Life is full of cycles. Winter is followed by spring, followed by summer, followed by fall. Infancy, to childhood, to preteen, to teen, to young adult, to mature adult, to elder adult. You are born, you live, then yes- you die. The natural order of things.
But some cycles are not natural. Some cycles are passed down from parent to child like some unwelcome inheritance. Some cycles are learned- taught by example and by practice. Child abuse cycles. Domestic violence cycles. Incest and child molestation cycles.The cycles can be broken, but not all manage to escape the cycle.
Some cycles even get worse.
Brandon Alan Austill was reportedly the victim of such a cycle. At the age of 8 years old, Brandon was one of the 6 children mentioned in this APPEAL FROM THE JUVENILE COURT OF SHELBY COUNTY 1999. Reportedly he was abused and neglected by his parents, and possibly sexually abused by his uncle. He and his siblings were removed from the home by the court and placed in the care of the state in 1994. Allegedly his mother had also been sexually abused. There is no discussion of domestic violence, but the parents were ordered into marriage counseling.
What happened to him or about him after that is unknown until a notice of his daughter’s Sept. 7, 2006 birth was put into the paper. At some point he had completed a MySpace page and was posting on it after his daughter’s birth. On a site where popularity is often determined by the number of friends you amass, he had 5 friends, all female. On the face page, the only thing notable is that he stated he didn’t want children. His blog has been set to private and is only viewable by friends. But the Tribune Democrat managed to get into it, as it is discussed and described as “dark” “sordid” “gothic”. “Sitting, waiting, thinking, falling,” “I see it happen, yet do nothing. I hear it transpire, yet I plug my ears. I feel it deep inside, but I void it. I can’t explain it. I can’t face it. I wish I could, or at least understand it. I see the problem. I can’t fix it alone. I have no one to help me.”
Allegedly he wrote that on Nov. 1, after his daughter was taken to the hospital, and before he was arrested. The cache version is here.
Allegedly his daughter was 4 days old when the abuse started. Over the next 7 weeks he is alleged to have variously smashed her head on a dining room table and a bathroom sink. Reportedly he also bent her leg, until he heard the bone snap. And he allegedly used an electric cattle prod on her- twice.
Allegedly he has admitted the abuse and told police that he was unable to comfort her or to stop her from crying. The baby had multiple broken bones in various stages of healing, which were discovered when Austill and his girlfriend took the child to the hospital on Oct. 31. Along with a broken femur, the baby also had
a broken tibia and ulna, facial fractures and 2 skull fractures.
All I can find on the baby’s condition is that she has been released from the hospital and placed in foster care.
Brandon Alan Austill, 21, has been arrested and charged with 6 counts of aggravated assault and 8 counts of reckless endangerment. The girlfriend/mother of the infant has not been charged.
The seasons, the birth-death cycle, those are preordained. Manmade cycles like child abuse, incest and child molestation, and domestic violence are not preordained.
Though statistics indicate that a child born into one of those cycles are more likely to begin another cycle of their own, the cycle can be broken.
It takes time and teaching. It may take counseling. It definately takes work. But most of all it takes committment from the individual. There are a variety of options available to the individual, but the invidual must often seek them out. They have to ask for help, and they have to be open to receiving it, and they often have to make changes in their lives.
Many do escape the statistics and I applaud them.
Brandon Austill’s mother is speaking out. Linda Austill says she worried about the baby and feared what would happen to the child she had never seen. “I had a feeling something would happen to the baby,” and she says that she last talked with her son two weeks before, when he told her about the baby. She says she detected a “lost” note in his voice. She alleges that Brandon has mental problems and that he is hooked on “whatever drugs he can steal.” She also says that he routinely cut himself.
According to Linda Austill, Brandon met the child’s mother over the internet. The mother has not been charged, police say that she was not at the home when the baby’s injuries were inflicted.
Charges currently against Austill are several charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, endangering the welfare of a child, possessing instruments of crime, use or possession of an electronic incapacitation device and recklessly endanger another person.