It happens in upscale, educated homes

31 year old Olga and her husband Alexander Astashkevich were separated. They had a 6 year old son together.

Yesterday, Astashkevich arrived at the home and when Olga opened the door, he shot her with a 12 gauge shotgun. The 6 year old boy may have seen it. After shooting his wife, Astashkevich went upstairs and talked with his son. He told the boy he had shot his mother, and that he was going to kill himself. He then tried to call 911 and tell them that he shot his wife and that he was going to kill himself, and then handed the phone to his son. Dispatch told the boy to take the phone into a bathroom and lock himself in. While talked with 911, there was another gunshot.

The boy has told police that his parents had been split up about a year and they argued a lot. Police had been to the home only the night before on a domestic dispute call.

A quote from the article:

Astashkevich’s boss, hedge-fund mogul Jim Simons, said his employee “was quite well off” but added, “I think money was an issue between them.

“He was estranged from his wife, and obviously under some kind of terrible strain,” said Simons, the head of Renaissance Technologies, where Astashkevich worked as a researcher.

“He seemed like a good father … He seemed like a loving parent. But obviously, something terrible happened.”

Simons said Astashkevich received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Astashkevich lived in a one-bedroom, luxury pad near his family so that he could still see his son, one neighbor said.

“He was a very friendly guy. He didn’t seem like he had any problems,” the neighbor said.

Now there is a 6 year old kid, whose last memories of his parents are of arguments, loud gunshots, and bloody bodies. There are family in Russia, who police are trying to reach. Most likely, they are not only going to be grieving, they are going to be very bewildered as to what went happened, what went so wrong.

And the arguments? It is thought they were over money. So important in a families lives at times, but worth so very little in the end.


Update: Special Alert and additional info

I am afraid it is not looking really good for Destin Perkins.

More info is coming out about why Byron Perkins was in jail. Byron had pled guilty to federal charges of robbery, use of a firearm during the robbery and selling marijauna. He is awaiting sentencing, but is facing life imprisonment. He had been temporarily released on a $10,000 unsecured bond, due to the illness of his son and his need for the transplant. The arrangements were that Perkins was to live with his mother at all times that he was not needed at the hospital for testing and was to be confined to her home. He was barred from possessing any firearms, destructive devices, or dangerous weapons. He was also ordered not to drink alcohol or use any drugs. Violation of any of the orders were to result in an immediate arrest by the U.S. Marshall’s.

So it appears to me, that even if he is caught or turns himself in, he may not be available to donate his kidney to his son.

While I applaud the state and federal government for allowing Perkins the chance to donate his kidney to his son, I wonder why a felon this dangerous wasn’t put on any monitoring devices during his time out of the jail.

Byron Perkins is suspected of traveling with his girlfriend, Lee Ann Howard. Howard is wanted on charges of first degree robbery and a habitual offender. She may spell her name as Leighann and she has used the last name of Spradlin in the past. They may be traveling in a 1994 bluish green Crown Victoria, which belongs to Howard’s mother. License plate number is 784 BHS. Also noted is they are to be considered armed and dangerous.

Additional info at the link:

Accident or murder

I don’t claim to know. This is going to be one of those cases when the story given to police about Sat. night will be closely compared to the available evidence, and it will then be up to the courts. Because one of the people can no longer talk, and one of the persons involved, may not have been in any condition to even be sure of what happened.

Kevin Evenrode, 25 was with his girlfriend Rachel M. Kozlusky in an apt. on the 23 rd story of a high rise building. From articles reported, they were both drinking.
Allegedly, during a moment of horseplay Evenrode was holding on to Kozlusky who was dangling out a window. She was wearing only a sweater and some underwear. Allegedly, he lost his grip and Kozluky fell 23 stories, hitting a portico skylight before coming to rest on the pavement below.

When police arrived they interviewed a “distraught and inebriated” Evenrode and he was subsequently arrested for homicide and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Now, I have been inebriated. And while I think dangling out of 23 rd story window while being held by a drunk might be one of the things I would shied away from, I know others who I’m pretty sure might have tried it. (I used to know some pretty crazy people). So I’m not willing to make a judgement here, until more evidence is known. But I will say this: it is a good example of the way alcohol can erode the natural inhibitions we all have, that are there in order to protect us and others.

I am not saying that I think that Evenrode is blameless. He is certainly guilty of participating in a behavior that risked the life of another, and that resulted in the death of another. And the presence or absence of drugs does not in any way mitigate that. I just stop short as to whether or not I am ready to call it murder.

As usual, my observations will differ from many others.


Accquitted of the charge of 3 rd degree murder, a jury found Kevin P. Eckenrode guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Technically this isn’t a domestic related crime

But at least morally it is a crime.

 Destin Perkins is 16 years old. Last year Destin was told that his kidneys were failing and he needed a kidney transplant. So his mother Angie Hammond donated one of hers. Unfortunately, his body rejected the kidney. So his father offered to help.

Unfortunately, there was a problem. Byron Perkins was in jail. Arrangements were made for testing, and Perkins was a match. Further arrangements were made and Perkins was released from jail, so that he could give his kidney to his son.

Perkins never showed up at the hospital. He is thought to be on the run with his girlfriend Lea Ann Howard. Perkins sent a letter to his own mother telling her not to worry, he would be close. And that he would come through for Destin “someday”.

So Destin remains on kidney dialysis. Which is painful and can be risky as any complications can lead to his death. He has no chance of living a normal life unless a transplant is done.

So technically, the crime that Byron committed was in running from his incarceration. But I think his biggest crime was a moral one. If he really didn’t want to give up his kidney for Destin, then he should have stayed in jail. He shouldn’t have offered the boy false hope, and then used him in order to escape jail.                             

Update and Correction

And we thought we knew her. I posted the other day about the little girl found in a dumpster in Las Vegas. She had been reported as being named Crystal Perez. I was reading at BeyondFrazzled ( ) tonight and it seems that Crystal Perez is not her name. Perez was her mother’s name. The little girl’s name is Crystal Figueroa.

BeyondFrazzled also had some updates on the case, and they include new pictures of the little girl. Included in the update information is that Crystal’s sister is with her grandmother. Police say that Colon also had two children and they are working to ensure that they are safe.

My apologies to Crystal and to her family for getting the name wrong.

And thanks to Beyondfrazzled for picking up on that.


Crystal’s 7 year old sister and her grandmother Lila Perez along with 5 other family members were flown to Las Vegas to see the memorial site and where Crystal was found. The tickets were given to them free by an airline.

It seems that Crystal lived with her grandmother and other family members, and only recently went to live with her mother Gladys.

Colon, the boyfriend had a previous conviction on a child abuse charge, and had been dating Perez for about 4 months. Nothing is said in the article about how a man who was convicted of child abuse, could have his own two children in his care.

When a child goes missing

When a child goes missing, it affects an entire community. It causes whole communities to be afraid. Parents tend to hold their own children closer when they know another child is missing. Others without young children will think of when their children were young, or will worry about grandchildren, neices and nephews, or other children who may be close to them.

Often the parents will garner the sympathy of the community. The thoughts of the pain they suffer as they enter that no-child future hit close to most parents fears. I call it the club that no one wants to join, the club that most members want to get out of. I say most parents, because a minority of the children’s parents do not want to leave. Katherine Rutan is one of those parents.

Sometime in June 2002, it was noticed that Logan Rutan,6 was missing. Rutan explained to friends that he had been picked up by social services. She even showed a boyfriend’s sister a bruise on her arm which she alleged she got from trying to prevent him from being taken.

On June 19, 2002 Rutan approached DHS and asked for help with Logan. She told them that she was afraid that he was going to hurt his younger brother J.D. then 4 years of age. The next day she told them that she wanted to relinquish custody of both children.  They needed time to make arrangements, and told her that they would pick him up in 4 days.

On June 23, 2002 Rutan had asked the boyfriend if she could borrow a shovel and some plastic to “dig up some wildflowers”.

Her roommate at the time says that she remembers waking that morning of June 23, 2002 and hearing Logan crying and screaming. When she asked about it, Rutan said that she had put him in a  back room.

Now we all know that no child is perfect. Logan appears to have been pretty active. Rutan once told a counselor that her ex husband left her because Logan had been playing with matches and burned their house down. And that she feared she was going to lose her boyfriend, because he was upset about Logan playing with matches. She also told DHS workers at some point that Logan had been playing with matches in a bedroom and had set fire to a bed, while his younger brother was in the room.

After June 23, 2002 no one saw Logan. Interviews were done with the younger brother J.D. then age 4. He told them that he and Logan had gone for a drive with their mother. She stopped in a rural area somewhere, and told J.D. to stay in the car, and told Logan to get out. According to J.D., Logan had been sitting in the back seat and looked sick but wasn’t crying or talking.  He said that his mother had a shovel and some plastic. She carried Logan out to a field and she returned alone. However, J.D. has never been able to tell anyone where that rural area is.

Now one thing really stood out about that article. There was no mention of where Logan’s father was. Which leaves me to presume that the father abandoned the child. To me, when two parents engage in activity that results in the birth of a child, they should both be responsible for that child’s well being.

Rutan, not only murdered her child. She exposed her other child, J.D. to that murder. She took him on that drive, then left him without a sibling. I don’t know what happened to J.D. after that point. I don’t know if she retained custody of him, or if she went ahead and relinquished her rights. I hope that she either gave him up, or he was taken from her and placed in a loving home where he could be helped to heal.

A comment left after the article was written, indicates that there were grandparents who, who loved him. There is no indication if these were the mother’s parents or the father’s parents. But, likely they are in a lot of pain. They not only are suffering because of the loss of a grandchild, but they also have to bear the knowlege that he was dead by his own mother’s hand.

A 4 year old little boy, lost the chance to develop that bond felt between brothers. He was exposed to heartlessness and violence. He suffered a loss, and as kids often do he may be feeling guilt. Though there was nothing he could have done, he couldn’t control what his mother did. And likely he also feels betrayed by that same mother. And possibly he may now end up having to testify against her.

A community is suffering. The loss of any child is hurtful to the community. They may have known the child. They may have to explain this to their children who may have known this chld and played with him. Also, they feel mocked for the sympathy they offered the mother when it was learned that Logan was missing. And they feel betrayed.

And Rutan also mocked another vulnerable group. When she reported Logan missing, many parents with missing children probably began to relive their own losses. And at some point of the investigation into their child being missing, it is very possible they came under some suspicion at some point. That was because of people like Rutan, who took their own child’s life and then reported them missing so that they could “get away with murder”.

Logan is still missing. His remains have never been found. Rutan went to court Fri. on a charge of 1st degree murder on the murder of Logan. She is being held in jail on a $250,000 bail. She is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on May 23.

If you live near Woodward, Oklahoma and feel like taking a walk, watch for Logan will you? This baby needs to be brought home.

Sometimes love doesn’t work right

One of the most complex, confusing parts about domestic violence is the fact that women go back. Even after extreme abuse, sometimes even after their children are sexually abused or murdered they may go back. That is so hard for friends and family to understand. Sometimes they stay because they fear even worse violence, sometimes because they truly do feel that the abuse was their own fault, sometimes they feel that it just wasn’t the fault of the abuser (it was the stress he is under, they abuses he grew up with, the alcohol, the drugs….any number of reasons) sometimes it is because of financial reasons. And sometimes it is because this is what they grew up with, and what they feel is normal, or at least what they deserve. And sometimes it is because they feel they are the only one who can help the abuser to get over their problems.

Susan Moore, 39 lived with Felix Medina 28. They had a “troubled” relationship as shown by their history. Moore admits that she was a drug user, but says she quit in ’93 after an arrest.

Medina, however began using drugs in 2003. And that Aug. he was arrested for striking Moore’s 16 year old son and a teen friend of the son’s when they tried to intervene during a domestic dispute. A protection order was issued to bar Medina from coming into contact with the children.

In 2004, Medina was shot several times and the domestic violence seemed to get worse and police were called to the address several times. In Jan. 2005, Medina was arrested for harrassment of the family (Medina had been in jail for an unrelated crime, but Moore had bailed him out). A month later, Medina was charged with threatening Moore in front of the children. Hours after being released, sheriff’s deputies found him hiding Moore’s chimney and they arrested him again. Mar. of 2005 Medina was arrested for possessing and using drugs in front of the teenage boy and his friend.

Moore has stated she kept up with the relationship because she wanted to help him get off drugs.

Though court orders barred Medina from being around the children, Moore and Medina were still allowed to attend church and counseling together.

On Mar. 31, Medina was determined to drive Moore’s car. Moore tried to stop him. While he got into the car, Moore jumped onto it and held on while he was driving in circles in front of the home. Medina stopped suddenly and Moore fell off. The car rolled back, pinning her underneath the undercarriage and so Medina pulled forward, which further injured Moore.

What did Moore get for being faithful, and trying to help?

She is currently back in a hospital. The injuries she recieved resulted her being paralyzed from the waist down. Related infections have put her back in the hospital. Her home is in foreclosure. She is in debt due to medical bills. When she gets better, she must face charges that she also violated the restraining order which barred Medina from being around her children. One of her children is staying with friends, and two of her children are in foster care. And she may lose custody of all three.

Love is a powerful emotion, there’s no doubt. But when love goes wrong, it destroys lives.

By allowing Medina back in the home she exposed the kids to violence, she just told her kids that domestic violence is ok. It is what happens in families. She endangered the children, as evidenced when the 16 year old and his friend were struck when they tried to come to her aid. She allowed them to be exposed to drug use. They have gone through being separated from their mother, worrying about their mother and about what will happen to them. And that still hasn’t ended.

She is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, lost her children, perhaps permanently, and is losing her home.

Medina is in jail, perhaps headed for prison. He has told her he will take care of her, but he will probably be unavailable for a while.

But one other thing stood out in this article. I don’t see where Medina was ever charged with domestic violence. Had he been charged, there would have possibly been longer stays in jail. Drug and alcohol treatment might her been ordered for him. He might have been required to obtain anger management or domestic violence counseling. Maybe it would have helped, and maybe it wouldn’t have. We can’t know that now.

There is a federal law which requires police departments to file domestic violence charges, if they see evidence of domestic violence. They can file the charges whether the victim wishes to cooperate or not. I don’t know why they didn’t. Maybe they didn’t see anything. Mom was also never charged with violating the protection order, until after Medina ran over her. That means the children were exposed to the drugs and violence for another year and a half.

The article doesn’t say if Moore was ever referred to a domestic violence program.

Somebody loved her

Weeks ago, police in Las Vegas found the body of what appeared to be a 3 year old little girl in a trash dumpster. She appeared to have been badly beaten. Until recently, no one knew her name.

During the weeks since she has been found, law enforcement has been looking desperately for an identity for her. They reached out to the media, and tips have been flooding in from all over the country, trying to give her a name and an identity. Missing children’s databases from all over the country have been scoured. Nothing.

Meanwhile, a memorial begun where her remains were found kept growing.

The business community and individuals made sure there was a reward fund large enough to tempt tipsters to come forward. Still nothing. So when police had gotten every bit of forensic evidence from her remains that they could, she was released for burial. Citizens in the community made sure that she had what she needed by way of burial arrangements. And she was not alone when she was buried. Many people turned out for the funeral of Cordova Jane Doe. For that was the name they gave her, this unknown child. And people cried, for the loss of this unknown child, for the senselessness of what happened, for the fact that someone cared so little for her that they threw her away like she was garbage. After they stole her life. And she died in pain. The community loved her and mourned her and prayed over her.

And still the search went on for her identity.

After weeks went by, Gladys Perez went to her mother’s home for a visit. She had one child with her, but the other child was absent. Lila Perez, Gladys’ mother kept pressing her daughter about the child she was missing. Somehow Lila managed to see a picture of the little girl who was found. And she recognized her. And she recognized the jacket the little girl was wearing when she was found. Lila had bought it for the little girl.

Let’s stop and examine that for a moment. Lila had born this little girl, and raised her. And loved her. Now suddenly she was faced with the realization that her little girl, may have been the uncaring mother who had thrown her little girl away like a piece of garbage.

Lila managed to talk Gladys into turning herself into police. In Minnesota where Lila lived. When faced with her mother, Gladys told what happened.

She had been with a man called Anthony Colon. She and he, her two children and his two children had driven to Las Vegas to look for work and were staying at a budget motel there. Colon had evidently begun gambling, and had gambled away the money needed for the trip. They had argued.

Anthony Colon had beaten little Crystal. She had bruises on her face,  stomach, chest, back, and buttocks. After the beating, they didn’t take the child to the hospital, though she must have been in pain. The next morning according to Gladys, Crystal had been sick, had vomited and gone into spasms and she died.

Gladys had told police where to find Anthony Colon, now he is under arrest also. Both are awaiting extradition.

Now a grandmother, is left to face the horror of knowing that her little girl, threw away her own child. Left to mourn the loss of her grandchild. Left to worry about what will happen to the remaining child.

That child has lost it’s sibling, and has lived through a horror of it’s own. Now it has also lost it’s mother, to a trial and jail and prison.

Two other children have lost a father, and are likely worrying about what will happen to them. And they too lived through a horror.

A little girl who possibly would have grown up, maybe had friends and a family of her own, but likely would have lived in relative obscurity will be remembered by a community. And mourned.

And maybe, if everyone remembers this story, maybe Crystal can save another child. If you see or know of a child who is being abused, think of Crystal. And make a report. It only takes a few moments to kill a child. But if you remember Crystal, you might stop it from happening again.

It turns out that someone loved little Crystal after all. The grandmother deserves a lot of recognition  for what she did. She loved her enough in life to supply her with a jacket to keep her warm. And she loved her enough in death, to make her daughter turn herself in. I feel pretty certain she has shed a lot of tears.

Rest in peace Crystal Perez. We now know who you are.


“It’s pitiful,I thank God I’m still happy. You can’t take that from me. I’m still praying to my Lord and master. So to hell with you.”

That was Rodney William’s statement after being sentenced to 100 years in prison for sexually and physically abusing three young girls.  

William’s children Ryan and Q’Tasher will be going to trial in a few weeks.

The girl’s mother, Shirley Ann Holmes is still in jail. Because she testified against Williams and is pleading guilty the prosecution has reccommended that she be sentenced to three years probation.

Special Alert: Please use your voice

In this country, we are lucky to have the right, the responsibility and the freedom to tell our government representitives what we think. There is a very important bill coming up for a vote soon. And it needs your support.

The Child Safety Act of 2005 H.B. 3132. It’s purpose is to protect our children by increasing criminal penalties against convicted child molestors as well as close loopholes in laws that allow child predators to go free. The following article outlines some of the items in the bill:

  • Improves Sex Offender Registration and Notification Program to ensure that sex offenders register, and keep current, where they reside, work and attend school  
  • Improves verification systems for sex offender information by requiring monthly verification, sex offender in-person verification every six months, and regular notarized verification mailings  
  • Requires States to have a uniform, public access sex offender registration website  
  • Creates Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website to search for sex offender information in each community  
  • Expands sex offenders to include juvenile sex offenders  
  • Requires States to notify each other when sex offender moves from one State to another  
  • Expands sex offenses covered by registration and notification requirements to include military, tribal, foreign, sex crimes, and increases duration of registration requirements to protect the public  
  • Expands community notification requirements to include active efforts to inform law enforcement agencies, schools, public housing, social service agencies and volunteer organizations in area where sex offender resides, works or attends school  
  • Creates new criminal penalty of mandatory minimum of 5 years to maximum of 20 years for sex offender who fails to comply with registration requirements  
  • Expands law enforcement use of DNA to solve sex crimes  
  • Prevents and deters violent crimes against children and sexual exploitation of children  
  • Protects foster children from sexual abuse and exploitation  
  • Increases criminal penalties against child sexual predators

    Please join me in letting your elected officials know how you feel about this bill, and how you want them to vote. And ask that they provide any funding necessary to implement it. You do have a voice, and the children could sure use your support.

    If you wish to follow the progress of this bill, or any other bills being debated, you can use the following links. 

    To view the actual act being considered:

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