A life sentence: Mock arrest leads to marriage proposal 

On Oct. 1, Lt. Derek Thomas with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department took a phone call from a man with an unusual request.

The man wanted to be "arrested" for love.

It was something Lt. Thomas said he had never experienced in the line of duty.

“I’ve been here 13 years and, to my knowledge, we’ve never had that happen,” Lt. Thomas said.

That man on the other end of the line was John Obregon, and he was asking for help proposing to his girlfriend, Magnolia (Maggie) Malicote.

Obregon and Malicote met during dark times in their lives, both having had trouble with the law in previous years.

“Things kind of went south in both of our worlds, and that’s how we met — through the chaos,” Obregon said.

From there, the two faced their demons, eventually achieving sobriety and starting jobs as cross-country truckers.

When it came time to pop the question, Obregon said he wanted to both scare his soon-to-be fiance, and pay homage to the journey the two have weathered together. In this way, Obregon said he wanted to involve the Madison County Sheriff’s Department, who he said helped him during his darkest days.

“(I wanted to acknowledge) how much the Madison County Sheriff’s Department coached me through the process of getting me clean and getting my life back on track — (I thought) ‘let me introduce that into this whole thing,’” he said.

The pair had taken a week off to stop in Madison County and visit Magnolia’s mom. Obregon said, while Magnolia and her mom went to get their nails done, he snuck out and bought the ring. When he called the Sheriff’s office, they tasked Deputy Jennifer Kermeen with being the “arresting officer.”

Obregon said, before the deputy pulled up, the deputy and Obregon were on the phone, planning out the entire scenario.

When the deputy pulled up to the property, Malicote said she began to get nervous and the she and her mother approached the police car with apprehension.

Deputy Kermeen asked their names, and then informed Maggie and her mother that Obregon had an out-of-state warrant and that she would have to take him in.

“That’s where Maggie turned purple,” Obregon laughed.

Malicote said, at this point, she was full-on panicking.

“My heart was in my feet. ...We’re a really big part of each other’s life, we’re with each other 24/7, seven days a week. It’s hard to go even a few minutes without him. Up to that point, I thought he was going to jail and I was going to lose him for months,” she said.

The officer asked Obregon to get on his knees and empty his pockets, and Obregon proudly did so, revealing the ring he had gotten for Malicote.

Malicote said yes, and the dispatcher’s voice congratulated them over the walkie.

“It went perfect, exactly how we planned it,” Obregon said.

Malicote said her family’s involvement in the proposal meant a lot to her, as she had been estranged from them during her dark years.

“My whole family was involved in it — and that is just amazing because I hadn’t been in my family’s life for so long and to have them a part of something so big for me was amazing. I’ve been away from my family for 10 to 15 years because of drugs, and for the past year our sobriety and our comeback has been so amazing,” she said.

For now, the two continue to travel the country together and plan their wedding, which is set for Oct. 1, 2022.

Obregon said this date was chosen specifically because it is the anniversary of when his grandfather passed away when he was a child. To some, choosing a date with such a heavy connotation to it may not make sense, but to Obregon, it is a chance to replace something negative with something profound.

“It would be a big uplifting on such a horrific day of my life to put a good memory on it. It’s something my grandfather would have wanted,” he said.

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