Left Behind: Elizabeth Welsh

Now, A 'Dutch Uncle'

Given all that's happened to her, one might expect Elizabeth Welsh to be an angry, bitter person. But she's not. Welsh, who is now president of the Chamber of Commerce in Licking County, Ohio, seems to have accepted her husband's deception and moved on. How has she been able to accomplish this seemingly superhuman level of forgiveness? And what does she think of the man who left her 15 years ago? This is what she had to say.

Is Pat Welsh Mentally Ill?

Elizabeth: "I don't think Pat is mentally ill. I think Pat falls in a category of people that are very charming, very capable of doing a lot of good. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have the capacity... I mean, when you're talking about someone who, in essence, has embezzled money, cheated his children out of financial support for a long time--even though Pat certainly developed a lifestyle that would have allowed him to take care of his problems, his legal problems, and to support his children, he didn't choose to do that. So I think, unfortunately, he's a very charming but very self-centered person...to an incredible degree. There's a level of... maturity that just seems to have evaded him. He still doesn't get it. He still seems to be incapable of appreciating the implications of all of his past behavior."

Ted Welsh,now 26, was only ten when his father left. "I don't know if I can trust him," he says.(CBS)
How Does She Feel About Pat Welsh Now?

Elizabeth: It's almost as if he's an errant child of mine. You know, that's how I feel about him. I still feel a sense of responsibility at this point, even in saying to him, 'Look, I'm going to lay it on the line here-your behavior is not helping you. You have got to straighten up.' And that's essentially one of the reasons why he was not delighted when I visited him twice in jail here, to see me, was because instead of talking to him as a, the adoring spouse that I had been before, I was talking to him like a Dutch uncle, and he did not like that. But somebody needs to talk to Pat that way--unfortunately for him, maybe it hasn't stood him in good stead that because he himself is so seemingly reasonable and soft spoken, you have a tendency to kind of be lulled into 'Oh, here's a very sincere, upstanding person.'"

Did She Get Angry At Him?

Elizabeth: No. People got mad at me because I wasn't mad. I had no alternative. And I was raised with… some pretty rock-rote, backbone-producing moral principles, so those have stood me in good stead, but I also had two kids, you know? They became my biggest assets. To Pat they were liabilities, to me they were assets."

Her Sons Are The Real Heroes

Elizabeth: They turned out to be wonderful people. Oh yeah, absolutely, because they were never problem children, and they've done phenominally. In comparison to Ted and to Chris, I'm a minor hero in this. I made a choice to cast in my lot with Pat and to live my life out with him. But Ted and Chris never chose this. They were innocent, totally innocent, and very young, victims of all of this. So they, they are the heroes."

Of his father, Chris Welsh, 23, says: "He can say he's sorry but he has to show me he's sorry. He has yet to do that."(CBS)
Her Diagnosis Of Galveston

Elizabeth: "I didn't know anything about Galveston, but now I'm becoming an authority on Galveston. It's a very incestuous, strange little island. Like all port cities, it's full of the flotsam and jetsam of life."

How She Found Pat

Elizabeth: "It was through a lot of sleuthing, and a series of coincidences. If Pat were in any other state other than Texas, the likelihood that I would've found him would've been nil..."

The Nuts And Bolts Of The Search

Elizabeth: "We were 100 percent convinced initially that we were just proving to the social security administration that someone had made an error and started transposing a number and activated Pat's card that way, or more likely, purchased a bad identification on the black market, not knowing that this was the social security card number that belonged to a wanted felon.

Then, there was some information that kept being shifted back and forth in the Social Security Administration... it seemed to be coming out of the West, and it seemed to be coming out of Texas. Just coincidentally, a friend and I were talking, and I said this really sounds like there's something out West, and maybe it's Pat, I don't know, but there's no way to get the information.

He said, 'I saw a program... about the computerization and data marketing applications of driver's license information.' At that point, too, we had been told that this person was using the number had a valid driver's license. All I did was sit down at the computer and go into Yahoo!, I think, and did a simple search for driver's license information. And up came a big site for driver's licenses, public information, driver's license information; a software company that was developing this had computerized two states… Texas was completed because the company was based in Texas, by coincidence. I didn't want to buy the thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars worth of disks just to search for one prson, so I called the company and happened to get a sympathetic person who said "yeah, I'm on the clock right now, but call me back in 15 minutes… I called him back, I gave him Pat's name and Pat's real social security. Within three seconds he said, "Yeah, that would be Patrick H. Welsh, 5'9" , 150 pounds, green eyes, brown hair, needs glasses to drive... Galveston, Texas..."

The Irony: They're Better Off In The End

Elizabeth: "I mean we lost everything, by the same token we gained everything. We worked for it, and we got it ourselves. Oh everything… materially, Pat left us financially not just ground zero, he left us in a hole. And we worked our way out of that, and are very comfortable at this point. He left us emotionally questioning everything, and instead we rallied around, stayed strong, stayed together, stayed sane, went on with life, formed new relationships, continued on. And we are what we say we are. Pat isn't."

Dad's Double Life

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