Case against Shannon Wilfong settledPosted by Jack Howser on Tuesday, September 20th, 2011 @ 8:21 pm.
FRANKLIN CO.---Enduring the Franklin County legal hellhole of lawyers, prosecutors and judges who are thicker than thieves over the subjects of dope, sexuality or other vices, as well as blatant lies about the facts in the case and the still-present fear that her son is subject to molestation, Shannon Wilfong entered her plea yesterday in the matter that's been dubbed "the boy-in-the-wall" case.
Wilfong, now 32, has been enduring the nightmare since September 2007, when authorities raided her mother's (Diane Dobbs') home in rural Franklin in order to find the boy Shannon had with part-time correctional officer/full-time punk, Mike Chekevdia. The two had been in an ongoing fight over custody of the boy almost since the day he was born, with Wilfong finding Chek impossible to live with, and his 'parenting skills' somewhat bizarre, to say the least (the entire thing is covered in the February 2010 issue of Disclosure, which is still available at Graf Ink Printing in Harrisburg).
In fact, things grew so bizarre that Wilfong began to suspect that her child was being either sexually molested or exposed to sexual activity, this derived from behavior he was showing at an extremely early age. Child services became involved in the case and almost immediately advised that they believed the boy was being abused or exposed in some way.
Steps were beginning to be taken to protect the boy in a founded case of abuse when Chek, and members of his family who are influential with the political system and others in Franklin County who can affect such matters, found out what was happening and put a stop to it. The child services group who had issued the report immediately withdrew it and claimed they were "mistaken." One person within the group, having a conscience, advised Wilfong that their agency "couldn't fight against the people Chekevdia brought in to change the decision" and the horror began anew...complete with a photo Wilfong was able to obtain from Chek's home that showed a toddler-age Ricky Chekevdia eating from a metal popcorn bowl, and a reflection in that bowl of an erect penis, presumably belonging to the person who shot the photo.
When no authorities wanted to listen---and even refused to look at the hard evidence, such as the photo and the initial, unadulterated child services report---Wilfong felt she had no choice but to go into hiding with her son, a decision she didn't take lightly. She kept him at her mother's house in the rural Elkville location, where he had a normal life and even went to visit other family members and was homeschooled at the age of 5.
However, Chek, being the belligerent, controlling person he is, had hired investigators to take back what he perceived was his. And when Wilfong's relatives, in trouble of their own doing, decided to rat her out, Chek called authorities who swarmed the rural house. Wilfong had devised a hiding place for herself and Ricky, an eaves-overhang attic which was being utilized for storage, in case Chek or someone on his behalf entered the house, and it had only been used once before, when a private investigator had come to inquire of Dobbs. Now, state police officials found Wilfong and her son hiding in the attic, and took Ricky away from her, and Wilfong, her mother and her mother's boyfriend, Robert Sandefur, to jail.
In the ensuing melee the three were charged with felony counts of concealing a child, child endangerment and obstructing justice. However, the worst part of the whole thing was not just that Ricky was now back in the custody of his father, but that authorities were making hay out of the hiding place, claiming that Wilfong had "kept" her boy within the walls of the house in what was described as a 'crawlspace,' such description leading people who didn't know the story to believe Wilfong had stashed Ricky away behind lath and plaster and kept him like a prisoner in the walls of the house...the furthest thing from the truth. Even those among ISP's most excellent investigators, such as Stanton Diggs, perpetuated the falsehood that Wilfong and her family were keeping the boy as a hostage and treating him cruelly.
This carried over to judge Melissa Drew, who at times chastised Wilfong from the bench over acts that never happened, all the while openly fawning over Chek in the courtroom; then-prosecutor Tom Dinn, who actually injured Dobbs during one discussion of the case by pushing her down in anger; and attorney after attorney set to represent Wilfong, each of them bowing out, telling her that they "couldn't fight the Franklin County machine."
Wilfong, being made out to be the pariah in the case by complicit mainstream media, who hung on every word out of Tom Dinn's mouth, was portrayed in the worst light possible, photographed poorly and intentionally so, and her words in the courtroom taken out of context for news articles.
It wasn't until Disclosure went to the house in question and did interviews at length with Wilfong, Dobbs and Sandefur did the problems become clear: Dobbs knew first-hand of drug involvement among attorneys in Franklin and Williamson counties, and the threats certain ones were making harkened back to the time when Dobbs tended bar in many of the very dives that the attorneys, several of them closet case gays, went to indulge in cocaine and other drug activity. Further, Chek's family members were well-connected in little-known state agencies and were pulling strings to ensure that Chek was made out to be the hero in the whole matter, even though he had lied to the press telling them he was a police officer, and was trying to keep his dallyings into suspect activity while in the military out of the eyes and ears of the public.
Once the news of Dobbs' connections with the attorneys, and of Chek's questionable behavior while on active duty, was brought out in print, much of the pressure against Wilfong and Dobbs slacked off. Dinn was, frighteningly enough, made judge in Franklin, and Evan Owens, hardly a capable attorney much less prosecutor, was tapped to take his place, and negotiations began to bring about a quiet close to the Wilfong/Chekevdia case.
Ultimately, Wilfong, demanding a jury trial, was able to reach an agreement with the prosecution and Sept. 19, settled for a misdemeanor plea of obstructing justice, as did her mom; charges against Sandefur were dismissed completely. Wilfong had not been allowed to see her son for four months, authorities keeping him from her in an apparent attempt at getting her to plead.
An early term of any agreement that had been on the table was that Wilfong not discuss her story with anyone. We don't know if that's still the case. However, the truth of the matter is now out there, with Franklin County's media, and the stranglehold the local authorities have on it, broken in early 2010 by Disclosure's full article, complete with massive amounts of photos showing where exactly Ricky was hidden (and how it couldn't have been what officials were saying it was in 2009). This morning, our favorite Southern Illinoisan reporter Becky Malkovich actually reported the truth of the matter, not repeating the patented "boy-in-the-wall" drivel devised by officials and media early on, showing that the truth wins out in the end.
The only hope now is that somehow, Ricky Chekevdia doesn't end up like his father or the father's sick family, in which there are a number of child molesters and reportedly even murderers, including Scott Vreeland and people with the last name of Perrequet, those ones being so full of hubris that they have threatened physical violence against people who dared to mention the name "Perrequet" on other websites.
As Wilfong is keeping to herself and once again Chek is nowhere to be found for comment, there's no telling what the next outrage will be in the matter....but at least the cases, in terms of working through the court system, are done.
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