By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Each was accused of withholding visitation and bad-mouthing the other parent. "My dad says that she does not care about us," one child told a therapist. After hearing Diamond repeatedly say negative things about San Soucie in front of the children, a friend pulled her aside and pointed out that her comments were inappropriate.
Diamond initially approved of Blotcky's treatment. San Soucie complained that "Susan was just getting her way again," but Blotcky got him to accept the diagnosis and Daniel's need for medication. Blotcky, however, couldn't persuade him to talk to his ex-wife. San Soucie insisted on communicating with her only by fax. "He isn't focused on Daniel but instead on mo[ther] & his anger and resentment of mo[ther]," Blotcky wrote.
Blotcky recommended that Diamond be the children's sole managing conservator with standard visitation by San Soucie. "She has been responsible in all our many contacts, though she was initially very overwrought by the loss of her marriage, the divorce, litigation, and ongoing fight for what she felt was appropriate medical care for [Daniel]...She has made considerable progress in decreasing her anxiety...
"It is critical that Rick San Soucie and Susan Diamond learn to communicate without hostile criticism, threats, and a complete deflection of the issues away from their children's needs."
But the two seemed locked in acrimony. Diamond was blasted for relatively minor infractions, like returning Stephen 30 minutes late from visitation. San Soucie got a pass for his, like the time he withheld the children from their mother on Mother's Day, took them to the movies and sat in a different theater to see a movie by himself.
And their anger was picked up by the children, especially Daniel and Stephen, who felt like "the messenger boy."
Even on medication, Daniel continued to act out. On September 30, Blotcky received a note from Gloria Mosley, one of Diamond's caregivers. "[Daniel]'s dangerous and threatening behavior--a knife on 9/29, forcing her to run into the bathroom & lock the door. Incident began w/ Daniel biting [Rebecca]. Also talked of killing himself."
By October, Daniel was calmer, less impulsive and less angry. But his disorder proved very difficult to treat. In the spring of 2000, Daniel's behavior was so disruptive he was in danger of being expelled from school.
"Even as this letter is being typed I am returning your phone call Susan about Akiba's recommendation that he needs hospitalization, so the seriousness of his illness is pressing us to gain control," Blotcky wrote to each parent. San Soucie was alarmed, believing Daniel didn't need to be hospitalized.
Their assets were divided, and the divorce was finalized on August 29, 2000. Their mediated agreement gave Diamond primary custody of the kids. Almost immediately, San Soucie filed a motion to challenge the custody arrangement.
When Diamond's housekeeper Margarita Aljasar picked up the kids from school, Daniel kept chanting, "I have a special job to do today. I know what I have to do." When Aljasar asked what he meant, Daniel said, "Well, I can't tell you."
According to Aljasar's later testimony, when they got home, the rest of the kids got ready to go to their father's home for visitation. But Daniel went into the kitchen and got two big knives from a knife block in a cabinet. Holding one in each hand, Daniel began running around the house, ignoring Aljasar's demand that he put down the knives.
When Diamond arrived home, Aljasar said, Daniel raced to her. "Look, Mom, I got the two biggest knives. You told me I could use these." Eyes wide, Diamond said, "I never told you any such thing. Put those knives back."
"No, I'm going to kill my dad," Daniel yelled. "I want to kill my dad. I'm going to kill my dad. He destroyed our lives and he needs to go away."
Aljasar said that Diamond went after him, saying, "[Daniel], come here, come here." But the boy ran out the front door behind his siblings, who were walking out to meet San Soucie. A screaming, out-of-control Daniel charged out of his mother's house wielding a carving knife in each hand and began slashing at his father's car and nearby bushes. After a few scary minutes, San Soucie was able to get the knives away. Daniel returned to the house, grabbed another knife and again charged his dad. San Soucie again took the knife and left with the other kids, leaving Daniel, who'd finally calmed down, at home.
The housekeeper described Diamond as a good mother and said she'd never seen any problems with the other children. But Diamond did say negative things about San Soucie to the children, Aljasar said.
Most damaging, the housekeeper said that Diamond "pointed at" the cabinet that held the knife block when Daniel ran back in the house, as if encouraging him to attack his father. Diamond denied that, saying she ran into the back yard, "afraid for my life." She points out that soon after giving her testimony, Aljasar went to work for San Soucie.
The knife incident alarmed Blotcky, who was already annoyed by Diamond second-guessing him about the boy's medications, according to Blotcky's notes. Concerned about the side effects, Diamond pestered him about blood tests, about dosage, about Daniel's weight loss.