Court Hearing Orange County, CA: Fry V Fry* to determine possession and/or division of the cremated remains of the couple’s eldest son – Eric*.
Presiding: Judge Frank E. Kline* – Temporary Judge assigned to the hearing in the last moments.
I attended this hearing and what I saw, knowing what I know about this case, was beyond chilling. Fry V Fry is a high conflict divorce that began in 2008 amid accusations that Mr. Fry had become physically abusive. The case continues to this day with over 800 (that is not a misprint) filings.
The hearing sensitive, the eldest son committed suicide under Mr. Fry’s care under suspicious conditions. Mr Fry contended he should have full possession of the cremated remains, while Ms. Fry of course contended the opposite, or at the very least a division of the remains. Ms. Fry had no part in the decision to cremate.
Mr. Fry was emboldened that day. He didn’t expect Ms. Fry to show up in court. He was further confident because in the months prior Ms. Fry had been denied telephonic entry into court proceedings. He felt sure, in my opinion, Ms. Fry would not be present or represented that day. With him, the other two Fry children, the older sister Laura* there to “testify that no portions of her brother’s cremains should be given to Petitioner due to our religious beliefs, and Petitioner’s behavior toward Eric.” This taken word for word from Mr. Fry’s declaration, even the misspelling.
To Mr. Fry’s obvious surprise, Ms. Fry did show up with the appropriate paperwork to substitute attorney. At this point he became visibly rattled. It is my belief that Mr. Fry intended to use the argument that Ms. Fry could not be located and he would win his argument by default. Because pursuant to California Code Health and Safety Code DIVISION 7. DEAD BODIES [7000 – 8030] CHAPTER 3. Custody, and Duty of Interment Section 7100 Section 4
“The surviving competent parent or parents of the decedent. If one of the surviving competent parents is absent, the remaining competent parent shall be vested with the rights and duties of this section after reasonable efforts have been unsuccessful in locating the absent surviving competent parent.”
Ms. Fry’s presence there with high powered attorney Susan Tarry* thwarted his defense and possibly a scheme much greater. Days before the hearing Ms. Fry was notified of a change of judge. (More to come on this.)
It was obvious, things were not going as planned on July 1, 2015 for Mr. Fry or Judge Kline. After a passionate plea objecting to the filing all together, Mr. Fry maintained Ms. Fry’s declaration shouldn’t be heard at all. This was dismissed. Mr. Fry then centered his argument around how he had been a parent all by himself over the past six and a half years, with no help or support from Ms. Fry. This flowered into exhibits of the Eric’s Facebook postings and personal letters disparaging Ms. Fry. He even had the siblings there to testify on behalf Eric’s wishes. All this rhetoric was bound in talk of his deep Catholic faith, and rules of internment.
Ms. Tarry at one point tried to interject as Mr. Fry went off the rails about child support issues and an emotional outburst as he said “Ethan died six months after his 18th birthday.” The judge wasted no time shutting Ms. Tarry down. Visibly shaken by the weight of the case before him, the judge moved the hearing to the end of the day sighting “…this is going to take longer than expected.”
The rest of the hearing that day will be covered thoroughly in a documentary I am working on highlighting this contentious divorce and others like it as I unearth abuses and corruption of the Orange County Family Court system. This hearing took place against a backdrop of up to 25 Police reports ignored by the court that day and in custody decisions, a previous unsuccessful suicide attempt that Mr. Fry did nothing about, and documented allegations of alcohol and child abuse on the part of Mr. Fry.
The ruling in this case came down the next day by minute order. When Ms. Fry called and asked the court officer to read the decision to her, they refused and sent copies in the mail. A few days later, after the business that had custody of the remains called her to tell her the remains had been released to Mr. Fry, she received the judges creative ruling. He ordered the ashes stay in the custody of Mr. Fry for 30 days so he may conduct a Catholic service after which “he is to make half the remains available to Ms. Fry.”
As of this writing, August 23, she does not have what the judge ordered.
*All names have been changed in protection of those involved.