A mother from Kentucky has been accused of killing a man from Florida who was allegedly helping her regain custody of her children through their involvement in QAnon.
Neely Petrie-Blanchard, 33, was arrested on a homicide charge in the fatal shooting of Christopher Hallett, 50, at his Florida home. According to an, eyewitness Petrie-Blanchard killed Hallett because she believed that he was working with the government to keep her children away from her.
Both Hallett and Petrie-Blanchard belonged to a network of QAnon supporters who proclaim to be anti-government “sovereign citizens” using odd legal tactics in child custody battles. QAnon is the collective belief that claims President Donald Trump is rescuing the world from a satanic cabal of elites who run a child sex abuse ring.
Authorities said that Hallett was helping Petrie-Blanchard regain custody of her twin daughters through bogus legal claims, but that she allegedly killed him after believing that he was working against her.
Officers responding to the shooting on Sunday discovered Hallett dead from multiple gunshot wounds lying facedown on the kitchen floor at his Ocala home. An eyewitness informed authorities that she saw Petrie-Blanchard fatally shooting Hallett and fleeing the scene in a vehicle.
The witness said that after the first shot was fired, she heard Petrie-Blanchard say, “You’re hurting my children, you b*****d,” followed by the sounds of additional gunshots.
After authorities issued a nationwide alert to law enforcement agencies, a deputy in Lowndes County, Georgia discovered Petrie-Blanchard at a gas station and took her into custody.
According to the Associated Press, Petrie-Blanchard was indicted last Tuesday on separate charges of kidnapping, relating to an incident in March when she allegedly abducted her twin daughters from their grandmother’s home in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Her mother, Susan Blanchard, had obtained sole guardianship of the two 7-year-old girls through a court order that described Petrie-Blanchard as “extremely unstable,” according to the Logan County Sheriff’s Office. And on March 25, Petrie-Blanchard was taken into custody after she failed to return her twin daughters to Susan’s home during a visit five days prior.
Police revealed that Petrie-Blanchard had a history of mental illness. Even more alarming, she was a self-proclaimed “sovereign citizen” who allegedly possessed a handgun, according to Logan County authorities.
Hallett was seemingly helping Petrie-Blanchard regain custody of her children through his involvement in a company called “E-Clause” that purports to use legal tactics rooted in the “sovereign citizen” movement.
Self-proclaimed sovereign citizens “hold truly bizarre, complex, antigovernment beliefs that are rooted in racism and anti-Semitism,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Members believe they get to decide which laws to obey and ignore, and in addition, they don’t believe they have to pay taxes. They also participate in anti-government protests and also, file bogus lawsuits and fake liens to advance their beliefs.
Petrie-Blanchard seemed to seek out Hallett’s help to get custody of her children. After she allegedly abducted her daughters from her mother’s house in March, she was seen driving a Ford Escape with a Florida license plate that read “ECLAUSE.”
In a photo released by authorities in March, she was wearing a T-shirt that read “E ~ Clause.” In addition, she also retweeted some of Hallett’s tweets on her account.
But eyewitnesses who spoke to authorities “speculated” that Petrie-Blanchard shot Hallett “due to her belief that the victim might have been working against her, or working to assist the government, in keeping her children away from her,” the police report said.
Social media accounts that also looked to belong to Petrie-Blanchard revealed she was a Trump supporter. She posted a Facebook Live video during a November 2018 Trump rally that she attended with her twin daughters who were both dressed in red T-shirts that read, “E~ Clause + Trump Girls.”
Her Twitter account was also littered with phrases and wild conspiracy theories linked to QAnon.
QAnon believers affiliated with “E-Clause” have been associated with similar crimes which include inciting parents who have lost custody of their children to kidnap them from relatives or foster homes.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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