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Thread: Boy Locked in Closet for 4 Years, Escapes

  1. #26
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    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091016/...ild_imprisoned

    She was charged yesterday with 29 counts in the horrific torture of this boy.

    She had 7 children, 6 of whom were actually seen at any given time. She murdered her 2 year old when this boy was born or shortly after.

    PSSSTTTTTT, judge-she is going to do it again. Please, Please, Please give her lwop. TIA.
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    The question was posed as to when are we going to learn to stop returning children to abusive parents. I'd like to respond. It's not about "best practice" and safety, it's about funding. Foster care is expensive. Until we, as a society, stem violence in the home AND step up to the plate with appropriate funding for foster care and adoption, we will continue to see this horrific cycle. We will continue watching in horror as judges and caseworkers are pressured by budgetary committees to return children to "at risk" homes. Please remember when children are in out of home placements, we all pay their bills. We have to be willing to open our wallets.

    It's very easy to say, remove the child. However, a foster home must be located. That's not easy these days as foster homes are hard to maintain due to the payments being woefully inadequate. With very few exceptions (granted, brought to our attention by a few rotten apples), foster parents work harder than anyone can imagine for a mere pittance of what it really costs to raise a child. It truly is often charity work. To maintain quality foster homes, we need to be ready to pay for that quality. Children in foster care also receive medical cards, mental health therapy, and medications. All this costs a great deal of money. The legal system is still painfully slow when it comes to terminating parental rights as attorneys fight mightily for "parents' rights". Every time a child has a hearing, it costs money.

    We also need permanency for children who cannot go home. The federal government has mandated that children require permanency. They do not want "legal orphans". There are over 200,000 (nacac.org) children awaiting adoption currently in the US. These are children who are typically of color, are in a sibling group, have some range of medical and/or mental health challenges, and are suffering from the trauma of abandonment and abuse. The trauma does not stop the day the child steps through the door of DHS. Even when we are successful in placing a child for adoption, those children and those families require and are entitled to years of post-adoption support.

    Consider writing your legislators about the importance of funding for children's services. Consider becoming a foster parent. Consider adopting. Consider becoming a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate). If you can't do any of these things, donate to your local foster parents' association, help tutor or mentor or drive a foster child to appointments. It can change your life. No, you can't help them all but you can make a world of difference for one child.

    Our family has adopted 10 times and is now fostering one. It's been HARD HARD work. But I never wonder what I can do. I just open my eyes every morning, pick up my day-planner and it's all spelled out for me. If we all work together, we can create a safety net for all our children. The operative word here is "our".

    Off my soapbox now...we can carry on.


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    Quote Originally Posted by MeoW333 View Post
    All she got for killing her 2 year old was 6months in jail and 5 years probation??!! WTH?? That's crazy!
    It says neighbors didn't see the boy among her 6 other children. It seems in these cases we see of severe child abuse, it seems it is one or 2 children that are singled out in the family that are severely abused, while the other children are treated as "normal" members would be. Why is that? Did anyone else notice that?
    Yes, it always seems as if it's just one child who gets singled out for abuse. I don't know why--often the most talented and bright ones, too. I'm thinking in particular of that little girl in N.Y. , Elisa Izquierdo. http://sites.google.com/site/inmemoryofelisaizquierdo/

    What on earth could a ten year old child do to deserve the treatment this boy got? "Stealing" ? He was probably stealing food because they didn't feed him. But no matter--locking someone in a closet, abusing and torturing them is not a way to stop them from stealing.

    Also, why is it, the people who starve their kids are always big and fat themselves?
    Last edited by Columbo; 10-18-2009 at 08:22 PM. Reason: add link

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    Quote Originally Posted by Columbo View Post
    Yes, it always seems as if it's just one child who gets singled out for abuse. I don't know why--often the most talented and bright ones, too.
    I think the parents are intimidated by these childrens' intelligence and inner strength and beauty and they worry they won't be able to control this child, maybe like they have controlled the others, so they beat down the brightest and strongest, especially those that dare to speak up for themselves and question the parents, so that they can stay "on top" and in control.

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    I just thought I was off that soapbox. Sorry. I truly hope I don't get trounced for saying what I am about to say but I think this needs to be said. I am so relieved that this young man had the courage to say "enough" and ask for help. I am hoping that the adults responsible are put away for a long long time. I agree that the mother's prior sentence for killing her child is unacceptable. However, I'd like to make a general observation on parenting which may or may not apply to this young man at all (please keep this disclaimer in mind). He is a victim and let's hope he becomes a true survivor. Please know that I pity him and have a great deal of sorrow for what he has lived through.

    That said, I would like to state that unquestionably some children are challenging to raise and some parents are not gifted with the patience or resources to parent AT ALL. When I read this story, my first thought was that there must be some substance abuse issues in this family. There is obviously severe dysfunction. The mother does not strike me as well educated or resourceful or as having a healthy support system. Something is definitely broken in this family. Once again, where were the neighbors?

    If these things are true, it is highly possible that some, if not all, of her children were born with special challenges. While it is possible that this boy was talented and bright and the mother was "beating him down", I think there might be other scenarios. One of life's greatest ironies is that the people who can least handle difficult or "different" children often end up with them. Foolishly, they often keep having them. Did you know that studies show that each subsequent male child born to a substance abusing mother will present greater deficits? What was nature thinking? Our natural rescue response often clicks in upon reading one of these stories and we think "give me that child and I will love and protect him/her". It's not quite that simple.

    Children who are born with substance exposure and/or into dysfunction suffer from deprivation in their prenatal and postnatal periods. They often exhibit behaviors that would drive sane and sober parents to distraction. They typically have lower IQs, more mental health issues, spectrum disorders, and defiance and attention disorders. Quite bluntly, they are hard wired differently. The damage to these children begins with multi-generational issues of dysfunction and carries through to a lack of trust and bonding in infancy. This then morphs into difficult toddlers and unmanageable older kids. Add to this a stressed out, mentally unstable parent and tragedy is a given.

    I've parented a houseful of "challenging" and "at-risk" children for over 20 years. These are children taken by court order from situations very similar to this story. I chose to do this. It didn't all fall down around me because of deficits in my own life. If I didn't have a great marriage, loving extended family, supportive friends, engaged teachers, caring therapists, responsive police and judicial system, I couldn't do it. I might have stepped over the precipice and become abusive. I can't tell you how many times I've been raged at, spit on, assaulted, called every name in the book. I've spent my life in school meetings, therapy offices, ERs, juvenile court. We parent in a specialized milieu style, processing everything, teaching consequences...all while making our family look as close to "normal" as possible.

    I've made certain to be mindful of my own needs and of my marriage. When I'm in trouble, I've called for help and gotten it. I've taken time-outs. I know how to "work" the system and get services in a timely manner. I know the police chief's and DA's phone numbers by memory. I can look at a problem and come up with viable solutions.

    In other words, I don't resort to locking a child that irritated me in a closet. I would like to honestly admit that I've entertained the thought, though. Does that make me shameful? I think it shows that I'm human. I try hard to do the right thing. I also strive to have a respected reputation with the professionals I work with. I do my level best to not take things personally and to stay calm in the face of chaos. And, most importantly, I'm fortunate to not have personal demons I fight off everyday which could cause me to stumble and do the unthinkable.

    I am not for a single second defending this monster of a mother. She set this in motion. She did the unforgivable. She's obviously sick and demented and pushed beyond her limits to parent in a reasonable way. She must pay for her crime. I'm simply trying to help others who have not lived in homes with difficult or "different" or even too many children grasp that most parents do not get up in the morning thinking, "how can I hurt my child today?" (Note I said most)

    When the rent is late, you just got laid off, you can't afford the drugs (legal or illegal) you need, the toilet's clogged, your spouse/partner got drunk and slugged you, the stray cat just had kittens in the bathroom, the pantry's empty, the neighbors' dog is barking, the police keep trying to serve you with a warrant, the baby's crying and just will NOT stop, and the teenager gets mouthy....what are you going to do? Quick...what are you going to do?

    Granted, people are responsible for the messes they make of their lives and often children get caught in the middle. People make horrid mistakes when under pressure. They often get stuck and keep repeating their mistakes when they are triggered. And children get hurt and neglected and their souls and bodies wounded.

    One of the most powerful statements I learned in all my years of attending trainings in specialized parenting in reference to the parents of abused/neglected children is "their reality is not your reality". I think of that often when I read yet another of these horror stories of a child who is burned or beaten or shaken or tied up or locked in a closet. Folks, we don't live in this woman's reality. I abhor what she did to her child but the "perfect storm" of abuse presented itself at this poor boy's conception. Talented or special needs, he deserved love and protection. He didn't get it. His mother failed him.

    We, as a society have to figure out how to halt this process. We can't just keep cleaning up the messes. How many brain-damaged babies and bruised teens can we all accept? We know that many many of these children will not heal and will be stuck in a never-ending cycle of repeating the sins of their mothers and fathers. I don't have the answers but I do know that children are hurting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Missizzy View Post
    I just thought I was off that soapbox. Sorry. I truly hope I don't get trounced for saying what I am about to say but I think this needs to be said. I am so relieved that this young man had the courage to say "enough" and ask for help. I am hoping that the adults responsible are put away for a long long time. I agree that the mother's prior sentence for killing her child is unacceptable. However, I'd like to make a general observation on parenting which may or may not apply to this young man at all (please keep this disclaimer in mind). He is a victim and let's hope he becomes a true survivor. Please know that I pity him and have a great deal of sorrow for what he has lived through.

    That said, I would like to state that unquestionably some children are challenging to raise and some parents are not gifted with the patience or resources to parent AT ALL. When I read this story, my first thought was that there must be some substance abuse issues in this family. There is obviously severe dysfunction. The mother does not strike me as well educated or resourceful or as having a healthy support system. Something is definitely broken in this family. Once again, where were the neighbors?

    If these things are true, it is highly possible that some, if not all, of her children were born with special challenges. While it is possible that this boy was talented and bright and the mother was "beating him down", I think there might be other scenarios. One of life's greatest ironies is that the people who can least handle difficult or "different" children often end up with them. Foolishly, they often keep having them. Did you know that studies show that each subsequent male child born to a substance abusing mother will present greater deficits? What was nature thinking? Our natural rescue response often clicks in upon reading one of these stories and we think "give me that child and I will love and protect him/her". It's not quite that simple.

    Children who are born with substance exposure and/or into dysfunction suffer from deprivation in their prenatal and postnatal periods. They often exhibit behaviors that would drive sane and sober parents to distraction. They typically have lower IQs, more mental health issues, spectrum disorders, and defiance and attention disorders. Quite bluntly, they are hard wired differently. The damage to these children begins with multi-generational issues of dysfunction and carries through to a lack of trust and bonding in infancy. This then morphs into difficult toddlers and unmanageable older kids. Add to this a stressed out, mentally unstable parent and tragedy is a given.

    I've parented a houseful of "challenging" and "at-risk" children for over 20 years. These are children taken by court order from situations very similar to this story. I chose to do this. It didn't all fall down around me because of deficits in my own life. If I didn't have a great marriage, loving extended family, supportive friends, engaged teachers, caring therapists, responsive police and judicial system, I couldn't do it. I might have stepped over the precipice and become abusive. I can't tell you how many times I've been raged at, spit on, assaulted, called every name in the book. I've spent my life in school meetings, therapy offices, ERs, juvenile court. We parent in a specialized milieu style, processing everything, teaching consequences...all while making our family look as close to "normal" as possible.

    I've made certain to be mindful of my own needs and of my marriage. When I'm in trouble, I've called for help and gotten it. I've taken time-outs. I know how to "work" the system and get services in a timely manner. I know the police chief's and DA's phone numbers by memory. I can look at a problem and come up with viable solutions.

    In other words, I don't resort to locking a child that irritated me in a closet. I would like to honestly admit that I've entertained the thought, though. Does that make me shameful? I think it shows that I'm human. I try hard to do the right thing. I also strive to have a respected reputation with the professionals I work with. I do my level best to not take things personally and to stay calm in the face of chaos. And, most importantly, I'm fortunate to not have personal demons I fight off everyday which could cause me to stumble and do the unthinkable.

    I am not for a single second defending this monster of a mother. She set this in motion. She did the unforgivable. She's obviously sick and demented and pushed beyond her limits to parent in a reasonable way. She must pay for her crime. I'm simply trying to help others who have not lived in homes with difficult or "different" or even too many children grasp that most parents do not get up in the morning thinking, "how can I hurt my child today?" (Note I said most)

    When the rent is late, you just got laid off, you can't afford the drugs (legal or illegal) you need, the toilet's clogged, your spouse/partner got drunk and slugged you, the stray cat just had kittens in the bathroom, the pantry's empty, the neighbors' dog is barking, the police keep trying to serve you with a warrant, the baby's crying and just will NOT stop, and the teenager gets mouthy....what are you going to do? Quick...what are you going to do?

    Granted, people are responsible for the messes they make of their lives and often children get caught in the middle. People make horrid mistakes when under pressure. They often get stuck and keep repeating their mistakes when they are triggered. And children get hurt and neglected and their souls and bodies wounded.

    One of the most powerful statements I learned in all my years of attending trainings in specialized parenting in reference to the parents of abused/neglected children is "their reality is not your reality". I think of that often when I read yet another of these horror stories of a child who is burned or beaten or shaken or tied up or locked in a closet. Folks, we don't live in this woman's reality. I abhor what she did to her child but the "perfect storm" of abuse presented itself at this poor boy's conception. Talented or special needs, he deserved love and protection. He didn't get it. His mother failed him.

    We, as a society have to figure out how to halt this process. We can't just keep cleaning up the messes. How many brain-damaged babies and bruised teens can we all accept? We know that many many of these children will not heal and will be stuck in a never-ending cycle of repeating the sins of their mothers and fathers. I don't have the answers but I do know that children are hurting.
    First MissIzzy I want to thank you for you service of your children. I can say that I know how difficult it would be, but I wouldn't really know I can only imagine it. But thank you for taking them in and for doing the work. You also are a very effective advocate. You have the experience and background to speak with some authority about the realities of picking up where other parents have failed. So thank you for that also.

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    i should have added "possible scenario" and "moo" at the end of my post i guess. didn't mean to offend or say that what i wrote was definitely the case here or for all parents and children everywhere.

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  14. #33
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    MissIzzy, you are more compassionate than I. I agree that it is likely that this mom lacked the capacity to care for her children either because of internal limitations or externally induced ones.

    But here's the thing-unless she is of a childlike mentality, we know what causes babies these days. So if she lacked the capacity to deal with her children, the solution that was best for THEM was for her to put them where they were going to be safe. And nurtured. I would think that the most basic parenting skills would indicate that the closet was not where the child belonged. Beyond that, a mind that could create a sugar water insect torture for the child is a mind that had capacity. She could create the scenario and a likely outcome-then she had the ability to reason why this child was better off with someone else. Not to mention the other 6. Not to mention the 2 year old who was starved to death.

    On the surface, and I only have media reports to go by, this is a person who is a risk to all children she would carry in the future and is a good case for some kind of sterilization.

    Off my soapbox now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shamrock View Post
    Sick. I hope and pray that he can find a loving family that will take him in and treat him well.
    I hope the officers from the National Guard will stay in touch with him. Just affirm for the child that he did the right thing, he is worthy of positive human contact and admiration. I guess I don't really know how to explain what I'm thinking. I just think if the officers can stay in touch with him, check on him, see how he is doing, it will help the boy replenish his self-worth.

    Does that make any sense?

    Salem

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    Unhappy Talk about slow wheels of justice

    OKLAHOMA CITY -- A 15-year-old boy said his mother and a friend of hers beat him, tied him up and even set him on fire over a 4-year period simply because they thought he was "stealing" food from her family's kitchen.

    LaRhonda McCall and Steve Vern Hamilton have been charged with felony child abuse and have pleaded not guilty. A judge held a hearing Wednesday to determine whether they should face trial.

    In his unemotional testimony, the boy said he has gained 42 pounds since escaping from the home back on Sept. 25. The teen testified he was beaten four times a week since he was 11-years-old with extension cords, pots, and hands and was bound and locked in a closet for days. The boy also said he was forced to stand on ice naked while he was tied up in the garage.

    more here

    http://www.newson6.com/Global/story.asp?S=11777387


    OKLAHOMA CITY -- A teenager testified in Oklahoma County court Wednesday showing the judge his scars as he told about years of abuse. The 15-year-old was unemotional in the preliminary hearing as he explained how his mother LaRhonda McCall and her Friend Steve Hamilton allegedly abused and neglected him over 4 years. During the testimony, McCall shook her head several times.

    The boy grew up in New Jersey in the custody of his mother's cousin. He says when he was 10 he was told he was coming to Oklahoma for a visit.

    He says he was left here and the abuse began around his eleventh birthday.

    The teen told the court McCall and Hamilton accused him of stealing food or money from the family and punished him in various ways.

    He says the two withheld food, tied him up, locked him in a closet for several days, beat him with various materials, and hit him in the head with a tire iron and that his mom doused him with rubbing alcohol once before setting him on fire.


    more here

    http://www.kfor.com/news/local/kfor-...,5041056.story



    According to the boy, who is now in foster care, his mother and Hamilton would use twine, a telephone cord or plastic ties to bind him, whichever was handy, and put him in a closet, the boy said, lifting his arms toward the judge.

    "Sometimes they would leave me in there for a couple of nights before I got free," he said.

    Half-siblings would risk punishment by sneaking him food while their mother was away, he said in a cold, unemotional courtroom recitation.

    "I remember her saying 'Die' and that she regretted having me," Bernell McCall testified, telling the judge that his mother and Hamilton often choked him until he passed out.

    ...

    "All of a sudden I was in a blue flame," Bernell McCall testified. He said he had many scars on his upper legs but didn't show them to the judge.

    Other items used as weapons against him included an extension cord, a two-by-four, a bike chain and a car jack.

    At one point, he said, his mother and Hamilton tied him to a ladder in the garage and covered him with sugar water. "The sugar attracted the bugs in the garage. They started to bite me." At other times he was put out in the snow naked.

    more here

    http://hosted2.ap.org/TNMAR/nationan...8a930b3afd93b1




    I really wanna smack this boy's uncle for saying he believes his sister, LaRhonda, for now .....amazing - the boy has scars & has gained 40+ lbs since he got away from that <modsnip> of a mom & her "friend" Hamilton.

    The gall of anyone saying he's making this stuff up!!
    Last edited by Salem; 12-05-2010 at 12:43 AM. Reason: remove name calling
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    Thanks for bringing us up to date, Texas Mist. I can't decide how I feel about the lack of emotionality by the young boy. He's either "boxing" it up or he's affected by spectrum disorder IMO. I would think that he's been doing a lot of work with a therapist and would really doubt that he'd be able to relate this story without tears. I doubt that the judge would allow him to disassociate if that weren't his normal way of communicating.

    I'm going to have to say that he's somewhere on the spectrum IMO. That would explain a lot to me. It would explain why his mother couldn't deter him from certain actions, why he didn't fight back more, why this went on for as long as it did. Of course, the child needed food. Of course, he needed love and his freedom. I'm just really wondering if something about his demeanor didn't set his mother off. Please understand that I think she should have immediately gotten help if it did. She committed horrendous crimes against this boy and I hope she grows old inside the prison walls.

    However, something strikes me as odd in his lack of emotion. Just the mere act of testifying is frightening. He's relating some very personal and traumatic events. I don't think he'd be allowed to testify if he were so profoundly traumatized by relating the events to the court that he was disassociating. If he has spectrum disorder (Asperger's or some form of Autism) he would be very concrete and honest and detailed about the abuse. However, his spirit wouldn't be as damaged as a normally developing child IMO. Three of my children who were abused are on the spectrum. Each of their testimonies lacked emotion. It was very matter of fact and almost sounded rote. Like they were discussing what they ate for dinner last Tuesday. They, and seemingly, this boy, seem to lack the social understanding of how horrific this crime is...of the full ramifications. Once the pain stops, they pick up the pieces and move on. This is simplistic, of course, and everyone with this disorder/difference is unique but this was my experience and what I'm sensing in the reports I'm reading about this case. This child deserves to have his needs met with compassion. He deserves to be cherished and loved. He deserves justice, whatever his view of the crime was then or now.

    Isn't it sad that I'm attempting to rationalize a neuro-difference for him so that I can process this heinous crime? This one is a hard one for me.

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    Okla. mom pleads guilty to imprisoning teenage son

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - An Oklahoma City woman charged with locking her teenage son in a closet and beating him has pleaded guilty to multiple child abuse and neglect charges.

    Prosecutors say 38-year-old LaRhonda Marie McCall entered a blind plea Friday to 33 counts of child abuse and three counts of child neglect.

    Assistant Oklahoma County District Attorney Scott Rowland says a blind plea means McCall has no deal with prosecutors and is throwing herself on the court's mercy. She faces up to life in prison.


    more here

    http://www.newson6.com/Global/story.asp?S=13616441

    Finally! Now if the judge will do the right thing.

    And not just her - the co-defendant Steve Hamilton needs cold hard justice heaped on him, too.
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    This woman starved a 2-year old to death! http://www.kfor.com/news/local/kfor-...,5041056.story

    For LaRhonda McCall, these new charges follow a felony conviction from 1996 in New York.

    In that case, she was found guilty of second degree manslaughter in the death of her 2-year-old daughter. Prosecutors in that case alleged McCall essentially starved the toddler.

    How did she get out of jail to continue to reproduce and torture children??????

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    I've never ever forgotten this boy. This was the very first case on WS which I became really passionate about. I am so hopeful that this young man is in a safe place and on a path of healing.

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    http://www.koco.com/r/26571257/detail.html

    ''A woman who threw herself on the mercy of the court after being accused of abusing her teenage son has been sentenced to two life terms for child abuse.''
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