Laura Cummings did not deserve the life she endured.
Autopsy reveals woman tortured to death
Mother and brother arrested in woman's death
Updated: Saturday, 30 Jan 2010, 8:13 PM EST
Published : Saturday, 30 Jan 2010, 4:27 PM EST
Authorities have made an arrest in the case of a North Collins murder and it was the young woman's own mother.
Investigators believe her mental and physical disabilities played a role in her death.
Captain Ronald Kenyon of the Erie County Sheriff's Office said, "We've never seen anything quite as horrific as what we've seen in this investigation."
Authorities were suspicious immediately after finding a 23 year old North Collins woman dead.
"We find evidence of abuse going back to 1995. Physical and mental abuse also." Captain Kenyon said.
Neighbor, Rebecca Lee explained, "Her mom was kinda mean to her."
Neighbors saw the way Eva treated her disabled daughter.
Robert Lee said, "Somebody had walked by and the daughter was looking over at her and Eva didn't like it so she just snatched her by the back of the head and took her in the house, right by the hair."
Young Rebecca said she would visit Laura, who didn't get out of the house very often.
"She always looked lonely so I went over to see how she was. She was real nice," Rebecca expressed.
Investigators said that Child Protective Services had been called to the house in the past, but found nothing unusual.
Captain Kenyon said sadly, this is a case that fell through the cracks.
"Perhaps a lot of people had a hunch of what was going on, but I think everybody, unfortunately, thought that somebody else was taking care of it," he said.
Last edited by Texas Mist; 01-31-2010 at 07:37 PM. Reason: added Laura's complete name out of respect for her
Ya know, I am getting really sick of CPS never doing there jobs... I know that they are understaffed and lack proper funding, but how does that excuse the fact that they went to this house and did nothing to help this poor girl?
Stories like this make me sick... I would love to know what kind of "training" these CPS staffers are given before they are allowed out into the field. (I know that there are good people who work for CPS, who go above-and-beyond, and to them I am sorry for my little rant. This is not directed toward them.)
It just seems like animal services takes more time & care looking at animal abuse cases than CPS spends on protecting children...
A mentally and physically disabled woman being beaten and suffocated and burned with boiling water??? By her mother and brother???
For 15 years?
I want to slap the spokesperson for the police department, no offense...Yeah guess this one just slipped through the cracks....guess everyone thought that everyone else was taking care of it.
This did not slip through the cracks. This woman was tortured and beaten for at least 15 years by her caregivers. Clearly no one gave a cra*. Because even though the poor soul had regular visitors and there was a history of reports, mom was comfortable enough to hurt this child in front of others....
Why is brother not being charged with the full boat as well??? Gotta be coming...
Last edited by believe09; 01-31-2010 at 06:19 PM.
MOTHER CHARGED WITH MURDERING HER DISABLED DAUGHTER
The medical examiner ruled she was killed by three means: the final straw was suffocation, but she also had blunt force trauma and thermal burns to her face," said Capt. Kenyon at today's news conference.
Police say those "thermal burns" were caused by boiling hot water thrown in Laura's face allegedly by her brother Luke. Kenyon says their investigation further revealed a disturbing pattern of physical and mental abuse dating all the way back to the mid-nineties.
Rest in peace, Laura.
I am sick and tired, as well as disgusted with hearing the statement, "this is a case that fell through the cracks."
It seems as if our child protection agencies have WAY too many cracks and not enough caulking to fill up the cracks!
Are we going to hear an outcry?? Why isnt CPS already issuing a statement? Who has been put on administrative leave?
Right-Laura was a disabled adult. So at some point, it didnt matter any more. Except to Laura of course. What a life. OMG, what a life.
I know, I know...step away Believe-but I am waiting just waiting to hear what kind of disability this poor soul had that made blunt force trauma, thermal burns and suffocation an effective form of treatment.
Like chaining someone to a bed and leaving them when a fire starts.
Justice failed Caylee Marie!!
Please bring Haleigh home!
I did a little reading on scalding thermal burns.
It isnt just the burn, it is the metabolic effect of the burn including increased output of everything...and need of everything. Heart beats faster, lungs need more oxygen etc...right, cause she was suffocated too. Wonder what the order was. Please God, that when he pitched the boiling water, she was already unconscious.
How base do you have to be to do this to your own? I dont get it. I never will get it I am sure.
Multiple agencies saw Laura -- and did nothing apparently!!
Investigators say although she was 23 years old, Laura was described by family and friends to have the mental capability of a seven or eight year old child.
North Collins officials tell YNN, Laura's brother Richard Cummings filed a complaint back in July. He was upset about how he felt Laura was being mistreated by the family. Child Protective Services came out to investigate but when they realized the victim was 23 and disabled, Adult Protective Services came out to investigate a month later.
How could anyone just walk away from Laura and do nothing???!!!
from same link-
Eva Cummings has been in the hospital since her daughter’s death. Sherriff’s deputies arrested Eva when she returned home Friday night, along with her son Luke Wright.
“The mother’s been arraigned. Her charges are murder in the second degree. The brother of the victim has been arraigned on charges of assault in the first degree,” said prosecutor Thomas Finnerty.
Hopefully the murder charges will be upgraded to a capital offense & Eva rots in prison. And Luke, too!.
Last edited by Texas Mist; 01-31-2010 at 07:34 PM.
Where is CPS/DHS? You all know where they are. They're in meetings to address "this tragic event". We'll get a "report" in about two months and exactly one or two heads will roll. This is so much like Jeanette Maples story in Oregon that I want to spit. Poor Laura's mom was "kinda mean." Kinda mean??!!
So often I see neighbors and family hesitant to speak out if they know a victim is disabled in some way. Do they rationalize that the parents know best or that the victim is too disabled to understand? Call it in and have the agency check and then call it in again.
I don't get it. Abuse is abuse. An adult yanking someone by the hair would get hauled off for domestic assault. Since when is that an appropriate way to move even a very cognitively disabled non-compliant person? If the person cannot be successfully maintained in a home environment, they need to be placed in a higher level of care.
Our family is certified to provide foster care for developmentally and physically disabled teens. We are seeing a frightening trend. Many families of origin are relying on the teen or young adult's SSI check in this economy and are keeping their family member in the home when it would be far better to have them enter skilled foster care. It's shocking at how tremendously critical a situation usually gets before parents will agree to voluntary placement. That's my guess with what happened here.
And now we have a dead young woman. Rest, Lady Laura.
Even in cases like Bianca Piper who was mentally disabled and had anger issues. Her mom made her walk home one night when she was having a tantrum and then never came home. To me, that's abuse as well.
I don't understand how parents can hurt or kill their own children, its mind blowing. I hope they enjoy prison.
So -- why is Capt. Kenyon saying that everybody thinks somebody else was taking care of Laura's well-being???
TWO AGENCIES KNEW as recently as last July that we know of at this time.
At a minimum, the APS agency let her fall thru the cracks if they were the last to see her.....I'll never believe there were not signs of abuse at that time!!
Ok-sorry to quarterback here agencies-but Richard calls in July and says that family is abusing Laura.
No one asked him her age at that moment so that the correct agency could come out to see what was going on? Apparently not and it took another 30 days give or take to get someone else out there.
I wish we could do an informal review of staff size-'cause I am going to have to start pointing people to law enforcement instead of this kind of agency. I mean, what if Richard had called the law and said his sister was being assaulted inside the home. At least they could have pointed the correct agency in a timely fashion, right?
Mom you killed off your cash cow-ten to one they were both living off of Laura's disability checks. Well, I guess mom and brother will no longer need to worry about having to take care of the bills....the state of NY will be handling that for them.
Welcome to WS, Lover. Agreed that making a disabled child walk home because she was acting up is abusive. Completely and utterly.
To Izzy's points-I am unsure why you get a pass if you are related in some fashion to your victim, but you do. Any form of "domestic violence" is considered a different animal from assault and battery of a stranger.
Can you imagine what would happen if I grabbed you by your hair and dragged you somewhere for looking some place???
According to this article, *some* agency - APS?? -- was there in October
According to both family and North Collins town justice John Stevens, Adult and Child Protective Services were called to the house in July and October, but the abuse allegations were unfounded.
What gets me boiling here is that the agency can throw up their hands, say that they couldnt find any abuse...regardless of the fact that there were 15 years of reports mind you. Ah well, better luck next time, you did the best you could with the staff you had, the budget you worked with, the computer system that didnt put it all together for you.
Can you imagine if someone ran a hospital this way? States are going to have to start getting malpractice type insurance for these agencies. I mean they are all powerful in so many ways but they scrape the bottom of the barrel sometimes for staff and support-what gives?
I get that case workers frequently do the best they can. The down side is that the collateral damage here, the children who are tossed about, the chances are these children will die a terrible, prolonged heinous death. In the cases where the agency is wrong, a child will be raped and/tortured.
Victim's brother tells of futile efforts to get help for long-abused, disabled woman
By Jay Tokasz
NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Updated: January 31, 2010, 12:16 am /
Published: January 30, 2010, 12:02 pm
Laura Cummings struggled with mental and physical disabilities her entire life.
A grown woman of 23, she had the mental capacity of an 8-year-old girl. She talked with a speech impediment and had difficulty swallowing food.
Worse than any of the disabilities, though, was the mistreatment she received at the hands of her mother, according to authorities and at least one family member.
Erie County sheriff's investigators said Cummings covered her daughter's nose and mouth with her bare hands. By then, investigators said, the daughter had been doused in the face with a pot of scalding water by Luke Wright, 31, Cummings' son and the victim's half-brother, who was charged with first-degree assault.
Wright, wearing a Carhartt coat, oversized jeans and rubber boots, tried to tell the judge that he wasn't home at the time he was accused of committing the crime.
The victim's younger brother, Richard, 22, had been trying for months to get her removed from the apartment at 2052 Sherman Ave., where she had lived with her mother, half-brother and another brother, Eddie, for 18 years.
Eddie Cummings was not charged and is not considered a suspect, investigators said.
Richard Cummings, a member of the Air Force who lives on a base in North Carolina, said he had complained, on multiple occasions, to the county's Adult Protective Services unit, which is charged with protecting adults with disabilities from abuse.
"She should have been put in a different home," he said. "I knew something like this was going to happen. I'm very frustrated and very angry that she was not removed from that household."
Richard Cummings, who was back in Western New York on leave for his sister's funeral, said Adult Protective Services investigators never went into the home and merely spoke with his mother.
"My mother had lied to them, saying everything was fine," he said.
Richard Cummings became increasingly concerned about his sister last summer, when he received a text message from a younger sister who doesn't live with Eva Cummings. The message indicated that Laura Cummings' arm had been badly cut and was not being treated.
At the time, Richard Cummings asked Stevens, the town justice, to help him file a complaint with the county's Protective Services unit.
Stevens acknowledged in an interview after Saturday's arraignment that he had helped Richard Cummings with an initial telephone call to Child Protective Services, but he said he was not involved in the case beyond that.
The complaint went to Child Protective Services because Stevens wasn't sure of Laura Cummings' age. Eventually, Adult Protective Services was contacted, but the complaint apparently was determined to be unfounded.
Laura Cummings suffered from years of abuse simply because "she was mentally challenged and they didn't like it," said Richard Cummings, who left the house at age 18 and lived with neighbors who took him in.
His sister was punched, kicked and beaten with "anything they could get a hand on," he said. "It was mostly my mother."
His sister, he added, "didn't really know how to handle it. She didn't know what to do. She was confused."
Caroline Lee, who lives down the street from the Cummings home and took in Richard Cummings, saw Laura Cummings on a couple occasions in recent months and noticed severe facial bruising and hand injuries.
"Her whole face was bashed in," Lee said. "It looked like someone took her face and punched it."
Eva Cummings told people that Laura had fallen down the stairs. But Lee said the family home has only a couple of stairs and the severity of Laura Cummings' injuries didn't seem consistent with that explanation.
"There's no way you could fall down two little stairs and do that much damage," she said.
The death resulted from what had begun as a spat between Laura Cummings and Luke Wright over a mundane matter, Kenyon said.
So tell me how the town justice sleeps at night??
My heart just breaks for Richard as he did everything right IMO. He must be grieving terribly, thinking he could have done even more.
A lot went wrong here but I think we're going to start seeing more cases like this. Families "need" and rely on the SSI checks and foster families are fading away as funds are being cut right and left.
A very simple--inexcusable but real--fact is that there probably weren't any available families for Laura. Young adults who can be combative and/or violent and have eating challenges are notoriously hard to place in foster family homes. Institutional care is out and group home settings are reserved for the highest level of care.
The sad fact is that even though this mother willfully killed her daughter, our society carries some blame as there isn't a viable and accessible answer for young women like Laura. Even if the agencies had done their job (which they did NOT!!), this young woman and her family could have waited for months for a placement.
Disgusting, disheartening, but true.
Father speaks out on daughter's murder
David Cummings admits he physically abused Laura
Updated: Sunday, 31 Jan 2010, 7:43 PM EST
Published : Sunday, 31 Jan 2010, 7:43 PM EST
The father of a North Collins woman, who was allegedly killed by her own mother, is now speaking out.
The cycle of abuse started long ago for Laura Cummings.
David Cummings exclaimed, "I miss her."
"Never thought she was capable of doing something like this," he explained.
David admits that he hasn't been a good father.
He hasn't even seen his four children in years or even tried to make contact with them.
"I have a lot of regrets," David expressed.
The abuse for the Cummings children started at an early age.
David said he was abusive to them before his ex-wife, Eva left him.
"I look back at it and I guess what I did was pretty stupid, but what she did was even worse," he said.
He also said he has since had treatment for his abuse, yet did not reach out to contact his children through the years, all the while living just miles away.
sounds like Laura never knew a life full of love and care
Can I ask why these people keep talking? Not Richard...but the rest of them. Yup everyone is sorry now.
The town justice didnt think to ask her age? This case is killing me....guess everyone knows now that you cant afford to be stupid. Not when it comes to something like this.
Good for Laura that the incident which caused this horrific event is because she still had the where withall to be bickering with her brother....she still stood up for herself on some level....I hope and pray that she believed that she had value.
I'm not exaggerating one whit when I say that the above transcript of Laura's father's words sound like an exact duplicate of what Jeanette Maples' dad said.
I miss her.
I should have done more.
I wasn't a very good dad.
I never thought her mom would do this.
I wish I would have visited.
I guess I was pretty stupid.