The Boyfriend’s Story

The police investigator assigned to the case was shaking her head as she concluded the first round of her interviews. She went to a quiet place in the office and began reviewing her lengthy interview with Ivan, who had just made her believe that Edna’s daughter Denise might be the suspect they were looking for. As usual with an elder abuse case, however, the initial facts were just the tip of the iceberg.

Ivan was a handsome, intense man in his early thirties. Slightly above average height, he had a rich head of tousled dark blonde hair that he tossed out of his eyes, streaked amber like a tiger’s eye marble, as he spoke. He’d told the investigator that he felt he should be completely honest with her, then explained that he and Denise had been in a secret relationship for over a year. They’d met on the Internet, just as he’d met Carla; things had started off as just lighthearted flirting but then Denise began to take their conversations more seriously and didn’t want to stop. Ivan told the investigator that Denise had often said that the two of them should get married, and that she’d have enough money to set him up in his own business after her mother died. He confessed that he’d been flattered and intrigued by all the attention.

Denise, Ivan said, had often talked about Edna sarcastically, saying that Edna had not been much of a mother to her because she was rarely home, confessing that she had acted out as a teenager because she was angry at Edna for being absent, and confiding to Ivan that the only thing Edna had been good for as a parent was the money she earned to support them. Ivan disclosed that as Denise was walking him to the front door the evening of the Thanksgiving dinner, she whispered that she hoped she had put on a good enough show for Edna to be happy in her old age. She knew that her mother had often been racked with guilt about the state of their relationship.

Ivan told the investigator that in his opinion Denise had been putting off getting married because she was overly cautious about any man being around her young daughter, even Edna’s late husband Earl, and that she had only tolerated Earl because she knew that he had money but no surviving children—just Edna. Ivan confided that Denise had told him that about a year before Earl died, he had insisted on giving Daisy a gold pocket watch that he’d owned for years.  Daisy didn’t really want it but Earl insisted she have it, pressing it into her hand and then closing his own hand over hers, saying that Daisy deserved “something nice” because she was “such a nice little girl.” Ivan went on to say that Denise told him the whole thing gave her the creeps and she made Daisy put the watch away afterwards, though Daisy didn’t seem to care about it one way or another.[1]

During the interview with Ivan, the investigator learned that Denise had only recently found out that he was also involved with Carla, who she had thought was just his older cousin; when she learned the truth, she flew into a rage and threw herself on Ivan, beating him within an inch of his life.  Ivan had not reported this to the police because he was apprehensive about his status as a non-citizen who was “out of status” with his student visa for having remained in the U.S. after leaving the university. Besides, he was still feeling some shame for having been threatened into submission by a woman wielding a butter knife. However, Ivan stated that he also knew that no matter how angry Denise was, she had not wanted Edna to know about the true state of affairs (no pun intended), as Edna had often spoken warmly of Carla and her “boyfriend” and might have disinherited Denise had she known the truth. Denise, Ivan explained, knew very well that although Edna longed for a closer relationship with her only daughter, she was fiercely loyal to Carla as her caregiver.[2]

Ivan confessed to the investigator that he cared for Carla but that their relationship had become strained because of her jealousy. She was an American woman through and through and believed in monogamy, whereas Ivan had a more “cosmopolitan” perspective, as he put it. Carla had also mentioned marriage to Ivan many times, loving the idea of being married to a good-looking, intellectual foreigner with a Ph.D.; and for that, she was willing to support him in grad school. However, Ivan admitted, she had no idea that his recent flirtations with other women were to keep her from suspecting that he was romantically involved with her employer’s daughter. Ivan reasoned with himself that when Edna died Carla’s services would no longer be necessary; in the meantime, however, Edna appeared to be in good health for her age and Ivan, who was financially dependent on Carla, could not afford to lose that relationship.

The investigator commented about some swelling and mild bruising under Ivan’s left eye. He admitted that he and Carla argued often and she had even slapped him in the face a few times, in her frustration; however, he continued, the truth was that while he was concerned for his own financial security he did have some pleasure in his relationship with Carla.[3]

He reasoned (to himself) that Edna would probably leave something to Carla in gratitude for her services but would leave much more to her daughter; and while a future with Denise offered greater financial security, Carla, at least, had more respect for his intelligence and more admiration for his country’s culture. Further, he thought to himself, while either woman could be a suspect in Edna’s death, Carla would be more likely to appreciate his loyalty in standing by her. In addition, Denise knew about Carla but Carla did not know about Denise, and Denise had more to lose by revealing her relationship with Ivan; it would place her character in a bad light and possibly give her more of a motive for killing her mother. So, while Ivan himself did not know who was responsible for Edna’s death, he felt that in the end Carla stood a better chance of escaping charges than Denise, who clearly had not shown much concern for her mother until lately.

The investigator asked Ivan where he had gone after leaving Edna’s home. Ivan was vague, not wanting to tell her that he’d gone by his job for a minute.[4]

The review of her notes concluded, the investigator slumped forward in her chair and rested her head on her folded arms for a few moments.  The iceberg was beginning to reveal its depths.

Although Ivan was subpoenaed to attend trial. He refused to appear because of his concern regarding his immigration status.

[1] If Daisy married Ivan and then went to jail for her mother’s murder, and if Ivan were placed in removal proceedings for his expired student visa, he could file an E-42B petition, ‘Cancellation of Removal and Adjustment of Status’ on the ground that Daisy, an American citizen, would suffer exceptional and extremely unusual hardship in his absence (as her legal stepfather), with her mother in prison and her grandmother deceased.

[2] Denise could file an I-130 petition for him if the relationship worked out and they married; alternatively, Ivan might be eligible for the U visa, based on domestic violence, if he felt the relationship was over anyway; but not VAWA because they weren’t married yet.)

[3] Carla could also file an I-130 petition for Ivan if they patched up their relationship and married; Ivan would have had a weaker case for the U visa if Carla only slapped him once. The slap would not make him eligible for VAWA, as they were not married at the time.  With an I-130 from either Carla or Denise, Ivan would be able to adjust status in the U.S. – i.e., would not have to return to his country for consular processing in order to get his green card – because he entered the U.S. legally, on a student visa. NOTE: Since Sept.-Oct. 2018, if USCIS were to deny his applications for the I-130 or the U visa, that agency might well issue a Notice to Appear and place him in removal proceedings before an immigration judge, at which point he might need to rely on the E-42B as a defensive strategy.

[4] Ivan likely did not have permission to work in the U.S., even under the terms of his student visa.