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Teddy Foltz’s mom talks about her failure to protect her son

Published: Sun, February 2, 2014 @ 12:01 a.m.




On Jan. 20, I received a letter addressed to The Vindicator Attn: Mr. Ernie Brown. It was stamped “Inmate Correspondence.”

Widdersheim: A Similar Situation
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Widdersheim: Getting the Boys Out
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Widdersheim: It Could Have Happened to Anyone
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Widdersheim: Kids Speaking Out
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In most cases, I pass along letters from inmates to our police reporter. Most of those letters usually want newspapers to do “investigative reporting” on their cases, either claiming their innocence or abuses they are subjected to by deputies or corrections officers.

This letter, however, was sent to me by Shain Widdersheim, 33, convicted last year for her role in the death of her son Teddy Foltz, 14. Teddy died in January 2013. She received 15 years in prison.

Her letter said she wanted me to interview her, specifically to tell the community about the events that took place in her life that led to her relationship with Zaryl Bush, the man convicted of killing Teddy.

Bush, 44, is serving a 33-years-to-life prison sentence for fatally beating Teddy, subjecting Teddy’s twin brothers to abuse, and trying to get the brothers to cover up the crime.

I had been recommended to her by an individual she said respected my work as a columnist.

Widdersheim, who was sent to the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville after her conviction in September, is back in Mahoning County jail to deal with custody issues involving her twin sons.

I met Widdersheim in one of the jail’s interview rooms. We spoke face to face for about 45 minutes.

I asked why she thought it was important for her to speak with me now.

“The 15 years I received [in prison] is just 15 years,” she said. “My sentence really has no effect on me. What has an effect on me is that I have a lifelong sentence as it is because of the loss of my son, and I would hate for any other woman or father, grandparent, whatever the case may be, to feel the heartache I feel. If there is something I can say, or something that I can do, to show them there is a way to get out, I want that to happen.”

What follows is an edited portion of our taped conversation.x

Q. So what would you say to the public who views you as the worst mother on the face of the planet?

A. I couldn’t pull the trigger myself [on Zaryl] because I’m not a killer. I don’t have that in me. My nature is to help people. My nature is to be good to people and try to overcome things that have been given to me in life. I have been abused my whole life, sexually, physically, verbally and mentally. I never really received the proper treatment that I needed to overcome the abuse I’ve endured. I want people to realize that this could have happened to anybody.

I just pray that these girls in jail can get the help they need, and that we can help one another.

There are so many people that have knowledge about different things in this world, and all it takes is for one person to step up and help another. It’s the Golden Rule, one person helping another. I’m not seeking sympathy. I’m not seeking pity in any aspect. All I ask for is a fair understanding that the circumstances in my life, from the time I was a child until now, unfortunately resulted in this situation that I now find myself in.

Q. When did your relationship with Zaryl Bush start?

A. The relationship started in August 2008.

Q. Did your sons ever come to you and say, ‘Mom, he isn’t treating us very well’?

A. Zaryl Bush is a violent man with everyone. By the time I had realized how bad things were, I was too far in to get out. The abuse originally began with me and not my children.

Q. What was it about Bush that attracted you to him in the first place?

A. He appeared to be, at that time, a nice man. I had fallen into some family issues and was put out of the home I was living in at the time. We were living homeless in a car for 10 days. There was a road to where I said do I continue to live in a car with my kids or do I take this man up on his offer for a place to live until I can get back on my feet.

So with no family, no friends to support me, living with my kids in a car, I chose to live with Zaryl until I could get back on my feet. Once I left to be with Zaryl, there was no turning back [to her family]. My family made that very clear. I did eventually get my own home [28 Creed St. in Struthers]. This all transpired from 2009 to 2010.

Q. What was the nature of your agreement with Bush?

A. I would stay with him just until I could get on my feet to get my own place, which didn’t take long at all. I had got my own place on a land contract and moved in July of 2010, so it wasn’t very long that I had stayed with him.

Q. So when did the episodes of the abuse against you begin?

A. About a year after that in 2011.

Q. So, the question most people would ask is, if he’s doing this to you, why didn’t you leave? Especially since by that time you had your own place?

A. Zaryl is a very controlling man. Very abusive. He exposed me to things I knew about him that potentially put more harm in the way instead of me trying to get out of the situation. Had I known then what I know now about homeless shelters and different organizations that could have helped me, like [Mahoning County] children services that could have provided funding, a place to stay and a way out, I would have taken alternative routes.

Q. Did you feel that, even though you had your own place, you couldn’t get away from Bush? Did he threaten you?

A. Yes. His favorite line was, ‘I own you. And I’ll kill you.’ There was, at this time, people telling me what a monster he could be, and he was. Life with him was not easy at all. The beginning part wasn’t bad. Progressively, over the years, it [the abuse] just got worse.

Q. When did either Teddy or the twins first come to you and say, ‘Mom, he’s hurting us?’

A. About a year before my son passed away, late 2011 or early 2012. My son [Teddy] was a pre-teen, and he didn’t like the fact that Zaryl put his hands on me and he stood up for me a lot, and ultimately that also caused him to be put in harm’s way.

Q. So you saw him turn his abuse from you to Teddy?

A. Yes

Q. You still felt at that time you didn’t have the knowledge or resources to get away?

A. There was nowhere else I felt I could turn. The situation with my parents was bad. I had no relationship with my siblings [she has a brother and sister]. We don’t speak.

Q. Did it ever occur to you to try to report him to the police?

A. I was too afraid to. ... He made it very clear that Struthers [PD] would not help me. He said he knew the police chief very well and his brother, being a businessman, knew a lot of police and some of the upper powers in the city. [Ed. Note: Struthers Police Chief Tim Roddy said he does know Zaryl Bush’s brother, who is a local businessman, but he did not meet Zaryl Bush until the day Bush was arrested.]

Q. Did you try to go to other jurisdictions like Youngstown, Boardman or Poland?

A. I was under the impression that you couldn’t file anything outside your city limits. He [Bush] made it very clear about how people were connected to him, and he had the upper hand.

Q. Did you ever try to find a way to at least get your boys out?

A. Actually, in the summer of 2012, we had a plan I had spoke to my sons about. Zaryl hadn’t been working, and his unemployment had run out in the summer of 2012, so he had to get a job. Summer time is always busy for side work, and with his connections with businessmen, he would be able to get a job like that. He would make more money in summer time and he would want to work. Our ultimate goal, which obviously we didn’t get to, was to wait until he went to work, then the kids and I would put whatever we could get in the car and leave. Unfortunately, we didn’t get there. My heart is broken.

Q. So from, let’s say May until September 2012, the summer, you never had another opportunity to put your escape plan into motion?

A. No. We were followed. I made police reports that people would throw stones at the house and somebody actually broke the basement window. He had people that would follow us. He had people that would sit in front of the house [her house] and watch our every move when he wasn’t there. So it was very difficult to put our plan in action. So if we were all going to go, we were all going to go together. I felt the only way out of the situation was death, and I wish every day it was me and not my son.

Q. So now we head to January of 2013. The reports you were telling police at that time, was that an attempt to cover up for what happened to Teddy?

A. I had to lie. He [Bush] had my other two kids [twin boys], so I couldn’t come out and say what had happened because I wasn’t home when it happened. I left for a period of time, about 10 to 15 minutes, and when I came home I found my son [Teddy] unresponsive. He basically would hold one of the kids at all times, like a hostage, to make sure I would come back.

Q. What is it you would like to tell other women who have a similar situation? What would you tell them to extricate themselves from a similar situation?

A. I want girls out here, these young women, to realize there is help. I wasn’t aware of the help that I could have sought at that time. I want them to understand that the police aren’t always the bad guys. Children services is a great resource. I know now that there are different shelters you can go to where your whereabouts wouldn’t be known. You would be anonymous. No one can call and say how’s so-and-so doing, and those shelters are strictly for the abused. All of these things were blind to me. I didn’t come from a background of trouble with drug or alcohol abuse. So all of this [help] I was unaware of, and I tried to do it on my own and do the best I could with my kids. I found if you are in an abusive relationship you can leave and get out. And you need to get help.

Q. I just want to make sure you are saying you didn’t know about the resources available to help you get out. Correct?

A. Yes. We were petrified. We all were. And ultimately what he [Bush] said would happen, came true. Teddy died.

Q. One of the things I read in a report was that Teddy had run away. But you helped to get Teddy back. Why?

A. I found Teddy walking. But he [Bush] had my other son, so I had to go back. I want people to know I failed to get out. I did. But ultimately I was putting my other kids in trouble’s way. I’m not saying that’s an excuse or not an excuse. What I’m saying is I made a mistake, and other people can learn from my mistakes so they don’t have to live it. If what I went through helps one mother, one child to save one life, that’s all that matters.

Q. Have you been able to see the twins?

A. Yes. They would come here over the summer through October at the jail. I’ll be able to see them when I go back to prison.

Q. What do the twins think of you?

A. The twins tell me they love me. They tell me they are playing sports. They are active.


1Aware(250 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

This is total bull. She worked....she had to go to the store to shop. She had means to get out...she damn well COULD have gone to the police...or called to have an officer meet with her....that officer or officers could have - and would have -accompanied her to the house and escorted her and her kids out. I wonder..did she not take the kids to the doctors ever? She keeps saying she 'did not know' what was available...she sure as hell knew how to take kids out of school AND how to buy a house. He was abusing the kids and she did not know how to use the phone to call a cop? She hung out on Facebook....she could have reached law enforcement that way....she had a computer - all sorts of help is available in a simple search. Her ass needs to be in jail longer than 15 years. Even a dog knows to protect their offspring...I'm wondering...where is the father of those twins????????????????? I hear nothing of him....another deadbeat dad? And re: Teddy's dad....is he the 'legal' dad? Name on BC? Paying child support? I'm betting no on all counts. Whose name is Foltz? And what is the last name of the other kids? There is more to this story...No one can bring back that little boy..but all the balloon releases and candle vigils in the world do NOT make up for the FACT that no one pushed for help...or questioned her....Even a neighbor can call children's services!!!!!!!!!!! Her assertion that Bush was 'connected' in town makes me wonder....he's a businessman in town? Struthers police know their people - but I cannot believe they would turn a blind eye to kids being abused...I don't believe any officer would deny help if it was requested. Again....there are alot of parties to blame. 'She' was scared? TOUGH. She watched her kid be abused and was more worried about herself. She's a pig. And anyone who gets on TV and states that they are a cousin, aunt, godmother, etc. and did not try to intercede is part of what happened. Collectively they could have sought help.....and pushed and pushed....none of them knew where to look or what was available either? Give me a break. Every single relative who has been interviewed appears clueless. Getting their 10 minutes of fame now is all they want. No accountability at all....Shame on them. No one wants to hear from them NOW.

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2Attis(1031 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Thank you Ms. Widdersheim for sharing this vital information and thank you, Mr. Brown, for allowing it to be brought to the public's attention. It is a heart-wrenching story of an ugly case of misogyny, a social disease at epidemic levels in our community and country. Abusive obsessively controlling men, like this monster misogynist Bush, define and treat their victims as property/slaves, with whom they can do as they please without fear of consequences since they've frightened/abused their victims into silence. This ugly case is not only an indictment of rampant misogyny tolerated and regenerated in our violent society; it is an indictment of our system of so-called justice. This poor mother was not only abused by her male tormenter; she is being tormented by a system which failed her and her sons. Totally alone and totally unprotected she and her sons had to face this controlling monster and murderer. She is a victim, not perpetrator, of crime. The last place she belongs is in prison. Release her to her surviving son, and send Bush to the gallows.

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3TFULL09(1 comment)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

She's a liar, plain and simple. I stood in my girlfriend's living room in August or September of 2012 and listened to her tell lies about pulling the kids out of school and her complaining about the neighbors being nosy for calling child services on her. This conversation was unprompted, she walked over out of nowhere, in the middle of the day to talk about this, when neither of us had ever talked to her before. It was like she knew something was coming and wanted an alibi or something. She is a liar and despicable.

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4SamCoon93(13 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

I am a family member of hers. SHE WAS NEVER KICKED OUT! Zaryl BURNED the toys and MADE them move. She told me her self. After she left, we found everything, the ride in car my grandpa got me as a kid, all of their toys, and even the cross on my Grandma Sara's brother's casket BURNED in the yard. WE had to clean the mess. We ALL tried for those four years to get her to talk. I even tried to go see them, and Zaryl even said that it was fine, I TALKED TO HIM PERSONALLY but SHAIN said no. SHE wouldn't let us go see the boys. April, a person she's known since early childhood AND APRIL'S DAUGHTER worked with battered women. THE WHOLE FAMILY tried to see her, and she threatened us with the COPS. SO THERE WAS PLENTY OF HELP, WE WOULD HAVE GOTTEN THEM OUT OF THAT HOUSE IN RECORD TIME AND PROTECTED THEM AND GOT THEM HELP! SHE REFUSED ALL OF IT! I WAS THERE SHAIN, YOU CAN'T LIE TO ME!

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5dontbeafool(1692 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

P.O.S. Manipulator! She offerered many excuses, but there are none!!!

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6TeamTeddy(5 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

This story really made me upset today. When will Shain take blame for her involvement in Teddy's murder. Why would the The Vindicator publish this story? Why would it make front page. This is one more ploy to make her the victim. Has Shain forgotten that she helped that MONSTER covered up Teddy's murder? It is pretty sad that two attorney's dropped her appeal case because the evidence was so stacked against her. Now she wants to speak out to other woman. GET REAL! She had every chance to get out of her situation. And she didnt. And from what i heard she also participated in the abuse. She is a very sad individual. She failed her children. But she is still aloud to see her two other children. What is wrong with our system? We all know it is broken. But why does she have rights to see her children? They covered up Teddy's torture, abuse and murder. It is beyond me. This is another sad attempt to make her self the victim and try to wiggle herself out of her prison sentence. Admit your role in this crime, shut up, and serve your sentence. Please let Teddy rest in peace. What i am asking ever single member on this page is to share Teddy's story. Be a voice for Teddy so he can protect other children. With the work of many and Teddy's memory we will make it our life's goal to make sure no other child has to endure this type of treatment.

Shawn Tedesco and Team Teddy

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7Bevan(7 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

I can feel some degree of sympathy for Shain IF I think the "best case scenario" is an attempt to convince herself that she was not fully responsible for the brutal death of her son. However, I cannot be convinced of her innocence even in seeking this interview, in which her focus is wholly on explaining her own inaction--justifying, trying to convince US of her alleged inability to act. I am not a parent, by my choice, believing I lacked sufficient skills to guide a young life, but I am fervent about believing that those who choose to have children have a lifelong responsibility to them. Children are innocents, vulnerable, totally dependent on the adults who 'brought' them here. Literature is rich with the heroism of fathers and mothers who will give their OWN life in an effort to protect their young. Shain offers not one word of compassion for her poor child. Every statement is intended to exonerate her. Her silence regarding Teddy speaks volumes about her myopic focus, her self-oriented concern. My suspicion is this interview was sought because she is, as otherwise stated, facing the loss of her other children, whose lives are forever truncated by fear of as well as need for a miserable mother. God help those poor children to make sense of her cruelty and abandonment, and to find peace and meaning--away from her deadly influence.

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8TruelovingMom(1 comment)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

I do not feel one ounce of sympathy for Shain, I do feel that she does not deserve to have her story be on the front page, How can someone sit there and say I did not know what help was out there and this and that, FIRST OF ALL AS A MOTHER YOUR NUMBER ONE PRIORETY IS TAKE CARE OF YOUR CHILDREN, AND TO KEEP THEM FROM HARMS WAY. I find it very hard to even read the stuff that is coming out of her mouth. It is a shame what happened to Teddy I cant get over how she sat there saying she watched him abuse him after the child was standing up for her, but she could not even stand up and do her job as a mother to stand up for him. What a joke of a humane.

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9Aware(250 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

I hope with all my heart that these twins go to a loving and 'normal' home - they should not automatically be placed with their maternal grandmother..her interviews and FB posts/pictures - including a little girl trying on 'falsys' are questionable. Something is not right. I have no knowledge of the environment re: the boys' paternal side; perhaps they might be more suitable, that is if they even petition for custody.
Re: Teddy's dad, of course everyone understands his loss. However, This is what the 'father' writes:

'I never got a visitation order due to financial reasons. I called the hospital numerous times to see him and never received a call back. Towards the end of me and Shain's conversation she said these words I will never forget. " I will be taking Ted of life support and will have him cremated soon after". When I got off the phone I immediately called the police. If it was not for the quick actions of me and her family them two monsters would have gotten away with murder'.

Financial reasons? He also did not know that there are agencies willing to help? There are numerous channels one can use to get visitation if one is sincerely on that mission. Now he is bragging about HIS "quick actions"???????? WHAT "quick actions" ??????? I see no heroism here. There would have been ultimate convictions without him. What a pity that this kind of effort and determination was not put forth when it could have made the difference. When it could have saved his son. The whole story and the parties involved is full of holes and very creepy. No one is without blame here - except perhaps for the neighbor gentleman who called authorities. I feel so sorry for him if in fact he tried and failed..but then it begs the question of ball dropping re: the authorities. To Bevan...and all others EXCEPT Attis-good comments.

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10lastingmemoriesreborns(1 comment)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

How disgusting that you would put this woman on the front page. Why not do a story on what she allowed to happen to her child? So she was abused. Big Deal so was I. So she was homeless BIG DEAL so was I. I never allowed a child to be abused , I would never allow a child to be MURDERED. Why not do a story on Abuse and Womens shelters to get the word out, A link to different shelters, phone numbers instead of glorifying what this sick woman did. She is not a mother she is a monster. Why not reach out to the people who actually loved Teddy, like his Father. Teddy's abuse was not a hidden abuse he was TORTURED!! Theodore Foltz-Tedesco suffered horrific child abuse at the hands of his mother's boyfriend Zaryl Bush. Teddy was beaten to death and was put thru various kinds of torture. The torture he endured included walking on hot coals, shoveling snow in his bare feet and other horrible acts. This is nothing short of heartbreaking. That one man could do this to a child. . Both Zaryl Bush and Shain Widdersheim were arrested for their crimes. . They were both offered pleas deals. Although it protected other children from not testifying I believe that the penalties should be harsher for torture of a child when there is a guilty plea. This needs to stop and it needs to stop now! Please be our voice in fighting for Teddy's Law!

With the help of some special friends we were able to start http://teddyslaw.org/. On there we will be giving updates on our fight. You can also donate to help us in this fight. Please take a minute to check it out.

Why not put Teddys Law on the FRONT PAGE!
DISGRACEFUL that is all I can say!!

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11Mia213(10 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

I am pleased Shain is not seeking pity, I have none to give her. A child has been murdered, a family is suffering unending grief and two young boys are traumatized for life, all because Shain was afraid of the abuser. Even when Zaryl was arrested she continued her history of lying to protect him. She was a willing enabler. These were her kids and she did nothing to save Teddy from the physical abuse and torture he endured. What kind of human being allows a child to lay unresponsive for two days without seeking medical attention? What kind of mother hasTeddy's younger brothers help clean up a crime scene? Oh, forgot, she was afraid! All Shain needed to do was dial 3 numbers - 911. Imagine the daily fear and pain these kids suffered. I guess she felt her pain was much worse. Many of the questions very clearly provided her with options for answering and seemed well rehearsed. This was a missed opportunity for some sharp edged questions. So Shain feels she didn't get the treatment she needed for her own abuse, so who stopped her? There are many sources of help available, she could have simply made a phone call to ask for help. Shain said she made a mistake, well this mistake ended in death. If the 15 year prison term dosen't bother her then why appeal? She is in a custody battle? Why? Maybe she thinks gaining custody of the boys will free her? Hope not! She is an evil monster on a self serving mission. Teddy is resting with God, I pray for his brothers, his family and friends to receive comfort. God will decide what to do with Shain.

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12SamCoon93(13 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

But Shain got help. Grandma Sara took her to a counselor. She could have came to us, she was never homeless, she left with Zaryl and told my Grandma Sara she was leaving the house and that Sara could have it. The abuse started in that house she claims to have been "kicked out" of. She let him burn all of their toys and belongings. SHE LIED. The only truth to this is that Teddy is dead.

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13papa1(711 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

if ever there was a person (I won't call him a man), that deserved to be executed, it was bush. as for the mother, I don't know what is real, but one thing I believe, a mother will do whatever is necessary to protect her children. if she's honest in what she says, she should have killed him. consequences be damned!!

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14ronmoritz(1 comment)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Shes lying,I know her mom,great grandmother and grandfather and they told me she broke off ties with family when she and zaryl met,she could have went to either 1 of them,there good people,would have never turned there back on her or kids,shes just trying to make people feel sorry for her but what about her kids,especially Teddy!

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15CountryGirl51(220 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Sam Coon93...If u listen to the tape, she didnt say she never got treatment. she said she "never really got the proper treatment". I dont feel bad for her at all. She should have gotten help for her and her children. She should have called 911 whenever she got the chance, at a store etc. Then told her whole story and that her and her kids needed protection. From what i remember of her childhood it was not the best. Saw things from another house near theirs. And the father of Teddy, no child support ! I dont care if you have to work at McDonalds, there is no excuse ! Now the family wants all this noteriety. Saying it isnt about them, just Teddy. Sorry dont beleive it ! I think there are lies on both ends. Shains and the family !. Enough is enough ! They got their time, now they have to live with it ! Let Teddy rest in peace !!!!!

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16lbf(193 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago



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17CountryGirl51(220 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Thanks for the website LBF ! :)

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18walter_sobchak(2418 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

When I opened up the paper this morning, I couldn't believe there was picture of this pig on the front page. Then, when it read that it was a prison interview, I was disgusted. I know the purpose is to sell papers or get clicks, but this is National Enquirer stuff. Ernie should be ashamed that he let this POS use him to spew lies. Anyone that followed this trial knows that this interview is rubbish. If she was abused and threatened, she could have gotten out of it. If Bush abused the kids, she should have stabbed him. Instead, when school personnel got involved, she started to home-school. Lies, deceit, and pure horsesh!t.

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19kurtw(1538 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Yeah, It does look like a National Enquirer Cover- doesn't it? But note the side bar "Where to Get Help" where it lists community resources for abused women and their children- the story draws attention to the issue of child abuse and the subjugation of women by male monsters- maybe a little too lurid, but it does the job.

What newspaper would reject a story like that? They get sent a letter by someone in prison trying to explain- or exonerate herself- and all you have to do as readers is- accept or reject- her statements as credible or self-serving. Shain Widdersheim hasn't "pulled the wool" over anybody's eyes- were not that dumb- we know the truth- and to try to say that because a horrible crime has been committed against her son- which it has- we shouldn't listen to what she has to say- isn't an attitude that's going to help either abused women or their offspring.

The brutal truth of the matter is that- Romantic Myth notwithstanding- women are human beings like the rest of us and they "crack" under extreme pressure and when they do awful things happen. It's not an excuse just an explanation.

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20kurtw(1538 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Comment One is a little over the top, I would say! A "victim", "no resources", come on!. There was help, she might have acted differently.

The brutal truth is that women are no different than men- when subjected to extreme pressure they usually react in a self-defensive way.

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21YtownParent(741 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

This article enraged me, and that is the biggest understatement of my life. I'm not very public about my childhood because a large chunk of it sucked. I suffered violent physical and sexual abuse at the hands of the person my parents trusted to care for me while they were at work. I will have medical issues because of that abuse for the rest of my life. Thankfully I didn't give up until I got proper treatment and the only real mental & emotional scar I have is a supreme disgust for anyone like Widdershiem who claims to be a victim in order to excuse their criminal acts.

Shame on the Vindicator for helping her shovel her load of horse manure. The facts of her case and how she covered up Bush's abuses and made excuses for him are well documented in the court records, as well as her facebook page which will remain live as long as the internet is around. Ernie Brown, you should be ashamed of yourself for not asking her tougher questions and for printing such an apologetic one sided piece. I hope the resources will help women who get into bad relationships, though you should have pointed out that their kids not a man should be their only concern. I'm befuddled that you didn't question her about Teddy's father at all and why she didn't ask him for help, or why you chose not to print those responses.

Why didn't you ask her about the lengths she went to keep Teddy's dad away from him? Why don't you interview Shawn Tedesco too? Why don't you print all the holes in the system that kept him from seeing his son and pulling Teddy from that environment? If that isn't the case and Shawn Tedesco wasn't impeded by the courts and law enforcement from seeing and helping his son, and he willingly abandoned him, then you need to print that.
At this point what Teddy's dad did or didn't do, and how the system failed him or wasn't used by him are the only unanswered questions in the case. It's just as important as single mothers knowing how to get away from a monster. Children's fathers also need to know what they can do and where they can turn to protect their children in cases like this.

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22mom4ever(2 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Here's what I know of the truth. Shawn (the dad) had no rights and sought no rights because he never wanted to pay child support. He did not support Teddy in any way.

He claims to be all high and mighty but was charged with theft himself about a decade ago. He plead guilty and got fines and probation. He's no killer but he's no model citizen either.

He was so distraught over the loss of his son that he got married about a month after his death.

I don't know if Shawn is just a publicity seeker or simply has a guilty conscience. His new wife certainly is out for publicity. She's always tooting her own horn about how much she loved Shawn. How is that possible? She would have never known him unless they dated over 4 years.

Shain's family had their hands tied legally but a REAL dad would have asserted his parental rights and paid child support. Legally Shawn Tedesco may have no liability but morally he had an obligation to his son that he failed to live up to.

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23southsidedave(5159 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Still a tragedy no matter how you look at it....there is only one judge, and we must all answer one day.

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24TeamTeddy(5 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

To whom it may concern:
I have read numerous comments on this site since my son passed away. And to tell you the truth i stay out of them. Because the a personal opinions and judgments. First things first i paid my child support so lets clear that up right now. I had rough spots in my life buy who hasnt? But i always made sure my debts were paid back. Problem is children are used as pawns when they shouldn't be. They should have the love of their parents. One thing i know is Teddy loved me. We had conversations on the phone. He always wanted to know why he didn't have my last name and to tell you the truth that was his moms decision and the reason why i didn't sign his birth certificate. And as a father i have that right. But when i think back on it, it was one of the dumbest decisions i have ever made. I made that decision when i was 17. And for that reason she blocked me from being at the hospital. Although i don't have to prove anything to anyone i feel that when it comes to not having ones facts straight i should say something. Some of the comments i have read are nothing short of classless. We started a vision back in February of last year to fight for stiffer penalties against child abuse and to change the system for our youth. I dont do this for guilt or press. I do it for Teddy and his memory. He deserves to be remembered for something great. And each negative comment takes away from that vision. I may have my haters but i will never quit. I dealt with Shains excuses for years. She has never admitted anything she ever did and she is not going to start now. I have never once claimed to be a perfect father. If you go on Teddys Law i'm pretty truthful on their. If you feel the need to put me down because you have a personal vendetta so be it. But one thing i am not is an abuser and a murder. AND IM NOT IN PRISON! I would never do that to anyone of my children because i actually have a heart. I just never was able to prove that to Teddy. If you don't believe i didn't pay child support thats on you but money is what held me back. Attorneys and court fees are pricey. and you cant afford one when you made 150 a week. This is all im going to post on this matter.

If you have any questions email me @ Teddyslaw@outlook.com

Shawn Tedesco

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25YtownParent(741 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

I'm glad you spoke up Shawn. There has been alot of accusations made, but none of them have any hard evidence to back them up. Your comments show one huge gaping hole in the system that needs to be fixed. There is no reason that a father paying support for their child should be kept away from them. The Child Support Agency that had no problem charging you a fee to take your support and then give it to the mother should have been making sure you got to see the child to. Their attitude of "Go get yourself a lawyer" is uncalled for and in my estimate pure laziness.

It is my understanding that CSA's are supposed to help either parent procure legal aid in those cases. I could be wrong and if I am then that is one change that any Teddy's Law legislation should encompass. By law the Ohio Revised Code defines support as contact and communication with a child as well as financial. It's a disgusting failure of the courts that anyone meeting their financial obligations to their child would have any impediments to seeing and communicating with their child. The system should be just as vigilant in making sure all other support is delivered as they are when it comes to financial support.

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26ambriella(6 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Please dont attempt to insult our intelligence. I dont believe your bunch of BS for a moment. You failed this child just like his mother. There is no excuse for not checking on the welfare of your son.Sadly, some children come into this world and they don't even have a chance. Unfortunately, your son was one of these children. You seem to have a lot of excuses but the cold hard truth is you are a day late and a dollar short. Unforgivable.

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27breezeyinpa(10 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

I really love how people are down talking behind anonomous screen names. Instead of putting the effort in being anonomous why dont people ban together and fight against the evilness that is out there. I guess that would be way too much to ask since people would have to come off their high horses and actually step away from the keyboard and screen names.

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28CountryGirl51(220 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

I completely agree with ambriella ! Where were you then all of the times he was being abused. First you said you did not know, then you said you did know but no one would do anything for you in this case. You go back and forth all the time ! I read your posts stating these things. So did you know or didnt you know ? you said you and your family knew, here you say you didnt know !

here are your words:

Teddy's Law The answer to your question Christy is no I didn't get to see him regularly. I never had enough money to go into court to get visitation because I support my other children. His mother would pull him in an out of my families life. Sad to say but I was waiting until he was 18 to establish a relationship with him. When his mother could not brainwash him anymore. But know that I am not perfect I made mistakes in his life. But I am man enough to admit my wrongs. But his mother never admitted hers. She played the victim until the very end. She even lies to him and said I didn't want him to have my last name. That's why as a tribute to Teddy I made his name Theodore A. Foltz-Tedesco. So the answer is I did not know he was being abused.

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29NilesOhio(901 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

I guess I'm quite old-schooled, but at what point did having kids sound like the right thing to do if you went in knowing you can't support them emotionally, physically and materially? That goes for both Shawn and Shain. They didn't even have a formal commitment to each other, yet they somehow thought having children was a good idea.

That lack of good judgment and ongoing poor choices created this whole situation which allowed Zaryl to wield the power he did over Shain. Zaryl Bush is the true monster here, but he's not the only one that carries the blame. Shain allowed her pride to keep her from going to her parents or Shawn for help. Shawn didn't have enough backbone to fight for his kids.

It seems that all you get is finger-pointing from both parents and even after all this time, neither takes responsibility. Since so many parents fall into this form of "parenting" I dread the future.

I'm a father of two wonderful children. If my wife/girlfriend tried to keep me away from my kids, I'd do everything in my legal power to get them back. There wouldn't be a day that went by that I wouldn't at least talk to them on the phone.

Unfortunately, the victim is almost always the children. And since children are the responsibility of BOTH father and mother, the blame rests squarely on both their shoulders regardless of how they fantasize about how it is somehow someone else's fault.

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30breezeyinpa(10 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Yet again ignorance spoken behind screen names. I am loving the classlessness shown on this site speaking against a father whose only agenda at this point is to fight against child abuse. Maybe with what Shawn is trying to accomplish he can save another child. Take the ignorance and lack of compassion somewhere else. This is a fight to help children not to talk ignorant lies about a griefing father who is trying to do right by his son.

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31NilesOhio(901 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

@BreezeInPA - "Ignorance and lack of compassion"?

If you want to take the liberal stance, let me ask you just one question: Where were all these people when Teddy was being abused?

Trying to pat them on the back and say it's somehow OK now doesn't change a thing.

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32breezeyinpa(10 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

As anyone can guess I am Shawn's wife, if you have not noticed I have been defending my husband because yes I do love him dearly. For the ignorant person who commented on the fact that we married less than a month after Teddy's death, that was not an easy decision. We decided to go forth with the planned nuptials because of two major reasons, first there were other children involved in the wedding that wanted to go forth to give them some sort of normalcy at that tragic time. Secondly the date was picked as an honor to loved ones who share an importance to that date. To all who participated in the lack of child support lie, Shawn has posted a paper proving the case is paid on Teddy's law Facebook page. Sad that a man had to defend himself against abunch of liars. All are welcome to go to the Teddy's law Facebook page to see this proof for yourself. Shawn is only trying to hold accountable an agency who failed to protect an innocent child not become famous. One day maybe you all could read the police reports and see for yourself the horror Zaryl Bush and Shain Widdersheim put ALL the kids thru, not just Teddy. Teddy's father is the only one stepping up against child abuse so it does not happen to another child, a child who could be close to your own heart.

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