Superhero California mom helps rescue missing children: ‘Trust your instinct’
Familiar self-sacrifice helps two dozen sheriff’s deputies on a 12-hour stretch of highway, a new sheriff and a court-ordered intervention program
Imagine a red-headed, hazel-eyed, blue-eyed girl with a dog-earred T-shirt. Something didn’t quite add up. You have to respect that.
But this is Angela Desrochers. It’s 1987. Tammi Moon (I can do the accent for you!) is 12 years old. She’s a white and blond sixth-grader from Northern California, her name a result of a holiday sing-along. It’s just before school begins.
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She’s a local girl. Angela (obviously her real name) is a kindergarten teacher in Sacramento. She is 60.
But this girl Tammi is in need of a ride.
“My sign-off [remarks] have been ‘Trading places’,” Angela responds when Tammi says there’s a hitch in the plans.
Angela didn’t give Tammi’s name, and she wasn’t about to. Tammi said they’d be dropping her dad off in Dublin, some 30 miles north of Sacramento, the workday was just starting.
But Angela couldn’t leave without Tammi. So Angela gave her all the info Tammi needed to get a ride to Sacramento and back.
She also gave Tammi her number. Because Angela knew Tammi’s dad, the police didn’t have to make a move to find her.
“Trust your instinct” might be true advice for anyone, but Angela, you’ve got to admit, doesn’t mince words.
Angela and her husband Steve have two children: Brianna, 22, and Elliot, 20. All three live with Angela and Steve in the family’s home in Pleasanton, California.
Steve is an 8.8% cop pension beneficiary and still works as a fully-paid substitute police officer. Angela is a therapist and clinical counselor for patients with autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Angela has also been an ordained Buddhist nun since 1998.
Angela is a superhero in her family. No kidding.
“She did everything with empathy and care,” said Greg Stewart, deputy chief of the San Joaquin sheriff’s office. “Just her directness – she had the empathy without being overtly direct.
Stewart, an 11.7% pension beneficiary, also works as a paid police officer, but he keeps a cool head. “Angela may not have been able to take action immediately when she saw Tammi, but she’s certainly capable of doing so if the situation ever gets close to that.”
Stewart said he wasn’t aware of Angela’s personal security, but that it was “something she’s worked on.”
Angela has been considered a hero in recent years. After her son Elliott adopted her superhero identity Angela Reed of the DC Comics universe, Angela became the force’s unofficial spokesman when the San Joaquin county sheriff reported lax staffing during a time of significant racial backlash in America.
Glow comic book. Photograph: Illustration: Gabriele Sciotto
The San Joaquin sheriff said last year that when she was a 7.5% pension beneficiary Angela emailed them regularly about staffing issues, with a personal level of detail the normally guarded department didn’t see, so she could increase the level of her pension benefits.
“I’ve been trained to not be more open with women in the sheriff’s office,” Sheriff Steve Moore told the Sacramento Bee. “If you do nothing you get the civil service bashing. I could go on and on but you get the idea.”
Angela is fine with that. The job, and the position she holds in society, is her responsibility.
“I just have a feeling, a gut feeling, a gut feeling she’s going to be OK,” Angela said of her daughter’s situation. “Trusting