Stoen mailgram to Members of Congress, January 22, 1978

[Editor’s note: This letter was known to have been sent to Sens. Birch Bayh, Clifford Case, Frank Church, Dick Clark, Alan Cranston, Floyd Haskell, Mark Hatfield, Richard Schweiker, John Sparkman, and Lowell Weicker; and to Reps. John Burton, Phillip Burton, Ron Dellums, Robert Duncan, Don Edwards, Paul McCloskey, George Miller, Norman Mineta, Leo Ryan, Timothy Wirth, C.W. Bill Young, and Clement Zablocki, the chairman of the House International Relations Committee. Many of these congressmen included a copy of the letter when they contacted the State Department and/or the Government of Guyana on the Stoens’ behalf.]


Denver CO Jan 22

Honorable Birch Bayh
United States Senator
361 Russell Bldg.
Washington DC 20510

We desperately plead for your help in getting our six-year-old son, John Victor Stoen, now being forcibly held against our will in Guyana, South America by a certain Jim Jones of the People’s Temple.

The Superior Court of California on November 18, 1977 found Jones in violation of its order to appear, and further ordered him to immediately deliver the child to us. But Corky with leave to institute contempt proceedings, and it ordered San Francisco District Attorney Joseph Freitas, Jr. to “take all actions necessary” to secure Jones’ compliance with the order.

Jones still refuses to give us our child. On January 4, 1978 we traveled to Guyana to see our son and await a court decision there. Jones refused to let us see our son. The Guyanese courts still have not rendered a decision on habeas corpus proceedings brought last September. Upon leaving Guyana on January 18, we were met by agents of Jones and Peoples Temple who said if we returned to Guyana we would be killed.

We earnestly and respectfully ask that you request the US State Department and any other appropriate agency to demand that the Government of Guyana on the above-mentioned United States order under the general principles of comity. Jones and all parties involved are US citizens.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Most sincerely,
Timothy and Grace Stoen
(Parents of John Victor Stoen)
c/o Jeffrey A. Haas
1609 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, California 94118
Telephone (415) 922-4200