Because anything—even something as minor as his losing at a board game—could launch Zach into a violent rage that would last for hours, Laurie says normal discipline and parenting was impossible. "We had to put everything away that you could imagine: knives, things that normally you could keep in your house," she says. "I would actually clear the table on occasion if there were vases and he was starting to get into one of those spaces. Because I had no idea what he would do."
Joe and Laurie realized how dangerous Zach's rage had become when they left their kids with Amanda, a relative who lived close by and knew about Zach's mood swings. When Amanda told Zach it was time to get ready for bed, he started spitting and screaming. "It was not the little boy that I know," she says. "It was like straight out of a horror movie."
Scared of what Zach might do, Amanda grabbed Julia, ran into a bedroom, locked the door and called Joe and Laurie.
When Joe and Laurie arrived, their house was ransacked. Zach had broken glass and furniture, and smeared feces on the walls. Joe found Amanda and Julia hiding in the bedroom. "It was unbelievable and I didn't know what we were going to do," Joe says. "To be scared of your own kid or what he might do—it's indescribable."