Once she arrived in Vancouver, she stayed with her older half-sister, preparing to move back to her grandmother’s in Victoria. But Margaret called repeatedly, begging her to come back. Then Dubie called, saying everything would change, that he was sorry. Confused and uncertain, Angel made the decision to return to Hawaii: “I had to know whether he could change. I had to figure out if he loved me.” She agreed to return on condition that if he isolated her again or she was in any way unhappy, he would pay for her plane ticket back to Canada. He agreed, saying things would definitely be different.
They were different, for about two months. But, bit by bit, he started to cage her again: no phone calls, no visiting, no rights. Two more months passed and she knew she had to get out. Angel confronted Dubie, telling him, “You need to send me home right now.” He refused. Instead, he sent Angel to live with her mother. On the other side of Hawaii, Angel’s job description changed. Instead of following her father’s orders, she became the de facto parent to her siblings, as her mother traveled weeks at a time without them.
Now 18, Angel knew she wanted to return to Victoria, back to her grandmother, back to complete her education and her own dreams. But her parents wouldn’t listen. Finally, she spoke with a Hawaiian social worker who called a police officer. They listened intently as she explained she was being held against her will — that, in fact, she and her family were living illegally in Hawaii, and that she wanted to return to Canada. Because she was a minor, the officer returned her to her mother, who was furious and contacted her father. He lectured her for an entire night: that he’d be sent to jail, or they’d be deported and none of them could ever step foot inside the United States again. She needed to make a new statement, her father said; she’d have to say she’d lied. In exchange, her dad would pay for all six siblings and their mother to return to Canada. Exhausted, Angel filed a new report the next morning and they returned to B.C., without their dad. After living with her family for a month in Ladysmith, she returned to her own life with her grandmother in Victoria.
She maintained contact with her mom and her “kids” because she loved them, visiting them on weekends. She even tried to remain in contact with her father, talking to him when he’d phone her mother, but he blamed her for the animosity between them, and refused to acknowledge he’d done anything wrong. Eventually he cut off all communication, never acknowledged her birthday, and made no effort to remain in contact: “He discarded me,” Angel says.
Flash forward to July 1, 2006. According to the Chiang Mai newspaper, Margaret Crane and Daniel Dubie met at the Whole Earth Restaurant on Sri Don Chai Road. Witnesses told police the couple argued, and, once in the parking lot, Dubie threatened Crane with a pistol. She took the weapon, fired in his direction, got in a car, and drove away. Police saw her drive to Pa Tan Bridge and throw “what looked like a pistol into the river.” They followed and arrested her. At first she denied everything, but eventually admitted “she committed the crime in a fit of fury.” A witness at the scene identified Crane as the shooter.
Angel’s brothers and sisters arrived in Victoria four days after their father’s death. She had no place of her own, so they moved into a hotel together. A social worker appeared two days later. Despite the fact that Angel was of legal age and their sister, the Ministry of Children and Families became the younger children’s guardian “until they could evaluate the situation,” she explains. The two teenagers understood their mother was in jail, but it wasn’t until the social worker returned to take them all to a foster home that the younger children found out why they’d been sent to Victoria. The social worker sat all the siblings down and told them, “Your dad’s dead and your mom’s in jail.” The children stared at each other; the youngest started to cry. Later that day she began asking questions, and didn’t stop asking for weeks: “Mommy’s in jail? Daddy’s dead? Mommy shot Daddy?” The first night in the foster home, Angel and the five children all slept in the same room because they “didn’t want to be alone.” Angel huddled with the girls on an air mattress on the floor while the boys slept in the bed.
Every night after work as a telephone solicitor at the Times Colonist newspaper, Angel returned to the foster home and tucked the younger children, ages five, nine, and 11, into bed. Each night she spoke with the older children, 13 and 15, as the death of their father and the uncertainty of their mother’s situation began to sink in. Meanwhile, her own emotions remained buried. Determined to gain custody of all five of her brothers and sisters, so that their “whole world wasn’t fallen apart,” her life became a whirl of constant phone calls, talking with lawyers and social workers, working at her own job, reorganizing her life to include five traumatized siblings, and planning birthday parties, sometimes two at a time. “Everything had to be done right now and be done yesterday”; the pace was “enough to make the head explode.”
The crying came and went. By the beginning of August, though, she couldn’t keep a lid on her feelings any longer. A friend said Angel could use her computer in her apartment while she was at work, and Angel went there alone, able to leave the children in someone’s care for a few hours. She’d “hysterically cry and make a phone call and hysterically cry again”; that was the cycle for a week. “No one direct emotion can explain it — you are consumed. It’s pain and suffering you can’t put into words. Emotional, physical, mental pain.” Eventually, she reached the point of choosing between whether to “cry or laugh hysterically” — and found herself laughing a lot. There was simply too much to do to wallow.