FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A fundraising page has revealed disturbing details about a death investigation involving a father and his 4-year-old son.
According to the GoFundMe account, the boy, Greyson Kessler, was killed by his father in a murder-suicide on Friday.
Fort Lauderdale Police officers responded to the Las Olas by the River condominium complex, along the 500 block of Southeast Fifth Avenue in downtown Fort Lauderdale, and found the bodies at around 11:35 p.m.
The child’s grieving family is not only blaming the man who killed him but also the court system.
Greyson was the light of his family.
“He was always laughing,” said cousin Sydney McLane. “We named him Gigs because he just giggled. He laughed all the time.”
Laughter his mother, Allison Kessler, will never hear again after he was killed by his father, 47-year-old John Stacey, who then killed himself.
“It’s the court system. We went through every proper channel to make sure that Greyson was protected, and every step the system failed us,” McLane said.
Last week, Kessler filed an order of protection against Stacey, telling the judge, “On May 18, 2021, I received a text stating, ‘You deserve to have your head separated from your body, and deserve to die.'”
She added that Stacey threatened her at pick-ups and she feared for her life and her son’s.
In the court document, Kessler said, “His behavior is erratic and escalating and I fear for my life, my boyfriend’s life and most of all my child. He is unstable mentally. I am requesting a permanent restraining order against Mr. Stacey, and a psychological evaluation.”
Kessler went on to say, “I believe he needs court-ordered therapy and anger management and therapeutic supervised time-sharing before he is alone with my son.”
The request was denied by Circuit Court Judge Susan Alspector, citing a lack of facts.
But the evidence included a string of text messages packed with insults and threats. One of them read, “You deserve to have your head separated from your body. But I am not the violent type. God will deal with you.”
Kessler claimed he put a tracking device on her car.
On Friday, Greyson wasn’t dropped off at school. Kessler then called police for a wellness check and on Saturday filed an emergency pick-up order to remove Greyson from Stacey’s home.
The petition was denied by Judge Michael Kaplan, but at that point, they had no idea Greyson was already dead.
“There were many flags, red flags, exhibited by John Stacey that he would act upon,” McLane said. “Allison reported his bizarre and threatening behavior, made a domestic violence injunction. If the proper acts were taken, Greyson would be with us here today.”
According to police, Stacey shot Greyson at his Fort Lauderdale apartment and then turned the gun on himself.
According to court documents, Stacey’s erratic behavior began a few weeks back when he texted Kessler, “You are not allowed to date other people. It’s either me or no one. Or I will remove child support and quintuple text volume. The choice is yours, Ali. It’s a tough choice, but just flip a coin. Tails you leave him, heads you date me.”
“His bizarre and erratic behavior has been a red flag since day one. We did everything we could to let people know that Allison felt she was in danger, and no one listened,” McLane said.
Adam Sacasa knew Stacey from a running club and had met Greyson.
“I went to a baby shower where both of them were there,” Sacasa said. “The boy was playing with balloons and John was taking pictures, and everyone just seemed so happy. It’s just so hard to believe.”
On the GoFundMe page set up to assist with funeral expenses, McLane wrote, “The police, child protective services, and the criminal justice system failed Greyson and Ali, who filed multiple emergency orders to get Greyson safely away from the father…”
“This is a tragedy, but I don’t believe it’s a tragedy of errors,” said criminal defense attorney Eric Schwartzreich.
Schwartzreich insisted that the court is not to blame for Greyson’s death.
“Judges rule on the law that was presented to them,” he said. “If it was presented to them and the law was there and the judge felt there was a need for a protective order, I’m sure that would’ve been done.”
Now, Greyson’s family and his mother are left to deal with the unbearable feeling of losing a child.
“Everyone, every adult and child that crossed his path, he just lit up, lit up their lives. We’ll never be the same without him,” McLane said.
“Just to think that this boy had his whole life ahead of him and now it’s gone, it’s hard to think about,” Sacasa said.
While judges are not allowed to comment, the 17th Judicial Circuit released a statement that reads in part, “It cannot be stressed enough that if someone has reason to believe that a child or any other person is in danger, they should call law enforcement — in all instances. We extend to the family and mother of this horrific event our deepest condolences.”
7News reached out to Kessler’s attorney, and we were told she would not be making a comment.
The court documents also revealed the boy’s father was once part of a cult and never received any treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) he suffered after getting out.
Funeral arrangements have been made for the 4-year-old. He will be laid to rest on Wednesday in Southwest Ranches.
To see the GoFundMe page for Greyson Kessler, click here.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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