This article originally appeared in the US~Observer.
UTAH COUNTY, Utah — Blending a family isn’t always easy. In fact, it can have disastrous effects, as Rob and Nedra McKell have found out. It has been alleged that several of Nedra’s children conspired to remove Rob from the family because they felt he was overbearing and “mean.” Their actions, along with those of several overzealous victims’ advocates, sheriff’s deputies and county attorneys, have left Rob facing multiple sexual abuse charges, and Nedra facing charges of neglect and of violation of a restraining order, among other things. Exemplifying the allegations of the children conspiring was when Nedra’s son, Brooke, said in a phone conversation to her that it (the charges) could all go away for $10 million. It’s a statement he verified later on the court record.
Nedra Roney McKell co-founded Nu Skin Enterprises, a multimillion-dollar corporation. Though her personal life brought many ups and downs, especially with marriages, one of the constants has been the love of family and the belief that orphaned children deserve a home, love and a future. Nedra expanded her family beyond her one natural son, Brooke, by adopting seven children from around the world. Each child had his own significant issues to overcome in life, and Nedra felt her affluence and love could afford them the chance to succeed. And, finally, Nedra found a man she could make a permanent home with for herself and her whole family, Rob McKell.
Rob McKell, being successful in his own right with McKell Construction but having grown up with meager means, had his own five grown children when he met Nedra. Soon after Rob and Nedra married, Rob adopted her children as his own and treated them as such.
Surmising about the family and why the charges have been leveled against him, Rob stated, “I grew up learning hard work and sacrifice. It’s how I was raised and how I disciplined my five children and how I approached raising these children. Because Nedra had profited from Nu Skin, her older children had been brought up in an environment of extraordinary privilege. They lived in mansions, went on exotic vacations, flew in private jets and had personal chefs. They had nannies and were home-schooled. Their mother doted on them and spoiled them. They were her world. It was no surprise that they resented my new place in their lives and in Nedra’s heart.”
It has been reported that through the years, several of Nedra’s adopted children, who had issues when they were younger, started showing signs of having serious physical and mental problems. According to witnesses, with troubles ranging from lying and violence to sexual promiscuity and abuse, two of the children found themselves in treatment programs and proctor homes because they became such a threat to the safety of the rest of the family. Family members tell of one adopted boy who was even convicted of sexually abusing a younger sibling.
Both Rob and Nedra tried everything they could to protect their children. They got them what they thought was the best help available and tried to make every decision in their best interests.
Summer McKell is one of Rob and Nedra’s “troubled” children. She was born in Siberia and reportedly was never touched or held as a baby. She suffers from what Nedra describes as attachment disorder.
According to Randy Hyde, a clinical and child psychologist who saw Summer on multiple occasions and administered a Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2) test (which is a widely used adult psychopathology and personality assessment), Summer likely has a “thought disorder” and is “blatantly paranoid.” The MMPI-2 showed that Summer is “likely to use projection as a defense mechanism” and “tends to be angry and is prone to fighting others.” The report indicates Summer scored as a typical “runaway delinquent,” and Hyde went on to state that “with similar profiles there is a probable history of antisocial behavior, such as promiscuity and deserting their family.” He went on to assess that “sexual acting out is probable.”
Throughout high school, Summer reportedly did, in fact, do that. She acted out sexually, among other things. According to reports, Summer sent nude pictures and videos of herself in the shower to various men, both young and aged via her online profile accounts that she managed with her iPod. In fact, it came to the attention of the local sheriff’s department, which reportedly contacted the McKells with the request that Summer not be allowed to be on the Internet. According to a family member, this, along with her increasing promiscuity and a drug deal Summer orchestrated when she was 18, bounced her from one school to the next, her parents trying desperately to keep her life together.
They restricted her use of online capable devices, which enraged Summer, and enrolled her in various schools or high-school equivalents whenever her behavior warranted.
When they were faced with Summer being 18 and a legal adult, they approached Summer about the McKells being her conservator. It was a stipulation of her staying in their home. The McKells wanted to be able to make legal, medical and other necessary decisions for Summer’s well-being. Summer agreed. Having her own attorney, Summer described how she wanted to stay in the McKell residence and that she was happy being there.
In an affidavit obtained, Sherrie Cozzens, a paralegal who was in court with Summer for her conservatorship hearing, had this to say: “I asked Summer if she understood why she was at court that day, I asked if she understood what a conservatorship was. She answered that she did. Her only concern that morning was that she didn’t ever want to leave her home. She said that two (2) other siblings had moved out and she didn’t want to move out like they did.”
In Cozzens’ affidavit, Summer’s attorney, Marie Bramwell, stated Summer had no concerns about the conservatorship.
Interestingly enough, Summer’s statements came during the time she eventually claimed Rob was sexually assaulting her.
Nedra’s children were constantly at odds with Rob’s parenting style. They either didn’t like or couldn’t understand being held accountable for their actions. It has been reported that Brooke was furious to have to get a job. Summer was constantly upset that her online privileges were being revoked and her behavior monitored. Cheyenne, Summer’s older sister, who was initially put into a facility for her purported violent outbursts toward her mother, blamed Rob for being sent away.
All of these children would rather see Rob gone, and they have gone on the record admitting it.
Interestingly, not on the court record, but can reportedly be verified through Brooke’s phone and credit card records is the allegation that Brooke left one weekend for a trip he told his parents was to Las Vegas. Instead, he traveled to Los Angeles, where he met with an ex-stepbrother and reportedly conversed with his ex-stepfather — both of whom, according to Nedra, are people who hold a grudge against her. This is where the McKells believe the plot was hatched to bring ruination to their family.
Soon thereafter, Brooke, Cheyenne and Brooke’s girlfriend, Alex, planned a trip leaving on March 22, 2013. They asked if Summer could go. According to Rob and Nedra, they not only agreed to let Summer go, they thought it was a wonderful idea and gave Brooke $400 toward gas and hotels.
It was a trip that never happened.
Instead, as the initial statements claim, the girls were waiting outside the family home in the car for Brooke, who went in to get some jewelry he was going to sell, so they had money for the trip. Really? According to the girls, this is when they started talking about how much they disliked Rob and how they wanted their mother to leave him. And this is when Cheyenne claims Summer said, “I know something that would get him in trouble.”
As reported, Summer went on in limited, but graphic, detail about how Rob allegedly did things to her. She even claimed that just the night before he had drugged her with some cold medicine and she awoke to find him, as she put it, “eating my —–.”
The statements claim that Brooke was called out of the house and told what happened, and they decided to go to the sheriff’s department to make their accusations.
But Rob and Nedra truly believe that this was the culmination of a carefully orchestrated plot by Brooke to have Rob removed from the home so the kids could have full access to Nedra’s money.
Rob and Nedra also believe that the claims Summer is making are a result of her complicity in her other brother’s sexual abuse of a younger sibling, wherein Summer reportedly held the door closed while her brother molested the younger sister in a strikingly similar manner to the claims Summer has leveled at Rob. It is alleged that Summer is using projection as a defense mechanism, just as Hyde determined in his psychological profile. In fact, Hyde’s profile also states that, “It is probable she is exaggerating her symptoms,” and says that, “given all that she alleges to have gone through … it is interesting that Summer is experiencing, at best mild anxiety and depression…”
In any good investigation, you want to collect as much evidence as you can. With a supposed victim saying she was sodomized the night before, you would think the deputies at the Utah County Sheriff’s Office would have thought to send Summer to the hospital to have DNA evidence collected. It is common practice when someone is claiming rape, which in essence is what Summer did. Yet we have found no record of any evidence of this kind having been collected. Why?
Instead, investigators had Summer place a call to Rob and vaguely talk to him about one of Summer’s sibling’s room where some of the activity allegedly took place. It’s called a pretext call and the transcript of this one presented no clear admission, or even suggestion that anything other than a disagreement had taken place between Summer and Rob. But for the sheriff’s office, the call, along with Summer’s statements, were apparently enough. It was handed over to the county attorney, who made the final decision to prosecute.
Rob McKell is currently charged with two counts of object rape and one count of forcible sodomy — of which there is no physical evidence and no corroborating testimony, just innuendo and accusations from a troubled young woman.
The State Versus The McKells
As the story goes, Summer bounced around for a time after the allegations were made. Brooke had taken her, and Nedra took her back; but she couldn’t keep her in the family home as there was a protective order against Rob and Nedra didn’t believe the allegations at all. So Summer resided with multiple people. One was Robbie McKell, Rob’s son.
Summer had a room to herself and all the amenities. It is here that Victim’s Advocates Maria Blanchard and Brianne Wilkes befriended Summer and reportedly tell her that she is being emotionally abused. According to records, they tell her she has nothing and that the ones who care about her are in their office. They ridicule Nedra to Summer. Eventually, they are able to use their self-described leverage over “AGs” and “big wigs” — you know, people who know them by their first name — to bring charges against Nedra, whose only “crime” is not believing her daughter’s accusations.
Nedra McKell is charged with retaliation against a witness, intentional abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult and violation of a protective order.
During Rob’s preliminary hearing, the witnesses’ testimony changed. Sheriff’s Deputy Whitnie Tate admitted to leading Summer during her interview (putting words in her mouth), and Summer had to be reminded when to claim Rob had become “touchy.”
Frankly, it was a joke.
It is amazing that these charges haven’t been dismissed already. It all boils down to what one person says another person has done. You either believe a psychologically evaluated “runaway delinquent” who is allegedly a recorded liar or a man who has never before been accused of any of these behaviors, a man whose five grown children and all of their friends are staunch supporters of his.
And as for Nedra’s charges, the amount of affidavits that show how many camping trips, outings, gifts, dinners, etc., that Summer went on and received when she was supposedly being isolated makes an average person’s life seem dull — not at all the confined poor lass she and Adult Services would have the court believe.
Unfortunately, short of Utah County Attorney Jeff R. Buhman getting involved and personally looking into this case and dismissing it on its ridiculous merits, both Rob and Nedra await their trials. Unfortunately, Buhman didn’t return our multiple calls to his office.
Also, if this case does go to court, you can bet that most of the real evidence that support Rob and Nedra won’t be allowed due to overprotective rape shield laws.
But then again, there is one option if Buhman doesn’t do what’s right and dismiss the case, maybe they can take Brooke up on his $10 million offer and have it all go away… Yeah, right.
US~Observer note: Our initial investigation into this case shows that without question this is the perfect example of an attempted false prosecution. While Julia Thomas is the Utah County Assistant Attorney conducting this travesty of justice, County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Buhman is ultimately responsible. Rest assured the US~Observer fully intends to hold him accountable publicly. For those who are concerned with justice as opposed to a manufactured and vindictive prosecution, Buhman’s phone number is 801-851-8026.