April is Child Abuse Awareness Month

Children are our loved ones, our future and our joy as well as our responsibility. And I do not mean just the children born to us, I also mean the children in our neighborhoods, our communities and our country. Children are our future leaders, future teachers, future scientists, future doctors and nurses and future parents. Children are often called our greatest natural resource.

 Our country has laws to advocate for our children as well as to protect them. It may suprise you to know that it was as recently as 1974 that our first federal laws regarding child abuse were passed. Prior to that the only protection they had was state laws and sometimes those laws could be a bit haphazard at best. But in 1974 the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), went into effect.

In June 1982 the first National Child Abuse Awareness week was proclaimed. Since 1983 the time was increased to a month and the National Child Abuse Awareness Month has always been held in the month of April. A time to clebrate children and renew our committment to protect them.

childwelfare.gov

Protecting children often means doing a hard thing. It means that sometimes the average citizen may have to report suspicions that a child may be being abused. And it could be a strangers child, but most often is a neighbor, or a friend or relative. So the decision to report is not easy. You may even find yourself questioning if you should have the right to make a report on what is happening in someone else’s home. The answer to that is yes. Every child is important. Every child is worth saving. We lose too many children to violence, and even one child is too many.

Protecting children sounds like something that should be instinctive, something that all parents should do for their own children. And most do. But sometimes things break down. A parent maybe cannot or will not protect them. Or perhaps even becomes the abuser.

A child can suffer from abuse in many ways. Direct abuse to the child that may or may not result in physical injury to the child. Or through observance of the abuse of others. Both have a profound and lasting psychological effect on children as well as any physical affects of an injury.

So the National Child Abuse Awareness month is a reminder to all that there are laws to protect children. And that anyone who happens to witness abuse of any child, it should be reported. Some reports may trigger efforts to have the children removed from an unsafe environment. And some reports may result in an arrest. And some reports may result in obtaining assistance to aid the family in staying together. But all reports must be investigated and all actions taken are to protect the child.

What should you report? Any time you see abuse, any time that you see injuries on a child and were told the injuries were due to something else- but the story doesn’t seem to match the injuries. Any time you hear a child talk about abuse. Making a report doesn’t automatically condemn the reported person. Their will be no action unless their investigation reveals that abuse did occur and the agency feels that some action needs to be taken. And the action that is taken will vary according to circumstances in the home, what the investigation reveals and what the investigating agency feels is the best protection for the child. What should you do if you report abuse, and do not see any action being taken? Caseworkers cannot just walk into a home and remove children unless their investigation confirms abuse or neglect and reveals an immediate danger to the child. In some cases, it may take more than one report to give enough evidence. If you see further signs of abuse or neglect, you make new reports. And always try to make reports soon after a suspected incident, while any possible evidence will be fresh.

Now while we are on the subject of abuse and how it affects children, remember when I said that children can be affected by observing abuse of others? Even very young children can be affected by violence in the home. Even young children can suffer from traumatic stress, even if they have not been abused themselves. And statistically there is a greater chance that if there is domestic violence in the home, there is a greater chance that child abuse also occurs in the home.

aaets.org

So please remember that all children need our protection. There is an old proverb I think Africian proverb that I think is very appropriate at this time. It says it takes a  whole village to raise a child. And I believe it takes all of us to help protect them.

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.

Special Request from the CCB

I have a special request from fellow CCB member Crime Scene Blog. He has written about an endangered missing child Mary Elizabeth Nunes. I would like to join CSB and the CCB in asking that my readers please click over, read the story and memorize the pictures related to this abduction. No matter what country you might be living in, you may have information related to this and not even be aware of it.

Missing: Mary Elizabeth Nunes

Carnival of the True Crime Blogs LVXXIV

For the 79 th edition of the Carnival of the True Crime blogs, click on over to Crime Scene Blog. Stephen at CSB has let us know that he has also started a new blog. It is called For the Missing. From time to time some cases here will involve a missing person. Sometimes they get media attention and sometimes they don’t.

Stephen will be blogging about missing persons on that site and will help to get the information about the missing person listed on the internet for more people to see. Several of the sites on the blogroll are about missing adults or children. Stephen (like many of the others) will take any information that a missing person’s family would like to give, on their missing person.  

Question

I have the opportunity to sign up to receive notice of who will be featured on America’s Most Wanted each week. America’s Most Wanted is shown on Saturday in most areas. My question is- would the people who read here be interested? 

I would really like to have your opinion on the matter. You can respond either through a comment or by taking the poll. If you take the poll all I get is the number- I won’t know any other information as you do not need to leave an ID or email address to vote.

Poll: Do you wish to see weekly advance notice of who will be featured on AMW weekly?

A post about the AMW feature would go something like this:

Omar Mora: This is our lead story right now. Mora is an Indiana man who police say opened fire on his wife and another man in a deadly love triangle. According to cops, Mora should be considered armed and very dangerous.

http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=45464

Jose Garcia: Kentucky police say that Jose “Joey” Garcia brutally attacked and raped a co-worker in 2004. A matching DNA test came back linking Garcia to the crime, but he went into hiding before police could get to him. Follow the link below for the full story:

http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=33920

Alexis Flores: Flores had been convicted of felonies before, but now police suspect that he is responsible for the horrifying murder of 5-year-old Ariana DeJesus in 2000. The identity of Ariana’s killer was a mystery to investigators until 2007 when the FBI in Philadelphia got a break when DNA from the crime scene matched that of DeJesus. Follow the link below for the full story:

http://www.amw.com/fugitives/brief.cfm?id=44983

It is time

I still remember going to school. Elementary school and middle school a fight meant an argument between two or more kids. I remember junior high and high school, a fight meant fists and well to be honest it was more or less looked at as a bit of excitement. And they didn’t happen often.

But the world is different today. Today a fight could easily mean a knife, a sword or a gun. Or one or two may walk into a school class with a gun and wipe out the whole room or rooms. And sadly weapons in the classroom seem to be more and more frequent today.

What happened at Virginia Tech is horrific and devestating. And it is something that we tell ourselves couldn’t happen in our children’s high school, junior high, middle or yes even elementary school.

Chances are that it won’t. Chances were that it wouldn’t happen at Columbine, at Dawson College, at Campbell County Tenn. or at Virginia Tech either. But it did happen there and at other schools too. It has happened in rural and urban schools, and through a variety of grades.

Parents need to talk with their children about what to do if there is a problem in the classroom or if they see a gun.

Even kindergarten children can be taught to stay quiet and stay away from doors and windows. To try to find a closet or get under furniture. They can start learning to tell an adult if they see any kind of a weapon. (Yes, young children have been known to bring guns to school.)

Older children can also be taught to lock or bar their classroom doors with furniture and to cover any interior windows to the classroom.

Parents of older children also need to make decisions and talk with the kids about confrontation of someone with a gun.

All children can be taught to leave any area in which others are getting violent. If a weapon is seen they should be using any available exits- including windows.

It may feel alarmist, but it is important for your child. And what they learn about school could someday aid them in saving their lives- at school or elsewhere.

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A new idea. A bookbag with books in it can be used as a means of defense to protect a child’s vulnerable areas. Books like textbooks, are compressed paper and 2-3 thick textbooks may be able to stop a bullet while a child is running.

‘Top 100 Mom Blogger’!

                                             mom100.jpg 

A big thank you to the staff of MothersDayCentral.com. They have notified me that I was chosen as one of the ‘Top 100 Mom Bloggers’.

It was a suprise to me as I won the award without even knowing I was in the running.  So that is one thing that makes it special. And it is my first ever blog award. So that makes it even more special to me.

A big thank you goes out to whoever nominated and chose me for the honor.

Watching the ‘Watchers”

This is off topic for this blog, but I feel it is important. Spring is here and the time is here to get out and take in some events with your children. Crime Scene Blog has come across a disturbing website that mainly targets the Washington area- but could apply to any area.

Some things are illegal. Some things aren’t- but they should be enough to make you be cautious. And it is often suprising to  see how easily some will openly talk about illegal activities. Pedofiles do. They call themselves Girl Lovers (GL) or Boy Lovers (BL) and often they will talk openly on the net about what they fantasize about, and where they go, and to some extent what they do.

CSB has posted about one of those sites and about what he found there. If you are a parent or a grandparent of young children, you should really check out that post. Before you take those kids out to Easter Egg Hunts, fairs and festivals or other events.

Where the Pedofiles Are

To play Where’s Jack

“I Love You the ‘Mostest'”

Michael Englis and his wife Evelyn have been known to ‘argue’. Over who loves who the ‘mostest’. But this is the second Valentine’s day they didn’t have that argument.

You see, Michael and Evelyn are living separately. But not out of choice. Michael is serving in the Army and is known as Captain Michael Englis. He is currently serving in Bagdad. In 2004 he was in Iraq on Valentine’s Day.

He found a way to continue that ‘argument’ though by contacting an electronic billboard company and attempting to buy advertising space to post a message on a billboard for his wife. But the advertiser refused. Oh, they put up the message from Feb. 12th to Feb. 28th- but refused his money.

If you have driven I-5 and seen a giant billboard flashing a message reading

“Evelyn Englis, I love you the mostest. From your Valentine in Iraq XXXOOO.”

It is the second time he has done this. He also did it in 2004.

Evelyn couldn’t send her Valentine an electronic message, but she also found a way. KOMO TV used their cameras to tape a message from her to her husband:

“Honeybunnies I want to wish you and all our soldiers out there a happy Valentines Day. And I want to tell you that I love you the mostest and I miss you and the kids miss you and come home safely and soon.”

So if you drive I-5, and have seen the sign, now you know the story.

komotv.com

To those who are serving or have served in the Armed Services- whether in a war or stateside duty, I thank you for your service and dedication to our country and our freedom. I also thank your families sacrificing their time with you, to allow you to offer that service.

The Kidnapping

As I was searching for positive stories I ran across this one. It isn’t positive, it isn’t a violent DV. And it hasn’t been determined to be a crime. But, well I want to write about it.

Jorge Alberto Mejia had reportedly been out to a club early on Saturday morning. He told police that what happened then was as he was leaving the club, two men approached him and put a gun to his head and forced him to drive them. Mejia, fearing what they might intend to do purposefully crashed his vehicle into a wall in an attempt to disable it. But the car wasn’t disabled and allegedly one of the gunmen then assaulted Mejia and forced him to continue driving.

Finally the vehicle became undrivable and he guided it to the side of the road. The suspects fled and Mejia called police.

Allegedly Mejia gave detailed descriptions of his attackers and what they had done. Police began looking for the suspects.

marinij.com                                                       cbs5.com

But as police continued to talk with Mejia, they became suspicious of his story. Eventually, he told them what really happened.

He had been to the club and had left intending to go to a casino. On the way he ran off the road and crashed the car. It wasn’t just his car. It was his wife’s new 2007 Ford Focus. Not wanting to admit the real story to his wife, he invented a cover story.

Now police are debating filing criminal charges for the false report. And the cover story- and the reasons behind it have made national and international news. Of the more than 198 different articles on the story, there seemed to be at least one in every state and several different countries. 

sfgate.com              canada.com                theage.com.au 

news24.com            iht.com                 mangalorean.com

Remember Mom saying that it was better to tell the truth and take your punishment than to tell a lie? Many of the articles were very unflattering.

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