hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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April 4, 2013

Movie recalls local mom's nightmarish prison stay

City native makes film about her mother's plight

If you saw the recent Lifetime movie “Left to Die’’ and thought you recognized a few names, it’s no surprise.

Produced by Haverhill native Tammi Chase-Wright, this original Lifetime movie is based on the real-life story of her struggle to get her mother, Sandra Chase released from an Ecuadorian prison, where she was held on fabricated charges of drug smuggling.

”Some places and things changed for story-telling purposes, but it’s pretty darn close to our reality,” Chase-Wright said of the movie.

In a question-and-answer segment on the the Lifetime website about the movie, Chase-Wright said that during her mother’s incarceration she paid bribes to supposed attorneys. Those people promised they had her mother’s court file and could move it to the top of the pile so she could come before a judge quickly, Chase-Wright said.

”After going through my savings, I went through hers (her mother’s) and then was forced to pack up her life and sell her home,” Chase-Wright said in the Q&A. “Initially I wanted to sell this story so I could give back to my mother some of what she lost. At some point during this 14-year journey ... (we’ve been at four studios) it became more than that. Maybe I just got older and wiser, but what happened to my mother was not okay and I wanted to tell the world, ‘This could happen to you or your mom.’”

The daughter of Robert Chase and Sandra (Edgerly) Chase, Chase-Wright grew up at the top of 16th Avenue, attended nearby Walnut Square Elementary School and went on to graduate from St. James High School. She moved to Los Angeles in 1990, where she got her first job in the movie industry working for an executive with Warner Brothers.

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