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Emily, Tobin and the Unborn - A Trinity of Hope and Promise

Hello my name is (Redacted) I am an author and a Journalist writing under the name of Tobin Frost for APH Press. I am currently doing a story on the death of Emily Amber Packy on or about January 6,  2023 for APH Press, and a book that I'm writing about her, homelessness and mental illness. 

In the name of full disclosure I must also mention that Emily was my friend. I am writing to get any information that I can regarding the disposition of her case. I can be reached through the publisher

Tobin sat staring into his laptop with his finger hovering above the keyboard, contemplating the last three years that he had committed to the screen. He wondered if it would be enough to keep his promise. A promise he made to Emily, a troubled but brave young girl, and her unborn child, to tell her story, their story. It is a story about their search for dignity, redemption, and family. A story that led them both to the EECM shelter and Drug Treatment Center in Pittsburgh, PA, during the pandemic.

Emily had been a beacon of light in the darkness, her laughter a melodious song that cut through the din of troubled souls who sought refuge in these grim corridors. Her heart held unfathomable pain, a product of a life lived under a cloud of physical abuse and on the precipice of hopelessness.

Tobin met Amber within these walls, two wandering souls grasping for a thread of redemption and the tenuous promise of salvation. They fought side by side, their friendship forged in the crucible of adversity, casting a lifeline to one another amidst a sea of swirling despair.

But the EECM shelter and Drug Treatment Center was no normal refuge. It was run by a disturbed little man, a disgraced Braddock police officer once accused of a string of thefts and giving an ex-girlfriend an envelope of police-confiscated crack cocaine to buy her silence. Somehow, he found himself managing a co-ed drug treatment center and homeless shelter, which he ran like a prison. But his past followed him silent specters caught upon the draft, whispering a wicked tale of the sinister man, the puppeteer of this purgatory. They spoke of his days in fearless uniform, prowling the city streets of Braddock, a lion turned hyena, preying upon the weakest souls. A disgraceful scandal, a theft, and drugs stripped him of the power he once wore like a king's crest, smudging his legacy in indignity.

But fate had a cruel sense of humor, casting Jim Scuffle once more into a seat of power. He became the jailer, the man in command of lives hanging by single threads. Smug satisfaction soaked his sinister grin; the EECM was his kingdom now, a dominion of the lost. He stalked through the halls as if daring to be challenged by people who had nowhere else to go. He would tell them, women who came to the shelter fleeing violent physical abuse, the mentally ill, the pregnant, and the desperate the suicidal that,

If you do not like that you are treated here you can go back out on the streets".

Mr. Scuffle would institute nighttime curfews restricting everyone to their rooms at night, which he enforced with a staff of black-clad private security guards who relished in their authority as much as he did. Mr Shuffle; authorized searches of persons and interrogations into the personal lives and activities of the residents and denied residents the right to find jobs outside the shelter without first obtaining his written permission two days in advance of reporting to work, forcing many residents, especially Gig workers to choose between working and getting back on their feet or having a place to sleep that night. A few of the residents took the chance and escaped his tyranny by going back to the streets, finding shelter in trap houses or being lost once again in the streets.

Within the humble shelter walls, an odd couple formed around Emily's radiance. Tobin, an older man—reserved, introverted, cloaked in an air of wisdom that only time could bestow—seemed out of place beside the glowing Emily. Yet, they balanced one another like Yin and Yang, Tobin's protective nature intertwining with Emily's persistent urging for him to be more—to do more. Their relationship mirrored that of a father and his beloved daughter, each clinging to the other in search of understanding and meaning in a world that seemed to be unraveling.

Tobin, a former police officer whose beaten spirit matched the tired world around him, recognized the malevolent spirit that resided within Jim Scuffle immediately and Tobin chose to steer clear of Jim.

Yet, as much as Tobin wished to distance himself from that which he deemed irredeemable, Emily's relentless optimism and inspiration reminded him of what he used to be. And so, against his instincts, Tobin, slowly at first decided to protest Jim's oppression and began assisting the residents of the shelter in ways that Jim did not. He did so not for his redemption, but for Emily—for the promise he made to her that he would try to be what she saw in him a beacon of light in a broken world. The EECM shelter began to bear witness to a curious transformation. The darkness that lurked in the corners slowly receded, as if the light carried by Emily and Tobin had ignited a force greater than any one person could ever muster. Tobin would help residents with taxes, unemployment, and housing and Emily would bring him clients.

Together, they held court in a corner of the community room of the shelter with steadfast determination, proving that even in the darkest of times, hope persisted, and redemption awaited those who were brave enough to embrace it. But sometimes evil wins. Jim Shuffle, the shelter's iron-fist administrator, frowned on the burgeoning connection between Tobin and Emily, sinister malevolence emanating from his dark visage. Sunlight seemed to scorch his very being, a nemesis to his nocturnal bond. Thus, he was the EECM tyrant, ruling over harsh lives and dictating who deserved a night of refuge.

As both Tobin and Emily returned to the shelter coincidently together on a day pass, Tobin to donate blood and Emily to fill a prescription, Jim's wrath festered in the shadowy depths of his thoughts. Jim confronted the pregnant Emily in a, twisted interrogation and poured that forth like venom injecting into an innocent vulnerable mother to be evicting her into the cruel embrace of a world in the grips of a pandemic, a lonely soul left to sow her future in faith. The shelter's hapless dwellers, touched by Emily's predicament, mustered their goodwill and pooled what little they had. A small offering of hope - a fleeting haven, the purchase of a meager hotel room where Emily found momentary respite.

In hushed darkness, the residents prayed for her lost soul, sickened by their corrupt overseer's cruelty. Despite Tobin's desperate pleas to newspapers and politicians for accountability for the cruelty and injustice inflicted on a pregnant woman and the residents of the EECM, there was no outcry, no investigations, no news stories, no one seemed to care about a homeless pregnant girl.

And within a day her troubled pregnancy carried her to the hospital, premature labor pains shattering all illusions of solace. Tobin's anguish peaked, paralyzed by uncertainty and fear, praying for Emily as he lay imprisoned in the dungeon of Jim Shuffle's domain.

The odd couple, the makeshift father and daughter lost touch after that. In May 2023 Tobin was notified that Emily Amber Packey had been murdered, a victim of domestic abuse on the streets of New York on January 6, 2023. Tobin Frost the author of this article is now a filmmaker, author, and Journalist, inspired by Emily and now writes stories to speak for the voiceless. EECM was contacted for this story but has not responded.

Emily’s son is in foster care and may have been adopted, Tobin is still searching for any information on what happened to his friend as he writes the book “Amber” and seeks to fund a movie by the same name based on his experiences and the inspiration of Emily.

Tobin has written the story in hopes that he can keep his promise to Emily and her son.

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