afraid of her and felt like slaves there. Devin, age 9, burned himself on 3 different occasions, while he was made to cook. Ms. X allegedly put a used pacifier in 6 year old Makenize’s mouth, telling her that she was acting like a baby.

The children told their mother that Ms. X has a handgun in the house, which they found. They told Arizona social workers about this last year, but nothing was allegedly done about it.

Tabitha wonders why the Nevada police officers did not intervene to protect her children when they started screaming that X would kill the children. There were at least 7 officers and a detective present. If anonymous tips merit investigation, shouldn’t the cry of terrified children that someone was going to kill them warrant some type of intervention, or at least questioning?

In 10 Minutes Children are Abducted and Taken Away with Only the Clothes on Their Backs

From the moment the social workers came into the room until they were on the road, it was less than 10 minutes. Nikki told Health Impact News:

It was so chaotic and so quick. So damn quick.

The children hadn’t eaten lunch, had no drinks or snacks with them, and they were snatched with only the clothes on their backs and none of their personal belongings or toys. Their parents just bought them $600 of new school clothes.

Nevada Social Workers Allegedly Appalled

Nikki and Tabitha both told us that the Nevada social workers appeared “dumbfounded” and “mortified,” and some of them had to leave the room.

Both also allegedly said that the Arizona workers scare them, and they are afraid for the children’s safety with them after the reactions of the workers. They don’t trust Jones and Fox not to hurt the children. Tabitha reports:

My kids were manhandled by CPS and police officers.

Jeff never even got a chance to say goodbye. When he got there, the children were already gone. He tried to chase after them, but police threw him to the ground with a gun pointed at him. He did nothing wrong, only wanted to say goodbye to his children. (Source)

Shoars Jeff taken down as he tries to see kids

A father restrained. All he wanted was to say goodbye to his children. Source: Shoars family

The Arizona social workers did not take the 2 week old baby, likely because she was born in Nevada, not Arizona, and they have no real or imagined jurisdiction over her. Tabitha says that she was warned by a Nevada social worker never to take Ny’Tallieya to Arizona, because they would take her if they did. They had previously told Tabitha that they have no safety concerns and that Nevada was not going to take the baby.

The parents, Jeff and Tabitha, are wondering how the Nevada police could honor an order from Arizona DCF? They have requested a report from the local police in Nevada, but reportedly are not being given one.

Message to Shoars Children from their Mom

Tabitha sends this message to her children and hopes that they will see it somehow:

We are never going to give up the fight for you. Mommy and Daddy love you so much, more than anything in the world. We will work around the clock, and we will go to the moon and back, to the ends of the universe, to get you back.

Their prayer is that Judge Cohen will see what has happened with the other judge who signed off on the order to seize their children after their case was dismissed. They hope he realizes how wrong this is and that he will work to get the children back home with the family who loves them.

How You Can Help

The Facebook page set up by supporters 2 years ago is still there, and people are welcome to encourage and support the family at Freedom and Justice for the Shoars Family.

Shoars family FB page


Greg McKay is the Director of DCS/CPS in Arizona. His office may be reached at 1-602-255-2500.

Governor Doug Ducey can be reached by phone or email here.