Deadly Relations

July 17, 2014
Bailey says she struggles to move on with her life after a terrifying home invasion and kidnapping two years ago. And, Copelia says for 18 years, her brother, Jose, was considered the prime suspect in the case of his missing pregnant girlfriend, Christina Adkins, whose remains were found in October 2013. Another man pleaded guilty to her murder, but Copelia says Adkins’ family is still suspicious of Jose. Can these families foster a peace and find closure? This program contains mature subject matter. Viewer discretion advised.







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BaileyChristina Adkins, disappeared in 1995Jose, Christina's then-boyfriendCopelia, Jose's sisterSonia, Jose's sisterMary, Christina's stepmotherTonia, Christina's stepsisterClint Van Zandt, former FBI profiler

Wrong Place at the Wrong Time

Two years ago, Bailey says she woke up to a gun pressed to her head in a terrifying home invasion and kidnapping.

Bailey explains what happened that terrifying night, and how she decided she was going to survive.

Bailey tells Dr. Phil that she eventually learned that her new roommate, John, whom she had just moved in with the previous day, owned a large medical marijuana dispensary, and their captors believed he had a large sum of money hidden either in his house or in the desert.

“At one point, you heard liquid being poured, and you thought, what?” Dr. Phil asks.

“When they took us out to the desert, they started saying things like, ‘This is your last chance,’ and then I heard them pouring something on him, and my heart just dropped, and I thought it was lighter fluid, and I thought they were going to burn us alive.” 

Bailey explains that after the men didn’t find any money, they cut part of her roommate’s genitals off and left them tied up in the desert. She was able to free her feet from her bindings. “I tried to just comfort him and asked him if he would stay calm, not try to move around. I could see the highway. I had bare feet. It was a long gravel road, but I got down there as fast as I could. It took me probably about 20 minutes, and I can imagine what a sight I must’ve been on the side of the highway, in middle of desert, in my pajamas, screaming for help, and crying, and cars blowing past me,” she says. Bailey says after a few minutes, she was able to flag down a police car, and they got help to John within about 20 to 25 minutes. He survived.
 

Picking Up the Pieces

Bailey says since the trauma, her life has been turned upside down. She says she suffers from blackouts, memory loss, panic attacks, flashbacks, insomnia and depression. She says she was fired from her job six months after the abduction. How can Bailey recover and move on?

Dr. Phil explains how Bailey can recover from such a traumatic event and move forward.

One Street, Two Monsters?

In the wake of the Ariel Castro kidnappings, police in Cleveland dug further into other missing girl cold cases in the area, and on October 10, 2013, found the skeletal remains of 18-year-old Christina Adkins, who disappeared in 1995. Christina’s boyfriend at the time and father of her unborn baby, Jose, was the prime suspect for nearly two decades, until another man, Elias Acevedo, pleaded guilty to her murder, among other crimes. Dr. Phil is joined by Jose and his family, to share how the cloud of suspicion has affected his life. Why do they say Adkins’ family is still accusing Jose? Dr. Phil brings both sides together in search of answers. Can they foster a peace and find closure?

Jose and his sisters, Copelia and Sonia, explain the hardships their family has faced since Jose became a suspect in Christina’s disappearance.

Jose tells Dr. Phil that he and Christina had a good relationship and were happy. When she first went missing, he and his family thought she was visiting family out of town. They never suspected that she might have been kidnapped.

Jose says when the police came to him, he took a polygraph test and passed.
 
“But you guys say Christina’s friends and family didn’t know that, believe that, accept that and have continued to harass all of you across the last 18 years?” Dr. Phil asks.
 
“That’s correct,” Copelia says. “They would stop in front of my mother’s house, point fingers, call my brother names, call him a baby killer. Wherever he went, he would get beat up a lot of times by people who didn’t even know him. They put my brother through hell.”

Clint Van Zandt, former FBI profiler, shares why Jose was the prime suspect, and perhaps why he was never ruled out.

“The greatest threat to the well-being of a pregnant woman is through the person who impregnated her.”

At the time of his arrest, Elias Acevedo, a registered sex offender, was living across the street from Ariel Castro. He confessed to killing Adkins and led police to her body.

Even though Elias Acevedo has been charged with the crime, Christina’s stepmother, Mary, and stepsister, Tonia, are still not sure about Jose’s innocence. In a previous interview, they explain that they believed Jose was violent with Christina.
 
“I saw bruises on my sister’s arms, and she told me Jose had done it,” Tonia says.

“One day, she had a black eye. I asked her what happened, and she just said, ‘He punched me.’ I just wanted to go over and knock the tar out of him,” Mary says.

“I was 100 percent convinced in my heart that Jose had something to do with Christy’s disappearance,” Tonia says. “He never came and passed out one flier.”

“Why wasn’t he out there helping us find her and his baby?” Mary asks.

Tonia says the police told them to stay away from Jose and his family, or it could be considered harassment. “I always wanted to ask him what he did with my sister and why,” she says. “Jose seemed to move on very quickly with his life. Only two weeks after Christy disappeared, I saw Jose throw away her belongings. A few months later, we heard from multiple neighbors that he has married another woman. How do you just move on with your life as quickly as that?”

Tonia continues, “I held out hope for 18 years that she would come back. The FBI called on the 11th of October and told me they had gotten a confession, and he was leading them to where Christy’s body was. It was a very hard day to realize the one you love isn’t coming back. The 18 years of not knowing was torture.”

“I still have doubts that Jose wasn’t somehow involved. It’s just one of those gut feelings,” Mary says.

The two families face each other for the first time in 18 years. And, how is Jose related to Elias Acevedo?

Jose says he had a wonderful relationship with Christina and denies he was abusive. “I was a good, excellent, wonderful boyfriend. I would never put my hands on Christina,” he says.

Can the two families, both suffering from loss, come together and heal?

Since the taping of the show, Elias Acevedo Sr. pleaded guilty and was convicted of killing Christina Adkins and Pamela Pemberton as well as 295 other counts related to kidnapping and rape. Acevedo will serve life in prison without parole as part of his plea agreement.
 

Searching for Answers

There are still two unsolved cases in the Cleveland area: Amy Mihaljevic and Ashley Summers:


 



 
Anyone with information should contact the FBI Violent Crime Task Force at (216) 522-1400.