The Butterfly Garden: Surviving Childhood on the Run with One of America's Most Wanted

The Butterfly Garden: Surviving Childhood on the Run with One of America's Most Wanted

by Chip St. Clair


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One of America's Most Fascinating True Crime Cases

Fear rocked Chip St. Clair's world. As a boy, he never knew what would set his father off--maybe the ice cubes had melted in his glass of Tab, maybe dinner was overcooked or undercooked or the gravy was too runny. Regardless, the beatings always came. As did the twisted games of cat and mouse--being thrown from a rowboat into frigid Lake Michigan, the middle-of-the-night moves to different states, or being left to dangle over a ten-story balcony while his father watched from inside. But one fateful night when the police answered the call, the truth came to light from the shadows, sparking national headlines: Chip St. Clair's entire life--his name, even his date of birth--had been a lie, and the man he called 'Dad' was an impostor, an escaped child killer who had been on the run for over two decades. The stunning revelation would send one of America's Most Wanted to justice and another on a quest for his true identity.

With chilling detail and a riveting, lyrical narrative, The Butterfly Garden reveals St. Clair's struggle to piece together his haunted past before it consumes him and shares his inspiring metamorphosis from victim to victim's advocate. The Butterfly Garden is a timeless triumph, a reminder that hope can be the most powerful of all emotions, freeing us to soar despite the past and the odds against us.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780757306952
Publisher: Health Communications, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/18/2008
Pages: 264
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.56(d)

About the Author

Chip St. Clair is a recipient of a U.S. Congressional Record for his work helping to keep abused children safe and to keep predators behind bars. He began sharing his story nationally in 2002, having been featured on major television programs such as Dateline, Good Morning America, and The John Walsh Show. Most recently, St. Clair helped to pass Michigan's, Montana's, and Maryland's versions of Jessica's Law.

Read an Excerpt

The Truth Shall
Set You Free

I never thought I would see a prison in real life, much less visit one. Oliver Wendell Holmes once wrote, 'Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.'

'You're here for offender #37670,' the guard confirmed, leading us down a narrow, dimly lit hallway.
'Yeah,' I whispered, my voice echoing loudly in the cramped corridor.

'That's a real old number,' he remarked. 'You don't see too many that old. He sure has been gone a long time. All those years and you didn't even know?'
'No,' I stammered, watching him turn a corner ahead. 'It was only about a year ago when I found out . . . who he really was. What he had done. That's why I turned him in.'

I glanced back at my fiancée Lisa and her father, grateful for their support. I was preparing to confront my father for the first time in my life to hold him accountable for all he had done to me. He had paralyzed me with fear, intimidation, and ridicule. He had tried to break me, day after day, year after year, imprisoning me with lies and deceit.

'Well, good luck,' the guard said. Then he tipped his hat and motioned us into the large room where I would testify before the parole board.
Lisa reached out and squeezed my hand. Her father, Richard, grasped my shoulder warmly.

'You'll do fine,' he assured me.

As I took a seat, I flipped through my black leather attaché case, trying to better organize my thoughts in anticipation of my testimony. There were miscellaneous documents, pictures of children, police reports, military records—all riddled with lies. I paused when I came across a small, pale-green sheet of paper, a birth certificate issued by the state of Indiana. I held it up toward the fluorescent light glaring above me, to be sure that the parole board could see through this particular lie. There it was, Chip Anthony St. Clair—along with all the other information on the sheet—typed over, forged. Even the birth date, August 1, 1975, was a lie.

I sighed and fished out the one piece of truth within the attaché case—a small, thin, blue book of poetry called One Hundred and One Famous Poems. This book represented my hope as a child, tucked away deep inside me. The comfort of its words had rescued me on more than one occasion, and I was going to call upon them today to rescue me once again.

The three of us sat quietly in the room until the parole board members finally filed in. Each of them carried a folder and wore an unreadable expression. I listened intently as they talked amongst themselves, trying to draw some conclusion as to what they were thinking and what they might think of me.

'So, this is his son that is going to speak?' one member asked.

'Well, that's not certain, but he grew up with him all those years,' another whispered.
'Wasn't he convicted of second-degree murder . . . 1973?' mumbled a third.
'Yes, voluntary manslaughter,' said a gray-haired man, glancing up at me.

They abruptly silenced themselves and took their places behind the desk. A gold nameplate identified each member. After clearing his throat, the head of the parole board called my name.

I rose from my chair and stepped toward the small table positioned before them. Steadying a shaky hand on the back of the chair, I pulled it out and sat down.
'Whenever you're ready,' boomed the voice ahead of me.

With seven intense pairs of eyes watching me, I began to speak.

'My name is Chip St. Clair. I want to tell you about my life with Michael Grant .

©2008. Chip St. Clair. All rights reserved. Reprinted from The Butterfly Garden. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

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