My name is Alex Wilson, and I’m 37 years old. I am currently located outside of California along with my boyfriend, Kevin Byrd, as get back on our feet, and attempt to get our story out there in order to set the record straight.
We fled Kern County late May of 2016, and headed north to stay with friends, from where it was safe to write our testimony, because we had reasonable cause to believe it was not safe for us to remain in Kern.
Below is my personal testimony, which explains exactly how my partner and I were robbed by five Kern County Sheriff’s Deputies, and a building inspector who did not identify himself. After years of researching and working to get back on our feet following a series of traumatic experience, I have finally had time to write — so first off, thank you for reading this — it really means a lot. We’ve felt very alone throughout this recovery process, however we believe that the more people who learn what happened, the better the chances our case won’t simply get shoved under while remaining unreported by news outlets. To explain the situation, and before presenting evidence, first we need to begin with a little bit of backstory:
In 2010, I began documenting alongside former U.S. Armed Forces wilderness survival instructor Richard “Lonewolf” Legan, who informed me that he hadn’t been receiving his due military benefits for many years and was owed backpay. It was apparent from the lack of food in the cabinets and living conditions that his family was suffering as a result, so I did some research and found him an attorney who opened up and began working is case.
Meanwhile, I began documenting his skills, and designing business essentials (e.g. cards, fliers, posters) to help him get back on his feet. His dream was to open a sort of west coast equivalent to Tom Brown’s renown Tracker School. Together, we created a unique textbook called More Valuable Than Gold, and a website to showcase his skills and help find students to attend his classes. Distance financed her efforts by street performing with her guitar, which she’d been doing since 2002, when she left her home state of Iowa to walk the country and write protest songs. In 2013 she met her current partner, Kevin Byrd, who joined the effort. The two then street performed together while continuing to develop the publications and websites in coffee shops, truck stops, in friends’ and cause supporters’ homes, and everywhere in between.
Their work did not go unchallenged however: Kern County is not an easy place to live. With significantly higher crime rates than Los Angeles County for all violent and property crimes, the highest number of arsons in state, and the second-highest number of rapes, Kern County also has the third-highest number of murders and non-negligent manslaughter crimes, and is considered the “meth capital of the U.S.”   “Living on the street” exacerbates one’s susceptibility to various dangers: Kevin and Distance were robbed on several occasions — so they just kept moving forward.
By late 2015 the couple was on their last legs. Street performing to earn enough to survive was proving to be unprofitable, and unmanageable: hunger became a regular occurrence. Not only is Kern’s poverty level very high (the rate of childhood poverty in Kern has increased every year since the Great Recession according to the Kern County Network for Children),  but also the couple was being threatened with arrest by local law enforcement if they continued street performing. They were running out of options.
Then came a saving grace: while performing in front of a local shopping center, a man approached them and informed them about adverse possession — an old legal process that is still on the books which enables people to legally claim abandoned properties. After a long conversation, and additional research, the couple began asking around. Several friends said they were familiar with the process; some even had friends who gained homes by by using it. Soon, it was brought to their attention by some local friends, Rudy and Liz Hemminger, that their neighboring house, 2232 Commercial Ave, might be the perfect candidate. On August 31, 2015, the couple filmed the following two videos to document the conditions of the two dilapidated buildings on the property, and moved onto the property using their right of entry; a new chapter in their lives was about to emerge:
Video #2 Filmed Immediately Afterward:
: California Political Review, “Education Called Last Hope for Crime-Riddled Kern County (More Crime Than LA County!)” by Stephon Frank (10-3-2016): http://www.capoliticalreview.com/capoliticalnewsandviews/education-called-last-hope-for-crime-riddled-kern-county-more-crime-than-la-county/
: ABC Chennel 23, “Murder No Surprise In Meth Capital Of US” by TRACIE CONE and GOSIA WOZNIACKA Associated Press (1-23-2012): https://www.turnto23.com/news/murder-no-surprise-in-meth-capital-of-us
: Bakersfield.com, “Kern County child poverty hasn’t slowed since end of Great Recession, report shows” BY HAROLD PIERCE (6-7-2017): http://www.bakersfield.com/news/kern-county-child-poverty-hasn-t-slowed-since-end-of/article_896aa556-0b90-5f39-9844-c46745dafa2f.html