Seashell Prisoners tells story of local woman’s peril
What was once in the local headlines in 2004 of a grandmother, Frances Collins, leaving the country with her 3-year-old granddaughter, Nocona Burton, to escape the abuse the toddler suffered is now a book, “Seashell Prisoners.”
It was Collins’ faith in God which she relied on to help her through the difficult times of living on a island in Honduras. Collins began her trek to Honduras following a hearing in which the little girl’s father was awarded visitation rights. Collins dreaded each visit as the distraught toddler was returned back to her house. She took her to doctors for exams and contacted Child Protective Services many times, but felt her efforts were fruitless.
Finally she could take no more and decided to flee the country with her granddaughter in tow in a 1986 cream colored Cadilliac. However, she initially thought she wanted to go to Costa Rica, but discovered it was not the place she needed to be. Her daughter and mother of the child, River JoNey, had gone to Honduras and encouraged her to do the same.
But, her journey was halted in Guatemala as they attempted to cross the border since Collins’ passport was expired. They returned to a nearby city, Tapachula, where she would have to wait with Nocona for it to be successfully mailed to her. She later learned the city was considered a “stopover” for those fleeing the U.S.
After a brief stint in Costa Rica, she decided to follow River to Honduras. Together they finally landed on the island of Roatan near the capital of Honduras. She made the most of her time of eight years on the island by opening Casa Calico, a hotel near the water for tourists. The tourist varied and came from countries such as Italy, Germany, Canada, Britain and the U.S. Her hotel was a success and provide income. Eventually, missionaries in the area flooded the hotel as well. The threat of being arrested at any time was an everyday part of their lives.
Then came the day in 2002 when she was arrested and brought back to the U.S. to face the federal charges of kidnapping. Over a year later, she pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven months in prison and seven months house arrest.
Since then, life has gone on. Collins’ son, Todd Burton lives close to Fort Worth while River has graduated from Texas A&M and is now working in North Texas. Nocona is attending Lamar University in Beaumont where she is studying sociology. Collins’ daughter, Anna, has opened a consignment shop, Asher Luis, in Orange. She has copies of the book for sale at the shop on Strickland Drive. Collins’ has been busy doing book signings. The next one is from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 29. Copies of the book are also available on Facebook on their page, Seashell prisoners or on Amazon.com.
“God showed me the book would go to the nations and its now showing 25 countries viewing the Facebook. God also showed me the book would breakdown strongholds and set the captive free. The book would also help individuals have a better understanding of God. From the many comments it is doing that and a lot more. He also said if the enemy tried to come up against us they would be cut down,” said Collins in a statement. “All the great reviews are beyond what myself or my family could have ever imagined. My original intent was not to use the book to tear down anyone but to lift up the name of Jesus . Over and over throughout the eight years in Honduras and 15 year journey…God continued to prove himself to be King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He directed my path throughout the whole thing. The Holy Spirit told me when I originally left with Nocona it was a huge testimony and everyone that read the book would gain something from it.”
Collins says she is available to share their testimony in front of groups or churches.
Pictured: Frances Collins at a book signing on Sunday at Dayle Foreman’s home in Bridge City. COURTESY PHOTO.