Lost Sparrow on Independent Lens, November 16, Unravels A Family’s Secrets and Lies
Is it not ironic that--in the midst of the furor over Amazon’s decision to stock another book for pedophiles (and decision, under threat of boycott, to withdraw the book)--that on Tuesday, November 16, at 10:00 p.m. (eastern), PBS’ Independent Lens will screen Lost Sparrow, a documentary about how a man’s sexual abuse of his adopted daughter resulted in the death of two young boys, the destruction of the girl’s life, and the collapse of a family?
Lost Sparrow is Chris Billing’s inquiry into the deaths of his two adopted brothers, ages 11 and 13, who were killed by a train. He made the documentary in an attempt to find out what had happened to the boys, and why. Lost Sparrow opens with the disinterment of the boys’ coffins from a graveyard in New York, where they are loaded onto a U-Haul truck, and taken to a Crow reservation in Montana for burial by their biological family.
“Lost Sparrow” is the Crow Indian term for children taken from the reservation. Changes in federal law mandate that Native American children be placed in Native American foster and permanent homes. The four children who were removed from the home of Benjamin Stands Over Bull, two boys and two girls, were adopted by a family far away in New Jersey—a family with six other children, two of whom were also adopted--before that law went into effect.
The family moved to an incredible home—a Victorian castle in Little Falls, New York. There they ran a large, successful farm. One day, the two boys, Bobby and Tyler, seemed to have run away; it was discovered that they had been lying on railroad tracks and a train came along. The mystery that haunted the Billing family was “why?,” for as far as everyone knew, they were a happy family leading an idyllic life.Continued on the next page