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.



  1. Harper said,

    December 30, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    The mother should be charged also. She should lose custody of all 3 children and they should be placed for adoption to be given at least chance for a normal life.
    It is not alright for women to endanger themselves or their children

  2. Croz said,

    January 7, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    The children he hit with a belt was this child and her older sister. The woman he hit with the bat is the mother of these girls. She has a total of 4 children, the 2 younger ones are believed to be Heninger’s, the oldest’s father is a friend of mine, and no one knows who the father of this poor little one is. The mother has been beaten over and over again, and so have these children. But she always plays dumb for the police and refuses to press charges. I hope they take all 4 of her kids away from her. She is a (edited per HSH) with no regard for her own children. The night this little girl was released from the hospital, she went to the bar to hang out with her friends, with 2 black eyes from the night he was arrested for trying to kill her 6 yr old.

  3. worried to death said,

    January 14, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    I have know relationship with this family. But i just so happened to meet the little girls. I was disgusted about what they said to me about what happened. I hadn’t known them for 5 minutes didn’t know know their past. They just wanted to play with my child, within the 5 minutes, they had told me everything that happened to them. It just broke my heart. But to them they talked like it was everyday life. No emotion or anything. One little girl ask me “Dont you read the paper?” They asked me not to say anything to anybody about them telling me this story or they would get into trouble. It was like when they found a kind person they just told everything. My heart goes out to all these kids. I have cried my eyes out everyday since i met them. They are very special kids. Last thing i heard they had to go to foster care atleast thats what they told me. I hope they cn stay together and one day be as happy as they should be. I would take every last one of them home with me if i was allowed. I hope that bastard and that no good mom both get what they deserve and it sure isn’t them little angels. My prayers will always be with them.

  4. Someone who knows said,

    July 3, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    was just wondering if anyone has heard of any updates on this case..

    I know all involved, but choose not to have contact with them.

  5. Kristen said,

    November 11, 2008 at 2:18 am

    He just got sentenced last Friday. 16-18 years and will have to serve 85% of the time. Thank goodness!

  6. Tammy HOGGE said,

    April 29, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    What is the girlfriends name and did she go to jail for any of her part in the incident? Horrible horrible situation but the mother needs to be in jail right along with him. And after the first time he spanked my kids and gave them bruises well It would not have been a pretty situation. Croz is she still drinking and partying? Who know’s her? Please get ahold of me. I am daniel’s half sister i have been looking for him for about 15 years. I can’t believe this I have neices and maybe nephew’s that are being cared for by total stranger’s I have cryed myself to sleep everysince i found out about this whole nightmare. That poor baby, Danny you are soo very lucky I wasn’t your girlfriend and I know you know that Danny. I don’t know her name or even if the two youngest kids are boy’s or girls. The little one’s wont remember a thing but the two older girls will never forget never what you have done has effected there lives forever how are they going to trust men or have a normal relationship. that picture of you i saw Danny was scarry as heck what the heck happened to my baby brother. I love you Danny i alway’s have just remember that. Stop being so angry and mean. And for you to go to your father’s childhood county and dirty our name I do not get it. And a note to there mother, Get yourself into school and rehab and streighten yourself up. Show the state you can take care of those kids and get my neices and maybe a nephew out of foster care. You can do it you just have to want to. Your just as much to blame as he is and i do not understand why you are out of jail. but because they gave you another chance at freedom you need to embrace it and make something of yourself for those kids to be proud of. I have not let my half brother know yet that we know about where he is. He will know soon enough. This whole thing just makes me sick to my stomach. Someone please give those baby’s a extra hug a extra tight squeeze from Aunt Tammy. The most precious thing in life is to watch it through the eye’s of a child. I pray papa Corky is watching over you little angels. And I want so much to wipe your tears away. Someone please get ahold of me over this someone who know’s and maybe can email me some pictures of the kids or tell me there names. And God bless them all. Danny I now know why you did not come home from California with dad before he died you where in California jail. And remember MOM of the girls get yourself streighted out. And i’m just curious are the tattoo’s covering his scars? Danny has never had a life without pain he was burned severly when he was 3 years old and was scared for life. I also know if you hit him on his arm that they almost cut off it hurt him and made him mad and angry. I just want to know what happened. and where my little people are.

  7. Kristen said,

    April 30, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    I was Dan’s wife for a time (before this happened) and was fortunate to escape his abuse when I took our two kids and fled to a shelter. I count our blessings every time I think of these girls. my older son used to play with these girls when he would have visits with his dad. I have followed this story closely. I understand that rights have been severed for all four children and they have all been adopted.

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