Middle Eastern father buried his newborn baby ALIVE because she was deformed

khan-arrestedChand Khan, a father of four children, was arrested less than eight months ago by Pakistani Police. His crime? Burying his infant daughter alive because she was physically deformed.

The infant was born Thursday, July 12, 2012 in a hospital in the nearby town of Kacha Khoh. She would have been Khan’s fifth child but after seeing his newborn daughter and realizing she was physically deformed, he is said to have been shocked and embarrassed and started planning on how to dispose of her, even asking doctors to get ‘rid’ of the baby, suggesting they use poison. Doctors refused.

‘I am a doctor at the same hospital where this child was born. This man came to me yesterday with a request that I should do something to dispose of his child, but I snubbed him and said get out. ‘No one has the right to kill anyone because of his or her physical deformity.’  Mohammed Farooq, a doctor at al-Shifa hospital who cared for the baby after it’s birth.

Photo of Chand Khan with his face covered, being arrested in 2012

Khan then went and told relatives that the child had been a still-born, and many believed him until the baby let out a cry during the funeral service which was held on the evening of July 14, 2012. Many stunned witnesses told Khan to rush his daughter to the hospital but he had a different plan in mind.

“After seeing his newborn daughter, Anwar told his relatives that the baby was born dead. He organized a funeral for her. During the funeral service the baby started crying. The presiding cleric told the father to rush the baby girl to the hospital but instead of going to the hospital he buried the baby,” Shamshad Khalid, the town’s police chief said.

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Photo of Khan being prison bars in 2012

Residents alerted the police after seeing Khan take the baby to a graveyard in Katcha Khowa, Khanewal, in the eastern Punjab province of Pakistan shortly after the funeral service. Police raided his house and arrested him for murder.

The infant’s body was exhumed and an autopsy was performed which indicated she had been alive when she was buried. She was only 2 days old.

“She was healthy and alive but she had a fairly large head and abnormal features,” said Farooq.

Khan did not tell his wife, who was still recovering from the birth at the hospital, about his plans to get rid of their child.

Pakistani human rights activist Farzana Bari has condemned the incident and Raghab Naeemi, a prominent Pakistan religious scholar, demanded a stern punishment for the man if he is found guilty.

The case has also shed light on prejudices in Pakistan against children, especially girls, who are born with physical deformities and/or mental retardation. Many feel embarrassed and shameful and Khan’s case proves that some will go great lengths to dispose of the shame.

Reports said that if found guilty, Khan will receive the death penalty.

Saudi child was raped and tortured to death by her own FATHER after her doubted her virginity

Lama Al Ghamdi

Feb 16, 2013, SAUDI ARABIA — Many in the Saudi community are outraged after hearing news that a father, who had raped and tortured his child to death, had been ordered to pay a mere $50,000 in “blood money” to the murdered child’s mother after having served a very lenient jail sentence.

Lama Al Ghamdi was only five-years-old when she was brought to a hospital on December 25, 2011 with horrific injuries, including a crushed skull, broken ribs, a broken left arm, extensive bruising and burns.

She died last October 22, 2012.

Randa Al Kaleeb, a social worker from the hospital where Lama was admitted, said her back was broken and that she had been raped “everywhere”.

According to Lama’s mother, hospital staff told her that her “child’s rectum had been torn open and the abuser had attempted to burn it closed.”

The father, Fayhan Al Gamdi, who is also a Islamic preacher and regular guest on Muslim TV networks, confessed to having used cables and a cane to inflict the injuries to his daughter. When asked how he could do this to his own daughter al-Ghamdi said that he beat her after he began to doubt her virginity. He then brought her to be checked by medics who determined that the young girl had been raped repeatedly threw out her short life.

Lama’s mother, who is divorced from the father, continues to campaign to have her former husband executed, arguing that it is the proper Islamic punishment for his crime. However, al-Ghamdi has a reputation in the kingdom due to his frequent appearances on Muslim television networks, where he considers himself to be an expert of religious law and practices.

Reports have stated that the judge overseeing his case had ruled the prosecution could only seek “blood money and the time the father had served in jail would suffice” (blood money is still considered part of “Islamic Law.”)

This news quickly spread and angered many Saudis and others around the world.

The Justice Ministry quickly intervened, stressing that al-Ghamdi was still in custody.

In the mean time, anger over Lama’s brutal death has since turned to outrage over the possible release of her killer. Lama’s mother is planning to testify against her ex-husband in an attempt t push for a stricter punishment.

Mother deemed insane when she drowned her toddler in 2010 is freed after doctors say she’s regained her sanity

(DAILYMAIL) — A mother who was deemed insane after drowning her three-year-old daughter in the bathtub has been allowed to walk free from jail just three years later – because doctors say she regained her sanity.

Jennifer Bigham, from Modesto, California, admitted killing the toddler in 2010 and was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity.

After doctors ruled she is now sane, Bigham has been allowed to walk free and was released from jail on Tuesday.

SCROLL DOWN FOR SOURCE OF ARTICLE (AND VIDEO LINK)

Jennifer Bigham, 23, was being held without bail in the Stanislaus County Jail on suspicion of child abuse and murder in the death of her daughter, Alexandrea, sheriff's deputies said.

Pictured in 2010, above, and this week, below

Face that says I'm free: Jennifer Bigham had a beaming smile on her face when she was released from jail on Tuesday after doctors said she regained her sanity

Face that says I’m free: Jennifer Bigham had a beaming smile on her face when she was released from jail on Tuesday after doctors said she regained her sanity

The 26-year-old was pictured smiling in her blue hospital gown as she was released from the hospital.

Two relatives who were in the home at the time of the drowning heard the little girl splash and scream. By the time they got to the bathroom, she was unconscious and Bigham had stabbed herself and locked herself inside a bedroom.

The judge’s decision is said to be extremely rare, especially because the judge did not send her to a psychiatric hospital after the ruling, but to jail.

School of Law Professor John Meyers told CBS: ‘I understand why people would be upset, but what you have to understand is a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, means not guilty.’

‘It may seem anomalous to people that a person who murders a child could go “free” after three years, but what people need to remember is that if it’s a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, don’t forget the not guilty part.’

He said the doctor’s report would have been crucial to the judge’s decision, especially if she was deemed to not be a danger to herself or others.

Prosecutors disagree and are going to appeal the decision.
‘She’s a danger to society,’ said Elaine Casillas, a deputy district attorney, according to the Bee. ‘She’s not been evaluated properly.’

The same doctors who believed Bigham was insane at the time of her toddler’s death re-examined her and testified Tuesday that her sanity is restored.

Source of article: Dailymail.co.uk

The abuse and murder of baby Alissa

Alissa GuernseyAlissa Guernsey was born on November 2, 2007 in Columbia City, Indiana and was the youngest of three siblings. She was a happy baby girl who had just celebrated her first birthday in November of 2008. Sadly, that same month her father,  Michael Guernsey, was killed in a fatal car accident.

Alissa’s mother, Kelli Sprunger, was devastated at the loss. She had a history of drug dependency and depression and felt the death of her children’s father was too much to handle and that she wasn’t in the right frame of mind to properly care for her three kids so her cousin, Christy Shaffer,  volunteered to “care” for them while she got back on her feet.

But Sprunger didn’t get back on her feet, instead, she fell deeper into depression which caused her drug addiction to spiral out of control. She was also barely keeping in touch with DCYF/caseworkers. She was thankful that Christy volunteered to help watch over her kids when she could not.

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Photo of Kelli Sprunger with a small heart-shaped photo of her daughter, Alissa, in the corner

Alissa and her brothers were placed into state custody in Steuben County, IN. Shortly after, they were placed under the care of Matt and Christy Shaffer in Topeka, La Grange County, IN.

The Shaffer’s were not properly screened to see if they qualified as guardians but because they were relatives, DCYF figured that would suffice.

Prior to being placed with her aunt, Alissa Guernsey looked like your typical happy, healthy, bubbly baby girl. She was getting on her feet and all it took was a smile to get her to smile back. She was entering the early toddler stages of her life and like any young child, she loved exploring and playing with her brothers. But in the weeks ahead she would change to a completely different child. She would look battered, scared and withdrawn.

Baby-Alissa

Alissa’s appearance before and after being placed in Christy Shaffer’s (far right) care

Shaffer immediately singled out Alissa, which was most likely due to her age and the fact that she was the most defenceless of the three children. Alissa had just celebrated her first birthday and being just one, she wasn’t able to speak and Shaffer liked the idea of having her own silent punching bag.

Alissa was harassed and yelled at on a daily basis. She was pushed if she wasn’t moving fast enough, shoved if she was in the way, pinched just for the mere heck of it, kicked, slapped, etc. You name it this little girl endured it.

Alissa had cigarettes placed out on her multiple times but one of Shaffer’s favorite things to do was grab her by her hair and smash her little head against anything that was convenient and if there wasn’t anything convenient she would use the floor. By January 2009 her hair had bald spots due to being ripped out and she had bruises from head to toe, each in different stages of healing which help authorities later determine that the little girl was tormented over a long period of time.

Shaffer was extra callous and manipulating. To avoid detection she started taking  Alissa to doctors to try to find some type diagnoses, telling the doctors that she bruised easily and that her hair was falling out. She had been to specialists in Elkhart and Riley’s Children Hospital, none of which could ever find anything medically wrong with her after multiple rounds of blood testing.

During this time Christy Shaffer kept Alissa’s mother from visiting with her, but not with her other two children. She always made excuses, telling the mother that Alissa was sick or sleeping.

Staffer wanted people to believe that Alissa had Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or was born a meth/crack addicted baby and that was the reason she was “clumsy and always bruised” – According to the doctor and tox screen reports. Alissa was perfectly healthy. You can clearly see the before and after pictures of Alissa, she was perfectly happy and healthy with her mother, and turned in to a different baby with Christy Shaffer.

Alissa’s little body put up a fight for three long torturous months until one day she finally succumbed to the brutality that was unleashed upon her by her own aunt.

On March 28, 2009, Shaffer was driving, Alissa was in her car-seat behind her. There were other children in the vehicle including Alissa’s two brothers. Sometime during that car ride Christy became frustrated and angry with Alissa and started beating her and grabbing the screaming baby by her hair, banging her head multiple times against the car seat hard enough to cause fatal injuries. After multiple wacks she started losing consciousness. She was beaten into a coma.

Her lifeless body was strapped back into her car seat as Shaffer casually proceeded to go rent a movie, then drive to a nearby McDonald’s drive-thru to order happy meals for the rest of the children, including Alissa’s two brothers who had just witnessed their baby sister’s murder. Christy then proceeded to drive to her house, paying no attention to her nieces lifeless, stiff body.

When she arrived to her house in Topeka she let all the children out of the vehicle and got them situated in the house. She then went back to get Alissa’s body. During this time-frame she never once called an ambulance but did decide to call her brother several hours after the vicious attack.

Her brother was an EMT so he had some knowledge about what to do. He rushed to the house and noticed immediately that Alissa was cold to the touch, unresponsive with no heartbeat. He contacted 911 and performed CPR until emergency crew got there.

Alissa was then rushed to the hospital where a team of doctors desperately tried to save the little girl for 45 minutes. Despite their hardest efforts baby Alissa was pronounced dead on March 28, 2009 at 9:54p.m. She was fifteen months old.

Alissa Guernsey

An autopsy declared her death a HOMICIDE.

Two medical examiners concluded that Alissa had been deceased hours before arriving to the emergency room. They went on to say that her injuries prior to her death could have only been caused by a prolonged pattern of abuse. She was covered in bruises, marks and lacerations. Her internal injuries were just as horrific as her external injuries. Most of the marks were focused on her little head. Her arm was broken which meant this little child was in agonizing pain prior to her death. The insides of her mouth gouged into two open sores.

Christy Shaffer was arrested but never charged with her murder. Instead, she was only convicted of a singular count of a Class B Felony and neglect of a dependent. Her sentence? 77 days in jail.

The sentence outraged thousands of people in the community. Even to this day people are petitioning and creating memorial pages on numerous social media websites. The community surrounded the streets with picket signs similar to the one below. The “justice” system has not brought justice to Alissa Guernsey but the community has, and they’ve come together to make sure Alissa’s death doesn’t go down in vain.

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Join Lock Up Christy Shaffer, a Facebook page created which has over 5,000 ‘likes’. On the page you will find photos of Alissa smiling in her daddy’s arms as well as memorial photos by others who were touched by her life.

Another page, Baby Alissa Cries 4 Justice, which is one of the many memorial pages on Facebook, has a whooping 100K likes.

 

 

 

 

alissa_facebook_photo

There are many photos on Baby Cries 4 Justice including this one. The admin of the page wrote under the following saying;

This is a quote made by Judge Vanderbeck in the article in the South Bend Tribune “Was the Judge to Lenient” by Virginia Black… Photo Courtesy of Google Images***

“I’m not tipping my hand and suggesting that I know what I’m doing yet as to the ultimate resolution, I’m just — you don’t get faced with stuff like this and these people are being nice and if you take their side, and something tragic would happen with a child and a ticking time bomb — ah — that doesn’t make them bad, it kind of just makes them at the wrong place at the wrong time,” VanDerbeck said at one point, according to the transcript.

Alissa’s Army wants to know Judge Vanderbeck, How can you be so HEARTLESS?? Calling Alissa a “ticking time bomb”?? Alissa was PERFECTLY HEALTHY when she was placed in Christy’s care!!! There was NO MEDICAL REASON for any of her injuries and bruising!! This is documented by health professionals!!! How can you say Christy was in the wrong place at the wrong time??? SHE DID THIS!! How can you DEFEND a child KILLER?? YOU sir, have it backwards!! Alissa was in the wrong place at the wrong time and Christy was the TICKING TIME BOMB!!! I see a BIG CONFLICT OF INTEREST! YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RIGHT!! Christy should be CHARGED ACCORDINGLY!! WE ARE NOT BACKING DOWN!!! This one statement is the reason the world is OUTRAGED!! JUSTICE FOR ALISSA!!!

UPDATE: ALISSA’S PETITION on Whitehouse.Gov ended on January 14, 2013 and achieved its goal of going over 25,0000 signatures. (26, 892 to be exact) — Thank you to everyone who took the time to sign the petition, which can now be sent to the Obama Administration.

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Rest In Peace Alissa B. Guernsey (November 2, 2007 – March 28, 2009)

 

The Child Abuse Murder of Eli Johnson

Eli Johnson, 3,  lived with his mother Tye N. Shafer Johnson and her boyfriend Eddie E. Valdez. Eli’s mom knew abuse was going on in the home but never did anything to prevent it. After all, if she tried to stop her man he might leave right? If he left who would keep her bed warm or pay the bills?

Left; Johnson Center; Eli Right; Valdez

Perhaps I shouldn’t be so hard on mama, she did after all say that they had “talked” about how “rough” he was and told him she didn’t really like it much.

Before I go into the exact event that killed little Eli on that September day in 2009 I want to mention one of the departments that I’ve found to be involved in this family’s life. Oklahoma Department of Human Services. They came into contact with Tye and her children for the first time on November 6, 2008. 9 months before Eli was tortured and beaten to death, and maybe sexually abused. Those charges were never founded or admitted but how else do you explain pubic hair in a 3-year-olds underwear and on his genitals? I only found that mentioned in one document and it was never spoke of again.

When OKDHS received their first referral the complainant said Eli had multiple bruises on his bottom while in the care of his mother Tye. The person calling said the biological father took Eli to the hospital and the doctor told him to make a police report. The report was filed and pictures were taken.

It took 5 days for OKDHS to reach Tye and the kids because they were delaying contact with the agency. OKDHS interviewed Tye, the children’s father, the paternal grandmother and 3 witnesses and also observed the kids.

Eli had bruises that were nearly gone by this time on his behind, upper back and around his eye. They also stated in their report that the doctor noted seeing “what appears to be finger length projections extending onto the right buttock and another separate small yellow bruise over the right SI area” and a “small superficial laceration over the lateral left eyelid.”

After OKDHS finished their observation of the Johnson children they offered “Confirm-Services” and Tye agreed to accept help.

On December 11, 2008 OKDHS noted in their files that they had not received a referral to provide those services.

On January 7, 2009 there was a note that the case worker was working with Tye on anger-management for the last 3 weeks and the 8th was the last contact they had with Tye until after Eli was dead.

That note from the 8th stated that they recommended the father not to allow the kids to go back to the mother until she complete preventive services. OKDHS told her that she would have supervised visitation until she completed some of the preventative services, after that she would regain her regular custody schedule. Tye agreed and signed the voluntary services agreement.

On December 11th there was another note in OKDHS files that stated there was communications with the district attorney’s office, the current safety plan needed to be amended to comply with the court order granting visitation between Tye and the kids. The note also said Tye hadn’t started any preventative services to regain normal custody.

The amended safety plan allowed Eli and Candra to be with their mom during the day if an adult was in their presence, at night they went to their father’s. The kids mother and biological father agreed to the mother’s boyfriend, Eddie or his sister supervising the mother’s visits.

Tye told OKDHS she abused Eli, not Eddie.

Evelyn Johnson, the kids great-granddaughter told reporters that OKDHS gave the kids back to Tye after she took anger-management classes.

The next OKDHS complaint came after Eli was already dead.

Eli was 3-years-old on September 16, 2009 when he was brought into Itegris Southwest Medical Center. Baby Eli was covered in bruises on his arms, legs, upper stomach, face, forehead, and genitals and he had cuts and sores on his lips. Eli was pronounced dead within 20 minutes.

Eddie and Tye both were taken to the police station were Eddie told investigators that he beat Eli after becoming “enraged” at him for pottying in his pants and because Eli would not listen to him. He continuously punched Eli in the stomach with full force.

Photo of Eddie Valdez AKA child killer

After punching Eli in the stomach he lost all control and began attacking him all over his body. He then sat him on the toilet and told him he’d better use the bathroom. Eddie then left the bathroom for a little bit leaving Eli to sit there, to let him think about his hideous behavior. 3-year-olds should not be having accidents and Eddie expected Eli to get that through his head.

When Eddie returned he was furious, little Eli was on the bathroom floor “playing”, not sitting on the toilet where he’d commanded him earlier. Eddie saw red and lost control again. In a police report he told an investigator that he “blacked out” and no longer had control over himself. He has no idea how many times he hit 3-year-old Eli Johnson. Eddie says he did not “come to” until he saw Eli’s head in the toilet.

Afterwards, Eddie imposed a time-out on Eli by forcing him to stand on his toes with his hands behind his back but Eli could not do this because he was too weak from his beatings so Eddie put him on a kitchen table and made him do it there. Eddie must have thought he would have more leverage there.

Eli’s choice was to stand on his toes, hands behind his back or fall on his face 4 feet to the ground. Eli fell, numerous times. This infuriated Eddie more, Eli was faking and Eddie wasn’t in the mood for a 3-year-olds games, Eddie picked him up by his arms, held him out and dropped him at least twice but it could have been more.

Pictured: Eli standing beside his sibling

During Tye’s interview with investigators she says that she heard her man giving her baby boy a “spanking” for having an accident in his pants but she had taken a Lortab (prescription pain pill) and was chillin’ on the couch while her son was, in her words, “screaming and crying more than usual.” She then decided she would go and see what was up and that’s when she saw bumps, lumps and bruises all over Eli, especially his little head. She told Eddie that he was going to far. Tye said she loved Eddie and thought he would change.

They resumed their day as a loving couple. Eddie’s brother Robert Valdez was there the whole time, he chose to go about his routine to. There were other kids in the home to.

Eli began throwing up everywhere and wasn’t being his happy, normal self. This went on for 5 hours, Eli was becoming weaker, couldn’t walk, couldn’t eat, he wasn’t Eli anymore but Eddie and Tye both admittedly say they didn’t think to take him to the hospital or call 911. That would have been too much trouble and they couldn’t have that.

Finally, Eli collapses and Eddie and Tye realized they had no choice so they drove him to Integris Southwest Medical Center around 5:40PM. We know what happened next.

Eli’s younger sister Candra (Kandra depending on where you see it) Johnson was 2-years-old at the time. Eddie said on September 15, 2009 Candra was being a terror and not minding him. Eddie has a hard time getting toddlers to mind and controlling his temper. The officers found Candra and she was also covered in bruises, she was alive though, thank God.

Eddie admitted to having an “anger problem” and to causing the murder of Eli and abusing Candra. What a great guy for accepting responsibility. I can see why Tye loves him so much.

Previous to this incident Eddie beat Eli’s feet with a plastic baseball bat so bad that they were swollen and black because he had another potty-training accident. Tye took him to the hospital several days later and left Eddie for a very short period of time but went crawling back to him.

Tye was sentenced to life in prison by a Oklahoma county jury in May after being found guilty of first-degree murder, child neglect and enabling child abuse.

Eli’s maternal grandmother said Eddie had “mental control” over her and she should not be charged with Tye’s murder. “I do think that she needs to do time because she failed to protect him,” Kimberly Shepard explained.

Tye gave birth while in prison to a baby girl, she was placed for adoption and is with her new family.

Candra was placed in protective custody, allegedly with a family member and Tye’s parental rights have been terminated.

The OKDHS’s last statement was;

“The OKDHS overall finding was Confirm-Court Intervention Requested, with a determination of shocking and heinous, which included a recommendation by the OKDHS for termination of the biological mother’s parental rights to the younger sibling.”

Too little, to late.

Mugshot’s of both Johnson and Valdez (wish Johnson showed that much emotion while her own child was getting beaten to death.)

There were 7 other children removed from the home that same day, they belonged to Eddie and his brother Robert Valdez. Robert Valdez took a plea deal for neglect and was sentenced to 1 year in jail, he had to testify against Eddie and Tye.

Eddie Valdez pleaded guilty in March to first-degree murder and 2 counts of child abuse. He agreed to serve a life term without the possibility of parole.

Source of article: Unforgottenangels.wordpress.com

 

The Unfavored Child – Sean Michael Sowards

Sean Michael Sowards was born on September 23, 2004 to Crystal Conklin and Michael Sowards of Warren, Michigan, who had been together for 8 years. Baby Sean was Michael and Crystal’s first-born son, they also had a little girl, Angelique “Angel” who was a year older.

In 2003, the girl tested positive for weed in her system, DHS provided services to the family.

In 2005 DHS received a report that Crystal was beating on Sean, they said she would wake the baby up just to beat on him. DHS was told “She doesn’t want him and only kept him because the father wanted him,”

Elizabeth Herd, Sean’s paternal grandma also called DHS;

“My concerns were Sean was being injured in his home,” she said. “I told them my 4-month-old grandson was being spanked by his mother because he wouldn’t stop crying.” She said she was told that “unless he is seriously injured or dead, they would not investigate.” and “They said parents have a right to discipline their children, and it was none of my business,” she said.

In 2006 Elizabeth was told by Crystal that her grandson had an eye infection, it was after this that she was kept away from Sean. Elizabeth also reported that she saw bruises and cuts on Sean but was always told that Angel did it.

Sean Michael and Angel Sowards

Sean Michael Sowards and sister

Michael came home from work on the evening of June 11, 2007 and saw his son in desperate need of medical attention. Sean was laying in bed unconscious in his own vomit. He picked his son up and rushed him to the emergency room at St. John Oakland General Hospital where it was learned that he had extensive head and brain trauma among many other injuries that were new and old.

When Sean arrived at the hospital he was unresponsive, covered in bruises and cuts from head-to-toe, he had a cut on his forehead that should have received stitches but was already healing, his toenails on his big toes were torn away, replaced with blood, he was essentially blind from from his eyes being burnt from most likely nail polish remover being poured on them, he had a broken finger, bite-marks and was underweight.

Sean was then transferred to St. John Hospital in Detroit for emergency surgery. Although the doctors did a heroic job and worked on baby Sean in surgery to relieve the fluid on his brain he still died 2 days later on June 13th. It was at this point his tragic nightmare-ish life story began to unfold in the news.

Crystal and Michael both were arrested on the 13th. On the 14th, after investigators spoke with Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office they released Michael from jail. Crystal was charged with felony murder and child abuse.

The couples 3-year-old daughter Angel was placed into the custody of Macomb County Child Protective Services. She was never abused, Sean was the only target of his mothers hatred.

Crystal was 7 ½ months pregnant and complained of labor pains so she was taken to the hospital. She returned to her cell as soon as they discovered there was nothing wrong with her.

During Crystal’s arraignment she cried uncontrollably and Judge Walter Jakubowcski Jr. told her he wasn’t impressed with her theatrics and said she was a danger to all children and he hoped God would save her soul before setting her bond at $500,000 cash.

Crystal and Michael told Krystal Magnan, a DHS worker;

” that he (Sean) was clumsy and he would bump into walls a lot, and (his sister) was physically aggressive toward him. She also said DHS investigated 2 complaints but they were not serious and were closed. “She didn’t really give me answers,” Magnan said. “She piggy-backed on what the dad said, what Mr. Sowards said.”

These excuses would be used many times by Crystal when talking about Sean’s injuries.

On April 18th Dr. Marcus DeGraw of St. John Hospital in Detroit testified against Crystal saying that;

“There was a repetitive infliction of pain for discipline, almost a torture scenario,” “He was abused … repetitively throughout his existence.”

Dr. Degraw treated Sean in the hospital and said he died of blunt force trauma to the head, a single blow “causing immediate symptoms.” He said the type of injury Sean had is what you would see in a high speed accident or falling from a window several floors high.

He said that Sean was undernourished and half the weight a child should be at for his age. During his testimony he said;

“To me, it was neglect, a restriction of food,” DeGraw said. “You would have to work extremely hard to make a child not gain weight like that.” You can feed a child 5 meals a week and he will still gain weight.”

Forensic nurse, Marnie Van Dam said in court that Sean had over 3 dozen bruises from head-to-toe and was covered in cuts and abrasions. His big toe toenails were ripped off, Sean’s eyelids were red and swollen and his corneas were cloudy. His bruises were in various stages of healing, proving that his abuse was recurring.

Macomb County Medical Examiner Daniel Spitz agreed that Sean died of non-accidental blunt-force trauma to the head.

Assistant Macomb prosecutor Therese Tobin told reporters”He was battered head to toe,” “He was basically blind” from being shaking or hit on the head.

Photos of Sean’s battered and beaten little body were shown to jurors, pictures of his bed room were also included. There was blood covering the closet walls, the door, his sheets and the carpets. There was also blood on his clothes on the utility room floor and in the washer were more clothes with blood and the stench of vomit according to Officer Marlene Niedermeier.

Mathew Conklin, Crystal’s uncle testified that she treated Angel a lot different than Sean. He said he once warned her about it when Sean tried to climb up in her lap saying “Mommy, mommy” and she grabbed him by his forehead and pushed him back forcefully. Mathew said the boy hit his head hard enough it bounced off of the coffee table “like a ball.”

He said when Sean started crying;

“Angel looked at me and started screaming. She (Crystal Conklin) put her attention to Angel. She picked up Angel and said, ‘Poor Angel.’” “Angel got all the positive attention and positive interaction,” he said. “It seemed Sean was always dished off to the side.”

Mathew stated that Crystal and Michael stayed with him for weeks at a time due to their financial situation.

He also said while being sworn in and questioned by Prosecutor Therese Tobin that he believed Sean had not developed correctly for his age because of how he was treated by his mother. Crystal complained frequently that the baby cried all the time and never slept through the night.

“She was very upset at his crying,” he said. “She once said that something was wrong with him and then said she thought he was doing it on purpose.”

Mathew also testified that “Sean’s face was always covered with blankets” and she tried to keep him in his playpen down in the dark, wet basement or out in the garage so she didn’t have to deal with him.

Mathew also saw bruises and cuts on the boy but was given the same excuse as everyone else.

When Mathew was cross-examined by defense attorney Ronald Goldstein he said his niece did come to his home while Sean was in the hospital and she was upset and nervous. She told him that Sean had a seizure.

When Michael Sowards’ initially took the stand he said that he had not seen his girlfriend hit their son. He retorted and later testified that he did see her hit him. He said the reason he lied in the beginning was;

“at the time I couldn’t believe she could do that to my son. I didn’t believe what was happening. It was a nightmare. I didn’t think someone who I cared about so much could do that to my son. I believed she was excessive at times, but I didn’t believe she was capable.”

Michael also acknowledged his role by saying he didn’t do enough to stop the abuse of his son.

Cpl. Chad Richardson also testified and said that he interviewed Crystal twice. She told him that Sean vomited and she put him in his bed. She checked on him later and said “Seany, Seany” and he would not wake up. That was when she noticed that he had vomited a couple more times.

In the 2nd interview she said her and Sean were in the bathroom and he “slipped and fell, and she couldn’t catch him in time,” but that she never laid a hand on the child other than for discipline. Cpl. Richardson told the court “She said he was acting like a ping pong ball bouncing against the walls in the hallway,”

“We had her in custody for seven hours and she did not ask once about her son,”

Michael at Sean's funeral

Michael at Sean’s funeral

Kathleen Conklin said she visited her sister the weekend before Sean’s death and his legs were both in one pants leg to restrict him from moving. It was normal for Crystal to wrap him in 2 blankets and either put him in a car seat or high chair so he wasn’t able to move around. She said she didn’t feel like her sister loved Sean “there was always so much anger towards him.”

When the prosecutor asked Kathleen how she thought her sister, Crystal felt about Angel she said, “She loved Angel. Angel was allowed to be a kid. She allowed her to play.”

Crystal suddenly had her own version of the story that Michael was the one that abused and murdered Sean except she had not mentioned one word about it until she took the stand that very day.

Attorney Tobin said in closing arguments;

“Michael Sowards failed his son. He admitted that to you,” Tobin told the jury. “He will answer for that later.” She also asked the jurors to consider both testimonies, Michael’s and Crystal’s.

Sean's marker

Sean’s marker

“Sean’s last week was spent almost blind. He would put his hand over his eye for some comfort, for some assistance. He was a 2-year-old walking around the house. He was trying to find his own way with this own hands,” Tobin said. “If your child couldn’t see, do you let him feel his way around the house or do you get him in a car, or get him in an ambulance and get him to a doctor? The reason [Conklin] didn’t is the dirty little secret. Sean was abused.”

“For some reason, Crystal Conklin did not treat her son the way she treated her daughter. Why is that? I don’t know,” Tobin said. “What we know are the ramifications of those feelings. What we know is that there was a bruised and battered Sean for whatever reason”

Michael cried through much of the court proceedings and said “The only thing that matters, is justice for my son,”

Crystal Conklin was found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. She was also given 9-15 years for the first degree child abuse charge and it will run concurrently.

On July 10th Michael Sean Sowards was sentenced to 9 months in jail and five years probation for second degree child abuse for failing to be aware of, stop or report the abuse.

Michael read the following letter in court;

Your Honor, Mrs. Tobin,

Everyone has regrets and choices in their life that they wish they could change or do over, do differently. I know I do! I just want to say, I love my children! I love them with all my heart! They were the most precious gift in my life and anyone who knows me knows how much I loved them. I made extremely bad decisions. I stayed in a very bad relationship in the hope that I could fix things, I could make everyone happy, or make everything ok as long as I never gave up trying. My judgment, my entire thinking process was clouded by years of verbal, mental, physical abuse and manipulation by a very ill woman. But never in my worst nightmares did I even think that all of this could ever happen. Like the saying, “Hind site is always 20/20″. Now that I have had time to reflect and have been away from Crystal for some time. I realize now more than ever how beat down mentally I was. But I kept thinking to myself, I had a baby on the way, plus Angel and Sean and all I wanted was for us to be a family. And the harder I tried the worse Crystal would be. Of course I wish I had left her, but she made that almost impossible. Your honor I failed my son, my children. But I always loved them and I never hurt them. I tried my best with what I knew and what I thought at the time was possible. But always that wasn’t enough. Losing my son, my daughter, my babies has crushed me! I can’t imagine any kind of pain worse than that of losing your children. I would give my life in a heartbeat for the chance to change things, to leave Crystal and protect my son. That’s my regret.

He has also given up parental rights to Angelique and Brianna so that they may have a better life.

Sean's family is very active in child abuse awareness and activism.

Sean’s family is very active in child abuse awareness and activism.

Crystal’s whole defense was that she was a “battered woman” that was scared to death of her boyfriend Michael. She attempted to blame Michael for Sean’s murder and abuse and said that she could not tell or Michael would retaliate on her.

Crystal lied from the moment she was arrested and she is probably lying as you are reading this article. She changed her story so many times and had absolutely no evidence to back up her story. Her own family knew she was rotten and once they were sworn in they had no choice but to tell the truth about how despicable she was because they didn’t want to be held in contempt.

Crystal even tried to blame her son’s death on her own child, Angel. Can you imagine the damage that would do to a child if she were to ever find out that her own mother blamed her for that.

In what scenario is it ever ok to spank a 4-month-old for crying? I don’t understand what reasoning DHS used when they said there was no reason to investigate the claim of abuse because “parents have a right to discipline their children” Elizabeth Herd, Sean’s grandmother said there were 10-12 complaints filed with DHS that went unnoticed.

As mentioned before Crystal attempted to claim the “battered partner syndrome” however no one believed her. In fact, it was believed that Michael was actually physically, mentally and emotionally abused by Crystal and perhaps was to weak to leave Crystal and protect his son from her.

This in no way excuses the fact that Michael had the responsibility to protect his son from being abused. He was the adult and Sean was the helpless child.

With that being said, there are not nearly enough resources for men that are abused. Men are supposed to be strong, be the protectors and the head of the household. Main stream society doesn’t accept weakness’s in men. It’s estimated that out of 100 domestic violence situations 40 of those involve men as the victim. It’s said that even those numbers may be a lot higher because a lot of men won’t come forward because of the stigma attached.

It’s hard to get women to report abuse even after all the programs that are offered, when is the last time you saw a commercial for a men’s shelter or abuse hotline for DV? If you see a man with a bruised face what’s your first reaction? I think it’s pretty obvious we have a lot of work to do in this area.

Please visit Seans Voice at http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001033050337

Elizabeth and Danny Herd are very active in their community and work to prevent child abuse. Thank you for making a difference in so many children’s lives. Through you, Sean’s memory will always live on.

 God Bless You Sean Sowards is a website created in memory of Sean Michael Sowards

Source: Unforgottenangels

America’s Youngest Serial Killer – Craig Chandler Price

Pictured; Craig Chandler Price (Park Elementary) School-photo taken in his younger years.

On September 4, 1989, Marie Bouchard went to check on her daughter Joan Heaton, 39, and her two grandchildren, Jennifer, 10, and Melissa, 8, at their home on Metropolitan Drive in the Buttonwoods area of Warwick, R.I. She was concerned because she hadn’t heard from them over the Labor Day weekend. Marie’s other daughter, Mary Lou, accompanied her to Joan’s house. It was a visit that would change their lives forever.

Pictured; The Heaton’s at Church – Joan, 39, Jennifer (10) and Melissa (8)

When Marie and Mary Lou went to the house, they found it unusual that no one answered the door when they called. They knew Joan must have been nearby because her car was still parked in the driveway, so they rang the doorbell several more times. Still, there was no answer. They decided to take a look inside the house.

When they entered, they immediately knew something was terribly wrong. The interior was splattered with blood and a putrid smell permeated the air. As they walked further into the house, they made a heart-wrenching discovery.

They saw Joan lying beneath blood-soaked sheets in the hallway. Her oldest daughter, Jennifer, was lying nearby and Melissa was on the kitchen floor. All three had been brutally murdered.

Marie and Mary Lou were horror-stricken. Just days earlier Marie had spent the day with Joan and her grandchildren shopping and enjoying time together. It was hard to imagine that they were all dead.

The mother and daughter called the police soon after they discovered the bodies. Within moments, rescue workers arrived on the scene followed shortly thereafter by detectives. The house was cordoned off and an investigation of the crime scene began.

Detectives were shocked at the savagery of the crime. Even the most seasoned investigators had difficulty holding back tears. All the victims had been stabbed multiple times with kitchen knives. The youngest child, Melissa, was stabbed so fiercely that one of the blades actually broke off in her neck. She also had her skull bashed in with a kitchen stool. Apart from the 57 stab wounds inflicted on her body, Joan was also bludgeoned and strangled. It was believed that they were murdered three days prior to the discovery.

The heinous murders were the worst the city had seen in recent times. News of the triple homicide sent shock waves through the small town. No one felt safe and residents looked to the police for answers. Even though investigators had little to go on, they vowed to find the murderer. It was a promise they would keep.

The Warwick Police Department had their finest working on the case. They were determined to catch the person responsible for the murders and they worked day and night reviewing evidence and interviewing locals who might have information related to the crime. They also enlisted one of the FBI’s top profilers, Gregg O. McCrary, to assist in the investigation.

McCrary stated in his book The Unknown Darkness, that he believed the murderer was likely someone from the Heaton’s neighborhood. Moreover, he suggested the crime was probably connected with another unsolved murder that took place two years earlier in Buttonwoods. The coincidences between the crimes were significant.

In July 1987, Rebecca Spencer, 27, was found dead in her living room. She had been stabbed repeatedly with a packing knife. At the time of her death she was preparing to move to another neighborhood.

Photo of Rebecca Spencer and her son Steven, taken in 1979. Rebecca was a divorced mother of two who lived two doors from Price on Inez Avenue in the Buttonwoods neighborhood of Warwick, RI. The crime went unsolved for more than two years.

In both the Heaton and the Spencer cases, the killer used a weapon that was already present in the house. This presented strong evidence that the killer originally entered the residence for another purpose, such as to burglarize the house. It is likely that the intruder was caught unaware and murdered the eyewitnesses using what McCrary referred to as a “weapon of opportunity.”

Robbers often burglarize houses they know. The more familiar you are with the contents of a house, the more successful your robbery will be. Consequently, burglars regularly choose to rob houses that are close to where they live. McCrary suggested that in both cases the murderer likely entered the residences with the intention of robbing and probably was familiar with the houses and/or residents. Moreover, he believed the murderer lived in the Buttonwoods area because both crimes were committed five houses from one another.

Another similarity between the cases was an unusual display of “overkill.” Joan and Rebecca were stabbed approximately 60 times each, and the children approximately 30 times. Due to the excessive nature of the crimes, it was highly probable that the same person committed the murders.

McCrary suggested to investigators that the “frenetic manner of the stabbing,” used to kill the Heatons likely resulted in the murderer stabbing his own hand. He told them that they should look for someone in the neighborhood with a cut or bandaged hand. McCrary’s advice was of great use to investigators because it significantly narrowed the search for a suspect. They had a location in which to begin and a possible characteristic of the suspect. All they needed was some luck.

On September 5, 1989, just one day after the bodies were discovered, investigators got their first real break in the case. According to Denise Lang’s book, A Call for Justice, police detectives Ray Pendergast and Mark Brandreth were driving through a park near Buttonwoods, “when Pendergast spotted a familiar face.” They stopped the car to talk to a neighborhood boy named Craig Price, 15, who Pendergast once coached in a local basketball program.

Pendergast asked the youth if he heard about the murders. Craig responded with concern that he was aware of what had happened and that he had seen the bodies coming out of the house the day before. He lived just a few doors away from the Heaton family.

During the conversation, Pendergast and Brandreth noticed that Craig had a bandage on his hand. Suspicious, Pendergast asked how he hurt himself. Craig claimed that he got drunk several nights earlier and punched his hand through a car window on Keeley Avenue. As the detectives pulled away they could not help but wonder if Craig was telling the truth about his hand. Why would he admit to two police officers that he vandalized a car?

It seemed unlikely that a teenager would commit such ghastly crimes as the Heaton murders, let alone such a good-humored and vivacious kid as Craig. However, the fact that the boy had a cut on his hand and lived on the same street as the Heatons was too much of a coincidence to ignore. It was something both officers felt compelled to follow up on, which they did.

The detectives wrote up a report and began to investigate Craig’s story. They learned that there was no police report of a car window being smashed in the area Craig mentioned. They also went to Keeley Avenue and found no evidence of glass on the street. The two detectives began to further doubt Craig’s story.

Craig became a viable suspect in the Heaton murders. Even though many in the department believed the officers were wasting their time investigating him, Pendergast and Brandreth decided to follow their gut feelings and pursue Craig as a lead. They just needed more evidence to support their theory.

In the meantime, expert blood analyst Dr. Henry Lee was contacted by police and asked to examine the Heatons’ residence for clues. He went to the house and analyzed the blood splatters and trails. During his investigation, he gathered vital clues from the crime scene including a bloody sock imprint. Whoever left the imprint wore a size 13 shoe.

Craig Price was not an average teenager. At age 15, he already had a history of offenses including a record of breaking and entering, theft, peeping into houses and using drugs. He was also known to have a violent temper. Police had been called to his house on more than one occasion to settle disputes in which he was involved.

Investigators working on the Heaton case decided it was time to question Craig more thoroughly. They went to Craig’s house and asked him to come with his parents to the police station, which they did. During questioning, Craig was asked more detailed questions about how he cut his hand. He maintained his story that he hurt himself while trying to break into a car. Investigators were not convinced and asked him to take a lie-detector test.

The following day, Craig submitted to a polygraph. He was asked questions relating to how he cut his hand. The test revealed that Craig was lying. According to Lang, “it was the first big break in the case.”

Pictured; Warwick Police Department Building

Even though the polygraph proved that Craig was dishonest, however, it didn’t prove that he was involved in the murders. Investigators needed more evidence.

During interviews with Craig’s friends and acquaintances, investigators learned that he ran with a gang of juvenile delinquents who were known to burglarize houses. More significantly, they discovered that Craig boasted about killing Rebecca Spencer. It was the first evidence they had connecting Craig to a murder. Investigators were quick to obtain a search warrant for his house.

Detectives Kevin Collins, Arthur Anderson and Tim Colgan organized a search team. They devised a plan to set up overnight surveillance of the house before actually going in to search the residence. They wanted to make sure Craig was there and didn’t leave the premises.

In the early morning hours of September 17, detectives gave the signal to move in on the house. A team of officers led by Collins, Anderson and Colgan rang the doorbell. Craig’s father answered the door and was shocked to see the police on his doorstep. He had no choice but to let them in.

The rest of the family, including Craig, his mother and brother were awakened and asked to sit in the living room during the search. They were all visibly distressed by the drama, except for Craig who dozed off to sleep on the couch. It didn’t take investigators long to find what they were looking for.

While searching the shed behind the house, a trash bag was found full of incriminating evidence. Within the bag were several bloody knives from the Heaton household, along with bloodied articles of clothing, gloves and other objects. Investigators woke up Craig and arrested him for the murders of Joan, Jennifer and Melissa. Surprisingly, he seemed unaffected.

Pictured; Craig, 15, being arrested at his home in Buttonwood’s as he smirks for the camera-crew.

Craig was ushered from his house to the police station with his parents in tow. He was booked, then interrogated about the murders. The detectives hoped Craig would come clean about his crimes. They got more than expected.

During the interview, Craig amazed detectives when he immediately confessed to the Heaton murders. He described in detail the events of the fateful night, although his story periodically changed. Eventually, he became worn out and decided that it was easier to tell the truth. According to Lang, “what came out of his mouth next stunned even the most experienced and jaded listeners and sent his father, John Price, to the men’s room to vomit, rendering him unable to return.”

Craig’s horrified mother stood by her son as he recounted the events that took place at the Heaton residence approximately two weeks earlier. He told his interrogators that his primary intention was to burglarize the house. He said that he found an open window in the kitchen, which he crawled through. He accidentally landed on a table, which broke but, despite the noise, he continued in the burglary.

He claimed that he walked through the residence looking for items to steal. He didn’t realize that the noise had awakened Joan. She walked into the kitchen and spotted Craig when she turned on the light. In a state of panic, Craig said that he grabbed Joan, then beat and strangled her. Joan’s screams woke up the children who stumbled out of their beds to the hallway. Melissa ran to the kitchen to call the police but Craig overpowered her.

Craig tackled the girls to the floor, then went to the kitchen, grabbed some knives and began to stab them all. During the attack, one of the girls bit Craig’s hand. In a fit of rage, he bit the girl back on the face. Craig also bit Joan. Moreover, he smashed the youngest girl over the head with a stool, when she continued to struggle against him. Craig didn’t expect that the three would put up such a fight, but they did. They fought until they succumbed to their injuries.

Craig said that during the murders he had accidentally stabbed his hand. He removed the gloves he was wearing and tended to his injuries in the bathroom. He didn’t realize that he left a trail of blood and sock prints behind him.

Evidence collected from the crime scene was later found to support Craig’s story. The blood analysis conducted by Dr. Lee showed that some of the blood samples matched Craig’s blood type. Moreover, Craig’s shoe size was the same as the sock prints. There was no doubt he was telling the truth.

Craig further admitted to covering the Heatons’ bodies with blankets, probably out of shame for what he had done. He then tried to clean up the crime scene with towels but he feared that if he stayed too long police would catch him. He quickly gathered the knives, gloves and some of the bloodied towels and sprinted from the scene.

Craig said he immediately returned to his home several doors away. He confessed that he hid his blood-soaked clothes in a bag in the attic. Detectives were alerted to the evidence and later found the bag in the precise location where Craig said it could be found.

Following Craig’s detailed account of the Heaton murders, he surprised detectives again. When asked about Rebecca Spencer, Craig admitted that he also killed her. He was just 13 years old at the time.

Craig had no difficulty remembering his first murder. He provided investigators with details of the night in question, while showing little remorse for what he had done. After his confession, a wave of disgust mixed with relief passed over the detectives. Four murders solved within the space of several hours was a rare break.

Investigators working on the case were glad they finally had their man. They just hoped Craig would get what he deserved for the atrocities he committed, preferably a very long prison sentence. They would have a long wait.

Craig Price had the law on his side. Despite the brutal murders he committed, Craig would never have to face a trial or serve prison time because he confessed to his crimes just weeks before his 16th birthday. According to Rhode Island state law, all the courts could do was hold him in a training school until his 21st birthday and no longer. Thus after five years, Craig would be a free man with a clean record.

The thought of Craig serving only five years for four brutal murders enraged the citizens of Rhode Island, especially the families of the victims. It was obvious that the law was working against them. However, at the time of Craig’s offense, teenage serial killers below the age of 16 were a rare phenomenon. In fact, Craig was considered to be one of the country’s youngest serial killers.

Even though Craig could not be tried for the murders, he still had to undergo a court hearing before he could be placed in the training school. On September 21, 1989 Craig appeared before Judge Carmine R. DiPetrillo at the Kent County Courthouse. During the brief proceedings, Craig was presented with the murder and burglary charges against him, to which he pleaded guilty.

WPD escorting Price to Kent County Court House

Craig was ordered to serve five years at the Rhode Island Training School’s Youth Correctional Center (YCC), a maximum-security detention facility. He was also ordered to undergo intense psychological examination and therapy. However, Craig refused treatment. Moreover, he refused to officially discuss the murders at all by pleading the Fifth Amendment.

Craig withdrew from the diagnostic and treatment program arranged by the judge on the advice of his lawyers. According to court documents, the reasoning behind the decision was based on fears that the psychiatric examination might, “result in his being placed in a psychiatric facility for commitment beyond his twenty-first birthday.” Despite court intervention, Craig stuck to his guns and refused to submit to any psychological measures.

In the meantime, Craig carried on with life within the institution. He completed his high school equivalency test and began taking satellite college courses. He believed he needed to improve himself academically so that he could get a good job when he was let out of the YCC.

By 1993, Craig developed a reputation for good behavior within the training school, despite the fact that he refused treatment. In fact, he was in such good standing that his superiors granted him permission to counsel other youths at the facility. Moreover, Gina Macris suggested in a 1993 article in The Providence Journal that Craig also performed light security duties, which included patrolling the school’s hallways. Craig was even allowed to make a rap video at the school, which included threatening lyrics.

When the news broke of Craig’s special treatment at the facility, Rhode Island citizens and the families of the victims demanded that it be stopped. After much protest it ended, but the bigger problem still remained. Time was running short and Craig’s release date was steadily approaching. There was less than one and a half years to work out a way to prevent him from being freed.

Four figures were instrumental in the campaign to stop Craig’s release. They were Joan Heaton’s mother, Marie; her sister, Mary Lou; Capt. Kevin Collins, who led the Heaton investigation; and Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Pine. From the beginning, they lobbied the Rhode Island legislature to institute new bills to prevent Craig’s release and others like him. Moreover, they went out of their way to inform the world of Craig’s crimes and his upcoming release. Together, they tried every possible avenue to prevent Craig from having the chance to murder again.

In 1990, Pine and Collins were key figures in instigating the passing of the O’Neil bill, which toughened sentences on teenage murderers. In 1993, Pine introduced a controversial bill that would give the Office of the Attorney General the power to civilly commit a mentally ill individual to a mental institution if the person posed a danger to society. Many thought the bill would discriminate against the mentally ill and give those with psychological problems a bad name. It was also argued that the bill specifically targeted Craig and could be used to prevent him from ever being freed.

Pine stood his ground. His main interest was making sure Craig stayed locked up for as long as possible. Lang quoted Pine as saying, “I will do everything I can to prevent another tragedy.” Much to his delight and that of the families of the victims, the Craig Price Bill was passed that same year. It was a huge step, which they hoped would result in Craig being forced to submit to a psychiatric diagnostic and treatment program.

In October 1993, Collins organized Citizens Opposed to the Release of Price (CORP). The nonprofit organization concentrated on raising funds that would be used to increase public awareness about Craig’s crimes and assist with lobbying efforts. The goal was to get critical bills passed that would prevent Craig from being released.

Marie and Mary Lou also helped lead the growing campaign. They traveled throughout the state alerting the general public about Craig’s upcoming release. According to a Time article by Jill Smolowe, the group worked endlessly, rallying to get funding, petitions signed and information to the public, hoping to “make Price’s name a household word.” Within months the organization attracted hundreds of volunteers, raised tens of thousands of dollars and gained national attention.

In the interim, Craig was preparing himself to begin a new life. By the end of the year he had already been ordered on six occasions to adhere to mandatory psychiatric evaluations and therapy. Nonetheless, he continued to refuse for fear that he would be forced into a mental institution after his five years at the training school. However, his days of hiding behind the Fifth Amendment were numbered.

In May 1994, President Bill Clinton flew to Providence, where he was scheduled to meet and discuss state affairs. Thousands of demonstrators and a circling airplane that carried the banner “Alert! Killer of 4 Craig Price Moving Here!” greeted Clinton as he arrived in the city. It was clear that the citizens of Rhode Island wanted something done about the Craig Price matter, and they were not going to give up until the problem was solved.

In a televised interview, Clinton expressed his dismay about Craig being let out in approximately six months. He suggested that the records of juvenile offenders should not be sealed but publicly accessible. He also mentioned that the laws needed to be changed to prevent juveniles with a violent history from purchasing firearms.

Just 15 days after Clinton aired his comments, Rhode Island lawmakers reviewed bills concerning public access to juvenile criminal records and juvenile gun laws. However, the problem concerning Craig’s release was still unanswered. Craig’s luck was about to change.

On June 8, 1994, Rhode Island residents were shocked to learn that Craig was indicted on one count of simple assault and extortion for threatening to injure Officer Mark Petrella, a training school employee. One week later, Craig was arraigned and bail was set at $500,000. His trial was scheduled for later that fall.

That same month Craig faced another problem. His refusal to submit to psychiatric examinations and therapy had gone on too long. He was warned that he was in danger of being held in contempt of court if he failed to undergo treatment. Yet, he would not sway.

Craig’s hearing took place on June 27 at the Providence County Family Court before Judge S. Jeremiah Jr. During the proceedings, Craig was again ordered to undergo a psychiatric exam but his answer remained the same. The judge found him in civil contempt and added an extra year to his incarceration to be served at the Adult Correctional Institution in Cranston, Rhode Island. The only way that Craig could reduce the sentence was by submitting to the court order.

After almost five years, Craig finally complied with the order and agreed to undergo a psychiatric assessment. Dr. Barnum, a forensic psychiatrist and former head of the Boston Juvenile Court Clinic, led the evaluation. Even though Craig participated in the assessment, he didn’t do it whole-heartedly. In fact, it was discovered that he lied about many of the events concerning the murders. It was a matter that would later be addressed by the Family and District Courts. In the meantime, all eyes were focused on the upcoming trial.

On October 3, 1994, Craig’s trial began at the Superior Court in Providence. It was a long-awaited showdown that held the media and country in suspense. A majority of those who packed the courtroom were anxious to see if justice would finally prevail. They wouldn’t have to wait very long.

Overhearing the case was Judge Thomas Needham. Attorney’s Robert Mann and Katie Hynes led the defense team. Prosecutors Patrick Youngs and Mike Stone represented the state’s case against Craig.

The hushed courtroom listened intently to the opening statements made by Stone, as he ushered in one of the state’s most highly publicized trials. He told jurors that they would learn how Craig verbally assaulted Petrella, after he was given a disciplinary report to sign for possession of contraband material (cigarettes and a lighter). Moreover, they would hear how Craig threatened the officer if he continued his job at the facility. The prosecution planned to introduce five witnesses.

Mann’s statements followed those of the prosecution. When he addressed the jury, he didn’t deny that Craig was angry at Petrella’s report or that he used inappropriate language during the confrontation. However, he stated that he would introduce witnesses who would prove that Craig never assaulted or extorted Petrella.

After the opening statements, the prosecution called their first witness, Mark Petrella. For two hours Petrella gave a detailed account of the confrontation and how Craig verbally attacked him using profane language and then threatened to “snuff” him if he ever returned to work. He also said that several officers witnessed the incident and tried unsuccessfully to calm Craig’s increasingly volatile behavior.

Jurors also heard the testimony of four other witnesses who worked at the training school. Their stories agreed with Petrella’s account. Author Lang claimed that at the end of the day the state rested its case, pleased that it, “had gotten their point across and the facts had not been contradicted.”

The next day as the proceedings were set to continue, Mann asked to excuse the jury so that he could address the court alone. Once the jury had left, Mann asked the court for an acquittal based on insufficient evidence. The judge denied the request and ordered the continuation of the proceedings.

As the trial commenced, the defense team introduced Antwyon Carter as their first witness. Carter was an employee at the training school who witnessed the argument first hand between Petrella and Craig. During his testimony, he claimed that he never heard Craig use the word “snuff” against Petrella. Moreover, he suggested that he didn’t take any security measures during or after the incident because he didn’t believe the dispute was a life-threatening situation.

However, during cross-examination by the prosecution, Carter contradicted himself by indicating that Craig’s actions were threatening. The defense’s case was weakened by Carter’s statement. They decided it was time to bring on another witness who worked at the facility. Yet, when the man took the stand, he also suggested that Craig acted in a threatening way towards Petrella. The defense’s case began to fall apart.

The next day, Mann decided to let Craig testify on his own behalf. It was the moment everyone waited for. All eyes turned their attention to Craig when he recounted the argument he had with Petrella.

Craig told the jury that after the cigarettes and lighter were found in his possession, Petrella gave him the impression that he would not report the incident. He suggested that he was surprised and then angered when Petrella presented him with the disciplinary report later that day. He admitted to shouting profanity at the officer but denied having ever threatened to “snuff” him out. Craig believed that Petrella’s report was part of a conspiracy to keep him locked up.

During cross-examination by the prosecution, Craig flew into a rage, claiming that everyone lied to get him in trouble. He told awed listeners that he was the only honest person who had taken the stand during the trial. In fact, he accused prosecutors of being at the head of the conspiracy to put him behind bars permanently.

Craig’s outburst marked the end of the trial. Both the defense and prosecution teams prepared to present their closing arguments for the following day. By the time the news of Craig’s testimony hit the stand, many believed that his hope of attaining freedom was a lost cause. It was only a matter of time.

On October 6, 1994, the defense and the prosecution teams presented their closing arguments. Following brief but powerful arguments, the jury retired to deliberate on the case. It would take them a day to reach a decision.

The next afternoon the jury returned their verdict. Craig was found guilty on both counts of extortion and simple assault. According to Lang, when the verdict was read, “those listening seemed to feel that what he was really found guilty of was the long-ago murders.” Relief spread throughout much of the courtroom as fears of Craig returning to society rapidly diminished.

That December, a hearing was held to determine Craig’s punishment. Judge Needham sentenced him to 15 years, eight of which were suspended, at the Adult Correctional Institution in Cranston. Craig’s problems weren’t over yet.

According to a 2004 article in The Providence Journal, Craig bit a correctional officer’s finger during a brawl in February 1996. The article stated that prosecutors took “the uncommon step” of charging him for probation violation, even though he was still imprisoned. He was also charged with assault. Craig was found guilty of the accusations and sentenced to an additional year in prison.

The next year, Craig was placed on trial for criminal contempt because he failed to comply with the psychological evaluations ordered by the state. The charges against him stemmed from complaints from psychiatrists who claimed that he lied about the events surrounding the murders. During the trial, Craig admitted to the charges and he was eventually found guilty. According to court records, Craig received an additional 25 years on top of his other sentences. Ten of the years were to be served outright with 15 years probation.

In October 1998, seven more years were added to Craig’s sentence for assaulting a correctional officer. It would not be his last time. In February 1999 and again in October 2001, Craig was sentenced to a total of four more years for again verbally and physically assaulting correctional officers.

In 2011 Craig went up for parole and was denied yet again. 2022 will be the next time he is eligable.

Pictured; In 2011, Craig Price, 38, flew in from Florida where he is currently incarcerated to attend a court appearance to see if he would be eligible for parole. He was denied.

 Craig Price’s parents look on during oral arguments before the Rhode Island Supreme Court as the four-time killer seeks a reduction in his 25-year contempt-of-court sentence.  Pool photo by Kathy Borchers/The Providence Journal

To date, there is no telling exactly when Craig Price will ever be released from prison. His projected release date is scheduled for February 2022. However, some don’t expect Craig will be released until well after the date, because of his continuing volatile behavior towards prison guards. Many Rhode Islanders prefer it that way.

Craig Price is 39-years-old as of 2012.

Source: Trutv/Crime Library

Years later, the family of Spencer and the Heaton’s speak about life before and after their loved ones brutally murder(s) – http://www.teenkillers.org/index.php/memorials/rhode-island-victims/rebecca-spencer-joan-jennifer-melissa-heaton/

Texas Set To Put Mentally Retarded Child Killer To Death In Less Than 48 Hours

Too mentally ill to be executed: Attorneys for Jonathan Green argue that he should be spared

Pictured; Jonathan Marcus Green

Jonathan Green, a Texas death-row inmate, will be put to death on Wednesday night and will be the 487th inmate executed in the state since the reinstatement of the death penalty.

On June 21st, 2000, Green kidnapped 12-year old Christina Neal near Lake Conroe, in Montgomery County, TX. He then brought her to his house where he then raped and strangled her to death. He buried her in his yard but eventually dug her up and placed her corpse in his home behind a chair, where it would be found less than one week later by police.

Pictured; Victim, Christina LeAnn Neal

Green was initially suppose to be executed in June, 2010 but had a last minute stay of execution so that appeals courts could evaluate his mental condition and determine whether he is competent to be executed. Green suffers from schizophrenia, and his attorney claims he also is borderline mentally retarded. His attorney also claim’s he didn’t know what he was doing at the time of the kidnapping and murder.

But prosecutors claimed he knew exactly what he was doing and that it was wrong hence the reason he buried her and tried to burn evidence.

It was ruled that he will be executed Wednesday night, October 10th, 2012.

 

Full story on Christina LeAnn Neal’s kidnap, rape and murder:

In June 2000, Victor Neal, who was separated from his wife
Laura, lived in the small community of Dobbin with his three daughters:
sixteen-year-old Victoria, fifteen-year-old Jennifer, and the victim,
twelve-year-old Christina. On the evening of June 21, 2000, Victor and Jennifer
left home to get dinner for the family. Victoria and Christina said that they
would eat when they returned from a friend’s house. The friend, Maria Jimenez,
lived just down the street from the Neal family. After Victor and Jennifer left,
Victoria’s boyfriend (and Maria’s uncle), Manuel Jimenez, came by the house to
pick up the two girls. After driving around for a while, the group went to
Maria’s house where they stood outside talking with Maria and her two brothers,
Martin and Jose. While standing outside by the truck, Victoria and Christina
began arguing. Victoria walked away from the argument and toward Maria’s house,
leaving Christina and Jose outside. Shortly thereafter, Jose told Victoria that
Christina was angry and had left. When Victoria returned home, she discovered
that Christina was not there. The next morning, Victor saw Jennifer and Victoria
sleeping on the couch. He also noticed that the door to the girls’ bedroom was
closed. Assuming Christina was asleep in the bedroom, Victor left for work. When
he got home about 3:00 or 4:00 p.m., Jennifer and Victoria told him that
Christina had never returned home the night before. Victor asked the girls to go
to Maria’s house and tell Christina to come home. They found that Christina was
not at Maria’s house. After learning about the argument between Christina and
Victoria the night before, Victor concluded that Christina had spent the night
at another friend’s house, and the family began searching the neighborhood.
Along the road near the Neal home, Victoria and Maria found Christina’s glasses.
The glasses were “smashed and broken,” but Victoria testified that Christina had
a habit of destroying her glasses when she got mad. Victor stopped looking for
Christina around 11:00 or 11:30 p.m. The next morning, Victor asked his sister,
Tereza Goodwin, to look for Christina while he was at work. Christina had run
away before, so Victor told Tereza to report her as a runaway if she could not
find her. Later that day, having failed to locate Christina, Tereza reported her
missing to a Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputy. Local law-enforcement officers
then joined the family in searching for Christina. On June 26, the FBI joined
the search. On that same day, Jennifer and her mother found what appeared to be
Christina’s panties at the edge of the woods across from the Neal home. Also
around this time, Victoria found Christina’s bracelet and necklace along a
pathway in the woods. The search continued. On June 28, investigators spoke with
Jonathan Marcus Green, who lived in Dobbin. He said he had no information
concerning Christina’s disappearance, and that he was either at home or at his
neighbor’s house on the night she disappeared. He gave the investigators
permission to search his home and property, with the condition that he be
present. Investigators performed a cursory search of the house and property, but
they noticed nothing significant. A few days later, investigators again asked
Green his whereabouts on the night of Christina’s disappearance. Again, Green
claimed to have been at home or at his neighbor’s house. On July 19, Manuel
Jimenez, who lived on the property behind Green’s, told investigators that Green
had an unusually large fire in his burn pile the day after Christina
disappeared. A few days later, investigators went to Green’s home and asked if
they could search his property again, including his burn pile. Green again
consented, but insisted that he be present during the search. FBI agents Sue
Hillard and Mark Young walked around the burn pile with Green. Young pushed a
metal probe into the ground to vent the soil and check for any disturbances.
When the probe sank three feet into the ground at one location, Young determined
that the ground had been disturbed or dug up in that area; he concluded that the
disturbed section covered a very large area. He also smelled a distinct odor
emanating from the disturbed section of ground which he identified as “some sort
of decaying body.” The investigation team then began to dig up the disturbed
area. Green, who had been cooperative up to that point, became angry and told
the officers to get off his property. The investigative team returned to Green’s
property later that night with a search warrant. They discovered that part of
the burn pile had been excavated, leaving what appeared to be a shallow grave.
They also smelled the “extremely foul, fetid odor” of a “dead body in a decaying
state.” When investigators asked Green what had happened at the burn pile, Green
said that he had dug the pit to show authorities that “there was no dead body in
there.” An officer then arrived with a “cadaver dog,” trained to detect human
remains. As the dog was walking to the burn pile, it alerted to the house. Upon
entering the house, the dog repeatedly went to the side of a recliner that was
wedged into a corner of the room. Agent Hillard looked behind the recliner and
saw “a foot sticking out of the top of [a blue] bag” and what appeared to be
human remains. Before the discovery was announced, Green was overheard to say,
“Those Mexicans are setting me up” and “put a body in my house.” The remains
were identified as Christina’s. The medical examiner, Dr. Joye Carter, concluded
from a ligature mark around Christina’s neck that Christina was strangled. She
also determined that Christina’s arms had been tied behind her back and that
Christina had been sexually assaulted before she died. She testified that the
body had been wrapped in a blanket and placed inside a blue bag. During the
course of the autopsy, various materials were recovered from Christina’s body.
Two black hairs that did not appear to be Christina’s were found in her pubic
area. Based on the way Christina was positioned within the blanket, Carter
determined that the hairs must have been present before her body was wrapped in
the blanket, and could not have been transferred there afterward.
Mitochondrial-DNA testing excluded 99.7% of the African-American population as a
source of the hair. Green, an African-American, could not be excluded from the
remaining 0.3%. Carter also recovered a black cotton cloth from Christina’s
mouth. The cloth was positioned in such a way that Carter determined, to a
medical certainty, that the cloth did not cause Christina’s death. Criminalist
Bradley Mullins from the Texas Department of Public Safety crime lab testified
that many of the fibers recovered from Christina’s body matched fiber samples
seized from Green’s property and residence. On the panties that were recovered
near the Neal home five days after Christina had disappeared and nearly a month
before her body was found, Mullins found a fiber that had characteristics
identical to carpet in Green’s residence. 

Ten Year Old Child Poisoned And Suffocated Infant

Ten Year Old Child Poisoned And Suffocated Infant

Article published by Dailymail on August 31st, 2012 – Click link for full story

  • Child charged with manslaughter in death of  Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway
  • Nicki Greenaway told work colleague  babysitter not to leave 10-year-old alone with her  three-month-old
  • Baby was fed attention deficit disorder  medication and smothered
  • Girl is the youngest person in Maine to be  hit with manslaughter charges in at least 25 years
  • Unclear whether 10-year-old’s mother will  face charges
  • ADD Medication found in infant was prescribed to 10-year-old child..

Nicole Greenaway, the infant¿s mother, told The Daily News a toxicology report stated a medication was found in her infant¿s system which was the very same medication taken by the 10-year-old girl

   Pictured:Nicole Greenaway (Mother) and her deceased Infant

The Murder Of Riley Ann Fox

Riley Fox Murdered

Photo of Riley & Tyler Fox standing next to a scar-crow

In the summer of 2004, a little girl named Riley Fox was abducted and murdered in the small town of Wilmington, Illinois., about 60 miles southwest of Chicago. It was a gruesome crime that rocked the Rust Belt community and remains a mystery to this day. But more than just a tragedy and a ‘whodunit’, the Riley Fox case is the story of her family’s strange, overwhelming ordeal — a nightmare in which Riley’s death was only the first excruciating episode.

On the morning of June 6, 2004, Kevin Fox was home alone with his two children, 3-year-old daughter Riley and son Tyler, 6. His wife Melissa was away that weekend for a walk to raise breast cancer awareness in Chicago.   Just before 8 a.m., Kevin was at a Street Fair til late night and went to pick up Tyler and Riley who were being watched by their Grandparents. He got home and layed then down in the living-room and went to bed. Sometime in the early morning hours Tyler woke up, he noticed Riley wasn’t there and woke Kevin (”Dad”) and told him that Riley was gone. Kevin began searching for her himself, but after 40 minutes with no luck he called the police.

By the time Melissa found out and rushed home from Chicago, nearly the entire town was helping search for the little girl. The turnout was a testament to just how close the community is.   “Everybody was so supportive. I mean, I still, I can’t thank everyone enough … It was really unbelievable,” Melissa said.   Kevin and Melissa Fox grew up in Wilmington and were high-school sweethearts. Kevin, a painter, doted on his precious daughter, saying she had “big brown eyes, the way she would look at you, and her smile. She just made your heart melt.”   ‘I Was Definitely Not Wasted’

Riley Fox was definitely described as a ”daddy’s girl,” as evident by this photo

The sequence of events on the night of Riley’s disappearance would prove crucial to the case. While Melissa was in Chicago, Kevin made plans to go to a street festival in Chicago with one of Melissa’s brothers, leaving Tyler and Riley with his mother-in-law for the evening. How big an issue was alcohol that night? “It wasn’t a big issue at all,” says Kevin. “I had some beers. I was definitely not wasted.”

Around 1 a.m., Kevin returned home with the children, who were both fast asleep. He put Tyler on a chair in the living room and Riley on a couch, covering her with a yellow blanket. He went to bed and slept until Tyler woke him to tell him Riley was gone.

At around 3:30 that afternoon, two female volunteers found Riley’s body face-down in a creek in the Forsythe Woods, about a two-and-a-half miles from the Fox residence.   “I just had this really bad feeling about this place,” one of them said. “And that’s why I came here.”

CRIME SCENE: Riley Ann’s little body was discovered at this creek by two volunteers who set out to search for the missing child

The police were called, but it would be some time before Kevin and Melissa would learn of their daughter’s grisly death. They were first brought in for questioning. Later that day, they were told that Riley had been sexually assaulted, bound and gagged with duct tape and drowned.   Through their sadness, the family resolved to find the killer.

An Intruder? Or Foul Play? 

Because Riley’s body was found outside of Wilmington, the investigation was taken over by the Will County Sheriff’s Office. And as is typical in cases like this, Riley’s parents and the rest of the family all agreed to be questioned and provide DNA samples. Kevin and Melissa even allowed investigators to interview Tyler, who police hoped could offer clues because he was asleep next to Riley before she vanished. From the beginning, the Foxes believed an intruder came into their house and kidnapped Riley.

But investigators didn’t think the house showed signs of forced entry, and, more importantly, they figured it would take a great deal of planning or luck for the killer to sneak into the house and snatch Riley during the few hours when her father was asleep and her mother wasn’t home.

They also wondered why Kevin waited 40 minutes after realizing his daughter was missing before calling the police.  Kevin said when he was growing up he learned that the only time to call 911 is, “if there is a fire … I never … I never thought my daughter was kidnapped.  Never, never in a thousand years,” he said.

While they spent time canvassing the neighborhood and interviewing local sex offenders, the Will County Sheriff’s detectives grew more interested in Kevin, the last known adult to see Riley alive.

They shot surveillance footage of him at Riley’s funeral, and they took special interest in a security video from a gas station located between the Fox home and the creek where she was found. Investigators believed it showed a car similar to Kevin Fox’s Ford Escape passing the station around the time of the murder.

The summer progressed with no named suspects, and public support for the family waned after a TV report portrayed the parents as indifferent to the death of their little girl. Rumors started swirling.

The Foxes sensed the community was turning, but Melissa never questioned her husband’s involvement. “I know Kevin way too well and watched him be a parent to our children every day,” she said.

The Interrogation

There was another dynamic at play. As the State’s Attorney Jeff Tomczak was dealing with pressure to solve the case, he was also fighting for his political life, with Election Day was approaching.

A week before the election, Will County detectives called the Foxes and asked them to come to the station. After arriving, they were immediately separated.

Kevin was taken into a very small room and interrogated for the next 14 hours.  According to Kevin’s account, detectives told him they had reason to believe that he had killed Riley.

“They broke me down mentally, physically, emotionally… but I stayed strong.  I knew… I, I denied everything, everything that they would say to me,” he said.

Kevin said the investigators told him to take a polygraph test, and he agreed, confident he’d pass. But afterwards, detectives told him he had failed. Finally, Kevin broke, offering a statement admitting he killed Riley.

According to the investigators, Kevin said he woke up in the middle of the night went to the bathroom, where he accidentally hit Riley with the door, causing her to stumble and hit her head on the bathtub. Thinking he’d accidentally killed her, he panicked and supposedly did something to make it look like she was sexually assaulted. Investigators said he put duct tape over Riley’s mouth, drove her in his car to the river and walked down the side of a small bridge and dumped her into the river. Hours after making that statement, Kevin Fox was charged with first degree murder.

Seeking the Death Penalty

The next day, Tomczak announced he would be seeking the death penalty. “The young child in this case died a terrible death,” Tomczak announced at the time, “And for that reason, the penalty deserves to be death.”

Hal Dardick, who covered the Fox case for the Chicago Tribune, noted that the decision to seek the death penalty is usually reached over weeks or months, not days. But Tomczak has consistently denied that his decision was motivated by the impending election, which he ultimately lost to Jim Glasgow.

Kevin insisted to his family that his confession was false and that after 14 hours, he believed it was his only way out of that room. “Say you were trapped in a, a burning room, and there was only one door, and the fire was just flaming around you,” he said. “It was my only way out.”

Click here to watch a reenactment of the interrogation.

Attorney Kathleen Zellner, who built a reputation for freeing the wrongly accused with DNA evidence, believed him. After a single meeting with Kevin at the Will County jail, Zellner agreed to take his case.

“I decided a long time ago, I did not want to defend people who I thought were guilty,” she said. “Just looking at him and listening to him, I decided I was going to take a chance with him.”

False Confession?

Zellner  says she was persuaded because Kevin had no history of child abuse, and she believed his confession was coerced. “It fit perfectly. It was a classic case of false confession,” said Zellner.

Fox Family Photo

Photo of Riley Ann as a flower-girl at a wedding ceremony

Zellner said the trauma of Riley’s daughter made Kevin vulnerable to what she calls psychological manipulation by interrogators.  Kevin said the detectives showed him pictures of Riley’s dead body and refused to let him speak to his father or a lawyer and made graphic threats. Kevin said that the investigators would “have me raped every day I was in there if I didn’t say anything.”

Police said Kevin’s account of the interrogation was exaggerated and inaccurate, and pointed out that he had failed the polygraph test. But Fred Hunter, who has years of experience working for both Zellner and Will County authorities, offered another explanation.

“It is pretty much polygraph 101 that you would not to test a subject who had been interrogated for hours. The validity of any test results after that are going to be tainted,” Hunter said.

Zellner said she found the confession itself suspicious. She said that on many fronts, the details he gave were, “an absolutely impossible story.” If Kevin had really accidentally hurt his daughter inside the home, then why didn’t he take her to a hospital or simply call an ambulance? And if he drove off with the little girl, then why was no forensic evidence found inside the car?

And lastly, Zellner had serious questions about the steep embankment Kevin allegedly walked to the water’s edge.

“I mean, the chances he could have come down that side are pretty remote,” Zellner said., adding that the current at that point in the river was too weak to carry Riley’s body.

She conducted her own test at the creek and said it proved a body dropped at that site couldn’t have drifted to the location where Riley’s body was discovered.

Zellner also cast a critical eye on the fuzzy surveillance video of the car seen passing the gas station on the night of Riley’s murder. She carefully analyzed the video and said, “The wheel base is shorter.  The angle of the windshield is different.  You would have to have the license plate or a very clear picture of his face to ever have that hold up in court.”

DNA Testing

Despite all of that, Zellner was still concerned about swaying jurors from Kevin’s confession. “The only way you can trump a confession is with DNA. You’ve got to have DNA,” Zellner said.

Because Riley’s body was in the water for hours, it was much harder to retrieve a DNA profile.  Zellner feared that she’d been robbed of the silver bullet which had worked for her so often in the past. “I thought it would take miracle for us to find DNA,” she said.  And she was right. The tests came back negative for blood and semen.

Click here to read the Illinois State Crime Lab Report.

For saliva, the test read “inconclusive.” Dr. Karl Reich, who runs a private Chicago-area lab called Independent Forensics, told Zellner the word “inconclusive” was actually a cause for hope.

“Inconclusive” simply means it hasn’t been read, and Reich said one reason for that could be that the state lab’s equipment might not have been sophisticated enough to pick up on what little DNA was there.

“Another testing, called Y-STR testing, could certainly be possible and might in fact be the right kind of testing for this case,” Reich said.

Y-STR testing analyzes the Y-chromosome, which is nearly identical in males of the same lineage and can be tested in small amounts.  Though that partial profile may not be enough to fully identify a criminal, it is enough there to eliminate a suspect with 100 percent certainty.

“It’s a well-established technique,” said Reich. But though it was valid in court, neither the state of Illinois nor the FBI was using it at the time.  So Zellner convinced the Will County prosecutor to send the samples to a respected lab in Virginia.

But she told Kevin the chances of gleaning anything from such a small sample were slim. It would take months to get her answer.  Bureaucracy held up the DNA samples and as the family waited, Melissa struggled to keep it together. “It was a nightmare, but I knew the only thing I could do was support Kevin, stay strong for Tyler,” she said.

Charges Dropped

Finally, on June 16, 2005, after eight months in jail, Kevin learned the results of the DNA test.

Riley Fox Murdered

Zellner remembers that phone call from Virginia:  “I pick up the phone and she said, I’ve got the profile done. There was enough DNA, I’ve excluded your client. I said, ‘well, you just saved somebody’s life.'”

She raced to the Will County jail to tell Kevin.  The accused father was stunned. “It hit me that, that I was going home and, and my name would finally be cleared,” he said.

With the case against Kevin collapsing, the new Will County State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow held an immediate court hearing. Kevin Fox, who could have faced the death penalty, was released with all charges dropped.

But the case that had shattered the Wilmington community was far from over.  Zellner switched from defense to offense, pursuing a massive lawsuit on behalf of the Foxes against Will County.  The Fox family claimed that the investigators didn’t simply make innocent mistakes which led to Kevin’s arrest.  They were out to convict him from the beginning.

That DNA had been sent to the FBI, which is often the case when DNA samples need further testing that state crime labs aren’t equipped for.  But in this case, FBI records showed that “all additional DNA analyses were discontinued” once Kevin offered that confession. The FBI stated that a Will County investigator told them to stop, despite the “inconclusive” finding.

“It’s the one piece of evidence that could disprove the confession?..that could have set him free,” Zellner said.

Click here to read the FBI DNA Lab Report.

The police, Zellner argued, deliberately ignored evidence suggesting that an intruder was in the house. She said that there are numerous parts of the house they never bothered to check, including the back door, which was standing open.

“We know what’s how the intruder came in because the lock was broken,” she says. Zellner also claimed one of the windows was open from the inside, potential evidence of an intruder looking for an exit route.  None of this was ever fingerprinted, nor was the blanket used to cover Riley that night.

Jury Awards Millions to Fox Family

Professor Ann Burgess of Boston College, who was worked with the FBI profiling killers, testified on behalf of the Foxes that cases involving intruders are not as rare as many think. “There are  many cases where an intruder comes in and takes a child, Elizabeth Smart, absolutely, perfect case.”

In fact, just this summer, DNA analysis from the same lab that cleared Kevin Fox definitively cleared Patsy and John Ramsey in the notorious murder of their daughter, Jon Benet.  In the Ramsey case, the detectives once discounted the intruder theory as well. A lead investigator even wrote a book arguing that Jon Benet’s death was an accident quickly staged to look like a murder. Zellner thinks that’s what inspired investigators in the Fox case to adopt their own accident theory.

To convince the jury, Zellner turned back to the interrogation of 6-year-old Tyler Fox. She said the tape of the interrogation reveals how badly the police wanted Tyler to point the finger at his own father. Tyler can be seen covering his head with his hoodie and becoming more and more upset in the video as the interviewer questions him about Kevin’s possible involvement in the crime. According the Zellner, she counted 168 times that he’s asked and he shook his head, no.

“He’s trying to tell her he doesn’t know anything and she just won’t stop,” Zellner said of the interviewer. “I think what you see in that is just purely evil. They take this child who’s in this horrible situation and they are trying to manipulate him to help them frame his father. It is despicable.”

The interviewer on the tape settled with the Foxes out-of-court and denied any wrongdoing.  But the Will County detectives went to trial. After five weeks of testimony, a jury awarded Kevin Fox and his wife Melissa $15.5 million in their civil rights case against Will County. “We want people to know the truth.  We are not bad people; we never were,” Melissa said.

Though the jury rejected the most serious charge of conspiracy, for Kathleen Zellner, the huge judgment is an extraordinary victory for the wrongfully accused.  “I’ve won a lot of big trials,” she said. “I have not done a trial where I have felt that I so exposed people as lying.”

The Foxes’ Private Investigation

ABC News’ David Muir attempted to talk about the case with Jeff Tomczak, the first prosecutor and former state’s attorney who originally charged Kevin Fox with murder. Tomczak negotiated a resolution with the Foxes before the case went to trial.  He has denied any wrongdoing and told Muir, ” I stand by the decisions in that case.”

Will County authorities are appealing the massive verdict. The detectives declined comment, but in a written statement, current State’s Attorney Glasgow said he “continues to stand behind the detectives.  The facts and circumstances would have led any prudent investigator to determine they had probable cause to arrest Kevin Fox.”

Click here to read a statement from State’s Attorney Jim Glasgow about the case.

Glasgow believes the outcome of the civil trial would have been different if the jury had been allowed to view a videotape of Kevin’s confessions.  But that video was suppressed and had never been made public.

The Will County Sheriff’s Department says a new team of detectives is now investigating Riley Fox’s murder, but Kevin and Melissa aren’t just relying on them.  The Foxes hired two private investigators, Rich Grove and Carlos Rodriguez, to chase down any leads and loose ends. The Foxes believe they can advance the case themselves because they now have that partial DNA profile.

“Y-STR profiling can’t identify someone uniquely, like nuclear DNA, but it could certainly start a conversation with an investigator,” Reich said.

Though the Foxes won’t see any money until the appeals process is finished, Zellner believes her client has won back something even more valuable: his reputation.  But even after the DNA and the jury’s verdict, there remain some people in Wilmington who still believe Kevin Fox killed his daughter.

That’s one reason the Foxes have moved to another Chicago suburb and why it is still hard for Kevin to go back to Wilmington. “It hurts that some people around here don’t understand,” he said.

But for all they’ve lost, and all they’ve endured, Kevin and Melissa turn to their newest gift.  In March 2006, their third child was born — a little girl they named Teagan.

“Teagan does remind me a lot of Riley, her personality,” says Melissa. “They’re kind of the same.  But we miss her. Every day is a struggle.  To know that you had something so wonderful in your life, and that someone took it.”

Kevin is trying to move forward as a dad by being thankful for what he has today. “I have a beautiful daughter at home; a son; and a beautiful wife.  You never know what’s gonna happen.  So have no regrets and, and… just enjoy what you have.”

The REAL Killer of Riley Ann Fox

Riley Fox Murdered

Police Photo of Scott Eby

The charges allege that Scott Eby, a sex offender with a long rap sheet, abducted Riley Fox from her home on June 6, 2004, sexually assaulted her, bound her in duct tape, and then drowned her in a creek.

Scott alledged that he initially went into the Fox’s home to burglarize it but stumbled upon little Riley sleeping on the couch besides her brother Tyler. He snatched Riley and went to a rest-room stop where he sexually assaulted the little girl then murdered her. His sneaker was left at the crime scene and in it, was the name ”Eby” stiched. Had authorities properly looked through each piece of crime scene evidence, they would have scene it and investigated it, instead of pointed the finger at Kevin Fox.

RIP RILEY ANN FOX (March 31, 2001 – June 6, 2004)

Jesus will protect you for eternity