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Ed & Gary Chrisman – two sides to one story

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The store

The store - we go by it many times...

Ed Chrisman was wintering in Yuma, Ariz., when, on Jan. 8, his grandson Gary Chrisman Jr. invited him along for trip across the border to a dental appointment. Ed Chrisman had made that trip dozens of times over the years. This time, both men were thrown in jail after being accused of approaching a 13-year-old girl in her mother’s convenience store and asking to take a sexually explicit photograph.

According to the U.S. press, Ed Chrisman never entered that store.

Gary Chrisman told his family he went into the store and took a few photos of fully-clothed girls with their mother’s permission. He gave the woman $25, but she demanded more. When Gary Chrisman refused, she called the police.

Gary Chrisman remains in jail awaiting trial.

On Feb. 9, a Mexican judge said Ed Chrisman could go home. But wasn’t released until March 14, when the court paperwork reached the Mexicali prison where he was being held. He spent 65 days in jail. His family spent thousands of dollars trying to get him out.

They even worried Ed Chrisman wouldn’t survive when he fell ill during his time in jail.

“It feels like we live in a movie,” Paul Chrisman said. Ed Chrisman told his story in pieces, Paul Chrisman said. “There is a lot he doesn’t want to say.”

Chrisman’s face appeared on TV and in papers countless times. He never expected to receive this kind of attention, Paul Chrisman said of his grandfather. But he’s been patient.

Since the ordeal began, the Chrisman family has received letters, phone calls and donations from people they haven’t heard from in years — and people they don’t even know. “It’s very surreal,” Paul Chrisman said.

The Chrisman case sparked heated debate on both sides of the border.

The now-famous Arlington grandpa beamed, shaking hands with friends and family members. “I didn’t think I’d ever be home again, I really didn’t,” Ed Chrisman said.

According to The Arizona Republic, published in Phoenix, the owner of the store and her daughter are American citizens and live in Yuma, Arizona. So to change the picture a little, an American citizen in Mexico called the local police for help when her daughter was approached by another American for immoral purposes. The police responded and arrested the man – rather than looking for a bribe from a “rich American,” the police were providing protection to an American and her daughter.

According to the U.S. press, the grandfather should not have been arrested – no one on either side of the border disagrees on this point. However, it appears that the one primarily responsible for his ordeal is Ed Chrisman’s own grandson, Gary. Much easier for the family to blame the Mexican police and judicial system for the old man’s suffering when, if the grandson is guilty, the fault lies mainly with the grandson for callously putting his grandfather in harm’s way.

From The Arizona Republic:

–In an interview with “The Arizona Republic” last week, the 13-year-old girl’s mother offered an entirely different account. The mother, who filed the criminal complaint, said she and her daughter are not greedy or corrupt Mexicans, but U.S. citizens who live in Yuma and filed the police report out of fear.

–“This is the truth,” the girl’s mother concluded, her eyes welling. “My daughter is afraid. . . . And all the lies keep coming” in news stories.

–The mother’s version of the event: The Chrismans first visited on Jan. 5 while her daughter was tending the shop with two other women. The mother said Gary Chrisman entered the store alone and took some normal pictures with permission, then said, “Without clothes, I’ll pay more.” When the girls refused, the girl’s mother said, the visitor displayed a knife and said things would go bad if the girls told anyone. She added that the man wrote his name and phone number on a sheet of paper, telling the girls to call if they had a change of heart.

–She said her daughter was shaken that day as she told of the incident.

–On Jan. 8, she said, Chrisman returned and again offered to pay for photos without clothing. “My daughter told him, ‘No, and get out of here.'”

–The girl’s mother said she arrived in her car as the men were driving away. She followed, calling police on her cellphone.

–As a businesswoman who relies partly on tourism, she said she has no motive to fabricate such a story. She added that her daughter remains fearful and has been traumatized by media coverage.

–“They say I’m telling lies, but police have a page with his name and number on it,” she added.

–Accounts of what happened in Los Algodones merge on one important point: Edward Chrisman did not enter the store.

–The girl’s mother said she has no idea why the octogenarian was arrested and does not believe he should be in jail.

Ed Chrisman is home now, with memories of a terrible experience. Our hearts go out to him. But it is interesting that there does not seem to be similar outrage that Gary Jr. remains in jail in Mexico.

Perhaps that is where he should be.

5 comments to Ed & Gary Chrisman – two sides to one story

  • Janee:
    We never took sides, as we never really knew what happened or what didn’t happen. Somewhere, Jim heard that Gary Chrisman was getting out, and we are glad to hear from you that he did.
    God Bless,

  • Janee

    I know it’s almost a year later, but I just saw this and became angry. I am a family friend of the Chrismans. This is a very one sided account. The number of times the story changed from the mother and the girls is amazing. This family is an honest decent family. And the rumor that Gary was accused before is ridiculous. No such event ever took place…all more stories made up. And…as a follow up, Gary was just released and found innocent.

  • Be my guest and copy the post. A link back to my site would always be appreciated. God Bless, MaryAnn

  • I really liked this post. Can I copy it to my site? Thank you in advance.

  • wondering

    I was told Chrisman Jr was to have another hearing in the juzgado on May 8th. Have you heard anything about this?

    I was also told a girl from Yuma was raped by this man a few years ago. Yuma police offered no assistance .

    I’m glad Mr. Edward is home and safe.

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