SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (FOX 2) - John Vanderhagen loves his son, Killian, very much. When Killian died after John had tried to get custody of the toddler, it broke his heart.
"All I wanted to do was hold his hand and they won't even let me do that," John said. "Like, he was on lockdown. I didn't get to see my child until his funeral, like a month and a half later. And I just kept asking everyone questions and nobody was giving me any answers."
Since then, John had been fighting for answers in his son's death, and calling for a change in the way courts handle custody cases like his.
"There are so many great fathers out there that miss out on the most important thing on life - and that's time with your child, something I wish I had, and money can't put a price on that," he said.
John eventually took to social media, calling out the system and the Judge, Rachel Rancilio, who made the decision to let Killian stay with his mom.
"It wasn't to hurt nobody," John said. "It was, let's open our eyes and start investigating the same very people that are sitting right in front of us."
John even posted things that Rancilio allegedly put on a Pintrest account, saying, "Oh snap Ray Ray, quite the dark humor for a judge,' and 'Get this woman out of our court system.'"
"She knew what she was doing was wrong and I think this goes back to her being embarrassed because there's no way anything he posted was a threat, and even her own officers, both of them, said that this wasn't a threat," said John's lawyer Nick Somberg.
Somberg says Rancilio claimed she felt threatened and shortly after that, US Marshals came to pick John up. He was then slapped with a misdemeanor charge, thrown in jail and eventually his bond was raised to half a million dollars, cash.
"I've never seen anything like this; every attorney I've brought this to is shocked," Somberg says. "This is a bond reserved for gangsters, for killers, for people who have the means to flee the country."
They took the case to trial thinking the whole thing was bogus.
"I feel like it's all intimidation techniques. They try to intimidate you to scare you," John said.
And the pair beat the charge. After sitting in jail for two months, John was free and with that freedom he plans to keep fighting for change.