The FBI has been brought in to investigate both the police and sheriff’s department in a small Illinois town after a woman’s parents were accused of launching a systematic campaign to kidnap their granddaughter from her, DailyMailTV has learned exclusively.
The case of Jade Green, 28, has revealed a tale of intrigue and corruption in Lawrenceville, Illinois, involving the very people who are meant to protect the town.
The federal agents want to find out how deeply the heads of the two local law enforcement agencies were involved in Green’s midnight arrest over a bounced check that was really a cover for her parents to ‘kidnap’ her four-year-old daughter.
Court documents claim the police chief, the sheriff and even the top local prosecutor were influenced by Angela and Jack Howser — Jade’s mother and stepfather — who ran a successful newspaper covering a huge swath of countryside in the southeast of the state.
The case involves nude photos, poisoned dogs, false arrests, dismissed criminal court cases, allegations of conspiracy to kidnap and claims that the Howsers used their influence in a systematic campaign of harassment against Jade.
‘It was like being in a nightmare,’ Jade’s husband Josh Green told DailyMailTV. ‘You know it’s not right. You know this can’t be done, but the louder you scream the less people hear you.’
Jade Green, 28, was awarded nearly $1M in November after a court found she was wrongfully arrested back in 2014. The FBI is now investigating how the local police and sheriff’s department were involved in her arrest, which was a cover for her parents to ‘kidnap’ her daughter, named in court papers as E.W. (pictured with Jade in 2011)
‘Kidnapping’ grandparents: Angela and Jack Howser, Jade’s mom and stepdad, were accused of having Jade arrested over a bad check in order to take her four-year-old little girl from her. The Howsers allegedly used their influence to have local law enforcement carry out a midnight raid at Jade’s house, arresting her and taking her daughter
Under-fire cops: The Howsers originally pressed Lawrenceville Police Chief James White (left) to arrest Jade at midnight and let the Howsers take Jade’s little girl, but he got cold feet after his officers raised concerns. Instead, Sheriff Russell Adams (right) agreed for his department to take over the case and carried out the arrest and handed over the girl to her grandparents
In all, it took Jade nearly 16 months to get her daughter back after her mother took out an emergency order of protection to prevent Jade from being around her girl. Jade hasn’t spoken to Angela in five years and doesn’t expect to do so ever again, saying: ‘I don’t care what she does in her life’. Pictured: Jade with her husband Joshua Green
In November, a federal court of appeals upheld a jury verdict awarding Jade nearly $1 million against the Howsers. That is on top of a $75,000 out-of-court settlement that Lawrence County Sheriff Russell Adams and the county’s top prosecutor Chris Quick had already paid out to Jade rather than face her in court.
But it doesn’t mean Jade’s anguish is over. On the very day the appeals court decision was handed down, her beloved Rottweiler, Penelope, was found writhing in agony after it was poisoned. It took a week for the dog to die.
‘I can’t say for sure who was involved,’ Jade, a manager at a Hardee’s restaurant, told DailyMailTV in an exclusive interview. ‘But it’s uncanny. It’s the second time we have had an outside dog poisoned and killed.’
In November, a federal court of appeal upheld a jury verdict awarding Jade nearly $1 million against the Howsers. On the same day, her beloved Rottweiler, Penelope (pictured with Joshua Green), was found writhing in agony after it was poisoned
The first, she said, came shortly after Adams and Quick agreed to settle their case.
Following the award, a source within law enforcement told DailyMailTV that federal agents are investigating to see whether criminal charges should be brought.
‘I will tell you one thing, the source said. ‘This whole case has made me realize you shouldn’t trust anyone.’
Problems started for Jade in September 2014, when she and Josh decided after four months of marriage it was time to leave the crowded home they shared with the Howsers in Calhoun, Illinois, and move nearly an hour away to Lawrenceville, taking Jade’s then-four-year-old daughter with them.
Her mother Angela, 57, was furious that Jade wanted to take her beloved granddaughter from her, so she threatened to publish Jade’s nude selfies in the family’s newspaper, the Disclosure.
Later during the trial, Jade’s stepfather Jack, 55, thought it might be a good idea to have the pictures blown up to poster size and display them in the courtroom to embarrass her even further.
Jade had sent the pictures to a former boyfriend, who later sold them to her mother, Angela told the court.
‘Jack and Angela like to have control, and having my daughter controlled me,’ Jade told DailyMailTV ‘For us to leave and get a place of our own was a pivotal point for them. To gain control back, they needed to take her.’
Problems started for Jade in September 2014, when she and Josh decided after four months of marriage it was time to leave the crowded home they shared with the Howsers in Calhoun, Illinois, and move nearly an hour away to Lawrenceville, taking Jade’s then-four-year-old daughter with them, leaving her mother Angela, 57, furious. Pictured: Angela and Jack with their granddaughter
Angela threatened to publish Jade’s nude selfies in the family’s newspaper, the Disclosure. Later during the trial, Jade’s stepfather Jack, 55, thought it might be a good idea to have the pictures blown up to poster size and display them in the courtroom to embarrass her even further. Pictured: Jade with her daughter and her husband Josh in 2014
‘Jack and Angela like to have control, and having my daughter controlled me,’ Jade told DailyMailTV. ‘For us to leave and get a place of our own was a pivotal point for them. To gain control back, they needed to take her.’ Pictured: The small home Jade’s parents live in Calhoun
Angela Howser referred DailyMailTV to her attorney Morgan Scroggins, who did not return requests for comment.
Jade was a reporter for the Disclosure but six days before she was set to leave home, her parents fired her.
Her stepfather Jack, 55, told the court she wasn’t producing enough.
‘We told her, you’re going to have to step it up or you’re going to have to go,’ he said, adding that he and his wife hoped that would ‘shock her into some reality, get her back on track.’
When she moved, Jade closed her bank account but it was several days after writing a $200 check to her mother to cover a Walmart bill.
That’s when the Howsers set a plan to ‘kidnap’ their beloved granddaughter, Jade claims.
Knowing the account was empty and the check wouldn’t clear, Angela tried to cash the check and when it bounced, she sought her daughter’s arrest on a felony charge of passing a bad check.
That’s when, ‘the Howsers had the ammunition they needed,’ Judge Amy Coney Barrett wrote in the decision of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal.
Jack and Angela brought in Lawrenceville Police Chief James White, who agreed to arrest Jade at midnight and let the Howsers take Jade’s little girl, who was referred to in court documents as E.W.
White realized there might be a problem if Jade’s husband Josh was at home because as the little’s girl’s stepfather, he would have the right to look after her or designate his mother to take her.
So, just to make sure, White sent his officers to check Josh was on his normal graveyard shift as a security officer.
Police made sure Jade’s husband Josh (pictured together) was away from the house and working the night they arrested Jade and took her daughter. As the little girl’s stepfather, he would have the right to look after her or designate his mother to take her
Pictured: The modest home of Jade and Josh Green, where she was arrested in a midnight raid
The Howsers and Police Chief James White all met at this gun shop outside of town owned by White’s father where they are accused of planning Jade’s arrest
But two of White’s own officers refused to join him on the raid on Jade’s house, saying they wanted nothing to do with taking the child.
‘He said they were going to wait for Josh to go to work and then they were going to give the child to Jack and Angela Howser,’ Officer Ryan Curtis told the court.
Curtis said he and fellow cop Jimmy Lyle even pulled up the relevant statute on the police computer and told White: ‘You can’t just arrest someone and give the child to someone else. You have to consult the parents and say, ”Who do you want the child to go to?”’
Their reluctance gave White second thoughts, especially when he found the warrant for Jade’s arrest wasn’t in the usual system but had been faxed over by prosecutor Quick — a former college classmate of Angela’s.
As the Howsers continued to press White for the arrest, he got cold feet and asked Angela to call Lawrence County Sheriff Russell Adams — who had fired Jade’s husband Josh years earlier over a bizarre courtroom incident in which he was accused of leaving a murder suspect alone with a judge after he had gone to help a woman who had fallen.
Local prosecutor Chris Quick (pictured), who went to college with Angela, said he hated her and her husband Jack. He said: ‘Jack and Angela Howser are awful people’
They all met at a gun shop outside of town owned by White’s father and later in the police station parking lot where, after conferring on the phone with Quick, Sheriff Adams agreed his department would take over the case.
‘It was a sad situation,’ White told DailyMailTV at the headquarters of his tiny seven-person department. ‘I came to the same conclusion as my officers — that we shouldn’t be involved in it, we shouldn’t be taking her child out of the house.
‘That’s the reason the sheriff was the one that took everything over. I tried to stay out of it.’
Sheriff Adams referred DailyMailTV to his lawyer Joseph Bleyer who said: ‘As far as the sheriff is concerned, the case has been resolved and so there is no need to comment.’
Quick told DailyMailTV the extent of his involvement was giving the sheriff legal advice on what he should do with Jade’s daughter after her arrest. ‘I didn’t have a clue about Josh being at work,’ he said.
Quick admitted he had gone to college with Angela but said he ‘hated’ both her and Jack. ‘Their paper was nothing but a gossip rag which destroyed some people’s reputations. If the upshot of this is that they had to fold the paper, then I am glad.
‘Jack and Angela Howser are awful people.’
Angela (pictured with E.W.) also went to the courthouse in neighboring Saline County to take out an emergency order of protection to prevent Jade and Josh being around their daughter. The cases against Jade were soon dismissed, but it took her around 16 months to get her daughter back
Jack (pictured with E.W.) made a separate claim that Jade had failed to return a cellphone memory card containing home phone numbers of all the paper’s contacts. Illinois State Police had considered filing kidnapping charges against the Howsers but the investigation was dropped
Quick said the midnight raid was two days before Sheriff Adams faced a tough re-election battle. ‘I have always thought he did this because he did not want bad stuff written about him so close to the election.’
Sheriff Adams and his deputy Kyle Gilmore went with the Howsers and Jim Hinkle, a private detective they had hired, in what Judge Barrett called a ‘law enforcement caravan.’ Hinkle’s girlfriend went along for the ride too as did Police Chief White — but he claims he didn’t go into the house.
As Gilmore handcuffed Jade, her stepfather Jack went into the bedroom and grabbed E.W. — along with ‘Pink,’ the little girl’s favorite blanket that went everywhere with her.
It didn’t take long for Jade to get out on $300 bail. So Jack made a separate claim the following morning that Jade had failed to return a cellphone memory card containing home phone numbers of all the paper’s contacts.
Despite the fact the card had only a nominal value and he had other copies of the contacts, he said he worried she would misuse the numbers. So this time, bail was set at $500.
While Jack was doing that, Angela went to the courthouse in neighboring Saline County to take out an emergency order of protection to prevent Jade and Josh being around their daughter.
The cases against Jade were soon dismissed, but it took her around 16 months to get her daughter back. And other cases followed.
‘One time they had us arrested for unlawful communication with a witness — our daughter! It was the only visit we had had with her in five months and it was after the judge said we could speak with her. Then that was dismissed two or three weeks later,” said Jade.
‘I spent a week in jail and Josh two weeks in a cell with people he had arrested when he had been a police officer.’
Illinois State Police had considered filing kidnapping charges against the Howsers and the others involved, Lieutenant Ryan Shoemaker told the court, but his superiors told him to drop his investigation so it could be dealt with by the state’s Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Committee.
The handling of the case, Shoemaker said, ‘did not appear to be appropriate.’
Judge Barrett agreed, writing: ‘Tolstoy said that every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, and that observation rings true here,’ referring to the famous Russian writer Leo Tolstoy.
At the conclusion of the trial, the seven-person jury took just 75 minutes to come to a unanimous decision to award Jade $250,000 for mental and emotional pain, $100,000 for loss of companionship, $120,000 in attorney’s fees and $500,000 in punitive damages.
Jack and Angela Howser are faced with finding a huge sum to compensate Jade.
Jade says she hasn’t spoken to her mother in five years and doesn’t expect to do so ever again. ‘I don’t want anything to do with her. I don’t care what she does in her life, I just want her to stay away from mine’
The Howsers had appealed the court on three counts: that there was not enough evidence to support the jury decision; that the judge should not have excluded certain facts about Josh and Jade; and that the $970,000 award was too high.
But the three appeals court judges were having none of it. ‘We reject all of the Howsers’ arguments,’ Judge Barrett wrote.
I don’t want anything to do with her. I don’t care what she does in her life, I just want her to stay away from mine.
Jade’s lawyer Kent Heller said it remains to be seen how the Howsers are going to come up with the money. ‘We will go back to court and try to conclude the collection process,’ he said.
Jade said her parents are wealthy enough. ‘The newspaper was in 13 counties. They made enough money to be able to get six attorneys throughout this process.’
She says she hasn’t spoken to her mother in five years and doesn’t expect to do so ever again. ‘I don’t want anything to do with her. I don’t care what she does in her life, I just want her to stay away from mine.’
Jade said that after getting a combined $75,000 from Russell Adams and Chris Quick, she had no idea how large the award would be from her parents.
She says she didn’t sue Police Chief White because until this year’s court case, she had not known how deeply he had been involved and now the statute of limitations prevents her going after him.
‘He has had no repercussions for his actions,’ she told DailyMailTV.
White and Adams still head up their respective departments, although Quick lost his election for a second term as State Attorney. He is now a pastor in the United Methodist Church.
Quick said the decision to settle the earlier case with Jade had been taken by Lawrence County’s insurance company. ‘I was just told I had to sign off on it because it would have cost more to fight the case.’
Now five years on, E.W. is nine years old and thriving, Jade said. ‘But she had to see a therapist in regards to this. She was in counseling for quite a while just learning to be a little girl again.’
Jade and Josh — now a police officer at the University of Vincennes, just across the Indiana border — still live in Lawrenceville, although not in the house where she was arrested. They now have a one-year-old son of their own.
‘We talk about moving out all the time,’ she said. ‘In Lawrenceville the police think they can do whatever they want to do and get away with it.
‘It’s not a comfortable town to live in, that’s for sure.’