JNS blog has heard by email from a trustworthy person, and seen information posted persistently in a neighborhood Facebook forum, that the two surviving children of Troy Lewis have been placed in a status of "protected hold" by Child Protective Services. This information is unconfirmed. Five of Lewis' children perished in a Valentines Day fire at 2818 Colfax Ave. N., a duplex owned by slumlord Paul Bertelson's Mission Inn Minnesota.
If mass media such as KARE actually cared about digging into relevant facts instead of telling a thrilling, tragic soap opera version of these terrible events, then we might actually learn some of the following pertinent pieces of info...
Did that happen? Has CPS put the children in a protective hold as this blogger is hearing? What does CPS have to say about it? Ask them, why don't you?
Did Lewis have legal custody of the seven children following the death of their mother, Kimberly Davis, or was it merely "de facto" custody because the welfare of the children wasn't being closely tracked by DHS, CPS or anybody else?
Was there life insurance on any of the children?
What, if anything, are fire investigators saying about the source of the fire? When will we have answers? We're still waiting for answers about the January 1 fire on the West Bank, so does this mean answers won't be coming for MONTHS? (And hey, when will we get answers about the West Bank fire?)
What is the landlord, Paul Bertelson, saying in response to Troy Lewis' assertion on KARE-11 that his baseboard heaters had issues as early as October of 2013 when the family moved into the duplex? And that he'd reported those issues to the landlord? Was this family left to use a lone, overworked space heater for four months through a winter cold and severe even by Minnesota standards?
Why was the city warning of a water shut off on the very day of the fire? Wasn't the slumlord paying the water bill in a timely way? Why?
What war is Lewis a veteran of, supposedly? KARE says he is a "Vietnam" vet, though on February 14 a media entity was saying Lewis was a veteran of "Desert Storm." If he's a vet, why is he sitting at Hennepin County Medical Center getting his medical care instead of being transferred to a VA facility? Has anybody actually seen documentation of his alleged veteran status?
What are the specifics of the crimes for which Lewis was convicted in Cook County, Illinois? Who did he rape? If the rape happened in the 1980s, why is Lewis still required to register as a predatory offender?
Is there any truth to troubling allegations aired by a Facebook profile called Luv'dbydabest Hated Bydarest in regard to a restraining order, window peeping, etc?
Last, and most troubling...
Knowing who this guy is, are we really supposed to uncritically swallow this story? Has the mass media backed itself into a corner and now fears to tell what Paul Harvey called "The Rest of the Story" after hailing this man a tragic hero? Too late. The rabbit is out of the bag, even if only one blogger is pointing emphatically at the rabbit. Now all kinds of people are asking the tough questions.
Or is Lewis actually a tragic hero who desperately tried to save his children? Is everything Lewis says true, and he even served bravely in Vietnam, and now the ugly and not-terribly-relevant warts of his past are only heaping pain upon the Biblical tragedy of this present moment? And why? Just because some people (like bloggers) are too cynical?
Well, those are relevant questions as well, and I of all people should dare to ask those questions.
Rumor has it CPS received "multiple" phone calls demanding CPS take custody of the children. And I know at least one person asked me if it was OK to make use of information I obtained (through a helpful reader) from Cook County, so it's even possible information originating from this blog formally made its way to CPS.
But no, this blogger did not drop any dimes. I figure the authorities have this situation in hand but you know what?
The public deserves to know what the authorities know, at least as much as the authorities can legally reveal. And if CPS has actually put those children in a protective hold, then the mass media needs to tell the public why.