Sometimes when you're in the middle of a big fight for those closest to you, an unexpected bright light comes through, which is what happened recently to Tucson musician Miguel Carter and his brother, Diego. Via a Tucson Weekly story on their mother's conviction and imprisonment, the brothers discovered that their father is still alive.
Earlier this month an email I received turned life upside down for Miguel and Diego:
"I read the article on Tucson Weekly the Pamela Williams story. I have spent years trying to track down and find out what happened to her and my two biological sons Jose Miguel and Diego Alexei, born in TMC a year apart. Their real last name is Janer and I would like to reconnect with Miguel and Diego if they agree. They have been always in my heart and in my thoughts all these lost years."
That email came from Jose M. Janer living in Culebra, Puerto Rico, and I forwarded it to Miguel and Diego to allow them to respond if they wanted to, and they did, and it turns out that Janer is their father.
Miguel told me recently that the last name given to them on their birth certificates was Jiner because their father was facing some legal troubles. He left town and their mother thought he was dead—his boat lost at sea. When she remarried, the father of Miguel and Diego's little brother, Jade, adopted them and gave them his last name—Carter. So, when Janer tried to find his son, it was almost impossible until he came across our story (See "Fighting for Mom," Feb. 27, 2014).
"He's captains a boat and has a daughter and grandson. It's amazing," Miguel says.
He says his friends keep asking him if he's OK or if he wants to talk about it—finding out his father is alive after all these years and reconnecting with him.
"'How do you feel about all this,' they keep asking," Miguel says, smiling. "I'm happy, actually, and you know, it didn't really surprise me. Better late than never."
And there's a blessing of sorts. One of the challenges in trying to help his mother is that he has a really small family to go to for support—his two brother, an uncle and an aunt. It feels good, he says, knowing there's someone else out there to call family.
Miguel's mother, a 65-year-old social worker and Pinal County resident, was convicted of two felonies. She was arrested on Jan. 4, 2013 charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon involving a Pinal County Sheriff's deputy. But per usual, there was more to the story—like the fact that at 65, Miguel and his brothers were shocked that their mother was denied bail and remained in jail for more than 300 days until she was finally convicted—wrongfully convicted they continue to believe.
We're still waiting to talk or visit with Williams directly—a phone call through her counselor's office or a visit, wading through the Arizona Department of Corrections bureaucracy. Miguel says he and his brothers finally have an attorney to help them with her appeal and they remain hopeful they will get their mother's conviction overturned. A fundraiser is also in the works at Club Congress next month. We will share details on The Range (daily.tucsonweekly.com) as Miguel confirms the date and time.
For more on Williams and her perspective on her conviction, go to daily.tucsonweekly.com, where we've posted a letter from Williams with more details on what took place in January of last year.