Mikey’s Story

By:  Diane Benjamin

Mikey Cardena was an abused child, I have the pictures and police reports to prove it.  On Monday a McLean County judge will likely give custody back to the mom even though the abuse happened in her custody.  This is the case the media has reported as the father took the boy to Massachusetts without permission.  I believe Judge Hill wants to throw him in jail for not complying with her order to return his son.  There is a legal case pending in Massachusetts.

The father, Michael, has spent most of his money trying to keep his son.  The mom’s family isn’t limited by finances, so obviously she can bankrupt him.

These are the charges that got Mickey taken away from her.  Amber’s then boyfriend is in jail.  Even though meth was being manufactured in the house with young kids present, Amber didn’t get jail time.

Michael created the video below to show his son is thriving living with him.  It was posted on Facebook until somebody who doesn’t want people to see the truth reported it to Facebook as “stealing intellectual property”:

Michael made the video, stealing property is absurd.

This is a sad case of doing what’s right for Mickey plays no part in the decision a judge is going to make.

Maybe judge Hill will watch the video, but I doubt it.  According to people who know, the judge hasn’t allowed all the evidence to be heard.

Maybe Judge Hill wants to see another news clip of a screaming kid yanked from a parent.

Michael Cadena doesn’t have a clean record, but he did get clean in order to take care of his son.  Amber didn’t until she was arrested.

Mikey is happy where he is.  Thriving in Massachusetts  sadly most likely won’t be enough for Judge Hill.  We will find out on Monday.

18 thoughts on “Mikey’s Story

  1. Mass. can do a home study on the living situation and report back to the judge. There is very little truth told in a custody fight. The child should have a GAL so he is represented in Court. Lets hope Justice is done for the kid.

  2. The folks on the right go on about the rule of law. Mikey’s dad can’t convince a court that he should have custody.

    Mikey’s dad is now wanted.

    You cannot have it both ways.

    1. You cannot have it both ways unless it’s one of Tom’s illegal alien buddies. It’s not justice for all, it’s “just us” for whoever is in power. Tom cherry pickin’ info to suit his purposes as usual. Red wave in November Tom.

    2. In February of 2017 Michael Cadena was granted sole legal and physical custody of Michael Cadena, Jr. by Judge Fitzgerald in McLean County, Illinois.


    Since infancy, Mikey was abused and neglected “allegedly” at the hands of his mother and her paramours. He was frequently subjected to criminal activity, trauma, and violence on a daily basis. Reports to DCFS were not properly investigated, so it went ignored even though there was substantial proof within police and medical reports. Mikey had been burned, beaten, thrown, and tied up so tightly he had rope burns. Close to twelve complaints had been relayed to DCFS concerning Mikey’s care; and yet, those investigations were all deemed “unfounded”. Shortly thereafter, however, Mikey’s mother was arrested for manufacturing a meth lab in her home and Mikey was removed on an emergency order. Since, four year old Mikey has been living in a loving, structured and supportive environment with his father. But this home is now being threatened.


    The judicial system in McClean County Illinois failed to protect him. They barred testimony from crucial witnesses in his custody battle, citing that the “case is not about the best interest of the child”, and ordered the father who had previously been awarded sole physical and legal custody to return to the state with the boy or face contempt of court. This order came two years after Michael Cadena Sr. and his son relocated to Massachusetts due to numerous threats of physical harm by the maternal grandfather and male friends of the mother in Illinois as allowed by the UCCJA and PKPA laws. The court did this knowing that returning the child could re-traumatize him and went against the recommendations of Mikey’s pediatrician, psychologist, and play therapist combined.

    This is not the first time the McClean County judicial system or Illinois DCFS have failed to protect children in these circumstances. In March of 2009, Amy Leichtberg lost her two young children after the same State’s Attorney and judges ignored her continual pleas for help. Similarly with Mikey’s mother, they instead aided Amy’s ex-husband as he worked toward supposed redemption. Despite his odd behavior and criminal record, her husband received the benefit of the doubt from police, prosecutors and a family court judge. Her husband, (a man who vowed often to harm her, himself, and violated a protective order 56 times) killed himself and the children while out on a court ordered unsupervised visit.

    In April of 2017, 17 month old Semaj Crosby was found dead under a couch in her home hours after a DCFS well-being check. Semaj and others within the home were subjects of half a dozen Illinois DCFS investigations, some in relation to drug abuse or corporal punishment. Like in many of Mikey’s investigations, hers were also deemed “unfounded”. It was later discovered by the Chicago Tribune that the agency purposefully filed delayed reports related to Semaj’s case to make it appear as though they had been actively investigating claims of child abuse and neglect all along.

    In addition to Semaj’s case, then Illinois DCFS director George Sheldon came under fire for controversial contracts and hires. Also that year, a state child welfare probe uncovered that Illinois DCFS investigators had launched contests that awarded $100 gift card to workers who closed the most cases in a month. Most often it was discovered that these cases would be closed without basic information being gathered leaving the children involved in dangerous situations. George Sheldon has since resigned.


    Currently, Mikey’s case is under review by Chief Justice Judge Casey of Norfolk County, Massachusetts and he has a chance for a fair hearing in a state that is known to always look out for a child’s well-being. Child abuse should not be tolerated. The system failed Mikey once and we can’t let them do it again. Now more than ever, Mikey’s story needs to be told. We need the public to see the injustice this poor boy has endured and continues to face. No child should ever be forced back into the arms of their abuser.

    For more information or to follow the campaign, please visit Help Us Save Mikey on Facebook.

    1. DCFS in Mclean county is either very active or invisible in a case of child abuse .. all depends on child placement into the system ($$ for them) .. abused children are often overlooked or discredited 🤨.. left with an abusive parent ! … When it comes to kids – they have -NO VOICE- in Mclean county .. and attorneys | Judges of ‘Family Court’ aren’t any better – It’s all about the $$ .. tight group of professionals that don’t care

  4. A child belongs with the person or people who care for and nurture that child and do their best to keep him or her happy, healthy and safe. This includes such simple actions as feeding the child nutritious meals, making sure the child has plenty of water, a safe place to sleep, reasonably decent clothes to wear, someone that child can share his or her stories and and interests with, someone who can assure that the child has adequate supervision for their age at all times, someone who will read to and help educate the child and make sure they learn the skills of daily living (ADLS) and these are the minimum requirements. It does not matter if that “best person” is the mother, father, grandparents, aunt, uncle or whoever can do these things if none of the aforementioned are able or suitable, then someone who can and will should be found. I know of course some foster care is horrible, but some is ok, and even ok is better than putting a child back in chaos or abuse.
    The ability to produce a child in no way is any guarantee that either of those people can do these things, any two people with working reproductive systems can “make a baby”. It seems, at least from what information has been shown, that this father can and will to the best of his ability do the things I mentioned above – putting this little boy back into possible abuse and neglect by druggies, yes I called them druggies, would be a travesty. One of the best quotes I have ever heard on law is this – “In a thousand pounds of law, there is not an ounce of compassion” – this needs to change, especially when it comes to little kids and custody cases.

  5. Best of luck to the dad – he’ll need it. I’m headed for a similar battle. Luckily the level of abuse is nowhere near Mikey’s, but it Is there nonetheless. But she has money and breasts, and in my experience so far, that trumps the best interests of the child in the eyes of the Court.

  6. Wow. As a religious person, I’d think you be more forgiving, believing in the power of redemption. People do change and rehabilitate. As a person who cites the Constitution and seems to be all about law and order, I’d think you side with the court. The father is breaking the law.

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