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Was a young girl adopted from Russia capable of murder?

More than twenty years in the past, “48 Hours” contributor Troy Roberts reported on the heart-wrenching story of a 9-year-old Russian girl who was adopted by an American couple. They referred to as the little girl Caralee, and their lives collectively began with promise. But a year-and-a-half later, the couple got here to consider Caralee was harmful, even capable of homicide. They say she tried to kill her little brother.

Roberts was there because the American couple returned Caralee to Russia and left her behind in a youngsters’s psychiatric hospital. For years, he tried to seek out out what turned of Caralee, and final summer season they reunited and he discovered her shocking story.

“I’ve achieved many tales in the course of the course of my profession, however this was one which — that actually caught with me,” Roberts says.

Covering this story modified Roberts’ life, and left him steeped in a haunting thriller that started when the couple first arrived in Moscow, hoping to seek out the right baby.



Crystal [1999, “48 Hours” The Perfect Child”]: I believe it is innate in each girl to wish to be a good mum or dad, to have youngsters and to share your life.

Crystal: Often feedback can be made about, “Oh when are you gonna have youngsters?” It was arduous.

Crystal: We thought … “This goes to be a fantastic journey.”

Moscow, 1997. Crystal and Jesse — “48 Hours” agreed to not use their final identify — are each 30 and have tried for years to have a baby of their very own.


Crystal:  It was one thing we actually needed to do. We needed to mum or dad, and we actually needed a home full. 

Far away from house, they’re lastly about to change into dad and mom — adoptive dad and mom.

Crystal:  We actually needed to present a baby a possibility.

Jesse: I used to be adopted myself. … I do know … the advantages that adoption can convey.


They discovered their daughter on an adoption company’s internet web page posted on the web.

Crystal: She was a stunning baby.

Crystal and Caralee

In July 1997, Crystal and Jesse traveled to a Russian orphanage within the small city of Borovichi. After a lengthy journey,  they have been lastly united with their new daughter, who they referred to as Caralee.

Crystal and Jesse

For them, she was the right baby — a blonde, blue-eyed, 9-year-old.

Crystal: We thought, , that is an older baby we can provide … a regular life.

Before leaving for Russia, the adoption company gave them the little girl’s medical data.

Jesse: The company described Caralee as a fantastic, outgoing, clever little girl who’s charming to be round. 

Troy Roberts: You understood, although, that adopting an older baby carries sure dangers?

Jesse: Absolutely.

Troy Roberts: You understood that?

Crystal:  Certain dangers. 

They took an 8-hour practice trip from Moscow to an orphanage within the small city of Boravici. They’d already paid practically $30,000 to make all the mandatory preparations. 

And the kid they referred to as Caralee was anxiously awaiting their arrival.

Crystal: She regarded in my eyes very warmly, “You’re my mama.”

Troy Roberts: She referred to as you mama?

Crystal: She did and from the very starting. “My American mama,” she stated.

Crystal, Jesse and Joshua

The couple additionally adopted a 3-year-old boy they named Joshua.

Crystal and Jesse

At the orphanage, the couple would undertake not solely Caralee; in addition they discovered her a child brother, a 3-year-old they might identify Joshua.

It was thrilling.

But there have been indicators that the highway forward is perhaps rocky.

Crystal: We did see the anger, but it surely could possibly be defined.  Certainly, a baby arriving to a new tradition, a new household … , leaving her house. That’s the one factor she’s ever identified. 

Back within the United States, the household settled into a brand-new house in a snug suburb of Atlanta, a brief commute to Jesse’s laptop engineering job.

Crystal: We tried to make it very homey for her and glad. … We tried to present her all the pieces we thought a little girl ought to have.

But the gorgeous little girl was having large issues.

Crystal:  As quickly as we introduced her house, she was very, very withdrawn and isolating. Didn’t cry in any respect, however simply very offended.

It was nothing, they thought, a little love could not repair.

Crystal:  I spent on a regular basis along with her. I give up my job. I gave her a hundred % of me. 

It wasn’t working. They say, off digicam, she began performing badly.

Crystal: She simply started turning into very harmful.

What happened to the perfect child? One woman's incredible story

What occurred to the right baby? One girl’s unbelievable story

29 pictures

Then the unthinkable occurred on Caralee’s second Christmas in America. Things appeared to have began off properly.

Crystal:  Caralee … had simply gotten a new bike and we have been studying easy methods to trip it. She had by no means ridden one earlier than.

Crystal: I actually thought that all the pieces was going nice.

It was not lengthy after when Crystal heard the horrible sound.

Crystal: So, I used to be over planting. And I heard Joshua screaming.

Crystal says that is when she first noticed Caralee holding her 4-year-old brother, Joshua, over the railing of the 30-foot-high deck.

Troy Roberts: She had him?

Crystal and Troy Roberts in 2000

It was the day after Christmas in 1998 when Crystal says the unthinkable occurred. Caralee and Joshua have been taking part in within the yard whereas Crystal was planting. She instantly heard her 4-year-old son screaming and when she regarded over, Crystal instructed “48 Hours” correspondent Troy Roberts she noticed Caralee holding Joshua over the railing of the 30-foot-high deck.

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Crystal: Yes. Yes.

Troy Roberts: Over the aspect right here?

Crystal: Yes!

Troy Roberts: This wasn’t roughhousing?

Crystal:  No. 

Crystal: Her face, there was anger and hate.

Crystal says that second modified all the pieces.

Crystal: “I’m gonna kill him,” she stated.  I’m, “Why?'” “I’m mad at him.” “What did he do?” “He’s getting on my nerves.” I stated, “you’ll kill him for attempting to get in your nerves? Surely you do not imply it. You do not imply kill him.” And she says, “sure I do.”

We requested Joshua about it. 

Troy Roberts: Are you afraid of Caralee?

Joshua:  Yes, as a result of she tried to throw me off the deck.

Troy Roberts:  Because she tried to throw you off the deck.

Joshua:  Yes.  That’s why I’m afraid of her.


CRYSTAL to JOSHUA [home video]: Are you frightened that she’s going to do one thing to you proper now? Because she’s not. Mommy’s right here.

Crystal and Jesse’s relationship with Caralee was in free-fall after the incident  involving Joshua on the household’s 30-foot out of doors deck.

Crystal: She began telling me, “I’m listening to voices and I’m seeing issues.” … She says when the voices inform her to do one thing, she has to do it, or they’re going to damage her. And the voices, she stated, instructed her to kill him.

Crystal: She was hallucinating that she was seeing snakes…

The couple had her admitted to a psychiatric hospital. She spent virtually 4 months underneath fixed care earlier than Crystal and Jesse say their insurance coverage began operating out, and so they have been pressured to convey Caralee again into their house once more.


Aside from the deck incident, Caralee additionally instructed her dad and mom she was listening to voices and hallucinating. So the couple admitted Caralee to a psychiatric hospital. She then spent the next months in therapeutic care.

Crystal and Jesse

Jesse: She has repeated this for months … on a number of events … “if I get one other likelihood, I’ll kill him.”

And she instructed us that, too. 

Caralee:… attempt to kill Joshua.

So, they’re putting in an elaborate safety system.

Troy Roberts: So you’ve got cameras put in at varied factors in the home, proper?

Crystal: Yes, in the lounge, her bed room, her rest room.

Caralee is forbidden to be alone with Joshua.

Troy Roberts: Is he secure?

Caralee: [Shakes her head no.]

Caralee: That’s what I imply, I’ve to get assist.

Troy Roberts: That’s why it’s important to get assist.

Dr. Brian Kennedy: She is a threat to the relations.

Dr. Brian Kennedy was one of the psychiatrists who noticed Caralee.

Dr. Brian Kennedy: She’s obtained a great quantity of rage and anger that she’s hidden inside her.

Dr. Brian Kennedy: There’s clear proof of scientific despair. There’s positively clear proof of a detachment dysfunction. Now, there could also be different creating psychiatric difficulties … akin to bipolar sickness or  schizophrenia.

She was given heavy remedy, however they are saying the medicines aren’t working.

CRYSTAL TO CARALEE: We’re going to get you one of the best assist we are able to, OK? It’s going to be all proper.

Troy Roberts: You love her, however but you are frightened of her.

Crystal and Jesse: Yes.

Jesse: The anger that she has targeted in direction of Joshua is like one thing I’ve by no means seen earlier than.

CRYSTAL TO JOSHUA: Mommy’s not ever gonna let her damage you.

Jesse: Four-year-old boys ought to by no means should ask their dad and mom the query, “Why did my sister attempt to kill me?”

But since being house from the psychiatric hospital, there’s already been one other scary incident. They say Caralee tried strangling the household canine, Aurora.

Crystal: We awakened at three within the morning. And Aurora was hung from her collar with the leash tied to a pole.

JOSHUA: I’m gonna go to my Grandma’s immediately.

So, Joshua’s being despatched 600 miles away to stay at his grandmother’s home in Texas.

CRYSTAL: Why do we’ve to ship him to Grandma’s to maintain him secure?

CARALEE: Because I — I’ll damage him.

Crystal: Just think about, you suppose you are bringing a shiny girl to your house, however nobody’s instructed you that they are sociopathic and so they don’t have any conscience.

Crystal and Jesse

When Crystal and Jesse acquired Caralee’s medical data from the adoption company, the paperwork described her as outgoing and clever, however one factor caught out. “They did say she was oligophrenic,” Crystal stated, which, again then, translated as psychological retardation. However, the company instructed the couple to not be involved. “They said it was a developmental delay,” Crystal stated. “And we have been assured that this baby was wholesome and that in a good house … with one of the best docs in America serving to her with the developmental points, that she ought to be fantastic.”

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In truth, they are saying the company that organized Caralee’s adoption, the Frank Foundation, instructed  them the alternative.

Troy Roberts: “Caralee is emotionally good. She’s open. She’s tender. She’s obedient.  She’s pleasant.”

Jesse: Nothing in that sentence would lead you to query, Wow — might there be, , a great selection of hidden medical points right here?

It was a glowing report aside from one factor.

Crystal: They did say she was oligophrenic.

Translated then as psychological retardation. But the couple says they requested about it and have been instructed to not fear.

Crystal: They said it was a developmental delay … simply sluggish to be taught.

Crystal: And we have been assured that this baby was wholesome and that, in a good     house with correct vitamin, with one of the best of docs in America serving to her with the developmental points, that she ought to be fantastic.

Only after the adoption was official, Crystal and Jesse say, did the Frank Foundation present them with extra paperwork that exposed troubling issues about Caralee’s previous.

Crystal: It says the mom was amoral and delinquent. You know, these sorts of phrases are very loaded. They carry a lot of psychological which means.

The new paperwork described how Caralee’s beginning mom left her soiled, hungry and in rags. Crystal and Jesse consider the mistreatment had a lasting impact on Caralee.

Crystal: When I dreamed of adopting a little girl, this was not my dream.

Crystal: We wouldn’t have adopted the kid.

Troy Roberts: You wouldn’t have adopted her?

Crystal: No.

Jesse: No, we might not have.

Crystal and Jesse

With their daughter in remedy, Crystal and Jesse acquired extra paperwork from the adoption company that exposed troubling particulars about Caralee’s upbringing — vital data that they stated the adoption company didn’t share with them beforehand.

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And as they continued digging into Caralee’s previous, they discovered extra. Officials on the orphanage say Caralee was in a particular dorm for kids with psychological disabilities. Critical data, the couple says, the adoption company didn’t share with them.

Troy Roberts: You did not disguise any data?

Nina Kostina: Never. And why would I?

Back then, Nina Kostina, a Russian emigre, ran the Frank Foundation. She says the medical data she acquired was restricted by Russian privateness legal guidelines, however adoptive dad and mom, as soon as in Russia,     can get something they want.

Nina Kostina: Once the dad and mom are within the orphanage, they’ve entry to any medical data, to the — to the docs, to something. And that is their time, and they need to ask any questions.

Troy Roberts: So, it is their fault?

Nina Kostina: I’m not telling fault. I’m telling that that is their obligation. This is lifetime choice. They ought to do it whereas they’re within the orphanage.

When we first lined this story greater than twenty years in the past, Nina Kostina stated that no data had been withheld from the household. But on the time, “48 Hours” spoke with eight households who adopted via the Frank Foundation, and so they all stated that they had acquired inaccurate medical data. Their youngsters had been recognized with sicknesses like fetal alcohol syndrome, hepatitis C, mind tumors and a slew of psychological issues they declare the Frank Foundation did not put together them for. Three of the households we spoke with sued however misplaced.

Crystal and Jesse really feel like they’re out of choices. So as Joshua leaves for the security of his grandmother’s house in Texas.

They make a painful choice.

Jesse: We can’t proceed to be her dad and mom.

They say the one means their son can return house is to ship Caralee away ceaselessly.

Crystal: We’ve been right here every single day loving her, nurturing her, serving to her … and we — we could not save her.


Home video of Caralee taking a passport picture:

JESSE: Time to go get your image made, Caralee.

CRYSTAL: What we’re gonna do is we’re gonna get your image made immediately.

Crystal:  She has so many psychological issues. … She is a hazard to society. But greater than that, she is a hazard to our son.

JESSE [home video]: So, you continue to wish to get your image taken in any case this time?

CARALEE: I prefer it!

Jesse: The truth of the matter is that we can’t be her dad and mom anymore.

Crystal and Jesse are about to do one thing that is tough to think about. They are taking Caralee again to Russia.

Troy Roberts: There are dad and mom on the market that won’t be able to grasp what you are about to do.

Crystal: If I hadn’t been on this place myself, I might need been stating the exact same factor that I’d count on to listen to from them. “Why can – how might you do that? How might you do that?”

Troy Roberts: There have to be a household someplace in America that might undertake her.

Jesse: We thought there can be a household on the market … and we have truly spoken to a few households … In each case to this point after reviewing the medical data … they’ve stated, “Thanks, however no thanks.”

They have instructed Caralee they’re taking her to a new hospital.

CARALEE: How lengthy I’m gonna keep in — in there?

But she has no concept it is a psychiatric hospital in Russia.

Troy Roberts: This 12-year-old girl has been deserted by her beginning dad and mom. And now her adoptive dad and mom are additionally rejecting her.

Jesse: Well, it is not a case of her adoptive dad and mom rejecting her …

Troy Roberts:  But that is what she’s going to interpret it as.

Jesse: It’s going to be a case of her adoptive dad and mom not having the ability to take care of her.

Crystal: But it’s important to perceive, psychiatrists inform us that she has no bonding, no affection.

Crystal: So, Caralee most probably will simply transfer on.

Nina Kostina: It appears merciless to me.  Cruel and never considerate.

Nina Kostina, the girl who organized Caralee’s adoption, is distraught over the choice.

Nina Kostina: I really feel very sorry for her.

For her half, she questions whether or not Caralee is even that sick.

Troy Roberts: They say that she tried to kill her little brother…

Nina Kostina:  This is what they are saying.

Troy Roberts: They say that she tried to kill the household canine. That she’s extraordinarily violent.

Nina Kostina: That’s what they are saying, sure.

Troy Roberts:  Do you consider it?

Nina Kostina:  That’s what they are saying.

Psychiatrist Brian Kennedy says Caralee suffers from attachment dysfunction — in impact, an lack of ability to like.  And that, he says, makes her harmful.

Troy Roberts:  It’s arduous for me to digest as a result of after I have a look at her, she looks as if a very candy little girl … who smiles and laughs.

Dr. Brian Kennedy: She does like to smile and snicker.  And I believe in sure conditions which can be non-stressful for her she presents as a very amiable baby.  But I believe if you have a look at what she’s been via and if you see how she capabilities underneath stress, she will be able to change into very totally different and have very vital rage.

Dr. Brian Kennedy: She has considered killing her brother.  She has tried to kill him, and he or she couldn’t give me assurances that she would not kill him.


Other docs who handled Caralee additionally had considerations, however not less than one psychiatrist had one other opinion. After treating Caralee throughout her keep on the psychiatric hospital, this physician wrote, “Caralee’s habits…was impeccable,” and that his employees perceived Crystal and Jesse as “too typically cool and distant” in direction of their daughter.

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Others who handled Caralee had considerations as properly, however not less than one psychiatrist had one other opinion. After treating Caralee, he wrote, “Caralee’s habits … was impeccable.” He stated the employees perceived that Crystal and Jesse have been “too typically cool and distant” in direction of their daughter, and that “Caralee at instances, gave the impression to be frightened by her interactions with them.”

Crystal: Caralee is a very totally different particular person if you actually get to know her. It took me a year-and a-half to interrupt via the facade.

They have made up their minds. Caralee should return to Russia.

Crystal: The docs in America have instructed me that if she returns house, she’s going to kill my son. I consider them. … She’s already tried it as soon as.  It’s a very robust chance she’ll strive it once more with success.

They tapped into their life financial savings to convey Caralee right here to be handled by Russian docs.

Jesse: They have labored with youngsters from Russian orphanages.


By the winter of 1999, virtually a 12 months after the incident on the deck, Crystal and Jesse felt like that they had run out of choices. “We can’t proceed to be her dad and mom,” Jesse stated. They tapped into their life financial savings and determined to convey Caralee again to Russia in order that she could possibly be handled at a psychiatric hospital there.

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They discovered a mattress for Caralee at a youngsters’s psychiatric hospital in Moscow. 

But they do not maintain out a lot hope, and so they’re now fascinated with annulling the adoption.

Doctors suspected they have been attempting to desert her and demanded copies of their passports and made them promise to return for Caralee in two months.

Troy Roberts: So, Caralee understands that she is right here to be handled by Russian specialists.

Crystal: And that is all she’s right here for on the time.

Troy Roberts: But she doesn’t perceive that you’ll not be returning for her.

Crystal:  No, that is not the case. At this time, the one factor we’re stating is that she’s right here for a analysis and an analysis.

But Caralee senses one thing is very unsuitable.

Caralee: They instructed me that, final night time, they love me and all the pieces, I instructed them I like them very a lot, however they did not consider me.

Then simply a couple of minutes earlier than she’ll enter the hospital, Caralee tells me one thing she’s by no means instructed me earlier than.

Caralee and Troy Roberts

Right earlier than she went to the psychiatric hospital in Moscow, Caralee instructed “48 Hours” contributor Troy Roberts one thing she had by no means stated earlier than. “I didn’t attempt to kill my brother,” she defined. “I simply tried … to select him up … as a result of he was too heavy … I like him. Mom and Daddy simply do not perceive it”

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Caralee:  I didn’t attempt to kill my brother. 

That she by no means tried to kill her brother, Joshua.

Troy Roberts: You did not attempt to kill Joshua? You’re telling me the reality? 

Caralee: I simply tried to simply choose him up, that is all, as a result of he was too heavy.

Caralee says it was all a large misunderstanding.

Caralee: I didn’t attempt to kill my brother. I like him. Mom and Daddy simply do not perceive it.

But there is not any turning again.

Troy Roberts: You’ve pursued each potential avenue —

Crystal:  Yes.

Troy Roberts:  — and that is the one factor you are able to do?

Crystal: Yes.

Jesse: This is I — that is the one factor we are able to do.

Crystal and Jesse left her there. Days later, I returned with a hidden digicam and visited Caralee, now in a locked ward.

CARALEE:  I do not really feel secure keep right here.

She was frightened.

CARALEE:  I wish to return to America.  I’m scared of staying right here.

But Crystal and Jesse have made a ultimate choice.  They’re not bringing Caralee again.


The final time I noticed Caralee was in Russia greater than 20 years in the past.

Caralee and Troy Roberts

Days later, “48 Hours” returned with a hidden digicam to go to Caralee, who was in a locked ward on the hospital. “I do not really feel secure right here,” Caralee instructed Roberts. “I wish to return to America. I’m scared of staying right here.” But Crystal and Jesse by no means went again to get her. And shortly after they left, the couple annulled the adoption in early 2000.

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TROY ROBERTS [1999]: She was terrified.

She was in a locked ward in a youngsters’s psychiatric hospital.

TROY ROBERTS: The door slammed shut. And I wasn’t positive if I’d ever see her once more.

Over the years, we repeatedly tried to seek out her. 

Troy Roberts: I at all times puzzled how she was doing, if she was thriving, if she was glad. …

Many years handed. … She was … in my ideas and in my coronary heart.

And lastly, she obtained in contact with me. Now 33 years previous, she calls herself Sabrina and is married with 4 youngsters.

Sabrina Caldwell: It’s been so lengthy.

Troy Roberts: Look at you!

Troy Roberts: What have you ever been doing over the past 21 years?

Sabrina Caldwell: Making infants.

Troy Roberts: So stunning.

Sabrina Caldwell and Troy Roberts

In the summer season of 2021, Roberts was reunited with the particular person he knew as Caralee. Now, she is a 33-year-old girl who calls herself Sabrina. She is married and has 4 youngsters. The two met close to Sabrina’s house in North Carolina. But how did she find yourself right here? Roberts sat down with Sabrina to seek out out.

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We met close to her house in North Carolina.

Troy Roberts: We have a lot to compensate for.

Sabrina Caldwell: Yeah.

I had a thousand questions for Sabrina. How did she find yourself right here? What she says occurred on that deck that day? And what she thought went unsuitable with Jesse and Crystal?

Troy Roberts: You appreciated her?

Sabrina Caldwell: I did.

Troy Roberts: You appreciated him?

Sabrina Caldwell: I did. It was a household that stated, “Hey—I’ll undertake this baby and I’ll like to present them a house” … and they might love me for who I’m.

But to Sabrina, again then, it appeared that Joshua was at all times the favourite.

Troy Roberts: Did that create any jealousy?


When Sabrina was residing with Crystal and Jesse, she stated it appeared like they favored Joshua over her, which made her really feel undesirable. She instructed Roberts she turned depressed and even suicidal. That’s when Sabrina stated she created a story. “I instructed Crystal, ‘You know, I’m seeing and listening to issues,'” Sabrina stated. “‘Cause I needed out.”

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Sabrina Caldwell: … it did not create jealousy … I felt extra down. I felt like I wasn’t adequate. I felt like I wasn’t this baby that they needed. ‘Cause I used to be — I used to be older. I had my very own emotions. I already had a historical past, . … I beloved that he was getting beloved and he was having a household. Yes, it sucked for me.

Troy Roberts: You did not have — an emotional reference to Crystal and Jesse?

Sabrina Caldwell: Because Joshua was so centered, I believe we misplaced it. I believe it was simply misplaced. … I used to be beginning to change into very depressed. … It got here to the purpose I used to be very suicidal.

Troy Roberts: Suicidal?

Sabrina Caldwell: I used to be very suicidal … There have been days … I’d attempt to try a number of instances and I simply could not do it. … after I began creating a story … I instructed Crystal … “You know, I’m seeing and listening to issues. … ‘Cause I needed out. I — I needed out.

CRYSTAL: Are you seeing one thing now?

CARALEE: Shakes head [to affirm]

CRYSTAL: Did you see one thing earlier? 

CARALEE: [nods to affirm and cries]

Troy Roberts: So, have been you hallucinating at the moment?

Sabrina Caldwell: No … no listening to, no seeing issues. Just a baby tryin’ to get out.

CRYSTAL [1999]: She had him in her palms and was going to throw him over the deck.

And as for what occurred on the deck, Sabrina has a decidedly totally different model of occasions from Crystal, that she says began when Crystal requested her to get Joshua.

Sabrina Caldwell: Crystal was gardening, and Joshua was screaming on high of the deck. And Crystal stated, “I want you to go get Joshua.” … Tryin’ to select up a baby that is actually virtually as large as you is kinda arduous … So, I’m tryin’ to stroll down the steps … simply in a position to maintain him so he would not fall … Crystal regarded. And she stated —

CRYSTAL [1999]: Put him down, Caralee.

Sabrina Caldwell: “Put him down.”

CRYSTAL [1999]: Put him down!

Sabrina Caldwell: I ultimately put him down and he or she was like, “You tried to kill him, did not you?” And I stated, “No. I used to be tryin’ to select him up so he would not fall, ‘trigger he was sliding off my palms.” And she was like, “No. You have been tryin’ to kill him.” And she stored saying it and saying it. And I stated “sure.” So, I simply — I lastly stated “sure.”

Sabrina repeated that story that she tried to kill Joshua to everybody — together with me.

TROY ROBERTS to CARALEE [1999]: What occurred that time out on the deck?

CARALEE: I used to be attempting to push him off the deck.

TROY: You have been attempting to push him off the deck?

CARALEE: Try to kill Joshua.

What occurred on that deck, appeared to tackle a life of its personal.  Crystal introduced Sabrina to numerous docs.  

Sabrina Caldwell: I went to psychiatrist after psychiatrist. And I bear in mind Crystal saying, “Just bear in mind, you needed to kill Joshua.” I stated, “OK. I — I’ll inform ’em.”

Troy Roberts: Dr. Kennedy stated you have been probably schizophrenic, bipolar, you had homicidal tendencies, and also you have been a hazard to this household.

Sabrina Caldwell: Hmm. … That’s arduous to listen to … if I needed to harm anyone, it could have been achieved. And that by no means occurred. I’m not that particular person. … I used to be by no means that particular person.

Today, Sabrina says she isn’t on any remedy and suffers from no psychological sickness.  A quantity of docs again then although, appeared to suppose she wanted assist.  We tried to contact Dr. Kennedy however have been unable to succeed in him.  

Sabrina Caldwell

Sabrina Caldwell

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Troy Roberts: You have been additionally accused of tryin’ to kill the household canine.

Sabrina Caldwell: I do not know the place that got here from as a result of I beloved that canine (laughs).

Troy Roberts: … how did you be taught that you just have been going again to Russia?

Sabrina Caldwell: Crystal stated (sighs) they have been operating out of choices. And they suppose the Russian institute will probably be higher.

TROY ROBERTS [1999 in the Russian hospital]: So how is it going right here?

CARALEE: Not good.

TROY ROBERTS: Not good? Why?

Troy Roberts: How did that make you are feeling, if you have been sitting there in — within the hospital in Moscow, ready for them to return to select you up, and so they did not?

Sabrina Caldwell: I knew they weren’t coming.

Troy Roberts: I felt so responsible. ‘Cause I needed to take ya, however I did not –

Sabrina Caldwell: I needed you to take me (laughs). I used to be like, “Why is no one taking me?” I simply needed out.

Sabrina stated she cried and was frightened.

Sabrina Caldwell:  I felt like I used to be in jail … however then I believe of it — I put myself there … You know, all these mendacity and doing what they need me to do. I put myself there.

Then, after two months, it was Nina Kostina from the adoption company, who arrived on the institute.

Sabrina Caldwell: Nina confirmed up and he or she introduced me garments. She requested me if I remembered her.

And she took Sabrina to stay along with her in Virginia. Eventually, Sabrina moved in with a new set of dad and mom in North Carolina.

Sabrina Caldwell: I’ve dad and mom … they’re the dad and mom that took me in, that took their time to be taught who I’m and make me a higher particular person.

Sabrina Caldwell

In 2008,Sabrina volunteered for the nonprofit Mercy Ships and spent two years offering medical care to underprivileged individuals in Africa. “It was a rewarding expertise,” she stated.

Sabrina Caldwell

After highschool, she volunteered for the nonprofit, “Mercy Ships,” and spent two years in Africa serving to to supply medical care to underprivileged individuals.

Sabrina Caldwell: Loved it …

Troy Roberts: Really?

Sabrina Caldwell: I did.

When she returned house in 2010, she obtained a job in a hospital and, at church, she met math instructor Phil Caldwell. 

Sabrina Caldwell: I fell in love him after I noticed him work together with youngsters. The means he was treating them … how dedicated he was …

Phil Caldwell: She’s simply very actual and really real. And I beloved that about her.

But earlier than she would even take into account getting engaged, she insisted that Phil watch the unique “48 Hours” present about her youth.

Phil Caldwell: My coronary heart broke for her. … I actually could not consider all of the issues that she had gone via. …  I believe she anticipated me to run … but it surely was the alternative response of what she anticipated me to suppose.

They married in 2014 and now have three beautiful daughters, and a new child son.

Sabrina Caldwell: … enjoyable youngsters. Love ’em.

Phil Caldwell: She’s very loving, and he or she’s very caring. And I believe most likely what Sabrina went via has had a larger influence on her parenting than she will be able to see herself. … as a result of she is so wonderful at it.

Phil not too long ago stopped instructing and began a new job on the similar hospital the place his spouse works.

Troy Roberts: Seems such as you’re in a actually good place.

Sabrina Caldwell: I’m.

Troy Roberts: You’re glad?

Sabrina Caldwell: I’m.

But Sabrina, like me, has at all times puzzled what occurred to Crystal and Jesse, and he or she says, that after twenty years, she was prepared to seek out out.


After she turned a mom, Sabrina says, she needed Crystal and Jesse to know she had a household of her personal, and he or she needed to share her aspect of the story. She discovered Crystal on social media, and at last hit the ship button.

Sabrina Caldwell: I … despatched her a message – stating to her that I hope she’s properly, and … “I simply wanna make this actually clear for you, I’ve by no means needed to harm Joshua and I by no means heard or noticed issues in my life.

Troy Roberts: And how did she reply?

Sabrina Caldwell: … she stated she prayed that I’d have a higher household.

Sabrina Caldwell

Phil Caldwell and Sabrina married in 2014 and went on to have three daughters. Last summer season, Sabrina gave beginning to their first son. 

CBS News/Ron Hill

Troy Roberts: Did you’re keen on Crystal and Jesse?

Sabrina Caldwell: I did. … And I nonetheless have a excessive respect for them …

Sabrina Caldwell: Putting myself of their sneakers, I’d have most likely achieved virtually the identical factor.

But not all the pieces.

Sabrina Caldwell: I’d by no means take a baby again. 

Still, she says, she harbors no arduous emotions towards them.

Sabrina Caldwell: I discovered … to forgive my previous.

Sabrina Caldwell: I’ve a tremendous husband. I am unable to thank God sufficient for him. I’ve

wonderful youngsters. But if I did not undergo what I went via I would not have that.

Sabrina says Crystal and Jesse have three organic daughters of their very own, together with Joshua.

They declined our request for an interview. However, Jesse stated that he and Crystal have been glad Sabrina’s life had turned out so properly, and that Joshua was now a father, too.

In the tip, it seems that Crystal and Jesse, like Sabrina, finally discovered households and happiness. As it turned out, so did I. And my journey began the minute I left Sabrina in Russia.

Troy Roberts: I cried as I used to be leaving … then I began saying to myself, … “Maybe in the future, I can rescue an — an older baby… “

But the timing was not proper. I used to be single, and as a CBS News correspondent, I used to be nonetheless touring endlessly.

Troy Roberts: And then, I had a story in Johannesburg, South Africa … and I went to an orphanage there to make a donation. … I stated, what, I’m near 40 now. … I’m going to go for it.

In 2003, I turned licensed to undertake a baby, and discovered about a girl in Djibouti, Africa, who needed to seek out somebody to undertake her 4-year-old son. 

Troy Roberts: And I checked out his picture and the resemblance was uncanny … This appears like my child.

Troy and Jonah Roberts

” I checked out his picture and the resemblance was uncanny … This appears like my child,” Troy Roberts stated of the boy who would change into his son.

Troy Roberts

I had been to Africa twice and by no means heard of Djibouti. But, that Thanksgiving, I flew there to satisfy this young boy and his mom. His identify was Ayanleh Khadra Mahamoud Abdi. 

Troy Roberts: I seen that his eyes danced. … that is a sign that he is good. He’s intelligent.

His mom was Khadra. She gave beginning to her son after a brief affair with a French soldier, and ever since then, she feared for the boy’s security as a result of he was blended race.

Troy Roberts: … they have been homeless and residing in an deserted constructing. … He was sleeping on the ground. So was she. … Begging was his routine.

I took them to lunch, and over the course of the subsequent two weeks I obtained to know them.

Troy Roberts: I started bonding over hamburgers and fries and strolling round on the road.

He spoke 4 languages, however not English.

Troy Roberts [gesturing with his hands]: We mimed, like, “let’s eat. You must go house, sleep.” I imply, that is how fundamental it was.

Fortunately, there was a bowling alley and a small seaside at a close by army base.

Troy Roberts: We went bowling a lot; that is one thing he’d by no means achieved earlier than. … He did not know easy methods to swim, so we took a boat to this small little seaside island that was reserved for the army personnel.

I made two extra prolonged visits to Djibouti, however when it got here time for the adoption, there was a drawback. 

Troy Roberts: Khadra … by no means signed her identify earlier than. She did not know easy methods to signal her identify. … [emotional] She practiced over and over. … over and over. … It was such a loving and selfless act … The legal professional sitting subsequent to us stated to Khadra, “Troy will probably be a good father.” … And she regarded me lifeless within the eye and he or she stated, “Time will inform.”

Jonah Roberts: My identify is Jonah Gray Roberts, and my father is Troy Roberts.

Jonah Roberts: The entire adoption course of … I used to be 4 years previous. There wasn’t actually a lot to inform a 4-year-old.  

Jonah Roberts: I used to be simply, “there’s a man right here who’s, , taking care of me, who’s feeding me” … He additionally did get me a tutor so I used to be getting schooling … at that age you do not actually suppose something about it, you are simply, “this could possibly be my long-lost dad.”

And then, 10 months after assembly my son, it was lastly time to go.

Jonah Roberts: That was an intense day! … I’m hundreds of ft within the air … that is my first time ever on an airplane …

Jonah Roberts: Then my dad tells me, “Oh, we’re in New York City, that is your new house.” … And I bear in mind seeing my first house, my first actual house … and he is like, “that is your room.” … It was my very own mattress; I did not should share it with anybody. … I had a desk, a place the place I began finding out, I had the tutors … It was — it was wonderful.

Troy Roberts: … we did all the pieces collectively, a lot collectively … I actually loved watching him be taught new issues and introducing him to a entire new world.

Jonah and Troy Roberts

“There was by no means father and adopted son … It was at all times, , father and son,” stated Jonah Roberts.

CBS News

Jonah Roberts: There was by no means father and adopted son … It was at all times, , father and son.

And like several father, I’ve a lot to be taught from my son.

Jonah Roberts: Every Thanksgiving, we’ve this factor the place earlier than we begin consuming, after I’ve made the total meal …  as a result of he would not know easy methods to prepare dinner — we might at all times begin off by saying, like, what we’re grateful for this 12 months.

And now, after I take into consideration Sabrina’s journey, and Crystal and Jesse’s, and Jonah’s, and my very own, I notice how a lot all of us should be glad about.

Troy Roberts: … it appears everybody’s story has a glad ending, and that is fairly cool, .

Jonah’s mom died a few years after his adoption.  

Produced by Murray Weiss. Doreen Schechter is the producer-editor. Joan Adelman and Gary Winter are the editors. Gabriella Demirdjian is the sphere producer. Patti Aronofsky is the senior producer. Nancy Kramer is the manager story editor. Judy Tygard is the manager producer.

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