12. A Forced Marriage
Trena’s flight to her parents’ home did not last long. Ken McElroy went there, demanded her return, and would not take no for an answer. Astonishingly, although this was in mid-1970s America, not the 1670s or 1270s, he got what he wanted. When Trena’s parents refused, McElroy shot their dog, burned down their house, then forcibly took her and the baby back home, where he punished her for her defiance.
Trena told a local doctor about the abuse and arson, and he contacted social services. Facing child molestation and statutory rape charges, McElroy discovered that if Trena was his wife, she would be exempt from having to testify against him. Since she was a minor, he needed her parents’ permission. He had no trouble getting it, after threatening to burn their new house to the ground if they said no. McElroy got a child bride, and the statutory rape charges vanished.