Esther Combs
Esther Combs

Esther Combs faces the woman she called mother and asks: 'Why?'


BLOUNTVILLE - A young woman subjected to a lifetime of abuse and enslavement got her chance Tuesday to ask the only mother she's ever known why she hurt her.

Formerly known as Esther Combs, the 22-year-old woman who goes by a name she chose for herself looked directly at Evangeline Combs before the woman was sentenced for kidnapping and child abuse and delivered a tearful testimony of how the abuse she suffered damaged her.

Evangeline Combs and her husband, former Bristol preacher Joe Combs, were tried and convicted in March for concealing their oldest daughter while never completing an adoption process, and abusing her.

"I just wanted to tell you how much you hurt me because I don't think you fully understand how much damage you have really done to me, or that it really matters to you. But I have to say this to you face to face," Esther Combs said.

"You really hurt me. You made me feel like I wasn't anything. Like I didn't even exist. You took my childhood away. You took my self-respect, my confidence, innocence, joy and trust away from me."

"I tried so hard to be the daughter that you wanted, but nothing I could ever do was good enough. All I ever wanted was for you to love me and be proud of me. That was all that mattered to me. I just wish you could tell me what I did to make you hate me because I loved you so much, even though you put me through hell. Because I told myself you did it because you loved me."

"But I guess that wasn't what it was. I just wanted to know if you ever truly loved me. If there was ever a time I was ever good enough to be loved."

"Those are the questions I will ask myself for the rest of my life, and that alone is worse than anything you have or could have done to me." "Because of you I missed out on everyday life. I missed out on the love and happiness of a family. That is something I will never get back, and for that I can never forgive you."

"Because of you every day of my life I wake up and look in the mirror and I see that bad little girl who could never do anything right to make her parents happy."

"Because of you I am emotionally and physically scarred, and every time I look at myself I see the product of your so-called love. And it hurts." "You don't know how hard it is for me to say this to you. But I needed to tell you what was in my heart. I am so sorry I wasn't and never will be the daughter that you wanted or could love and be proud of."

"Even though I would have done anything for you. I would have died for you if I thought it would make you proud of me and love me." "I would have done anything for you. I would have moved mountains if I thought it would make you love me. That's how much I loved you. That's how much you hurt me."

� 2000 Times-News. All rights reserved. Published April 25, 2000

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