The Hyres, Chapter Three: 

Bonnie Hyre


    After Gerald was convicted, Bonnie herself was prosecuted as a tacit accomplice in the children’s abuse by their father.

    On May 14, the Beacon Journal ran a story stating that “prosecutors say Bonnie Hyre suspected her husband was abusing their adopted children while she was away.”  It was on this date that she was arraigned in Summit County Common Pleas Court on two counts each of endangering children, permitting child abuse, obstructing justice and tampering with evidence … all third-degree felonies. If convicted on every count she could wind up doing more time than her former husband.

    She was freed on $2,500 bond and was scheduled to appear before the same judge that had sentenced her husband to 16 years in prison. Her attorney said she had been cooperative with police during the investigation and the Children Services Board who were investigating the case.

    He said that Bonnie, every time an injury appeared on the children, took them to the doctor.  He placed blame on Gerald for giving Bonnie and the doctors plausible excuses as to why and how the children had been injured.

    Bonnie had (as the Beacon Journal later reported) suspected Gerald of abusing the children while she was not around and had taken pictures of the children’s injuries during the summer of 2002.  They said she had shown these photographs to her co-workers at Walgreens.

    By the time Kelsey was paralyzed by her father, the photos had been destroyed. Since she had initially agreed to plead guilty to a single felony count of tampering with evidence and be sentenced to “community control” (presumably house arrest, probation or some other sort of non-jail option), we can conclude that she had admitted to doing so.

    According to a brief filed by her attorneys in June to get evidence against her suppressed, she and the prosecutors had reached the plea agreement shortly after Gerald Hyre’s indictment in which, in return for her full cooperation with the investigation, she agree to testify against him.

    But shortly after her husband pled guilty, the brief said, prosecutors suddenly reneged on that, claiming she hadn’t been as forthcoming with information about her complicity as they had believed, offering no explanation, or none that Donald Malarcik, the lawyer writing the brief, felt like sharing with the judge, and said that they would take the case to the grand jury. His motion asked that either the original plea agreement be upheld or that his client’s statement to police (the bulk of the case against her, we suspect) be excluded as evidence.

    Evidently they reached a new agreement. On Oct. 22, Bonnie Hyre pleaded guilty to one count each of permitting child abuse and tampering with evidence. Judge Bond admonished her at sentencing for having done, ultimately, nothing to prevent the abuse of her children; but she received a mere two years. She was well-behaved in prison and was released on parole before finishing half her sentence.

    We suspect that the Hyres’ marriage may have been rocky before the adoptions, that they may have mistakenly convinced themselves, as too many others have, before the adoption that having kids would bring them closer together again, and that perhaps Bonnie might have been more enthused about the adoption than her husband (another common recipe for trouble).

    This is all conjecture on our part, but perhaps, after the sentencing, Gerald Hyre may have told prosecutors about Nathan’s sores and the doctor visits, and that may have changed their minds (A climate in Akron at that time where there were several cases of child abuse being prosecuted, and questions being publicly asked about why the system had failed these kids, may also have, one wonders, led the prosecutor to scotch any deal whereby even a woman who permitted the abuse of her child would appear to get off lightly).

   Nathan lives with Bonnie once again. Kelsey is still with the foster family. Gerald B. Hyre is residing at Lake Erie Correctional Facility outside Conneaut, in the northeastern corner of the state, awaiting the appeal of his sentence.

   Building Blocks had, by this point, already seen (and escaped) the consequences of its failure to fully educate its clients about the issues some adopted children have. Now it had happened again, and four lives have been irrevocably altered. For the worse.

    Yes, Gerald (and maybe Bonnie) Hyre are the only ones guilty in this case. But many others are responsible, not least of all the adoption agency that had so much to do with them becoming parents in the first place. And the homestudy agency and social worker who might have been able to note the Hyres’ weakening marriage or the abuse of the children.

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