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Mom Didn't See Kids for Seven Years

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How one Mom missed seven years of her kids' lives for a crime she did not commit.


On the news today, we heard an unbelievable story about a stay-at-home mom named Rachel Jernigan who spent seven years behind bars for a bank robbery she did not commit.

Mom•Logic: Please describe your life before the incarceration.

Rachel: Before this happened to me, I was a married mother of four kids. At the time of my arrest, trial, and incarceration, my son Daniel was 11, my son Kevin was 10, my son Mark was 9, and my daughter Kayla was 4. I was a homemaker. The false imprisonment destroyed my motherhood, and my kids suffered. Everything I experienced was very detrimental. I went through a lot of heartaches. I had a lot of guilt. I spent seven years, two months, and 26 days for a crime I did not commit.

Mom•Logic: How did you talk to your kids about this when you were first incarcerated?

Rachel: It was hard, but my kids knew I would never do something like this. They never doubted me. My kids have been traumatized because of what's happened to me. The justice system failed me and failed them, since they basically grew up without a mother. I only saw my kids once in seven years. It was hard because I missed birthdays. I cried the day my son Kevin graduated from 8th grade because I knew I wasn't going to be there. I missed so many things, like his prom.

Mom•Logic: How do you put into words the reunion you had with your children once you were freed?

Rachel: I don't even know how to explain the feeling I had in my heart. I was overwhelmed with joy, peace, like a burden had been lifted off me. Being a mother, and everything I had to endure...I was very overwhelmed that my day had finally come, and I got to hold my kids in my arms. Today was the first day I got to see my now 12-year-old daughter off to school. I got the curling iron out and did her bangs and fixed her ponytail. I wanted to start crying. I never thought this day would come.

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2 comments so far | Post a comment now
sweet girl February 20, 2008, 1:05 PM

What an amazing story - I couldn’t imagine being separated from my mom for that long (I don’t currently have any children of my own - but there’s no doubt that it’s equally as hard both ways). What I wonder though is how she got mixed up and eventually charged with a crime she didn’t commit? Was she freed after completing her sentence, or did they finally figure out that she was innocent?

sweet girl February 20, 2008, 1:09 PM

Okay - just googled it and it looks as though the woman who actually committed the robberies confessed…

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