The following story is written from the perspective of Elizabeth Frazier’s parents.
Elizabeth Frazier is an amazing individual, and we are definitely impressed by the strength and advocacy that pours from the heart of our daughter. Her phenomenal strengths have made her an activist in defense of all people who have been victims of abuse, most recently victims of sex trafficking. Hero Bands, her creation, has strengthened those who benefit from the power of a word to encourage them in their distress. The wrist bands act as reminders that no one is ever alone in their struggles.
We are Elizabeth Frazier’s parents. We love our daughter. We have always loved her and treated her with respect and delight. Here, we will tell her story from our own point of view; providing a glimpse into the real life of the individual who would one day carry her message of strength, love, joy, encouragement, and hope to any who might seek it. Her innate goodness has been radiant. It is her firm foundation that makes her work today possible.
Elizabeth was born on a warm autumn day, the ninth of nine children. She was a beautiful child from the beginning, and a sweeter baby was nowhere to be found. She was celebrated by family and friends as a welcome female child to help balance the influence of seven older brothers and only one sister. Her middle name, Joy, is a reflection of the favorable greeting we offered our baby girl in the family!
As a young child she was doted over by her parents and siblings, being held, comforted and played with almost every waking moment. As her mother, I treasured my time to get up with her for nighttime feedings because I had her all to myself. I rocked her and sang to her while feeding and cuddling her as only a loving mother can. We definitely considered our daughter a lovely miracle, and were very grateful that she had come to join our family.
As Elizabeth grew, she continued to thrive in the attention of family, and added friends to her list of significant people. Being real is something we value, and Elizabeth definitely had the ability to speak about what she liked and needed. As much as she loved the family, she found friends equally important in her life. She wanted and needed a crowd of friends around her as often as possible, since life at home was made up of so many brothers. All through elementary school, it was common for her teachers in every grade to comment on the priority of her social life. We frequently hosted her little friends for lunch and play time, and she was invited to their homes as often. It was a happy, active season.
From her earliest years, Elizabeth’s family activities included singing, musicals, plays and parades, camping, studying, and athletics. Self-expression was encouraged by offering a wide range of options that might interest her, including piano and dance lessons, performing, swimming, basketball, bicycling, and more. But the talent she loved most was playing soccer. A natural athlete, soccer became her favorite pastime. With her older brothers as her coaches, and many close friends on the team, she thrived on the soccer field. Many memorable hours were spent at her practices, games, and camps. Cheering for her was a family affair, and offered happiness to all of us. Those were such great times.
We have to add her intense love for dogs, Dalmatians in particular. Because I, as her mother, wasn’t raised with dogs and lacked a natural affection for them, I was very reluctant to welcome such a big breed into our family. I also doubted that the devoted care that the children promised to give the pet would last very long and that it would leave me to take care of another body in the family. But the persuasions of Elizabeth won me over at long last, and we became the owners of a beautiful female Dalmatian which she named Tawna. Although the dog ran through the house and yard with more energy than I could ever have imagined, the enjoyment of seeing our daughter so happy was compensation enough for the added commotion. One of Elizabeth’s older brothers even agreed to help her raise a litter of puppies, so we experienced that adventure as well. It was a hard-working season marked by our youngest child loving her pet and wearing a Disney Dalmatian hat every single day. She was unabashedly and uniquely herself!
Let’s be real. There were a ton of hard things that inconveniently disrupted our family during all the activity that was everyday life with nine children. Aging parents grew older and needed care and companionship. Eventually they passed away, as did an aunt who suffered with cancer for a year. Elizabeth’s maternal grandmother suffered from bi-polar disorder in the days when medications were experimental and controlling the illness was an ever-present challenge. The strain of grandma’s illness was a major contributing factor in the early death of Elizabeth’s grandfather, and as a result one uncle and Elizabeth’s mother became the primary caregivers for that grandmother for 23 years until her death in 2003. The opportunity to learn empathy, non-judgment, and unconditional love definitely presented itself to the entire household during those years. You see, Grandma lived in a reality that told her there were men living in the ceiling of her room in the care facility where she resided. The men terrified her because she said they were waiting to take her away with them to cook and clean and have sex with them. The sad mental state of Grandma became accepted by everyone as a psychogenic reality with no foundation in true reality. But we loved Grandma and did our best to distract and comfort her. She entertained us with her wonderful ragtime piano playing, and enjoyed it when we sang along. When her medications were well balanced, she told funny jokes, recited poetry, and taught the children how to play disruptive games at the dinner table. All in all, we loved her tenderly and considered it a privilege – and sometimes a challenge – to care for her during this time.
Family vacations were outrageously exciting! For decades we traveled in a motor home to see our country. From sea to shining sea we drove, camped, played games, did puzzles, played in parks to release extra energy, and stood in awe of beaches, battlefields, waterfalls, national parks and amusement parks. One year we even cooked Thanksgiving dinner in our motor home and devoured it at a picnic table in Walt Disney World. We could never forget the Mark Twain Cave in Hannibal or the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
These were also developmental years for Elizabeth as her siblings left for college, embarked on various adventures, and married with the passing of time. It wasn’t long before Elizabeth was the aunt of several little ones, a role which she relished. One tradition that she especially enjoyed was dressing up in a costume for Halloween and taking the band of little people trick-or-treating. She was old enough to be responsible, and at the same time young enough to laugh and play with them. It was no wonder that the children loved her so much.
As parents we watched our family grow, and we wanted more than anything to create a gathering place for us to spend time together as the years passed. Wyoming’s rivers, mountains, and majestic national parks attracted our attention. After purchasing some land, we spent an entire year building a cabin where we could escape the hectic schedules of city life. Many friends and family participated in the venture. “Many hands make light work!” was our slogan. Even a girl wearing a Dalmatian hat had contributions to make!
Until Elizabeth was seventeen and a senior in high school, we had no idea that she was struggling. She seemed fully engaged in life, both with our family and in her own personal endeavors. On an occasional free hour with nothing in particular to do, we still turned our favorite music up loud in the kitchen and did outrageous silly dances, which I saw as glorious moments of self-expression and connection. We still laughed and cried together, studied together (this lasted clear into college), baked cookies to distribute to neighbors, planned schedules, and enjoyed each other in general. Although we were acutely aware that none of us was perfect, we seemed to set aside imperfections as merely human, and carried on with a diversely busy life.
No one guessed until 2003 that something was going wrong in Elizabeth’s life. It was difficult to interest her in life skills such as cooking or cleaning. She lost interest in her schoolwork, and although she had been a good student previously, she began to struggle. It was during this time that we first observed her withdrawing from the family. Her mood became more subdued, and one of her peers pointed out to us that she was engaging in self-harm.
We worried that death was the root of her difficulty. Following an intense period of time when our family lost several loved ones to death, including three grandparents, a baby grandson, three members of a family who were close friends to us, two suicides, and in 2002 the tragic death of one of Elizabeth’s friends in an automobile accident – her mood shift to depression and her withdrawal concerned us deeply. She rejected our efforts to let her express herself about it, and began spending a lot of time away from home. On two occasions when we didn’t know where she was, we found her at a cemetery, sitting at her friend’s graveside. With concern we observed that our efforts to help her return to the happy person we had known her to be were failing.
After a few challenging months of tutoring her every night so that she would graduate from high school, the focus of Elizabeth’s trouble shifted. Without going into detail, she began accusing boys and men of rape. We believed her and were incensed! The entire family joined in the effort to right the wrongs that she had suffered. One by one, and over time, upon investigating the claims – including taking her to the police – it was determined that these events were not real. In November of 2006, Elizabeth sent a letter of apology to one of the accused. The stories became so sensational that even her friends, young and old, were suspicious that the accusations could not possibly be true. While protecting the names of those who have spoken to us, we firmly state that there are records that we can share regarding this frightful season of our lives with Elizabeth.
During the traumatic weeks of her rape accusations, Elizabeth was jogging one evening when she became frightened. She ran to the house of our next door neighbor who was a good friend and a licensed therapist. Out of breath from running and from fear, Elizabeth made claims of rape to our neighbor. Within hours the neighbor came to talk to us as Elizabeth’s parents. Sitting in our front room, this concerned neighbor who was also a respected professional told us that in her opinion Elizabeth was exhibiting classic symptoms of child sexual abuse! This was unbelievable to us! We were shocked! We were incensed! Could this be true? There was no option to consider other than believing this terrible news!
Immediately we telephoned another neighbor and good friend whose child evidentially had been molested by evil pedophiles near our neighborhood years earlier. She gave us the name and phone number of a very well-known and experienced therapist who had helped her child through the trauma, and suggested that this therapist might be able to help Elizabeth, too. So we called him immediately and set up an appointment. This was the beginning of many years of psychotherapy for our sweet daughter who we came to realize may have been damaged by evil doers years previously without our knowledge or even any suspicion. The entire family submitted to therapy sessions in order to try to uncover the truth about what may have happened to her so that she could safely be led to a place of healing.
For a long time it was unclear exactly what may have happened to Elizabeth. Her therapist was able to identify what he believed was the source of possible abuse; a group of individuals led by a man who had lived near our neighborhood. His name was David Drake. He has since passed away.
The thing that was so confusing to us was that she didn’t display any symptoms of possible abuse as a child. She never told us or her siblings or her friends that bad things had happened to her. She seemed to live a normal integrated life. Only beginning in her senior year of high school did symptoms appear, and they came on with a vengeance. Not until our therapist neighbor came to talk to us did we know what we were seeing in Elizabeth’s behavior. We had spent months trying to figure it out and help her. It was our neighbor who helped to put the likely scenario together for us.
A well-respected therapist worked with her for many months. His initial diagnosis included the possibility of multiple personalities, bi-polar illness, and other mental disorders typical of abused children. We have volumes of notes from her therapy, and newspaper articles about a man who may have led a ring of child abusers in our area and effectively took the daughter we knew as joyful and loving away from us. From the moment all those years ago to this very day, we have suffered deeply with her and longed for her to find healing. The entire family has suffered, because no one is free of pain until we are all free of pain.
Elizabeth’s journey was complicated by marriage, children of her own, at least one psychiatric hospitalization that we know of, a move to another state, and long periods of separation from us at her own and her husband’s request. According to a written statement by one of Elizabeth’s cousins, her husband Michael Frazier was concerned enough about Elizabeth’s mental health that he took her to a hospital in Provo, Utah sometime in 2006 or ’07.
A letter dated October 19, 2008 which was sent to every member of our immediate family and was signed, “With love, Elizabeth, Michael, Maxwell and Baby Frazier” reads in part:
“Over the past several months, Elizabeth has had recurrent flashbacks that . . . family . . . (was) involved in her . . . abuse. . . . Just know that to Elizabeth they are real. . . . We have come to the conclusion that . . . we will need to cut all ties with the . . . family until Michael finishes medical school. . . . We will not be in contact by phone, mail, e-mail or in person visits. We expect you to respect that decision and not try to contact us in any way. . . . We know this will come as a hard blow and a shock to the family. It is natural for you to wonder why we are doing this and to question our decision. However, we ask you not to question the decision. We need you to trust us and respect our decision and to avoid trying to talk us out of our decision. . . .”
A year later, in October, 2009 we were sent an email which read in part: “In addition to not contacting us directly, we now request that you not contact those who have any contact with us, either personally or through (other means). . . . We need it to stop now. Thank you for your compliance with our request. Elizabeth and Mike”
For years that followed, with one brief exception, we had no contact with the Fraziers or from anyone we know who has contact with them. Even some of our own children can’t to talk with us because they choose to have contact with Elizabeth and Mike, which requires no contact with us. It’s heartbreaking for all involved. We were completely cut out of their lives with no personal explanation.
In 2018 we heard that Elizabeth had been a speaker at an event sponsored by a foundation that advocates against child sex trafficking. Someone we know had attended the event and heard Elizabeth’s talk. This was the first time in our lives that we had heard any sort of claim about sex trafficking. Knowing that the claim had no foundation in truth, we worried about her state of mind and how she had arrived at such an unexpected place. During our years of separation, we had hoped that she was healing and facing life with courage and strength. It was our firm opinion that the five young Frazier children needed the care and attention of their parents in order to get a good start in life. Hopeful that our respect of their strict and mysterious boundaries would provide enough mental and emotional stability for Elizabeth to succeed in her role as a mother, we’ve suffered through a separation that has gone on for years and seems like it might go on forever. We only hoped and prayed that it would help her.
Now we realize that her stories have taken a dramatic and unexpected turn to the extreme. For the sake of all who are affected by this false narrative, we publicly speak out in adamant denial of the claims she has made against us. In addition, we announce that we have never stalked the Fraziers, disrespected their demand for separation, or threatened them or their children or property. We have never been charged with these hideous deeds because they are untrue.
She needs help to face the truth.
One final note: The day before we received the October 2008 letter, both Elizabeth’s father and I received a telephone call from her. She called her father at work and me in Boise, Idaho where I was visiting our eldest daughter. The separate conversations with each of us were very similar, and the pleading in her voice moved us to tears.
This is the substance of what Elizabeth said to us:
- I’m just calling to say, “I love you.”
- (Her father and I each responded with “I love you, too.”)
- I mean I REALLY love you.
- (We really love you, too, Elizabeth.)
- Promise me that you’ll always remember that I love you.
- (Of course we’ll remember that. You remember that we love you, too.)
- I really mean it. Promise me NO MATTER WHAT that you’ll remember that I love you.
- (Okay. No matter what.)
- Promise me.
- (I promise. Is there anything else that you want to say?)
- No. That was it.
- (Okay. Well, we should probably hang up then.)
- NO. NOT YET. Don’t hang up yet.
- (Okay. What do you want to talk about?)
- I don’t know. I just don’t want to hang up yet.
- (Okay, we won’t hang up.)
- Promise me you’ll always remember?
- (Yes, Elizabeth. I promise.)
- (Okay. Bye. I love you.)
- Love you, too. Bye.
The following day we got the first letter of separation. We cried hard.
Just so you know Elizabeth, we still remember. And we love you, too. NO MATTER WHAT!