My thoughts on the arrest of Wesley Hadsell
|Anjelica (missing) pictured with adoptive/stepfather|
Wesley Hadsell (currently in jail)
Before I begin with this post, I want to repeat that I have reserved judgment over whether or not I suspect Wesley in the disappearance of his daughter ( -- note -- readers have taken issue with me referring to her as his daughter, but that is how her family identifies with him). I have refused to judge him based on his past, because I am a firm believer in the idea that a person's past doesn't necessarily define every move they make in the future. However, I am also more than aware that human beings are creatures of habit, and with many personality types their past actions can very well be true indicators of their future actions. There is also the fact that I have a little experience in seeing an innocent person found guilty in the court of public opinion. When there is no evidence against someone -- no matter how suspicious you think they are -- it's wrong to go after them.
Back in 2012 when Anchorage woman Samantha Koenig went missing, her community united against one man, believing that he had to be responsible, based on nothing more than the fact that a restraining order had existed between them in the past. However, he was innocent. He never did anything to Samantha. She was the victim of serial killer Israel Keyes. Before the public was made aware of this shocking fact, the innocent young man had been made a pariah of his community and had even been thrown out of school. His family -- including his mother and siblings -- even received death threats. Had anyone actually taken out vigilante justice on this man at the time they would have been doing so against an innocent man, all based on his past and the crowd he ran with at the time.
So, ever since that case, I have been very cautious about how I express myself when it comes to people involved in these cases. There was a time that I would flagrantly throw out accusations at family members of missing or murdered people, but the Samantha Koenig case changed that part of me for the very reason that people can be falsely accused and put through hell on no evidence at all by a public that should wait for more details -- myself included.
Anyway, let's examine these new circumstances, shall we?
I believe Wesley lied to me. He insinuated during the interview on my podcast Case to Case with Chelsea Hoffman that police found Anjelica's jacket in the possession of a possible person of interest. However, the charges against him indicate that he broke into this person's home and searched through their belongings. Media reports reveal that Wesley Hadsell is the one who found Anjelica's jacket in this person's home -- a person who is not yet being identified. This is what he said during the 30-minute interview on my podcast:
"Lets just say that my daughters jacket, because I’m not going to beat around the bush, my daughter’s jacket that she was wearing when she saw me last, that someone recognized as she was driving as a dark navy blue color - something up top - obviously that’s the jacket, her Longwood softball jacket with her name stenciled in it, now that was found in this guy’s possession hidden in his house. Now the police did verify that information, never showed us a picture. That was on Saturday the first week. Understand that the case moved this past Monday, you know, they brought some new detectives on board."
As you can see (if you don't have time to listen to the whole interview), he insinuated in our interview that police or detectives had found the jacket. However, 10 WAVY News reports that Wesley Hadsell allegedly broke into this person's home and discovered the jacket himself -- not the authorities. Wesley said the following today:
“I found my daughter’s jacket in his couch rolled up behind the cushion."
Clearly, the statement given to me and the statement made today are starkly different. These aren't just minor difference that can be explained away as him being nervous, or mis-remembering.
No. He lied to me.
Why would Wesley Hadsell lie about being the one to find his daughter's jacket? Why would he tell me during a live broadcast of Case to Case that police found the jacket and that he wanted it properly identified? Why are facts being reported differently now that he's being arrested?
To be clear, Wesley Hadsell has admitted to breaking and entering and finding the jacket supposedly belonging to his missing daughter. He admitted to digging through the belongings of the people who live in the home, and he admitted to punching their dog out of anger -- a deeply upsetting detail. Hadsell told police that he reportedly found Anjelica's jacket rolled up behind a cushion on this person's couch.
Did Wesley Hadsell plant evidence?
It's not a pleasant question to ask. I realize this. But it's also a valid question. Like I said, he lied me. Why wouldn't he get his story straight on whether or not police found the jacket? Why lie and say they did, when he's the one who did? The fact that he lied directly to me when given the chance to speak truth, plants the seed of suspicion -- a seed that already quietly and faintly existed, but he planted it personally and nurtured the growth of it.
Now his explanation is that he couldn't handle sitting so close to the home of the person who may have last seen her. He said he took it upon himself to break in and do his own little investigation. That's when he said he found the jacket -- but to me this all just reeks of dishonesty now.
On the other hand, this could also be a big unfortunate turn of events that isn't what it seems (and right now it seems fishy as hell). Keep in mind that parents of missing people have been charged with similar crimes before, as do other family members and friends. When Heather Elvis disappeared her father's close friends were arrested for interfering with the investigation as well. My point is that it happens. So it's possible that Wesley is still telling the truth about not harming his daughter. However, that doesn't change the fact that he lied.
Back to the question at hand -- do I think he planted AJ's jacket at the unidentified location? I don't know, but if I were to speculate about it I'd say that it is damned possible. In fact, this tiny little suspicion comes from the fact that he told me during our interview that his brother took photos of someone who supposedly found pieces of AJ's credit/debit card. It seemed strange that he mentioned that point, as if he and his brother wanted to really nail down the point that they took photographic proof that it was someone else who found the evidence. I find it odd that anybody would have the presence of mind to do this unless they were really wanting a specific person or persons to look guilty of a crime, or if they were trying to deflect attention away from themselves. When he was interviewed after his arrest, Wesley denied planting the evidence before anyone would even ask him.
"I was just trying to make the evidence come to light. It’s not like I had the jacket, I didn’t plant the jacket, I didn’t know anything about that. It was the fact of the overwhelming information that led me there."
The last sentence stands out to me. Is he saying he knew the jacket was there beforehand? How did he know about the jacket beforehand if he did? His comments to the media -- his speech patterns -- are the same as with his interview on my podcast. It seems as though he makes a comment saying one thing, and then follows it up with a comment that casts doubt on his last one. Could this be a sort of nervous tick or reaction to being dishonest? Could this be his way of leaking? (click here to learn about leaking)
So, is it possible that Wesley (either alone or with the help of someone else) planted evidence in the case in order to protect himself or someone else regarding the disappearance of his daughter? Or, is this all just a big misunderstanding that comes from his inability to control his temper and trust someone else to have control of a given situation? Or, could it be a little bit of both? These are all thoughts to ponder.
Did Wesley Hadsell kill Anjelica Hadsell?
There are little red flags in this case that reach beyond Wesley's criminal past. However, his criminal past is a solid indicator that he does in fact have the capacity to commit acts of violence. While I have publicly spoken out against using his past to judge him -- and I still stand firm in that -- the fact of the matter is that he does in fact have this criminal past, and now he has absolutely, completely and totally implicated himself in the disappearance of his own adoptive stepdaughter AJ Hadsell.
He didn't implicate himself in this crime by merely having this past from over a decade ago. He didn't implicate himself by refusing to answer questions about the incidents that took place a decade ago -- even though a lot of trolls on the internet have and are currently dwelling on his criminal record.
He implicated himself when his story didn't add up -- when he began to over explain himself and when he began to lie. However, just because he implicated himself doesn't mean he is guilty of a crime beyond the charges he currently faces. Police have noted that he is not a suspect -- however he said in the following video that they accused him directly of knowing what happened to her. To me, that says all that needs to be said: This man is a suspect in the murder of his own adoptive daughter. But why aren't police being clear about that with the public?
I'm still being observant. I'm still refraining from sharing a solid opinion on this case until I see some hard evidence from the authorities in Norfolk that goes in one direction or the other. However, I'm not going to hide the fact that there are numerous theories floating around in my mind right now about this case -- some involving Wesley, and some not involving Wesley. I'm also not going to hide that it looks goddamned suspicious for a man to be so evasive and deflective as Wesley is being, even though I'm aware that there could be many factors contributing to this that don't necessarily point to guilt.
I look forward to seeing what evidence -- if any -- Norfolk authorities have in this case.