6. Tom's Arrest
Three days after Franklin’s passing, Tom was arrested and charged with murder. Tom was jailed from July 25, 2018 to the end of November 2018.
During that time, Laura had to plan and attend Franklin’s funeral without Tom. She buried their son alone. Tom, relying on what doctors told him, believed that he caused his son’s death. He internalized this and retreated to a dangerous period of depression and self-blame. He spent 23 hours a day in a jail cell contemplating if life was still worth living. Many days he felt it wasn’t.
At the end of November 2018, his family and friends rallied together so that Tom could return home on bail. It was set at $2.7 million by the court. It was a steep price to pay, but worth it in order to bring an innocent man home. With the help of family and friends, 15 homes were put up as collateral to cover the cost of bail. On November 19, 2018, Tom came home to Laura and they were finally able to grieve together, despite having a dark cloud, Tom’s impending charges, hanging over their heads.
FINDING A SILVER LINING
Tom was home on bail from November 2018 to November 2021. Over those three years, he accomplished a great deal, from working on himself through therapy to helping his employer grow their business to getting engaged and later marrying Laura. Currituck County required bimonthly tracking in which Tom and Laura would travel to and from North Carolina every two months. He was also able to achieve personal milestones such as competitive running and graphic design work for the non-profit Laura and he planned to start.
While Tom was incarcerated, his employer, Bailey Landscape, kept him employed and continued to pay his salary. His gratitude was unbridled, and he took the situation by the horns during those three years and helped grow the company exponentially.
For the three years that Tom was home, he never once had so much as a traffic ticket. This is consistent with his entire life before these accusations. Tom has never had an infraction with the legal justice system, or any other issue with school, work, or any of the other parts of his life.
During those three years, Laura and Tom came to understand the value of life and embarked on a mission to better themselves. As Napoleon Hill once said, “The worst thing that happens to you may be the best thing that happens to you if you don’t let it get the best of you.” Therefore, Laura and Tom purchased a small library of personal development books in order to boost their spirituality, fitness, and growth mindsets.
In the process of developing their mindset and growing their spirituality, the concept of a non-profit organization was born. Their non-profit would honor Franklin and focus on helping families and caregivers wrongfully convicted and/or accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome. They strategized, slowly developed plans, and even designed a logo while fighting for Tom's freedom.
As 2019 drew to a close, Laura began to think about having another child. Because of the charges over his head, Tom was hesitant about the idea. Nevertheless, he learned that he could not let circumstances dictate his life. Almost two years after trying, Laura became pregnant in May 2021. It was an exciting time for both of them especially when they learned they were having a girl.