Matthew Ambrose, 16, lives with his maternal grandfather in Rhode Island. From infancy until he was 13, he lived with his mother, Karen Riordan, a certified special education teacher, and his siblings, Mia (16), and Sawyer (13).
In April 2020, his father, Christopher Ambrose, gained custody after a CT Family Court ruling, forcing the traumatized children to live with their father for three years.
This year, Matthew, Mia, and Sawyer fled back to their mother.
Despite their wishes, Ambrose sought a restraining order against Riordan in CT Superior Court, alleging her coercive influence on the children.
Judge Thomas J. O’Neill held hearings without letting the teens testify – and then issued restraining orders against the mother.
Still, the teenagers preferred not to live with their father. Instead, they went to their grandfather’s in Rhode Island.
Judge O’Neill set a hearing for September 1st to rule on Ambrose’s request to force them back.
Ambrose claims coercion, while Matthew expresses his desire through a letter to Judge O’Neill.
The reason I have a copy of this letter is that Matthew emailed it to me, hoping I would publish it. He texted me to let me know he sent it to the judge.
Ambrose told Judge O’Neill that Frank Report harmed the teens by writing about them. He also told the judge that Matthew has stopped taking his psychiatric medicine since running away from him.
I received this text from Matthew last month.
By Matthew Ambrose
To the Honorable Judge O’Neill,
My name is Matthew Ambrose. I am writing you to prevent further harm from being done to me and my siblings.
From April 24, 2020 to May 22, 2023 I was forced to live with Chris Ambrose, where I was isolated from all of our family, depressed, failing academically and suicidal.
I am writing to you in hopes of telling you that my mother has never abused me, and Chris has lied to you and tried to silence us for years.
He has claimed that my writing is not mine, and has tried to say that I am easily manipulated; that is not even close to the truth, which I am here to provide to you.
It is correct that I am no longer taking medication, but the reason for not taking them is completely different than what Chris is telling you.
I have willingly chosen not to take my medication. My medication was for anxiety and depression, however, since running away I have not felt depressed, the only anxiety I feel is when Chris threatens to force us back with him and when he emails me lies.
Chris criticizes me for not speaking to DCF or the cops without my attorney, saying things such as “The only people who ask for an attorney in those situations don’t want to give the truth,” whereas he just got a new attorney.
He makes statements like these purely for intimidation.
Before I ran, Chris failed to noticed that I had not been taking my medication since around January. I have a drawer full of medication that is months old. Capsules and tablets dating back to (Dec 2022). when I was in IOP [Intensive Outpatient, a group therapy program].
Chris claims that he was not aware that I was getting high to cope with the emotional pain of his abuse. However, the smell of weed surrounding the house at night would say otherwise.
From my room to Mia’s room downstairs, the smell of weed crept through the kitchen, the bathroom, and the living room where Chris slept. On one occasion, Chris had found the drawer that I kept my drugs in, removed everything and put it in a paper bag which he kept downstairs.
He didn’t say anything to me about it until Erin Corbett had to come to the house to talk to me about drugs. I was high all the time. I got high when I woke up, I got high before I went to sleep, I was high when I had to do IOP,
I was high when the cops came when Mia ran, I was high when [DCF worker] Nancy Stewart came to the house, I was high when Erin talked to me about not doing drugs. Mia and I started getting into drugs in 9th grade because after making reports of his abuse many times, only to be forced back with Chris, we felt trapped and hopeless.
Chris is a practiced liar and we were always worried because he is so convincing. But we have evidence of severe abuse throughout our three years trapped with him.
Kiersten Capotorto and Bridget Torres from ICAPS [Intensive In-Home Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services], who I have been seeing since April 26th, have also noticed a significant difference in my appearance, attitude and overall wellbeing since running away.
From “hood always on,” and “I could barely hear you talk,” to “a whole different person” should speak volumes about how miserable I was, compared to how well I am thriving right now since I’m back with my mom where we always should have been. They have both said how much different I am with my mother compared to when I was at Chris.
Chris claims that our mother has made us cut contact with him, however that is not the case.
He is the one who cut contact with all of my family. Chris has a history of using our phones and Wi-Fi as a weapon against us.
Anytime we would report abuse, it’s either “I’m turning off your Wi-Fi,” or “I’m cutting off your phone.”
We had no access to phones for a year after Mia and Sawyer reported sexual abuse that did occur. He has been doing this for years, even cutting off Mia’s Wi-Fi, so she couldn’t attend her online classes during Covid.
We have evidence of all of our claims and worked hard to do this, with the hope one day we would be free and our truth would be heard, and Chris’s lies would no longer silence us. That day has come and now he’s doing everything he can to take it from us.
Even after we each executed our plans to leave, Chris continues to use the police and DCF as weapons to intimidate us. My siblings and I have contacted various media outlets to share our story because he won’t stop with the lies and we need to protect ourselves.
There is a national media news source that is going to release a story to protect us from Chris, but I don’t know the release date, so we need your help Judge O’Neill.
We need to stay with our mother and have chosen not to see him because of the abuse and trauma he’s put all of us through.
We have each communicated this to him many times.
One of those media outlets happens to be Frank Report, which Chris claims to have “ruined our lives,” when that is not true. Chris has tried to say that my depression was from the articles that Frank Parlato put out, and that the reason that Mia got into a fight is because of Frank, which is both untrue.
I was depressed because I was ripped away from my mother on April 24, 2020. I was depressed because Chris would say that my mother is “crazy,” “sick,” and any other words of negativity. I was depressed because he took everything I loved away from me, and cut out everyone who loved us.
Chris claims that Mia got into a fight because of Frank Report, and that there was people chanting about it, which is obviously not true, and we have evidence to prove so. We filed in juvenile court because Chris would not agree to let us go and we could not take it anymore.
We had tried to escape his control when we were first forced to be with him.
You cannot return us to Chris. I am in fear of my siblings mental and physical health. I am disturbed by the thought that my sister could start cutting again, that she would go back to coping with alcohol, or even end up dead. I cannot have my brother cutting again, and living with constant stress and fear, and I will not go back to using drugs to cope with everything. We all have varying nightmares but the theme–that Chris will capture us and trap us in his care again– is the same.
Chris is a very dangerous person. I am not going back to a house where he will threaten me with 911, 211, DCF, and hospitals. I do not want a person in my life who constantly threatens and says the police will come and “take me in a stretcher” to the hospital. I am not sick. My mother is not sick. Neither are Mia and Sawyer. Chris is the only sick one among us. We are telling the truth. Chris is not.