Nov 25, 2013 11:15 PM by Erin Steuber
There are new developments in the case of a missing Lafayette woman. 32-year-old Crystal Grebinger was last seen back on February 8th, shortly after leaving the Faith House Women's shelter. It was just one month after filing for divorce against her estranged husband, Sean Grebinger. Her husband has been off the radar since her disappearance, but may have just surfaced, and because of that, this investigation may be heading outside Louisiana.
"It's just one of those days again that you have to face," said Crystal's father Randy Dupuis.
Frustrated by the lack of leads in the case, Randy is desperate for information that will bring his daughter home. About a month ago they appealed for her estranged husband, Sean, to come help with the search. And last week, a man claiming to be Sean reached out to the Daily Advertiser.
"I just wish he would have done it sooner. He should have manned up, especially for the children," said Randy. "I have 4 beautiful grandchildren and he could have at least done it for them."
Sean told the newspaper he left the country and doesn't plan on coming back, but has reason to believe Crystal is alive, and with relatives in California.
"She is not with me in San Diego and I'm the only family that any of our family has west of Louisiana," said Crystal's Aunt and Godmother, Theresa Dupuis. "If only Crystal were with me, or I knew where she was, I'd be the first one to shout to the world that Crystal is alive."
But the family is skeptical. They think Sean knows more than he's letting on.
"I would like to have some answers, but I can't zero in on him," said Randy. "All my time and effort is for Crystal. I have to put all my energy into finding Crystal."
Sean is currently wanted in St. Martin, and Lafayette Parish, on several outstanding warrants including assault and violating a protective order. Their four children are in the custody of relatives.
The following is a more detailed history of their 16 year marriage:
Crystal and Sean Grebinger's relationship turned allegedly abusive almost immediately. The details are documented in numerous court filings and arrest records, beginning when Crystal filed her first protective order against Sean in May 1997, just a month after they were married.
At least four more protective orders in Lafayette and St. Martin parishes were filed by Crystal through 2012. A 2002 restraining order in St. Martin Parish followed an incident where, as Crystal described in court documents, "He and I were in the bedroom when the phone rang and I answered it. It was his girlfriend and he became very angry and violent.
"He then got on top of me and started choking me. Punched my ribs, back, arms, stomach, head and ears. He just kept hitting my head and I tried to call the police, but he threw the phone and broke it. He then picked up a box cutter and said, 'that he was going to kill me.'
"Then he started cutting the wall with the box cutter. I grabbed my keys to leave when he grabbed me and threw me on the bed. He was trying to keep the keys from me. Finally, he calmed down.
"I am very scared of him because I feel he could and would kill me and abuse my two daughters."
Sean was charged with false imprisonment, simple battery and aggravated assault after that incident. He was placed under house arrest for five months. It only ended at the request of Crystal, who wanted to reconcile, according to court documents. The charges were eventually dropped.
Over the 15 years of marriage, the couple apparently reconciled repeatedly, with Crystal revoking and refiling protective orders. They had four children between 1999 and 2004, and, at some point were inked with matching tattoos. Crystal bore one reading, "Property of Sean" on her lower back to match the words, "Property of Crystal Gale" on Sean's arm, according to court documents.
But accusations of abuse kept coming. Crystal describes rape, beatings, three broken noses, verbal abuse and imprisonments in her court filings. Over the years, both Crystal and Sean had run ins with the law and court appearances. Crystal lost custody briefly when Sean filed a restraining order and accused her of abusing their children. She was arrested twice for simple battery in unrelated incidents and convicted for one of the charges.
Sean, meanwhile, was arrested for 19 offenses from 1995 to present in St. Martin and Lafayette parishes, ranging from theft by fraud to assault of a school teacher to drug offenses to violation of protective orders after he allegedly called Crystal 80 times. Most of the arrests were dismissed.
Crystal eventually filed for divorce in January 2013, a few months after she filed her last protective order. She wrote: "I was punched several times over and over and over in the face. He threatened to kill me. ... Next think I knew, he was strangling me with the belt. I had no more fight of trying to get away and laid there. Finally, he got off. ... I am afraid desperately for my life and my four babies."