In an unfolding family saga that highlights the failures of CT Family Court decisions, the Ambrose teenagers are in their fourth shelter since fleeing their father’s home.
Teens on the run — Matthew, 16, Sawyer, 13, and Mia, 16.
In 2020, CT Family Court Judge Jane Grossman, acting on accusations of parental alienation leveled by the father, Chris Ambrose, against the mother, Karen Riordan, ripped the children away from their primary caregiver, thrusting them into an environment they’re uncomfortable with, and restricting any contact with the previously protective parent.
The Ambrose children, having spent three harrowing years with their father, reclaimed their right to happiness when they returned to their mother this year, despite minimal contact throughout their time apart.
Yet, on August 8, the CT Family Court, rather than reevaluating its earlier decision, doubled down. Another decision by Judge Thomas O’Neill extracted the children from their mother’s care once again, rendering them homeless, as they refused to return to their father’s home.
As the teens found sanctuary with various kin, Ambrose involved the police, CPS, and even a SWAT team, pushing the boundaries of the enforcement of paternal authority. They are living today in the home of a protective relative. But Ambrose seeks to force them back to his home or, if he can’t, have police arrest them and lock them in a dangerous New York City juvenile home.
A small but unified chorus of anonymous commenters have emerged defending Ambrose’s actions. Matthew, one of the fleeing teens, believes his father might be masquerading behind some, or all, of these comments.
FR has tried to artistically represent these users based on their comments – and took the liberty of Chris-tening them with usernames. The heart of this post, however, is not the commenters, but Matthew’s personal experience, feelings, and plea for understanding in his replies to the comments.
Chambers: Unlike Karen, the father, Chris Ambrose, took the high road and didn’t trash the mother to the kids, I’m guessing.
Matthew: It is very evident this is Chris writing. I say this because this is a lie. He has trashed my mother since before we were taken away from our mother, calling her sick, evil, and much more.
Crombers: I see this whole thing as Karen successfully brainwashing these children and coaching them to lie about abuse.
Matthew: Our mother hasn’t “brainwashed” us, because everything we say is what we have experienced.
Sambrose: When Karen was barred from communicating with the kids, she took her alienation campaign online and continued to trash the father on the Frank Report that she knows the children read.
Matthew: We have given Frank and other news outlets all of the evidence to prove Chris’ lies and prove our truth.
Crombs: She never stopped her brainwashing efforts. And it looks like she succeeded. One day the children might realize just how wrong their mother was in the way she went about the divorce and turning them against their father.
Matthew: We turned against him when he told my sister to kill herself, when he let my brother cut himself, and when he ripped us away from all of our family and friends who supported us.
Criston Amberly: Breaking news. The law applies to Karen just like it applies to everyone else.
Matthew: Stop the lying and stop trying to get my mother arrested. You’re very obvious, Chris, when making these comments, because nobody would defend someone like you.
Topher Amble: Karen lost custody because it was known she would pull a kidnapping stunt like this. Involving the 13-year-old, Sawyer, was a step too far.
Matthew: Chris, you say we were kidnapped, but we all RAN away from you. We each had our own plan of escaping, because you monitored us 24/7. We did this independently. You’re a sick person, please get help.
Kit Ambler: Contacting Sawyer’s birth mom from a closed adoption is plain old cuckoo.
Matthew: Chris, you’re very aware it was an open adoption. I saw the paperwork.
Chris Orwell: If Karen followed the law and listened to court orders from day 1, this drama for the kids wouldn’t be happening now. It’s her own fault for acting like she is above the law. SHE put them in this situation, not Chris.
Matthew: Chris is an abuser. He does not care for the wellbeing of his children. Since I ran away from him on May 22, my family has gotten constant threats from him, DCF and the police. By the time I was at my mother’s house, I had felt my depression go away, only for Chris to file a bullshit restraining order and have us not allowed near her, to see her, or even talk to her.
He needs to understand that we are not objects that can be tossed around. We do not wish to be in a house where we are constantly in fear. He claims we are being “brainwashed” by our mother, but in reality, we were being treated with care and compassion. Our mother has always been caring for us, while Chris brings us down, going as far as to calling his daughter “the mean girl” while blood drips down her nose, needles in her arms. Chris is an abuser, and we cannot go back to his house. He is a failure of a father, a man, and a human.
My siblings and I will not be forced back in a toxic, negative environment.
How are we being “coerced” or “coached” if we hadn’t seen our mother in 3+ years? This is not “coercive control” when we are being treated like we matter, like we are cared for.
It’s so nauseating how there’s a restraining order for us not to talk to or be near our mother, as if she hurts us, as if she’s abuses us, when all she does is love us, care for us, and protects us.
Everything that we have said is what we have experienced in the three years of being forced with Chris. Chris has no right to be filing anything on our behalf and he needs to be held accountable for all of his lies and abuse he has put us through. He robbed me of 1,123 days of my life, which I am never getting back, and yet he is still persistent on forcing all three of us back into his world of abuse.
Kristofferson: The mother who is encouraging these kids to be perpetual runaways and miss school is the abuser here. You all are nuts if you can’t see that.
Matthew: Our mother is not “encouraging” us to run away. We have tried to ask Chris if we can enroll in school where we are, but he has consistently refused. We don’t feel safe in Connecticut with him, so when he continues to come after us in different states, we feel we have no choice but to run. Next time think before you comment something stupid like this.
Crum Umble: So, your mother isn’t the one telling you where to go next? She isn’t telling you to not go back home? She isn’t telling you that it’s okay to be runaways? All those things are what’s known as encouragement. Why would any parent ever tell their children it’s okay to enroll in a new random school and to live with strangers? No good parent would. Your mother is out of touch with reality, I’m sorry. She is not making good decisions for you and your siblings.
Matthew: We aren’t living with strangers. We have known these people for years. I’m sure our mother doesn’t want us to run away, but when there is an abuser that is trying to force us back, we ultimately don’t have a choice but to run. Our mother isn’t telling us to enroll in a different school, my siblings and I want to. My sister and I are in an important year of our school, and we want to get an education, but we don’t feel safe in Connecticut. So, as I’ve said before, think before you comment some stupid shit like this.
Chris Angel: You are 100% safe in Connecticut with your father.
Matthew: We aren’t safe with someone who tells us to kill ourselves, someone who lies constantly to everyone, someone who has molested my siblings, someone who isolates us from our loving family. There is evidence of all of this. You’re immature if you don’t see how this is a major problem, and flaw in the court system. If you want to say some bullshit like this again, don’t go anonymous, because that just makes you look not only look stupid, but also makes you look like a little coward.