The burning death of Robbie Middleton

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Photo of Robbie Middleton when he was 7-years-old

Robbie Middleton was a child from Montgomery County, Texas. It was 1998 and he was excited about his upcoming 8th birthday. Sadly, that same day as he left his Splendora home he was forced into a wooded area, tied to a tree, sexually assaulted and tortured. His attacker then doused him with gasoline and set him alight.

Robbie lived when the flames stopped, but by this point he was left with blackened skin, burned-off eyelids, and third degree burns on 99 percent of his body. He was non-recognizable and spent the remainder of his life in a specialist unit at Shriners Burn Hospital in Galveston, TX.

His rehabilitation included over 200 operations and skin grafts, was excruciating and he cried every minute of it but his mother said he never gave in to self-pity and anger.

The surgeons described how during the first few months at Shriners, the little boy suffered nightmares and would wake up screaming in terror, convinced that he was being burned again.

In 2011,  after thirteen years of terrible suffering, Robbie’s premature death was to have one positive outcome.

In a harrowing 17-minute video (although some reports claim it was a 27 minute interview) made just before he finally succumbed to his wounds, Robbie, then 20, named his childhood neighbor Don Wilburn  Collins then 13, and a known trouble maker, as the person he believed was responsible for torching him. He also said that two weeks prior to his birthday attack, Collins had raped him.

Collins already had a history and a bad reputation. In 2001 he was convicted of aggravated sexual assault of an 8-year-old child. This case is not related to Robbie’s case. He was sent to prison but released shortly after. He was then sent back to prison for failure to register as a sex offender however, he was released again on September 5, 2011.

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Mugshot photos of Don Collins

Collins was never charged with Robbie’s sexual assault and murder which caused outrage among the community.

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Photos of Robbie Middleton after the horrific attack

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Robbie succumbed to his injuries on April 29, 2011 from a type of cancer which can only occur as a result of complications from skin grafts for third-degree burns. He was twenty years old.

In a 2011 interview, Bill Pattillo, who was the prosecutor of the case spoke only to KHOU 11 News about why he let the case go.

Montgomery County Sheriff’s detectives interviewed Middleton at Shriners Hospital in Galveston and later at the Middleton’s home.

“Both times we got nothing that mentioned Don Collins,” Pattillo said. “He mentioned other names; the names we felt like were just some of his friends.”

Pattillo said Robbie gave five or six different suspects.

“That statement was patently impossible, but he was under trauma, in shock,” Pattillo said.

Robbie was also heavily sedated and had to be interviewed in between doses of pain medication. Investigators discounted that interview.

To family, the media, and in a deposition made just days before he died Robbie repeated the same thing.

“Don grabbed me and turned me around and threw gas in my face,” Robbie said.

But Pattillo said Robbie named other potential suspects to authorities.

He said he had not made that statement before in 13 years “because it could injure the case.”

If the case had gone forward prosecutors would have been duty bound to share that potentially damaging information with the defense.

11 News also asked about a confession 13-year-old Collins had reportedly made while in custody.

“He did” Pattillo acknowledged, but added “there were problems with it.”

Pattillo’s philosophy was that it was “better to let him go and get him in the future, than try him and lose it.”

“He (Collins) pulled down my pants and started raping me,” Robbie said. He said the sexual assault occurred about two weeks before he was set on fire and in the same wooded area.

“It’s tragic that statement didn’t come out in 13 years,” Pattillo said.

In a civil lawsuit against Collins held in December 2011 a Texas jury awarded the Middleton family $150 billion. One of the biggest settlements ever awarded. The award was largely symbolic and the parents don’t expect to ever see any money. According to the Schulenberg Sticker, the family hoped the verdict would pressure the county into prosecuting Collins for murder.

Robbie Middleton’s accusations have opened the way for Collins, now a convicted sex offender, to be charged with felony murder 14 years after the incident. Murder charges were filed against him after his September 2011 release charging him as an adult rather than a juvenile.

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Robbie Middleton (28 June 1990 – 29 April 2011),

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.

The Worst Case of Child Abuse In US History – The Murder of Baby Brianna (GRAPHIC)

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Brianna Mariah Lopez a.k.a “Baby Brianna” (February 14, 2002 – July 19, 2002)

Brianna Lopez who is also known to many as “Baby Brianna”, was a baby girl who was born in a New Mexico hospital on Valentines Day, 2002 to her mother, Stephanie Lopez and her father, Andy Walters. She would have turned eleven years old on February 14, 2013 but sadly, she never made it.

When Baby Brianna left the hospital after her birth she moved into a home in Las Cruces, N.M. shared by her parents and Uncle, Steven Lopez.

The abuse started almost immediately. Instead of hugs and kisses Brianna received slaps and pinches. She was tormented on a daily basis, both verbally and physically. Slapped, kicked, punched, pinched, thrown, raped, etc. You name it this infant endured it.

Mugshot photos of Brianna’s parents, Andrew “Andy” Walters and Stephanie Lopez

Mugshot photo of Steven Lopez

When Brianna would cry at the pain that was inflicted on her, her abusers would laugh and stuff her mouth with clothing to muffle her screams. Her own mother would bite and pinch her when she got frustrated by the crying, but for the most part it was the infant’s father and uncle who tormented her while Stephanie sat back and ignored her daughter’s cries.

Medical examiners would later report the marks as being both old and new which proved prolong abuse. Brianna also had bleeding on her brain, both old and new, as well as broken ribs, broken legs, broken arms, lacerations to her fingers, vagina and anus. She had been abused everyday of her short life.

Photo of Baby Brianna’s little hand and fingers

Photos of Baby Brianna taken right before her autopsy. Notice the bite marks on her head and back.

Baby Brianna was what many would consider a strong baby because she managed to survive 153 days despite coming into this cruel world weighing only several pounds.

On the evening of July 18th, 2002 Andy went out to purchase beer and when he came home they all proceeded to get drunk. Stephanie claimed to have had only a few beers before heading to bed in the same room the others were in. During this time both Andy and Steven decided to play their own sick, demented game where they would toss Brianna up in the air, let her hit the ceiling and watch her tumble to the ground. They would later tell authorities that Brianna was screaming and wailing when this was happening. Apparently the baby’s mother didn’t hear her daughter screaming and crying in agony.

Early the next morning on July 19, 2002 at approximately 7:15a.m. Stephanie awoke to Brianna crying and noticed fresh bruises on her and asked the others what happened. They told her that they may have been “a little to rough with her last night”. She accepted their answer and ignored her child’s injuries.

That same morning Stephanie noticed Brianna needed a diaper change and Andy volunteered to do it.  During the diaper change he wrapped a baby wipe around his finger and inserted it into Brianna’s anus. He also sodomized her with foreign objects. When Stephanie noticed Brianna near death she ignored it and decided to wait several hours before calling an ambulance. When she did find the time to call them, she lied and told them her daughter had fallen from her high chair. Apparently she was delusional enough to think authorities would by that story.

Brianna was rushed to the hospital where she was pronounced dead at 11:10AM. She was just 5 months and 5 days old.

Left: Large bite mark on Brianna’s arm Right: More photos showing the abuse this precious baby endured

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This photo shows the back of Brianna’s head where you can see a large bite mark to her earlobe.

The first officer to see baby Brianna in the hospital was Detective Lindell Wright. He remembers one thought going through his mind:  “I’ve got a lot to do.” 

“Literally bruised from head to toe, from the top of her head all throughout her body all the way to the big toe on her right foot.” said Governor Susana Martinez who prosecuted Brianna’s family.

They took sadistic joy out of torturing this infant. Not one family member cared about her, not one of them attempted to protect her and there’s zero proof to suggest she was ever shown love in her short life. She was there for their own sadistic amusement.

When police searched the home they couldn’t find one toy or even a photo of Brianna laughing or smiling.  No evidence to indicate she enjoyed one moment of her life.

Many relatives including Brianna’s grandparents knew what was occurring but ignored it. They knew their granddaughter was being raped by both her father and uncle, they knew she had pinch marks from head to toe in different stages of healing, they knew she was being tormented and had marks, cuts and lacerations but they turned a blind eye and let it continue for five, going on six more months until baby Brianna’s little body couldn’t handle the abuse any longer.

Officer Wright has seen alot during his career but Brianna’s case will haunt him for life.

“I cried my eyes out. It will stay with me for the rest of my life. It tests you to the point you’re not sure you can speak,””You’re afraid that the emotion will take over.” said Wright.

At the time Brianna was murdered a person who committed intentional child abuse resulting in death faced a maximum of 18 years in prison.

“Eighteen years for the life of a child?” State Sen. Mary Jane Garcia of Doña Ana said. “I thought it was absurd.”

It took three years of trying and in 2005, Senate Bill 166, also known as the “Baby Brianna Bill” was officially signed into law by Governor Bill Richardson. The bill made child abuse, which results in death, a first degree felony in New Mexico and set the mandatory minimum sentence at 30 years in prison.

Three relatives, including her grandparents, were sentenced to 30 days in jail for failing to report the abuse. The maximum is one year.

Stephanie Lopez was convicted of negligent child abuse after she failed to do anything to help her child.  The New Mexico Corrections Department said that she could be released as early as September 28, 2016. Less than 15 for her daughter’s torture death. The New Mexico State Parole Board said that it’s almost certain that she’ll be released, provided that she finds a suitable home and can meet the requirements of her release conditions.

The public was outraged when they heard about the possible release. Dozens created petitions which quickly gained signatures and many called the Governor.

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Thousands of people in the community weeped over Brianna’s horrific death. Mourners who never had the chance to meet Brianna in life came together for the baby girl in her after-life. They paid for her casket and burial and claimed her body when nobody else did. Her gravesite became a memorial site with dozens of toys and flowers, something Brianna’s family didn’t approve of.

Brianna’s family and relatives didn’t put a penny towards the child’s funeral, burial and grave-stone. Heck, they didn’t even claim her, the community did. Her family didn’t want Brianna to receive love even after her death and went out of their way to purchase a cage to go over her gravestone in an attempt to shield her. The cage is a mess, unkempt and full of trash.

The community refused to let Brianna and her story simmer and still placed flowers around the cage. They’ve also created another memorial site to visit and remember the little girl who never had a chance.

When asked why they put a cage over Brianna’s grave-site, Brianna’s family had little to say.

“They were asked, and they said they just wanted to be left alone and they wanted Brianna to be left alone,” Martinez said.

Inside the cage is a cherub with a finger raised to her lips. Some believe it’s a message.

“My first thought was, ‘Let’s not talk about what’s occurred here,'” Lopez said.

The community vows to not let that happen.  People still visit and leave flowers and have built another marker as well.  Brianna’s story has been told dozens of times and is still being told over a decade later on websites and online memorials including  Brianna Lopez Last Memories and Facebook memorials such as In Loving Memory of Baby Brianna

Detectives, social workers and prosecutors who worked on her case will also remember Brianna.

“Before they started the autopsy and her little face was lying on a white sheet and I thought she looks asleep,” Wright said. “So I just took the picture.”

The picture was photo-shopped to edit out all the marks, bruises and scars she had.  It’s the Brianna the community likes to remember.

“There’s a photograph of her to carry on of her little life,” Wright said.

The picture hangs on the wall next to Susana Martinez’s desk.

“It’s a reminder, of course, of why we do what we do,” Martinez said. “If you forget you’ll either become calloused or you will become Jell-O. “You can’t do this job well unless you are in the middle, and that’s just a good reminder why we do it.”

Brianna is never far from the detective either. “It drives me to work harder to prevent, to be a voice for every child of abuse,” Wright said. “That’s what it does.”

Brianna Lopez

Brianna Lopez – Find A Grave – Brianna Mariah Lopez was buried at Dõna Ana Cemetery in Dona Ana County, New Mexico, USA

July 19, 2012 marked the 10th anniversary of the death of Baby Brianna. She would be turning 11-years-old in three weeks. RIP Brianna M. Lopez

Mother who called herself a ”monster” in court is sentenced to 99 years for beating her daughter into coma and gluing the tot’s hands to the wall.

On the day of the attack Escalona changed her Facebook profile photo to one of her and Jocelyn and wrote: 'Why does God put obstacles in my life?'

Elizabeth Escalona (left) was sentenced to 99 years for the brutal beating of her toddler daughter (right.)

10/12/12 Dallas, TX →After 5-days of gruelling testimony, Texas mother, Elizabeth Escalona, 23, sat tearfully in court today as she was sentenced by Judge Larry Mitchell to serve 99 years in prison for the savage torture-beating of her two-year old child.

”You savagely beat your daughter to the edge of death,” said the Judge.

In 2011, Elizabeth became so frustrated with her daughter (who isn’t being named due to legal reasons) during potty-training that she glued the child’s hands to the wall and brutally beat her.

Two of Escalona’s other children revealed in court today that their mother kicked their little sister in her stomach and hit her with a milk-jug before gluing her hands to a wall. She also dragged her (although uncertain if she was dragged by the hair.) Some skin had been torn off her little hands. She was hospitalized and in a coma.

Prosecutor Eren Price showed Escalona photo’s of her child’s injuries and asked her if she was a monster. ”A monster did this.” Escalona shook her head and replied a tearful ”Yes.”

Bruises: She hit the girl with enormous objects, including a jug, before dragging her across the floor

Photo’s showed bruises and marks all around the childs little body were also shown in court.

Painful: Other photos shown to the court reveal the bruises along Jocelyn's back after the attack

She hit her with large items including a jug and dragged her across the floor.

Torture: Photographs shown in the court depict Jocelyn's bleeding hands after they were glued to the wall

Photo’s of the toddlers bloody hands after they were glued to a wall were shown in court by prosecutors.

The words shown on an overhead display were written by prosecutor Eren Price, (left) and were shown in court as an emotional Elizabeth Escalona, 23, responds to a line of questioning in court yesterdayLIAR: words shown on an overhead display were written by prosecutor Eren Price,  (left) and were shown in the Dallas County Courtroom as Escalona responded to multiple questions in Yesterdays court-proceedings.

Escalona pleaded with Judge Mitchell for leniency, blaming her ‘black-out’ on childhood sexual-abuse and saying she did not remember the incident that unfolded last year. She said she didn’t remember where she got the glue or why she glued her toddler’s hands to the wall nor did she remember dragging her daughter, throwing things at her or kicking her in the stomach. Overall, she claimed she didn’t remember beating the poor girl into a coma because she wouldn’t potty-train correctly/quickly. Escalona continued to put on the ”water-works” but Price wasn’t buying it and showed her no mercy calling her a ”liar.”

Cross-examination by the prosecutors pointed out that Escalona was a consistently abusive mother who did drugs and beat her children. Proving she lied once again. They also showed she lied when Price was calling her a monter, Escalona was agreeing, calling herself a monter, contradicting her earlier statements of not ”remembering.” ”I hit her, I kicked her constantly, and she  didn’t deserve that,’  said Escalona. ”Only a monster does  that.”

Judge Mitchell, while agreeing that Escalona may have been sexually abused growing up, that it is no excuse for abuse and Judge Mitchell said the simple fact remained, the vicious assault on your child.

‘You savagely beat your child to the edge of  death,’ he said.

Escalona was sentenced to ninety years in prison and must serve at-least thirty to consider parole. Her loved ones cried out, some hanging their heads down in grief and disbelief. The mother of three surprisingly, showed very little emotion considering her theatrics threw-out the trail.

Her children are now in custody of the state and will hopefully get past the trauma they endured and grow up to be everything Elizabeth Escalona is NOT.