Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Every parent’s nightmare

by Steve Targo

March 01, 2012

BLOOMFIELD — Tamara Mueller said the last day she saw her 15-year-old daughter was a good one.

She said Canada Single took a walk with the rest of the family near their upper middle-class home in a sleepy, well-cared-for neighborhood near Hunter’s Ridge subdivision, Genoa City. According to Tamara, Canada had plans to graduate early from Badger High School and was talking to her about how her automotive shop class would count for credit toward a degree at Gateway Technical College.

Then, on Sept. 24, 2011, around 5 a.m., those plans and more went on hold indefinitely. Canada had run away.

“We love her, we miss her and we want her to come home,” Tamara said.

But the struggle to find the missing teen and seek justice for what may have been done to her continues.

During a Feb. 23 interview at her home, Tamara was tearful, upset and frustrated. She leafed through a file about as thick as a bookshelf dictionary filled with police reports, restraining orders, court documents, transcriptions of text messages, Canada’s journals and the three-page letter the girl left behind the day she left.

“She ends it with ‘I love you dearly, just please remember me,’” Tamara said.

Tamara said the events which transpired since Canada’s disappearance are something no parent should have to go through. She said she has received the run-around from authorities. One agency will tell her to contact another, and then that agency will refer them back to the one she contacted first.

On top of all that, Tamara said she suspects Canada had a sexual relationship — or may still be having one — with a 23-year-old Illinois man. Tamara said she began to suspect the relationship was occurring when the man was 22. She also suspects her ex-husband, William Scott Single — who goes by “Scott” — of hiding Canada in Big Rock, Ill.

“I think my ex is letting my daughter sleep with a 23-year-old and I can’t stop it,” Tamara said.

The Regional News attempted to contact Scott through his wife via e-mail Feb. 23. No reply was received by press time.

Authorities have told Tamara and her husband Mark they’re doing all they can. But despite texts between the man and Canada, a journal entry from the 15-year-old describing a sexual encounter between her and someone with the same first name as the 23-year-old, they won’t prosecute a child sexual assault case against the 23-year-old because the alleged victim is missing. Also, the 23-year-old man has denied the allegations during interviews with police.

“Three months ago, they (Kane County, in which Big Rock is located) said they’re not going to prosecute,” Tamara said.

Because juvenile runaway cases aren’t criminal, police can only search Scott’s residence if he allows it.

“He won’t let them in,” Tamara said. “If the police showed up at my house at 11 p.m., I’d let them in. The police have showed up lots of times at his house and he won’t let them in.”

This has prompted her and her husband Mark to hit the streets themselves. Tamara said Canada isn’t enrolled in any public school because her records have been held at Badger.

“We’ve contacted public works departments in Illinois (because) one person Canada had written about in her journal lived in Elburn,” Tamara said.

She also said she recently filed a Juvenile In Need of Protection petition in Walworth County Circuit Court, which according to Tamara means if Canada is found, where she goes will be decided by a judge. Some potential options include juvenile detention and foster care.

“The best case scenario, if she is found and says, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry,’ they can send her home with a GPS bracelet,” Tamara said. “I did this because she needs help. I want her to be found and I want her to get some help.”

Past troubles

Ironically, Tamara scheduled a counseling session for Canada on Sept. 27 — three days after Canada was reported missing.

“At that point, we knew we had issues and we were trying,” Tamara said.

On the surface, it may have seemed to most people as if there wasn’t any problems with this honor student who went to Brookwood then Badger. Tamara said she won several awards in school.

“She shifted when she turned 13,” Tamara said.

Canada was involved in a situation concerning texts with another child. As a result, Tamara said she took the phone away. The first time Canada went missing, she was gone for four hours and came back on her own, Tamara said. The second time, Canada was 14, she was gone for about 12 hours before she came back and police talked to her about the situation.

Tamara said they took her to a counselor until it appeared as if the problem concerning the texts was over.

Then, on Sept. 10, 2011, Canada was gone for three days. Police officers from the Kane County Sheriff’s Department located her at Scott’s house. Tamara and Scott have been divorced for 11 years. Tamara obtained “sole custody” in the divorce decree, but Scott was allowed visitation periodically. Canada’s third runaway attempt ended when Scott turned her into authorities, Tamara said.

She explained what she believes prompted Canada’s last two runaway attempts.

Tamara said she found Canada asleep at home prior to Sept. 10 with a cell phone in her hand. Tamara said she called Scott, who told her the phone belonged to the 23-year-old man. She said she went through the text messages on the phone and it revealed a sexual relationship between her and the man.

After Canada was reported missing Sept. 10, Tamara said Scott turned her into authorities. She came back to Tamara, who then filed restraining orders against the 23-year-old and Scott. Walworth County Circuit Court granted the order against the 23-year-old, which stipulates he is not to have any contact with Canada.

Tamara said the restraining orders were recommended by Kane County law enforcement because the 23-year-old has a criminal record including battery, burglary and drug-related charges.

Tamara said she told Canada on that walk last September about filing for the orders and that she likely wouldn’t see her biological father for a while. She said Canada took it suspiciously well.

“We kind of knew then that something was up,” Tamara said. “We were like, ‘Why is she taking this all so well?’ She even helped clear the table that night after dinner.”

Still struggling

During an interview last month, Bloomfield Police Chief Steve Cole said Canada’s disappearance marks the longest a juvenile runaway has gone missing during his tenure. He said they are continuing to search for her. Tamara said a Bloomfield police investigator attempted to subpoena MySpace to obtain data which may help locate Canada, “but the District Attorney in Wisconsin refused to sign it because Canada has not committed any crimes.”

Tamara said she regrets saying Canada was a runaway and said her husband told her she should suggest to people if their child ever runs away, just tell police their child is missing.

“Then they’ll get the FBI involved,” Tamara said.

Needless to say, it’s been hard for Tamara and the rest of her family, including her and Mark’s children, Teagan, 4, and Mason, 9.

“(Canada) missed her brother’s birthday, her stepfather’s birthday, Christmas,” Tamara said, sobbing. “Her Christmas presents are still in her room because we were hoping she would be back already.”