ESP Ministries



April 11, 2008

Dear Ben,

I am sending you this letter to thank you for opening my eyes to the evil behind the psychic business.  After hearing you speak last weekend in
Sarasota, I realized that my plan to visit psychic John Edward at an upcoming event in Tampa would be a huge mistake.  I now know that I do not wish to be involved with a person who is either being controlled by demons or is just a total fraud.  I am appalled to learn that John Edward actually takes advantage of grief-stricken people such as myself, pretending to contact our deceased loved ones, when all the while he is just ripping us off for the almighty dollar.

My other purpose for this letter is to share the story of what happened to my sister so that it could possibly keep someone else from making the same bad choices that she made.

My sister Saundra was a year younger than me.  We looked very much alike and could even fool people into thinking we were twins.  Her life started out fairly normal.  She did quit school at age 17 and married her high school sweetheart, Vince.  They had a daughter named Sheena, who was around 3 years old when Saundra took a job as a Bookkeeper/Accountant at a grocery store in
Augusta, GA.  Everything was fine until one day a new manager named Rick came to work at the grocery store.  Rick was a flashy dresser with long blonde hair like a rock star.  He drove a white corvette and always had a pocket full of cash which he readily spent on all the women in sight, including my sister.  He would regularly take the female employees from the grocery store out to lunch at nice restaurants and buy them lots of drinks.

I lived in
Tennessee at the time but when I came to Georgia on vacation to visit my sister, I was surprised when she offered me cocaine.  I refused of course but that didn’t stop her from doing it constantly.  As I soon learned, Rick the new manager had a cocaine habit and had gotten my sister and several of her friends hooked on it as well.  Her life would never be the same!  She began partying like crazy, sometimes disappearing for days at a time and totally neglecting her 3 year old daughter. 
Finally her husband Vince had enough.  He divorced Saundra and got custody of their daughter, Sheena.  Now she had lost her husband, her home and her daughter. 

The next of her bad decisions is discovered when Rick the store manager is caught embezzling (that means stealing) money from the company to finance his cocaine habit.  It was also discovered that Saundra had been doing all the bookkeeping work to cover it up for the past year.  They are both fired.  Now she has lost her job.  She has no chance of getting another accountant job with no references and no formal training or high school diploma.  She tried restaurant work but she didn’t like it (too much hard work.)

The next thing I know she is working as a stripper.
  She has a new boyfriend named Skip and they are both doing drugs and running wild.  Their latest scheme to get more drugs involved cutting the corners off $20 bills and gluing them onto $1 bills.  Then they would visit the drive-up drug dealers in the “hood” and pass these bogus $20 bills to the drug dealers. 

Soon I get a phone call that Saundra has been shot.  She has a bullet lodged in the back of her neck ⅜ of an inch from her spine.  The bullet is so close to the spine that the doctors refuse to remove it.  If it slipped any closer to the spine, she would surely be paralyzed.  The doctors said that over time calcium deposits would form around the bullet and it wouldn’t be able to move anymore.  However for the first year, there is still a chance that the bullet could move onto her spine and cause paralysis.

So you would think that being shot and having to live with a bullet in your neck for the rest of her life would get Saundra’s attention to straighten out her life.  But a year later in 1991, she was still doing the exact same thing.  This time her boyfriend Skip was with her, driving the car to the drive-up drug dealers and buying crack with their phony $20 bills.  The drug dealers began shooting at them as they were speeding away.  Saundra started screaming “Slam on the brakes!” and Skip screams back “I can’t.  I can’t move my legs!” and they crashed into a telephone pole.  Skip had been shot in the back and his spinal cord was severed immediately.  He is now permanently paralyzed from the waist down.  He will be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. 

But even this didn’t slow Saundra down one single bit.  She and Skip broke up a few months later.  She was still working as a stripper and soon met a new boyfriend named
Gary.  She met some new drug dealers who would give her thousands of dollars worth of crack cocaine up front to sell for them.  Her habit was so huge that soon she began to do all the drugs herself instead of selling them.  She now owes tens of thousands of dollars to various drug dealers.  I’ve been told that on many occasions my sister would be walking down the street and certain drug dealers would just snatch her up and beat the crap out of her because she hadn’t paid them their money.  Several times she was beaten bad enough to have internal injuries and black eyes.

In 1992, she was nearly beaten to death.  She was taken to a dead end street and beaten with a baseball bat and her legs were run over by a car.  Then she was thrown down a hill into a ditch and left to die.  Her teeth were knocked loose, both legs were broken and her pelvis was shattered into 21 pieces.  Somehow she managed to crawl out of that ditch on her elbows and pulled herself up to the street.  A lady found her and brought her to the emergency room.  Her right foot was almost cut off.  Only one artery was holding it on. Her knee caps were gone, shattered into nothing.  The doctors called our family and asked for someone to come over right away so they could take her in for emergency surgery.  My Aunt Rhonda was the first to arrive at the ER.  She got to see Saundra briefly before the surgery when Saundra opened up her hand and handed Rhonda a rock of crack cocaine.  Saundra said, “Here, I held onto this.  Keep it for me until I get out of the hospital.”  Saundra had held onto that hit of crack the whole time the drug dealers were beating her, the whole time when she was crawling out of the ditch on her elbows.  At that moment, crack was more valuable to her than her own life.  

The surgery went well.  The doctors reconnected most of the nerves in her foot but there were some nerves that couldn’t be repaired.  They reconstructed her pelvis as best they could and used some of the extra pelvic bones to make her some new knee caps.  She ended up being in a wheelchair for 6 months.  She had to have daily physical therapy and totally learn how to walk again.  She would have to wear a special shoe with a brace connected to it on her right foot due to the nerve damage for the rest of her life. 

After 6 months, she was able to walk again with a limp.  She now has giant S-shaped scars running down both of her legs so she is unable to work again as a stripper.  She got pregnant and had a baby with her boyfriend Gary in December 1993.  She had to have a C section due to all the damage to her pelvis but she had stayed straight all through her pregnancy and had a healthy baby boy named Kyle. 

But Saundra’s sobriety was short-lived.  When Kyle was only a few months old, she started back on the crack again.  She fell in with a crowd that was robbing houses and selling the loot to get money to buy more crack.  For the next few years, she was in and out of jail.  In 1995, she was sentenced to 3 years in jail but only served 4 months when she was released due to the jails being too overcrowded with drug addicts.  Every time she was in jail, she would call me and cry, saying she missed her kids and wanted to straighten her life out.  But every time she got out of jail, she was back on crack cocaine again within 3 weeks time.  Crack had so much taken over her brain that her whole life completely revolved around it. 

In 1996, Saundra was caught stealing at a grocery store.  The store manager called the police to come and arrest her.  She knew that she had violated her probation and that she would likely be sent to prison for a long time.  So when the cops arrived, she fought them with all her might.  It took 6 policemen to get her into the back of the police car.  The charge of “Resisting Arrest” was added to the list of charges she now faced.  But instead of prison, the judge gave her another chance to straighten out her life.  He sentenced her to a boot camp style drug treatment program.  They cut her hair short like a boy and put her through a very intense 3 month treatment program.  When she got out, she was still on house arrest.  She had to wear an ankle bracelet monitoring device.  If she went out of her yard, an alarm would go off and she would be sent back to prison.  She had to wear that ankle bracelet for several more months and it was great!  She stayed straight during this time and she also got pregnant again. 

I came to visit her on New Year’s Day 1997.  She was 6 months pregnant, happy, healthy and straight.  She had been going to church with my aunt and had even gotten baptized!  She was excited that they were going to take the ankle bracelet off in one week.  Her exact quote was “Then I’ll be able to do whatever I want to again.” 

Well what she wanted to do was more crack.  As soon as they removed the ankle bracelet, she was back on the crack again, pregnant and everything.  In March 1997, she was still pregnant, partying at a crack house with her boyfriend Gary and some other people when her water broke.  Everyone wanted to take her to the hospital but she was afraid to go because she was high on crack and she knew it was a violation of her probation and she didn’t want to go back to jail.  Someone called an ambulance but when the paramedics arrived she fought them.  Blood was gushing out of her.  She was about to give birth but she was fighting them with all her might.  The police were called and once again it took 6 policemen to get her into the ambulance.  She was taken to the hospital where she gave birth to a crack baby, her second son Kasey.   

Officials from the State were there trying to take custody of the baby but Gary’s mother, the baby’s paternal grandmother offered to take custody of the baby and his 4 year old brother Kyle.  Baby Kasey had to go through the crack withdrawal process.  He would shake uncontrollably.  His lungs were so week that when he cried, no sound would come out.  He had to go to the doctor for weekly breathing treatments and it took months for him to be able to cry normally.  His grandmother did a great job caring for him and today he is a healthy, normal child.  But Saundra still didn’t stop her old habits.  She continued to do crack and now began working as a prostitute since her legs were too damaged to work as a stripper. 

It was Thursday evening,
July 3, 1997 when she waited for Gary to fall asleep.  She stole a $100 bill from his wallet and took off to buy crack with a fellow prostitute friend of hers named Melissa.  They went to visit a drug dealer friend and purchased $65 worth of crack.  The guy didn’t have change for the $100 bill.  Melissa had an appointment so Saundra told the drug dealer friend, “I’ll be back in 30 minutes to get my change.”  Melissa’s appointment was just down the street at the Shady Motel.  Saundra rode along with her but told her, “I’ll just wait in the car while you go inside.”  When Melissa came out 30 minutes later, Saundra was gone.  Her purse was still in the car with all contents intact.  Melissa asked everyone around at the motel in the parking lot and in the office, but no one had seen any sign of my sister.  Saundra was just gone and she was never seen alive again. 

Her body was found in mid-September 1997 in a wooded area a few miles away.  There was nothing left of it except for skeletal remains.  It had been exposed to a heat wave that summer.  It was nearly 100 degrees every day.  The extremely hot temperatures had dried up every drop of fluid in her body, even the bone marrow.  There was no DNA to test, no clues, only dried up bones.  They identified her by her unusual knee caps and her dental records.  The coroner could not determine a cause of death.  He said there were no broken bones and no bullet wounds to the skeleton, only the bullet that came out of her neck but that was a part of her and had nothing to do with her death.  All the headlines in the media read “Stripper Found Dead.”  It was horrible for my mother to see that!  The police had no leads and never found out anything ever.  It was January 1998 before they completed the investigation and released the official death certificate.  It was not helpful, it only says, “Cause of Death Unknown.”

We know that God gave Saundra a bunch of chances to straighten out her life.  But each time the drugs won control of her mind and she chose not to do that
.  We do not know who or what killed my sister.  We do not know how or why she died.  We don’t know if she voluntarily left with someone, either friend or stranger?  Or was she taken and killed by one of the many drug dealers that she owed money to?  Or did she accidentally overdose on drugs and someone just panicked and dumped her body in the woods?  We just don’t know.

In 2007, it marked ten years since Saundra has been gone.  Ten years later, we still have no answers…her cause of death, still unknown.  I feel as her older sister that I should do something to try to get answers.  This is how I got to the point where I have considered visiting a psychic. 

In December 2007, I saw psychic John Edward on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”  He was so believable.  I totally fell for his lines.  He claimed that his powers are a gift from God and that he wants to use them to help people.  My plan was to pay $175 each for me and my husband to attend John Edward’s seminar in
Tampa on April 19, 2008.  Then, since he “can see dead people,” he would see my sister Saundra and she would tell him who killed her.  Then I could take that information to the police in Augusta, GA and the case would be solved.  I mentioned this plan to our youth pastor, Ryan and he freaked out.  He said seeing a psychic was a bad idea and made me promise to speak to a gentleman named Ben Alexander before going to the psychic. 
Now on April 6, 2008, God sent Ben Alexander to Sarasota Christian Church…just in time to keep me from making a really bad choice.  Ben taught me Deuteronomy 18:9-12 “talking to the dead is detestable to the Lord.”  After hearing Ben’s testimony and eyewitness accounts of those who speak to the dead, I totally agree with this scripture!

Thank you again, Ben Alexander for all your help!  Thank you for allowing me to share my sister’s story with others.  I hope that it inspires someone to make better choices.

Sister in Christ,

Michele Rodriguez












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