The Frustration of Legalities and Identity

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My life has never been simple even before the legal authorities decided to label me as ‘Treva Throneberry’ in 2001 (see my other blogs–Brianna Kenzie Living Outloud and Kinship).

In November of 1998 I was a teenager that realized that in order to get a job and take care of myself that I needed to have a birth record, and a social security number to do so. I was desperate and wanted nothing more than to take care of myself, to not have to depend on anyone. So, I went to an Agency and asked them if they could help me find my grandparents (my Memaw and Papaw). I could remember only a little bit about them because I’d not seen them since my mom died when I was a young child.

They were willing to help me and for that I will always be grateful even though all it lead to was dead ends.

I told them everything that I could recall about my life however it was my earliest memories they were most interested in.

One consistent memory I have is of a man named Bruce that carried me out of my room and down stairs to his car in the middle of the night. It was dark outside; the night lights in my room and hallway had been on. When he picked me up from my bed, he wrapped the blue blanket from my bed over me. I could barely see the nightlights as he carried me out of the house. I don’t know where I was, what town I lived in–I was young, maybe three, maybe four. I don’t know.

Bruce drove a beige Volkswagen Bug. He put me on the floor behind his drivers seat after he carried me out of my room. He was not a nice man. He eventually handed me over to my mom. I knew her. She’d visited me at the house where Bruce had taken me from. I’ve no idea why she hadn’t been the one that had been raising me.

Due to that memory, the people at the Agency that was helping me told me that I could be likely have been kidnapped. I didn’t think so but I’d asked them to help me and I chose to trust them.

Then one day, they asked me to go to the Red Cross with them so that they could take a blood sample from me. All I was told was that I matched the description of a little girl that had gone missing when she was four. I went with them and gave my blood for the DNA testing. My blood was to be compared to the missing child’s mother’s blood they said. I had a lot of questions but they said that they couldn’t answer me ‘right now’.

Shortly after giving my blood for the DNA testing, the FBI entered my life. As per standard procedure, they questioned me and took my fingerprints to see if they were on ‘file’ in their law enforcement database. They said this was what they did in every missing child investigation. I cooperated. They found no record of my fingerprints as a Juvenile or Adult. This was in 1998.

Somewhere towards the end of December of 1998 the Agency that was helping me originally finally told me the identity of who they thought I was likely to be. When they showed me a picture of the little four year old girl, I knew immediately that it was not me. AND I told them so. I also called the FBI Agent and told her that I had been shown a picture of the little missing girl and that I was not her. I knew what I looked like when I was little and that little girl was not me.

When the Agency and the FBI insisted that we wait until the DNA results came back, I called the contact name listed on the little girls case info on the missing child site. He was aware of what was going on with the Agency and the FBI and told me that he was just waiting to hear back about the DNA Results. He also asked me a ton of questions. I told him that I wasn’t the little girl and that I had also told the original Agency helping me and the FBI Agent that I wasn’t the missing little girl. He too insisted that we ‘sit tight’ until the DNA Results came back.

In early Spring of 1999, the FBI Agent asked me if I’d go to the State that the missing girl was from and meet her family. I refused to do that because I knew that I wasn’t the missing child they were looking for. The FBI Agent threatened to make me go anyways and I still adamantly refused. I was not forced to go.

In April of 1999, I called the FBI Agent and she informed me that the DNA Test Results had came back and that they had decided that I wasn’t the missing child they were looking for. I was so relieved! I was tired of being treated like a piece of gum under the FBI Agents shoe. This meant the FBI were out of my life. They’d been nice at first but then started treating me as if I were withholding information from them, many times they told me to “Just admit already that I’m the missing girl” so we could all move on”. I refused to lie.

In 2000 a lawyer was on board to help me with getting my legal paperwork settled. I needed a birth record and a social security number in order to be able to work and take care of myself. I wanted a future. I asked the FBI Agent for confirmation that I’d cooperated with them in the Missing Child Investigation and she refused saying that since I wasn’t the missing child that nothing in her case file was mine. I wasn’t asking for the missing child’s file. However, my DNA test and cooperation etc…was evidently in the missing child’s case file. The lawyer asked for it too and was refused as well.

So, having no choice, I took a Greyhound Bus to Montana, the State where the missing child was from, and asked them for a letter stating that I’d cooperated in the investigation and that the DNA Test Results said that I was not the missing girl. They wrote me a letter to confirm it all. I stayed in that state for two weeks. A local Sheriff Deputy allowed me to stay in his home. He was nice to me and answered a lot of my questions that I had concerning why they all thought I was this missing girl in the first place. It was good to have answers.

He also told me the name of the FBI Agent in that state that was in charge of the investigation. He recommended that I call him for more answers, so I did. The Agent there was nice to me and I can say that not all FBI Agents are jerks. He was professional and didn’t treat me like a piece of gum under his shoe. He had quite a few questions for me which I answered.

One question I had for the FBI Agent was that I ‘d always wondered why it took 5 months for the DNA Test Results to come back. He said that the DNA Test Results were in the high 90’s percentile that I could of been the missing child and that it took some time for them to decide to rule me out.

I also found out that it wasn’t that I resembled the missing little four year old girl from 1983 so much, but that I resembled her mother. Her mother had died sometime around 1995. I understood when I was told this— a teenager could resemble her mother a lot.

The missing little girl from 1983 was last seen on a family outing. A 13 year old child at the scene when the little girl went missing, later reported that she remembered seeing the little girl being carried in a blanket to a blue Volkswagen Bug by an Unknown man. Some children also reported seeing an Unknown man talking to the missing girl.

It was interesting to learn why everyone had thought that I was the missing child from 1983. I have natural brown hair, blue eyes and a small scar under my chin. I was told the missing child had brown hair, blue eyes and a scar under her chin too. So, our appearance similarities along with the vehicle type is what linked her and I (I was wrapped in a blue blanket and taken by a man in a beige Volkswagen bug and she had been wrapped in a blanket–and taken by a man in a Blue Volkswagen Bug). They were all only coincidences. I will never forget that missing child and am saddened that she is still missing. I always remember to pray for the missing child and her family.

The lawyer and I proceeded on towards getting my legal paperwork situation remedied. When the FBI refused to give him my fingerprint background information from 1998, he sent me to a guy who did fingerprint background checks. I was once again fingerprinted (in December of 2000). When the results came back in early 2001, the lawyer called and told me that he wouldn’t help me anymore. He told me to go get the background report from the guy and I’d understand why.

My fingerprints came back under the name of Treva Joyce Thronberry with an arrest date of September 1996 from Altoona, PA. I was baffled and the guy told me to go and talk to the FBI. He said they could sort it out.

If you recall—in November 1998 through April 1999 the FBI were investigating to see if I was the missing girl. They took my fingerprints in 1998 and ran it through the National Data base and didn’t find any record under my fingerprints in the Juvenile or Adult database.

I went to the FBI and spoke to an Agent on Duty. He remembered my case and said that they would have known in 1998 if there was an arrest record on me. He said that there was no arrest on record anywhere on me in 1998. He said that it was definitely a computer error. He did some checking and the Computerized Electronic Fingerprint System that was noted to have taken the fingerprints from the person arrested in 1996 was not in official use at that time in that County in Altoona, PA.

He said that obviously, the computer system had made a mistake and mixed up the person’s fingerprints that was arrested in 1996 with my fingerprints. He said that it would take some time for him to clear it up.

He also said that they knew that I wasn’t the person arrested in Altoona, PA in 1996 and that maybe the person there had been my mother. He said that maybe she hadn’t died when I was young like I had thought. He said that once he cleared up the fingerprint issue that he had some questions for her.

I had told a couple trusted individuals about the fingerprint report and my conversation with the FBI Agent. Evidently, one of them decided to not believe me and spoke with the local authorities. The next thing I knew, I was labeled as Treva Joyce Throneberry and arrested, basing the identity thing at that time on March 23rd, 2001 on the 1996 Altoona, PA arrest record of Stephanie Danielle Lewis. (See other two blogs Brianna Kenzie Living Out loud and Kinship). Lewis was accused of being Treva Joyce Throneberry in 1996. The computer glitch issue mixed her prints up with mine in the National Law Enforcement Database. Neither one of us are Treva Joyce Throneberry.

The FBI never cleared up the mix up with my fingerprints and when I wanted to call them as a witness in court the Judge refused to allow it saying the FBI had better use of their time elsewhere. I would also like to note that the FBI’s lack of action, allowed me to not only be labeled as someone I wasn’t but allowed me to be falsely prosecuted and convicted.

It’s hard to just move on and forget about the legal mess that happened to me in 2001. If the FBI had of simply fixed the computer error in 2001 then my being labeled falsely in 2001, my being arrested in 2001 and the abuse I’d endured while I was in jail in 2001 would have never happened.

I’d like to say I’m over it but I can hardly say that when I legally have to use Treva Throneberry’s identity and social security number to work. Yes, I did a legal name change in 2005 changing her name and my name to Brianna Kenzie but I’m still forced to legally use her date of birth, her social security number until the State says otherwise. If the State never says otherwise…worse case is, I get to retire from work in 17 years instead of 30 something years…

Treva Throneberry would have turned 50 on May 18th, 2019. I am only in my 30’s. I’ve been stripped of the legal right to use my own birthday. I still celebrate my birthday (December 22nd) with my friends and family but legally I am required to use Treva’s birthday on legal documents and etc. It’s still flat out frustrating and depressing at times, not because of the 16 to 18 year age gap between us, but simply because her birthday and birth year are not my own.

Why can’t I simply be allowed to be myself legally? I’m not Treva. I’m kin to Treva.

3 thoughts on “The Frustration of Legalities and Identity

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