Our Journey for Truth - The Fight for Rylee's Hero

For: Andrew Stephens
Newport News, VA
Organizer: The Stephens Family
Our Journey for Truth - The Fight for Rylee's Hero (Andrew Stephens)
$2,461
of $6,500 goal.
Raised by 53 donors
37% Complete

The Story

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to read and share this story. 100% of the money raised here will be used to put together a team of legal and medical experts that will fight for the truth and bring Andrew home to his family. 

He did everything he could to protect her, yet we could not protect him from the injustice that was to come.

The epidemic of misdiagnosis, false accusations of abuse, and innocent people being convicted continues although the medical community is divided.

The Syndrome is real..

This could be your story...

Rylee Grace Stephens was born August 9, 2012 into the loving arms of Andrew and Amber Stephens. Although Amber was sick during labor, Rylee appeared to be healthy after a short stay in the NICU and a weeks worth of antibiotics.

On November 2nd, at the age of almost 3 months old, Rylee was rushed to the local emergency room because she had gone limp, been vomiting, and had what was likely a seizure. Father and daughter were sent home with a diagnosis of “spitting up infant”.  Symptoms continued 2 more times over the following days, and Rylee was taken both times to the same emergency room. She was sent home once with a new diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease and the third time she was transferred to a nearby children’s hospital where she could receive a higher level of care.

Rylee was given an MRI and it showed that there was bleeding around her brain. She was placed on monitors, given loading doses of anti-seizure medications and IVs were started. Her parents and other family members stood by helplessly watching her condition worsen while doctors offered no additional testing and gave no possibilities or reasons for her condition other than child abuse.

14 days after Rylee showed her first symptoms her condition hadn’t improved. Fluid and blood were compressing her brain and she would need surgery to relieve the pressure. Burr holes were drilled into her skull and the fluids were drained successfully. Her brain did not expand quickly as expected but she was soon stable enough to go home. Although allegations were unfounded by some agencies Rylee’s parents were not permitted to be alone with her while their “case” was pending, so friends and family were there by their side.

The team of doctors at the children’s hospital declined to consider what might have caused Rylee to become so ill. Their sole focus was to blame someone, in Rylee’s case, her father, who had done everything in his power to get help for her. In their minds, there is nothing that could have caused this besides the ever controversial Shaken Baby Syndrome (except, they can’t use that term anymore).

After being arrested on a heinous charge, Andrew was released on bond to await trial. He was not permitted contact with his daughter and could not leave the state of Virginia, not only because of his bond agreement, but because he was an active duty Navy sailor. Andrew spent 2 1/2 years away from his wife and daughter, who moved back to Iowa to be with family. He had to see all of Rylee’s firsts on video or through photos. The doctors and the state wrongfully took away time from his wife and daughter that he will never get back.

Andrew was tried in June of 2015. A jury believed the junk science and speculation of one doctor and discarded all opinions and evidence to the contrary. They convicted Andrew of a horrific crime that he did not commit and he is now facing up to 20 years in prison.

Rylee is now almost 3, a happy, healthy, rambunctious little girl. She has met or surpassed all of her developmental milestones to date, and is not permanently impaired as the doctor for the prosecution would have you believe. She misses her daddy and needs him in her life. The state has taken another innocent parent from a loving family.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on March 28, 2016

Posted on March 28, 2016

UPDATE ON ANDREW:
Hope you all had a wonderful Easter!
First and foremost, Andrew is doing well.
Although his appeal was granted, and the process is moving forward, he must still transition into the Department of Corrections for now. He has been moved to the central reception and classification center which is basically a holding area for everyone as they send them off to different facilities. This move has been a struggle for Andrew, as well as the rest of the family. This place is far different than we could have ever imagined. Placement into a prison is right around the corner, but not as quickly as we would like. He is housed in an area with people that have all different charges, backgrounds, and quite honestly, many that are in and out of the system. He no longer holds a trusted status that came with more freedoms (like the ability to call his daughter and other family members often). He and the others at this facility are in a constant state of lock-down, and only get an hour every day out of their cell. Andrew has to choose whether he will wait in line to shower or wait in line at the phones, with the possibility he won’t even get on (and even that comes with its own risks). Although he hasn’t been able to speak much with his siblings or mom, and has yet to speak to Rylee since the transition, he remains upbeat and positive. He is such an inspiration and has such an amazing spirit.
Andrew continues to ask for your support, love, and prayers during this transitional time. He finds solace in reading, working out, any recreation time he might get, and his ability to speak with his pastor. Anyone that is interested in writing him a letter please inbox us for the address. We are anxious for the next steps in the appeal process and will keep you all informed when we find things out. As always the entire family appreciates your continued love and support!

Posted on March 11, 2016

Posted on March 11, 2016

We know that most of you keep up via facebook....I wanted to make sure to post this here as well.  Also wanted to say thank you again to all of you that have donated, every dollar has helped fun the awesome attorney that is working on Andrew's appeal!

ANDREW'S APPEAL HAS BEEN GRANTED!!!!
Andrew's attorney will now be able to move forward and present the issues he has found with Andrew's trial to a panel of 3 judges. This does not mean that this nightmare is over, or almost over...the appeals process is just that, a process....but to get a single judge to see that there is obviously an issue, or issues, that need to be looked into is HUGE!
Virginia is a Pro-conviction state that does not grant appeals very often, let alone, in the first round.
Andrew is doing very well, he continues to stay positive and is such an inspiration!
Thank you all for your continued support, we will continue to update as we receive more info! As always your continued thoughts, prayers and donations are greatly appreciated!!!

Posted on December 4, 2015

Posted on December 4, 2015

Donate and get a stocking made by Jennifer!

So many of you have asked how you can help. We appreciate the thoughts and prayers more than you could ever imagine, unfortunately Andrew's attorney doesn't take those for payment.

If everyone that likes this page gave $20 we could cover the cost of the attorney and the filing of the paperwork. Give Andrew a Christmas gift that will help him get home to his baby girl!

The clock has already started on getting the appeal brief in. In order to actually file the brief, the attorney needs to be paid in full. We've already sent him what has been donated thus far as well as what was in Andrew's retirement account and then some. In order to not miss the deadline we need to raise another $5000 in the next 20 days.

For every donation of $50 or more, Jennifer will hand knit you a Christmas stocking. You pick the colors....Christmas, your favorite college or professional team, she can even do the logos for most!

Thank you all for your support, your donations, your thoughts, prayers, and positive vibes. Hug your families tight, especially this holiday season and don't take a moment of it for granted!

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