Kids and Christmas

There is something really special about kids and Christmas. So trusting and so innocent. So earnst as they make their Christmas lists and try to guess what Santa will bring them. So totally trusting that they are invincable and that there is a Santa Claus.

But one little girl didn’t ask for what she got for Christmas.  She was with her mother and her mother’s 37 year old boyfriend on the Sunday before Christmas. The boyfriend Daniel Heninger allegedly began beating her mother. And according to at least one media report this 6 year old child allegedly tried to stop him. According to reports she was repaid for trying to protect her mother. Allegedly Heninger punched her, he kicked her and he threw her to the floor several times. Per police:

“The suspect picked the child up numerous times and physically threw the child to the floor,” says Sargent Pat Ross of the Springfield Police Department, “causing severe head trauma and numerous fractures.”

She was taken to the hospital in what was first called life threatening injuries. According to reports she had multiple fractures, bruises and cuts.

It seems that Daniel Heninger does have a history. In 1991 he was convicted of drug and weapon offenses and put on probation. But in 1994, he reportedly violated that probation and was incarcerated for 2 years. And in 2005 he was allegedly arrested twice. Once when he whipped the children of a girlfriend and left bruises and another time when he allegedly hit a woman in the face with a bat. However, no charges were ever filed on those arrests. The woman allegedly didn’t cooperate with police and it is unknown why there were no charges in the spanking incident. According to media, Heninger is already on probation for a domestic battery in Sept. 2006. Reportedly he has completed the required anger managment course and was due to attend a hearing in Feb. to pay his fine.

The litte girl spent her Christmas in the hospital, but reports indicate that her condition has been upgraded to stable. I have not seen any reports on the mother’s condition. At the time of the altercation there were two other children in the home ages 3 months and 13 months. They were not harmed. I have not seen any charges filed for the alleged abuse of the mother.

Daniel Heninger has been charged with aggravated battery to a child and attempted murder.                              

She is 6 years old. She has no say about who her mother dates and probably didn’t know Heningers criminal history. All she knew was that her mother was being hurt. And she wanted it to stop.

Instead of a happy Christmas, she spent the day surrounded by nurses, and strange sounds and strange equipment and in pain. She has already or eventually will have to talk to other strangers and tell them what happened to her and who did it. She will need time to heal from her injuries, and may be delayed in returning to school to tell her friends what she got for Christmas. And that Sunday as well as many times since that day she has been scared and in pain.

 This may or may not be the first time she saw her mother being hurt. But this time she tried to stop it. She did not know the danger she was putting herself in, she just wanted to stop her mother being hurt. Children rely on their parents to keep them away from dangerous situations where they can be physically abused or emotionally traumatized. In relationships where there is domestic violence, there is also an increased risk of child abuse. Something every parent in an abusive relationship should keep in mind.

I just hope that this brave little girl got every other wish she had for Christmas.


Merry Christmas to All

That is not a politically correct sentiment I know. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, not everyone is looking forward to this holiday. I do celebrate Christmas and wish to extend my best wishes for all, no matter if they celebrate Christmas or not. Think of an appropriate holiday you do celebrate and consider this my best wishes for that holiday.

For many Christmas is not a happy time. Some are going through that first Christmas without a loved one. For some they have gotten through that first Christmas, but always the thought of that loved one is present and even more so at holidays. For you, I do hope that you can find a measure of peace and comfort in the memory of your loved ones and in Christmas’ past. Sometimes it helps to develop a tradition for Christmas that honors the memory of the loved one. For me, it was the giving of an angel to my mother for the loss of my brother. We were able to remember him in the gift and display of the angel.  For others it may be a visit to the graveyard, lighting a candle or doing some activity you feel honors them or that they enjoyed. What ritual or tradition you might begin can be personal or something the whole family participates in.

Not everyone enjoys Christmas time. Sometimes for persons with depression the holidays can be tough. No matter how they try, the sound of Merry Christmas grates on them like fingernails on a black board. If you know someone like that it may help to just offer your love instead of Christmas Greetings. Persons who are under stress or tension may find that tensions are increased at this time. And some family’s who have tensions among the members may find that that tension heightens at this time. For some, the day off means more exposure to the abuser and sometimes more alcohol brought into the mix. For those I can only wish that they will continue to tell themselves that it is almost over. The carols will end after tomorrow, life gets back to more like usual.

Ok, enough gloom and doom. I do wish each and everyone who comes here a safe and happy day.

Confessions of a Crime Blogger

I’m stuck. Yes, I am stuck on one case. I have been following the case of the disappearance of Stacy Peterson very closely since I first wrote the entry on her.

I have been following criminal cases online for a number of years, and in the past have followed them at least up until the time of arrest, sometimes through the trial. The types of crimes I have studied have included all types of crimes, but especially missing persons. And sometimes they can get pretty in depth, with new info being publicized every few days. But with the Stacy Peterson case it seems that some new info or new quote from the suspect Drew Peterson is breaking daily (sometimes several times daily.) So I find myself stuck on one case.

If you recall Stacy Peterson met Drew Peterson when she was 17 years old and he was 47. The two were married in 2003, 8 days after Drew’s divorce from his 3rd wife was final. Drew Peterson was a police officer. It was Stacy’s first marriage, Drew Peterson’s 4 th marriage. Stacy had two children during the marriage and they joined the 2 adult children belonging to Drew from his first marriage and the two teen children Drew Peterson had with his 3 rd wife Kathleen Savio.

Soon after Drew and Stacy’s marriage, Kathleen Savio died in her home and was found by Drew Peterson in her bathtub. At the time, her death was ruled an accident. But since Stacy’s disappearance, Kathleen’s death is being reinvestigated. Her remains have been exhumed for examination both by public examiners and by a private examiner. The official results of the 2nd autopsy have not been made public, but the private autopsy done by Dr. Baden concludes that Kathleen Savio’s death is the result of a homicide.

The search for Stacy Peterson is still ongoing, even though the weather in Illinois has turned to winter. This week efforts were being made to search an area canal. She has not been found, no arrests have been made in her disappearance, and no suspects have been named in Kathleen Savio’s death.

One thing I have tried to do here on the blog is to make sure that each post I have written received the same attention from me, irregardless of the amount of media coverage. Whether it was a high profile crime, or a crime only covered by local media, I try to make sure that I give fair coverage to all. The same as relates to race, financial status or community position.

But now I am stuck. I find myself watching this one very closely. Some statements have been made in the past that “media” only covers the cases “young, white and pretty.” In my case however, that isn’t what has grabbed my attention. For all my attempts to concentrate on the victim, in this I find myself watching the suspect. In most cases a suspect doesn’t talk with the media, or at least not more than once or twice. The suspect is usually instructed by their attorney not to talk to media. However, in this case Drew Peterson has not only been talking, he has been talking very candidly to media. He has offered up to media the usual cliches I have come to expect from domestic violence cases. But he has also added up his own twists to those cliches, as well as adding some that are entirely new to me. Imagine, a chance to see what a suspect is thinking and doing after he is suspected of killing not one, but two of his wives. Believe me, his reactions are not what you might think.

No, I have’t been blogging it. Not because it isn’t worthy, but because there is so much information coming out so regularly that you could do an entire blog just on this case alone. So for a time, I will be following this case. But while I was searching out new info about this case, I did run across something I wanted to make sure got posted.

Dr. Phil has done a show on the Stacy Peterson case, and I wanted to leave the link for a couple of reasons. Not only does he cover the Stacy Peterson case, he also covered another domestic violence couple and asks the question “The Next Headline?” Certainly a question that any person in a domestic violence relationship should be asking themselves… how far can this go? At the bottom of the article, Dr. Phil also talks about domestic violence and abusive relationships and provides some thought provoking insights.

The Dr. Phil Show

I will be returning, sometime after I can tear myself away.