Violence Victim Mother, Elise Folk, Hasn’t Seen Boys in Years, Prepares to Fight for Her Two Son’s as Her Divorce and Custody Trial Looms…
By US~Observer Staff
Clark County, WA – The abuse is said to have started long before the 911 call was made on the early evening of March 1st, 2019. That night, Elise Folk reports, she was afraid for her life, and the lives of her three children – an older daughter, from a previous relationship, and her two young sons. The events that followed ended with Duane Folk, Elise’s husband, being arrested and charged through District Court with acts of Domestic Violence (DV) on her and the children. A 5-year emergency DV protection order (no contact by Duane) was put in place. This should have been the beginning of the end for Duane Folk’s abuse, but for Elise and the kids, the nightmare was just beginning, reportedly aided by the very system that is supposed to protect them.
Over the next few weeks, Duane filed for divorce and custody of their two sons in Superior Court, reportedly lying through omission on the section of the petition for marriage dissolution where it asks about other existing court cases involving the children. The form clearly asks about criminal cases and protection orders. It is said that because of Duane’s deceptive filing, and that Elise Folk was not properly notified and served a notice of appearance, on 4/10/2019, Superior Court Commissioner Jennifer Snider moved forward approving Duane’s parenting plan and family law order.
Did Snider check to see if Duane’s petition was factual? You would think that courts would verify the information before issuing a ruling, as a protection from people trying to weaponize the system.
Snider’s order granted Duane temporary primary residential parent of the couple’s two sons. However, there was a catch. The children were still protected by an emergency five-year DV protective order in District Court because of Duane’s criminal case.
On 4/16/2019, just over a month-and-a-half after Duane’s alleged violent, drunken attack on his family, Judge Kristen Parcher removed the DV protection order for the two boys, against the wishes of the prosecutor and the other victims. This ruling immediately granted temporary custody of the boys to Duane, a man charged with acts of violence that the boys experienced and witnessed.
How is that for witness protection? Do you think that having custody of these young boys would give Duane the ability to coerce their testimony? I do, as any rational person would. But because the family law order came from the Superior Court, Judge Parcher went along with it, going against all objections.
In 2021, Duane Folk pled GUILTY in this case to the lesser charges of assault and malicious mischief offered to him in a sweetheart plea deal – a far cry from the domestic violence charges he was clearly accused of committing.
Now, over four years since the boys were ripped away from their mother, the boys are still with Duane Folk. Elise has not been able to see them for several years, and all the maternal family members are reported to essentially be barred from the children’s lives.
Duane continues to have issues with people in his life. He lost his job with the US Government job at Bonneville Power for being AWOL. Another four people have protective orders involving him, including several neighbors claiming he has harassed them. It has also been reported that he continues to drink and has tested positive for methamphetamine.
Having previously been a stay-at-home mother and currently having real medical issues, Elise has been financially forced to represent herself in the divorce and custody case. According to her, “Ever since the Superior Court wouldn’t uphold the domestic violence protection order, and gave custody of my two sons, one with special needs, to a father who has abuse on his record, I haven’t trusted the system to do what is right.”
It is clear through court records that Elise has stated on the record, repeatedly for years, that Duane Folk should not have been allowed to take custody of his sons as there was a lawful protective order in place in a criminal proceeding. There is no disputing this matter of fact and according to the letter of the law, she’s correct.
“The courts had no interest in the best interest of my children. They are not following the law in their own courtroom.” –Elise Folk
On September 7, 2023, Elise and Duane Folk are set to complete their divorce trial to in part determine permanent custody of their sons. Let us hope for the children’s sake that Judge Gregory Gonzales is really paying attention. If not, he will have much to account for.