Family: Teen accused in kill plot was under spell
Plymouth Township — Laurene and Jeffrey Sikorski knew when they adopted Roksana and her siblings from Poland a decade ago that the children had lived in a home fraught with physical abuse that might affect them for the rest of their lives.
Fifteen-year-old Roksana, they say, was showing signs of a medical condition called reactive attachment disorder — observed most commonly in adopted children. Still, the couple was shocked early Oct. 17 when the girl, according to police, tried to murder them and her younger brother and sister as part of a plot with her boyfriend, 23-year-old Michael Angelo Rivera.
Laurene Sikorski said the diminutive teen, who stands about 4-foot-10 and weighs around 80 pounds, "fell under his spell" the morning she stabbed her brother in the throat. He is said to have sent her text messages and instructions from outside the family's home in the tony Heather Hills subdivision.
At her arraignment Thursday, the parents vowed to stand by the girl, appearing in court in a show of support.
"We're not disowning her," Laurene Sikorski declared. "We're not going to throw her back."
The seven charges against the teen include attempted murder and conspiracy. She is accused of trying to kill her parents; 12-year-old brother, Lukas; and 11-year-old sister, Angelica. Lukas was treated for multiple stab wounds to the neck, prosecutors said, and is expected to fully recover.
Roksana and her boyfriend fled after the attack, authorities say, but were captured quickly.
The girl, wearing a red jail jump suit, stared down and cried softly as she stood before the judge Thursday. She entered a "not guilty" plea and is held on $1 million bond in the Wayne County Juvenile Detention Center in downtown Detroit.
She made eye contact with her parents several times during the hearing.
"Your honor, we have a very strong bond with our daughter," her mother said.
The parents say their daughter met Rivera on Facebook around March and started behaving differently from her normally "sweet" self. In an attempt to stem the relationship, they restricted her Facebook and cellphone privileges.
They said the teen ran away from home to be with Rivera in July; that's when they learned about the relationship. "I think it was a big secret. I didn't know about him," her mother said.
When the parents suspected the relationship was sexual — and the girl was under the age of consent — they went to police. That, according to Leslie Posner, the family lawyer, prompted the boyfriend to convince her to attack the family to avoid charges. "He was using her to do his dirty work," said Laurene Sikorski, following Thursday's hearing.
The parents and Posner said the teen has exhibited depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome and other problems attributable to the abusive home in which she lived in the southern Polish city of Myslowice before her adoption and immigration to America. The Sikorskis say they want their daughter to receive treatment, and return home.
"She's a very loving girl," said Laurene Sikorski.
Rivera was arraigned Sunday. A preliminary hearing for both is scheduled for Oct. 31 to determine if there is enough evidence to try them on the charges.
If released on bond, Judge James Plakas said the girl can't have contact with her siblings and must wear a GPS monitor.
Posner said the teen, a student at Plymouth-Salem High School, should be charged as a juvenile. The prosecutor's office, however, said the "alleged facts in this case strongly warrant" charging her as an adult.
"She is not to be thrown away," Posner countered. "She is not a wretched creature. She is not an evil child."