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Leon’s Story

Mike Belisle first met Leon in August 2009.  Leon was 17 years old and was just entering his senior year at SouthSide High School.  He and his 4 siblings were in a foster home in Elmendorf, TX.  Leon was an A/B student, happy, and well adjusted. Then the unimaginable happened: Leon suddenly recalled a long-repressed memory from his childhood. He remembered witnessing his ex-stepfather murder two women and dispose of their bodies in a landfill in North Texas.

Leon melted down due to the fear that his ex-stepfather might come looking for him to ensure that he met the same fate. Leon’s world began to fall apart. He threatened suicide, he began stealing from local stores, he turned to drug use, and started getting kicked out of residential treatment facilities due to his destructive behavior. By his 18th birthday, Leon had failed out of school, had no diploma, and refused to get a GED. He moved in with an uncle, a known drug dealer, and stopped taking Mike’s calls. Leon’s caseworker and Mike agreed that they would probably see him on the evening news someday being arrested. Years passed with no sign of Leon, and Mike figured that he had been lost; that he had failed him.

Then, two months ago, something amazing happened. Mike was at an art opening at the San Antonio Museum of Art when a clean cut, well groomed, polite young waiter approached and greeted him by name. He couldn’t figure out how the waiter knew him until he said, “Mike, it’s Leon.  You were my CASA guy!” Mike couldn’t believe it.  They hugged and Leon assured Mike that he was clean from drugs. He had left his uncle’s, now had his own apartment, a dog, a job at a downtown restaurant, and also worked part time for the SAMA caterer.  They exchanged phone numbers and promised to stay in touch.  The next day Mike called Leon’s former CPS caseworker and told her what had happened.  Mike’s advocacy had really made a difference in Leon’s life.

Leon’s Story