The second installment in the ‘Angels Wear Lipstick’ series follows a young woman who escaped the cruelty she suffered at home as a young child. As an adult, she becomes caregiver to one of her abusers. Her peaceful life is soon interrupted by shocking accusations of murder. A whirlwind investigation leaves many to doubt Katie’s innocence, including Katie herself. She finds solace and support from an esteemed partner, but even he may not be able to prevent Katie’s conviction.
Katie was born in 1964, to teen parents who treated her like a showpiece – and a punching bag for her antagonistic mother. Her life revolved around flashing camera bulbs and tyrannical abuse by her parents. When she was young, Katie was a well-behaved and adorable little girl, but as she got older, she came to understand hers was not a normal family. Despite suspicion surrounding what took place behind the Pryor’s closed doors, friends, family, and professionals alike remained silent.
After Katie is molested, and her tormentor dies, Leda is left to raise the young teen Katie alone. Katie never would forgive her mother’s reaction to the molestation. She became what her mother claimed was a ‘problem child’ and ran away from home. At thirteen, Katie left her mother’s abusive ways forever, making her way on the streets of Toronto.
A kindhearted minister and his wife take Katie in and nurture her, leading her onto a path of love and decency toward humanity. Katie’s young life is dramatically enriched and she finds peace – until duty calls her home to care for an invalid mother. At twenty-five, when Katie’s mother becomes disabled, she feels obligated to return and take care of her, despite their turbulent history.
Strong characters and the life-altering events that follow them will keep you riveted to the very last word. Angels & Their Demons is the second in the Angels Wear Lipstick series. The first book follows Katie’s troubled childhood and her abusive parents as she grows into an endearing young teen, and her escape from manipulating tormentors.
*Both novels are stand alone, and can be read as separate stories.*
Chapter One – March 1989
“Hello?” Katie said, annoyed at being awakened after her long shift at the restaurant. Who could be calling at this late hour, she thought, looking at her bedside clock.
“This is Dr. McNamara, from St. Thomas hospital. I am sorry to call at this hour, but it is very important I speak with you. Is this Miss Katie Pryor?”
Katie sat up, wiping the sleep from her eyes and stretching. “How can I help you, doctor?”
“I have a woman here in my care who claims she is your mother. Her name is Leda Pryor. She has asked me to contact you and tell you she has had a bad fall and needs your help. You are a somewhat difficult woman to track down,” Chris chuckled.
One of her aunts must have given him the number, Katie thought. “That was the intention. How can I help you, doctor?” Katie repeated.
“Well, she had a bad fall on some ice a couple weeks ago and I have replaced Mrs. Pryor’s hip and repaired a break in her calf. However, I’m afraid before she can go home she will need someone there to care for her on a full time basis. That is why I’m calling you now. She will be ready to leave the hospital within a few days and I have no choice but to send her home. There are no alternatives here.”
“Then tell her to hire someone, or send her to some sort of home. She’s not my responsibility,” Katie said, desperate to end the conversation.
“I am afraid a home is not an option at this point, and she claims she can’t afford to hire a nurse, Miss Pryor. Can you come to my office tomorrow, so we can discuss alternatives? I’m stuck with a lack of options here, and I need your help. Mrs. Pryor tells me you would be willing to come to her home to care for her. You were the main contact on her medical record, but she did not have your phone number.”
“Leda is wrong; I will not go to her home to care for her. I don’t care what she tells you.”
Chris was stunned by what Katie told him. She was so blunt it took him off guard. “Miss Pryor, you are her daughter, aren’t you? Look, as I told you, I am at a dead end here. Please, can we talk about this?”
“Alright, alright. I honestly don’t know what I can do to help you, and the name is Putter, not Pryor. Listen, I have a little time after three, if that works for you,” Katie replied, exasperated.
Chris gave Katie the directions to his office at the hospital and contact phone number. “Thank you, Miss Putter. I will see you then.”
Chris tossed his pen on the desk and decided to chat with Leda Pryor before heading home. If he was going to get through to Miss Putter, he needed some background on this young woman. Perhaps Leda would enlighten him. She came across as a decent woman. Mrs. Pryor seemed easy to get along with. What confused Chris was he was told Katie was an honorable woman. He had to figure out what was holding Katie back from helping her mother.
“Mrs. Pryor, how are you feeling? I just wanted to check in on you before I went home and make sure you were comfortable.”
Leda adjusted herself in the bed, wincing with the effort. “What a dear young man you are. I’m still in a lot of pain. Have you contacted my dear daughter yet, doctor?”
“Yes, I have contacted Katie. You didn’t tell me she has changed her name to Putter. Has she married? Chris asked.
“I frankly don’t know what she does anymore. I haven’t seen her for a few years,” Leda chuckled. She would not tell the good doctor her daughter ran away more than ten years ago. “Katie hasn’t spoken to me for a bit, although I don’t know why, to be honest.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. I am however meeting with Katie tomorrow afternoon here at the hospital.”
“She’s coming here? Will I see her?”
“Yes, she’s coming to St. Thomas. Is there anything you can tell me about her past that may help me understand where her thoughts are? Maybe something about her childhood or relationships with family perhaps? She seems a mite distant.”
“Oh, doctor, she was always the apple of my eye. A blessing from the heavens above, she was. I loved her and nurtured her from the day she was born to me. Never had any other children but her to love. But you know, the very moment her dear father passed, she became a young tyrant. She always hated me after he died, but I don’t know why.”
Chris was intrigued. “How did her father die, if you don’t mind my asking?”
“He fell from a building he was working on out west. Katie always blamed herself. Before he passed on, she was angry with her father for some reason and told him she wished he were dead. For several years, she ended up blaming herself for his death. She was a baby though, when he died. Just thirteen then and still my heart. I adored her, I did. Still do. She was always so beautiful. All the best photographers wanted her as their first choice model, you know,” Leda boasted.
“Sounds like you loved, and still do love Katie, Mrs. Pryor. If I may ask, how old was Katie when she ran away?”
“She was thirteen. I have been distraught for all those years. No one could find my girl. Not the police, or private investigators either. I don’t know how you found her, but know I will always be in your debt for finding my little girl.”
Chris mulled the information over for a bit. “It was pretty simple once I called your sister. Your sister has connections at the hospital here, so she was easier to locate. Rose has been in touch with Katie for eight years or so, she tells me.”
Chris watched Leda for a reaction to his answer. Her one mistake was lying about her husband’s death and her daughter’s reaction to it. How did Leda know Katie blamed herself for her father’s death for years if she ran away soon after he died?
“I think Rose is a little off on her numbers,” Leda chuckled. “Rose always was a little flighty.”
“I hear you other sister, Grace says she has been in touch with Katie for as long as Rose has. But no matter, we will have to see what transpires tomorrow. You have a good sleep. If you need anything, be sure to tell the nurse on duty tonight,” Chris said. He noticed a picture of an adorable young girl at Leda’s bedside. The girl was adorned in an evening gown. Chris pointed to the photograph. “Is this your daughter?”
“Yes, that’s my Katie. She was in the auditions for the Raymore catalogue. She always looked older than she was. Wait until you meet her, then you will see how beautiful she is.” Leda tried to move herself further up on her pillows and moaned. “Doctor, can you please help me and push my pillows down a little?” Leda pleaded.
Chris did as Leda asked. “I will see you tomorrow after I have spoken to your daughter.”
“Oh, thank you, doctor. You are too kind. Good man you are, just like my Clark was, God rest his soul.”
Something about Leda’s manner did not sit right with Chris. She was trying too hard to impress him. What was she hiding? Chris lay awake for hours trying to decipher the family history at hand. Leda was hiding something, and Katie was avoiding something different. What occurred to Chris was both of them had something they did not want him to know. Why did he care, he wondered. Chris knew from medical records that Leda had a history of prescription narcotic abuse, and drank to excess. How far back, he wasn’t sure.
Rose had mentioned something about Katie not having her father around for several years before he died. She also spoke briefly of Katie being resentful of her mother’s neglect. Rose seemed reluctant to comment too much on the family history, and told Chris he needed to get the information he sought from Katie. This situation was not like any he had ever dealt with in his career. No other patient had ever kept him from blessed slumber, but this one had him troubled. Somewhere in the wee small hours of the morning, Chris fell into a fitful slumber. The photograph of Katie invaded his every thought and his dreams.
After Katie hung the phone up, she paced the floor of her cozy apartment, mulling over the conversation with Dr. McNamara. The more she thought about it, the more she felt the old grudges welling up in her mind. How dare that woman ask for her help after all she put her through, Katie thought. She made a glass of warm milk and turned the television on to distract herself. An hour or so later, Katie fell asleep on the sofa watching an old black and white western.
The next morning Katie woke with a dull headache. She knew intuitively from experience the doctor would bombard her with repetitive questions about her past. Questions like, ‘What was your upbringing like?’ ‘What did your mother do that was so horrible?’ ‘What did your father do to make you hate him so much?’ The afternoon proved Katie right.
Chris settled back in his chair and studied Katie. “Why do you have this lack of concern for your mother, Miss Pryor,” Dr. McNamara asked.
“It’s Putter, and if you had been through what I have with her, you would understand, doctor. I am not obligated to discuss my life story with you. I think we are wasting our time here. Now if you don’t mind, I have a class to attend.” Katie replied.
“Listen, Miss, we here at St. Thomas have no time for games,” Chris snapped at an impassive Katie.
Did she not realize he had no interest in wasting time? Why was she so cold to this woman who seemed so alone and desperate? Katie was nothing more than a beautiful, but spoiled 25-year-old in his eyes. He was not some intern who earned by the hour – he was a surgeon, for pity sake.
“I don’t know what we are trying to accomplish here, but I’m not about to help your patient. I don’t care what you have on file as far as her personal information goes, but she’s no longer any parent of mine,” Katie stated, rising from her seat.
“Listen, Miss Pryor, er, Putter, the long and short of it is your mother cannot stay here much longer, and we have nowhere to send her but home. In my opinion, you are obligated to do something as her sole relative contact.” Chris thought he had her there.
“I am not willing, in any form, to care for that woman. In my opinion, I am not obligated to do anything, Dr. McNamara. Please, have a good day.”
Katie turned to leave, but Chris was fascinated by this particular conversation and he wanted closure on this case. What was more, Chris needed Leda out of his way. Chris wanted to see this case to the end, and Katie was a mystery he wanted to solve. This young woman had his interest despite her hostile attitude. She was attractive and educated, and Chris felt compelled to know more about her and her past. Chris found himself oddly captivated by Katie.
“Wait, please,” Chris said. “I do not have anyone else to call for your mother, and no one who will take her in. Can we not come to some sort of agreement?”
Katie was not backing down. “I can’t tell you what to do with your patient, but I would not wrack my brain over her. She is not a nice person, and has not made or kept many friends through the years. She and I have never seen eye to eye, and there is no love loss there, I assure you. You will be unlikely to find someone willing to care for Leda Pryor.”
Chris was floored to hear such candid words from Katie. She seemed too closed off to expose her feelings in the frank way she just had. If he could get Katie to open up more, he may be he would get through to her after all. “Do you not think Leda deserves some care? She is now an invalid. I don’t know where to turn with this case but her family, Miss Putter. I need your help here”
“As I said, I don’t know where you can turn with her, but I will tell you it’s not with me. I have been done with that woman for a dozen years plus. Try her sisters or a distant cousin.”
“Mrs. Pryor asked for you in specific. How about this, Miss Putter, if you agree to oversee her at-home care, we can send her home with 24-hour nursing care. There would be minimal cost through government plans. You will not have to be at her home most of the time. However, you will have to sign papers for the day and night shifts as they come and go. Having to sign all those papers means you will need to meet with her staff three times a day at her home. Would this be acceptable to you and your husband?”
Katie sighed, expressing her annoyance. “There is no husband to debate with. It is my decision alone. Is it not your place to find a solution? What happens if I refuse?”
“Your mother will have no choice but to be released into a homeless shelter. There, they can provide skeletal care, such as meals. No more. Her bathing, dressing and bandages will be her responsibility, which she cannot do on her own. She has a leg brace to keep the ruptured bone in place and cannot walk. We are looking at another two months before she is partially mobile.”
Katie was fighting her inner demons. She was a woman of good faith and love, but dare she expose herself to that woman again? Could Katie be so close to a woman who almost destroyed her and still maintain her sanity? Could Katie resist the urge she had harbored for years to rid herself of the woman who almost broke her spirit? “Listen, doctor…”
“Please, call me Chris.”
“Listen, doctor, don’t get me wrong, I am willing to help almost anyone, but there are reasons you will never understand that come into play here. Leda Pryor is poison, and I will have nothing to do with her. Have a nice day, and good luck.”
Katie stepped into the outer office, but Chris wanted his answers, and followed. Chris pulled on Katie’s sleeve, turning her to him. “Please, can we discuss this somewhere besides my stuffy office? I do want to understand your point of view. I know sometimes things are not as they seem, and I want to know if I am making a misjudgment. I am a man of reason, and mean no disrespect to you.”
Katie watched Chris and listened to him make his plea and wondered if he could be one of them – the good people. “Fine. Meet me at Gracie’s Café on Main Street tomorrow at 4pm. I will be off work then and we can talk, but don’t expect miracles. Know this right now; I do not swallow bullshit, and I do not tolerate fools at all. Cliché? Call it what you will, but it’s me. Take it or leave it.”
“I’ll take it. See you then, Miss Putter.”
By noon the next day, Chris was miserable with anticipation. He never felt the same anxiety any time in his life. He wanted to see Katie more than he wanted answers about Leda. Katie had an aura about her he admired already, despite her cool, almost arrogant manner. The main desk paged just after 2 pm, and hearing the overhead call, Chris responded immediately.
“Hello, Dr. McNamara speaking.”
“Hello doctor. This is Katie Putter. I’m sorry, but I cannot make our appointment today. I’m afraid I have to work until six this evening. Can we meet tomorrow at the same time?”
Chris’ heart sank. “Can I meet you somewhere near your work? I will drive wherever it is to meet with you. You must understand, I have to close this case, Leda’s discharge is tomorrow.”
Katie was already exhausted. “Whatever. Meet me at the Café at six then.”
Chris’ heart leapt in his chest. “I know the place well. I will see you at six,” Chris said, grinning. The afternoon went by at a snail’s pace for Chris.
Live, love, laugh, then love some more! = My motto.
I am a writer/research analyst, specializing in Ancient History. I have several novels in the works at the moment. (When writer’s block halts one, it’s always good to have another to jump into!) I also have a planned outline for a historical series, geared to youth, teaching them about the Bronze Age, while entertaining them.
Feel free to contact me via email: AmarissaCale@yahoo.ca
(*Based on a true story. Names have been changed to protect the innocent. This story is incomplete, and unedited.)
Dear diary: I saw her again today. The three-year-old with the rose lipstick. She was in the city, just as she was all those years ago. The pink lace and satin dress resting just above the knee. Her hair was up in the fashionable style of her day. Ringlets adorned her porcelain cheeks, and swayed in perfect harmony with her every step. Smiling that well-practised smile, she was as pretty as a peach today. Pretty as a peach. That’s what they used to tell her parents.
I was drifting backward in time as the salesman asked her if she wanted the red or black tap shoes.
Angels Wear Lipstick
She told him, “I would like the red ones, if you please, sir.”
“What a darling child. I will be right back with her size.”
The wiry man disappears in the back room and momma begins to fuss with the child’s hair. Nothing out of the ordinary for the girl. She sits, her countenance rigid, as her mother continues to fuss.
“Are you sure you like the red ones best, darling. They are the ones you want?”
“Yes Momma, more than anything in the whole world.”
She is lying. I will tell you what she wants most in the world; to be a child.
Katelyn Marie Pryor was born to young parents, in the mid 1960’s, during a frigid Toronto winter. Her parents were still in their teens when she was born. Their heads were full of misguided plans and fantastical dreams. The youngest among their peers to marry, they quickly became the centre of attention. It was not their mediocre home or possessions that gained them notoriety, but the child they would have less than a year from their wedding day.
Leda and Clark Pryor had a small Civic ceremony, with only friends and few family members attending. Close relatives because of age and inter-family grudges opposed the marriage. Leda had an abusive childhood and grew up watching her parents engage in frequent drunken brawls. Clark’s childhood was difficult as well. Leda and Clark were determined to give their children the best of everything, but more importantly, all the attention they lacked as children. They went too far. Much too far.
The moment Katie was born, pale golden locks already present, the dresses, bonnets, and pretty shoes came pouring in from friends. Leda always had her baby dressed up and ready in case someone stopped by to see her. She was a little prize. Her doll, Leda called her. Kate grew and the clothes began to run short within a few months. Leda began making clothes for the baby and herself to save money. All the family friends fussed over baby Kate and the dresses, so Leda kept making them.
Between work and financial worries, Clark soon became resentful of the family he was now responsible for. Leda, sensing the change, became depressed. The only positive element in their lives was the attention they received when they were around other people. However, the attention was all on baby Kate. The more Katie was prettied up in flashy dresses and shoes, the more attention Leda and Clark basked in. Life was tolerable as long as Katie was smiling.
Katie didn’t mind the attention when she was very small; she slept through most of it. As she got a little older and needed space to explore her world and grow, Katie easily became over-stimulated with so many hands pawing at her. There came a point where Katie began pouting and withdrew whenever certain people came to visit. She would sulk in a corner or mess her hair.
Katie began to shy away from most people. Not only strangers, but even some she had known since birth. She enjoyed the trips to the park, before she had the independence of walking. Her parents figured that if she were in Leda or Clark’s arms, she would not get dirty or bruised.
Katie only really ever experienced the swings, as the rest of the play equipment was too risky for fall or injury. The ride in the carriage was soothing for Kate. She was able to rest and let the world pass unnoticed, unless someone stopped to fawn over the ‘pretty baby’ that was overdressed for her age.
At six months, Leda decided it was time to dispose of the diapers and started toilet training Katie, without much success. The doctor told Leda and Clark they were expecting too much from a child that could barely sit unsupported. Leda insisted the doctor was wrong, and changed paediatricians immediately. Needless to say, success was slow in coming.
During a visit to spend an afternoon with her sisters, who still lived at home, Leda was lectured by her mother when she brought the baby’s potty with her. Leda’s mother told her that she was pushing the child to do too much at such a young age. Since Leda vowed not to raise her daughter the same way she was raised, Leda decided her mother was wrong.
A few months later and a particularly hard day at work, Clark came home and lit in on Leda about the fact Katie still could not walk.
“She’s only nine months old! What do you want from me?” Leda fell onto the bed in tears.
She was already ashamed that her daughter could not walk yet, even though her shame was unfounded. Her dismay arose from the desire to have the best of everything when it came to Katie.
“Why don’t you get off your lazy backside and teach her to walk? What do you do around here all day anyway? You do nothing! You’re a fat, useless slob.”
Clark went to the stove and removed the potatoes that had almost boiled dry, leaving Leda to think about what he told her. Clark knew he was right. Leda didn’t do anything all day. At least nothing for him. All Leda’s time was spent washing the kid’s hair, or making new dresses for her and the baby. She spoiled that brat. His wife never had time for him. He tossed the pot into the sink and pulled a can of beer from the refrigerator. He plopped himself onto the sofa after turning the television up so he couldn’t hear his wife sobbing, or his daughter bawling.
“Shut that kid up, will you. I can’t hear the news,” Clark shouted, oblivious to the fact it was his fault Katie was crying in the first place.
Leda barrelled out of the bedroom and rounded on him, fed up with his cruelty and complete disregard for her feelings.
Arms akimbo, Leda shook her thick finger at her husband and hissed,
“Who do you think cooks your meals and cleans your clothes? I do. I take care of this child twenty-four hours a day, with no help at all from you. I wipe every spill on Katie’s chin, so she doesn’t stain her clothes. Heaven forbid that should happen, and ‘daddy’s little princess’ wasn’t perfect.”
“You wanted the damn child in the first place. You are the one who parades her around all day. You walk to your mother’s house for a coffee and walk back. Why? I will tell you why – you love the attention from the people who stop you in the street to look at Katie. You treat her like a puppy in a dog show. Your own friends don’t come around anymore because all you do is dote on Katie, or brag about how beautiful she is.”
“How dare you! You are jealous of our daughter. My mother said you were, but I didn’t believe her. Now I am having my own doubts. No, I no longer doubt, I know it’s true.”
“I am not jealous of Katie. I’m glad it is her and not me you suffocate with all the fussing all day long.”
Clark snorted and pretended to turn his attention back to the television. The very idea that he would be jealous of his own daughter. How could she even think such a thing? Leda’s mother had some really stupid things to say sometimes, Clark thought. She never really liked him from the start. No wonder she was saying stuff that would make Leda doubt him or undermine him as the ruler of his house. He would have to make sure Leda didn’t go over there so often, or at least without him.
“Go attend that child. I’m tired of hearing the noise. Bring her to me while you clean yourself up and fix my dinner.”
Clark gulped his beer, setting the empty can down with a belch. You are such a pig, Leda thought, glaring at the man she was young and stupid enough to marry. I will show him who’s in charge of Katie. She dressed Katie in the prettiest dress she owned.
It was red velvet with with lace trim at the neck. The sleeves were long and made entirely of lace. Lacy floral designs adorned her white stockings as well. The lace theme was completed with frills on her rear end. She wore shiny black dress shoes and hair was in neat ringlets and a red silk bow. Then off to daddy she went.
“Jeez Leda, she looks like a China doll. She looks like she’s going to break if you touch her, or something.”
Clark bounced his daughter on his knee and played peek-a-boo with her, secretly hoping the child would throw up on her perfect, fancy little outfit. Maybe he was pushing the girl too hard by wanting her to walk at her tender age.
What did he know about babies anyway? His sisters raised all the younger kids in their house growing up. The farm work was his and his brothers’ domain, not kids and babies. Plus, Clark was sure kids were supposed to be walking before they went to the bathroom on their own.
“Da-da. Da-da,” Katie babbled between hiccups.
That was all it took to change Clark’s mood. The Da-da gibberish always worked. It was as if she knew just what she was doing, and how to bring her father out of a foul mood. At least she knew who he was. He really did like the little rugrat, even though she wasn’t born the boy he’d wanted. He wondered what Leda would think if he taught her to use power tools when she was older. What did it matter what Leda thought? She was his kid too.
“Park momma? Please, momma? I wanna play park,” Katie squawked.
“No park today, Katie. We have to get your picture taken for the magazine, remember? That will be more fun than the park. I promise. We will have plenty to keep us busy there. You’ll see.”
“Not fun momma. I don’t want cameras again. Too many lights and it’s too hot in there.”
“We are going, Katie. Now stop complaining. There will be plenty of people there to talk to and keep you happy.”
Leda snatched Katie up and plunked her onto the bathroom counter to finish primping the last lock of her hair.
“Now sit still so momma can finish your hair and we can get going. Isn’t this exciting, Katie? You’re going to dress up in lots of pretty clothes and be in a big catalogue that all kinds of people will see.” Leda was clearly more excited about the prospect of her daughter modelling for a catalogue than Katie was.
Katie wanted to shake her head no and run off on her momma, but was very bright for her age and didn’t dare. Instead, she just let her momma finish pinning her hair, while Katie fought the urge to close her eyes and sleep. The bathroom had the best lighting in their cramped basement apartment. Leda was becoming frustrated with her daughter. Lately, Katie seemed to be more obstinate than ever. She had gone as far as running from Leda when it was time to go to these photo sessions and messing her hair, or even undressing before Leda could stop her.
It took Leda more than an hour to set the ringlets just right each time, and Katie didn’t sit without wiggling most of the time. The last time they were supposed to go to a photo session for the Sears catalogue, Leda was pressed for time and Katie was disgruntled. Katie kept complaining she was hungry and tired and Leda was sure that when she messed her hair, it was to spite her.
Katie had run into the bathroom and locked the door when Leda chased her. Katie adamantly refused to open the door for ten full minutes. When she finally unlatched it, Leda already knew they would not make the bus on time and would be late for the Sears photo session. Leda yanked the girl by her arm, and raising her from the ground by the wrist, whacked her bottom with her free hand several times. Katie wailed from the pain in her shoulder and the burning on her rear end.
“Shut up, you stupid brat! Do you know what you have done? You have cost us the contract, that’s what! Thanks to you, we won’t be in the catalogue now,” Leda screamed at the top of her lungs, scaring Katie half to death.
Leda tossed her toddler to the floor. Katie scrambled to her feet and ran and hid in her bedroom closet. She cried as quietly as she could, trembling violently. Leda was not done with her and went after her. Leda threw the closet door open, and yanked Katie by the same arm, tossing her onto her bed. Leda stripped the rest of Katie’s clothes from her and continued to swat the toddler’s bare bottom until it blared red.
Katie fought and kicked through the assault, which only enraged Leda further. Katie screeched in agony. Her shoulder had been sprained and her rear felt like it had been split in two. Leda shoved her hand over her daughter’s mouth to muffle the noise. Katie struggled to breathe, fighting against Leda’s hand and her stuffy nose.
“I said shut up,” Leda growled at Katie through clenched teeth. “I’m warning you, Katie. I will beat you senseless!”
Leda held fast and continued smacking the child until she lost consciousness. Leda panicked, fearing she had gone too far when Katie went limp in her lap. Leda splashed water on Katie’s face and shook her hard to rouse her. Gradually, Katie came around, and immediately began to scream from the pain.
“Stop that, or I will spank you again,” Leda warned, raising her hand so Katie would understand she meant business.
Katie buried her face in her pillow, trying to be as quiet as she could. Leda left her daughter’s room as soon as she was sure that Katie would stay quiet. Katie would have no dinner that night, Leda decided. After all, the child had to be punished for ruining any chance they had for the spring catalogue, she thought.
The reality was Katie had been among over a thousand other entrants and nothing was guaranteed as far as any modelling contract went, ever. This time was no different. Although, this time Katie dared not to mess her hair or defy her mother in any way. When Leda raised her voice even the slightest, Katie trembled. Katie hated the constant camera flashes, both at home and at the studios, but had little choice where the matter was concerned.
If she complained the least bit, Leda would hit her and Katie would lose her dinner for the next day or two. Katie remained silent as her mother finished fixing her hair, even though the pins used to keep it in place pinched her scalp. Almost two hours later, and Katie was ready to leave for the next photo session.
Leda packed an extra few items in Katie’s accessory bag, just in case, and was ready to go, even though Katie was not. There was no time for play. Not today. Leda was taking a very dressed-up Katie to see a man about having Katie put into the fall catalogue.
Katie still wanted to go to the park, but once she was able to walk, the trips to the park stopped almost completely. Leda was afraid Katie would get her dresses and stockings dirty, and get scuff marks on her shoes. The park was something the Leda avoided for the last two weeks now, for fear Katie would fall and scrape her knee or something. She had to be perfect for the big day in front of the camera.
Katie was already past time for her nap and quite cranky. Katie sulked quietly, while her mother waited for the bus. Toronto buses were always crowded at this time of day, and usually late. The photo studio was downtown and too far to walk, especially with a two year old.
Leda carried her red-faced daughter onto the bus, and as expected, it was packed. A kindly man offered the flustered mother his seat, which Leda gratefully accepted. Katie sat on her mother’s lap and stared out the window. Katie didn’t like the bus. She liked the car much better, but daddy had the car at work that day.
“What an adorable little girl,” a woman laden with groceries nodded toward Katie.
That was all it took to get the dreaded ball rolling. Even at this young age, Katie knew what was to come next. Katie buried her face in her mother’s sweater, before the hands could get her. They always wanted to touch her or her hair. Leda scolded her and told her to thank the woman. Katie pushed her face further into her mother and shook her head. Leda apologised for her daughter’s rude behaviour and explained that the girl was tired.
Katie was in fact tired enough that she could not fight the slumber any longer and dozed fitfully on Leda’s lap. The sway of the bus, and missed nap had gotten the better of the small toddler. Then the familiar dream began again. It always started the same way. Katie was sitting alone on a chair. There were bright lights all around her. Then the faces came, and Katie began whimpering in her sleep. Her nerve endings jarred to life, causing her body to twitch as she watched the faces edge closer to Katie from behind her closed eyes.
The faces without bodies closed in, stealing all the air around Katie. Closer and closer. Then there were many more of them. Always more and more. Katie could smell the breath of a woman who had black teeth. Another one had no hair. The gnarled fingers began pointing. Then the one with big green eyes glared at Katie, her face inches away. The voices. Loud at first, and suddenly Katie could no longer hear her mother calling to her.
The voices overpowered Katie’s cries to her mother for help. Her mother’s silhouette moved further away. Leda would not come to her. Katie kicked and cried out for her momma, when her momma turned away. The faces with the shrill voices were all around Katie, blending together.
“What an adorable baby. She’s so beautiful. Oh, look at the pretty dress,” the voices screamed in Katie’s ears.
Louder now, and Katie couldn’t get away before they had her. They were there. It was too late. The screeching voices had hands. They were grabbing at Katie, and pulling at her dress and hair. Pawing her and leaving their deplorable foul stench all over her. She struggled to get out from under their grasp, but couldn’t move. She was trapped. The hands got her, grabbed her and pulled at her. A thousand hands ripped her from her seat and the faces with the screaming voices snatched her far from her momma’s sight.
“No! No!” Katie screamed and her hands shot to her ears.
The passengers on the bus that were watching Katie’s display did so in alarm. To see such a small child have this horrible fit. She struggled in her sleep against her mother. She struggled to get away from the hands. The hands were suffocating her. The hands were taking her and hurting her. She struggled to breathe. Katie shrieked and wheezed, her throat closing up on her.
Katie was having her fourth anxiety attack. Leda was utterly embarrassed by her daughter’s conduct. People stared as she tried to explain her daughter was prone to nightmares. Leda was livid that Katie would cause her such humiliation. She would be properly punished for this stunt when she got her home. Another child, frightened by Katie’s incessant squalling began to cry.
The bus driver pulled the crammed bus to the curb and opened the door. He looked back at Leda, who was still trying to awaken her terror-stricken child. Leda got off the bus and dumped the child onto the sidewalk. Katie was crying and grabbing for her momma, who treated the nightmare as though it was a tantrum.
Passerby shook their heads at the naughty little girl who held her hands out, desperate for the safety and comfort of loving arms. Tears streamed down the child’s cheeks, her air hitching in her throat. Katie’s tiny hands, palms up, opened and closed furiously, as though willing her momma to come to her. Katie fell and scraped her elbow trying to stand on trembling limbs. Leda yelled at Katie for making them late for the photoshoot and ruining her hair.
It took Katie almost an hour to calm down enough to walk and board another bus home. When she finally calmed, she was exhausted, but still without the comfort of loving arms. The nightmares and anxiety attacks always drained her. As tired as Katie was, she was afraid to sleep. The nightmares Katie had about the crowds of faces and hands coming to take her away to a place she could not breathe in would plague her for a very long time to come. A very, very long time.
“You know you are only allowed two strawberries a day,” Leda admonished her daughter for asking for another berry.
“Momma, I’m still hungry.”
“You can’t have too much to eat, or you will not be in the pictures anymore. You have had your half sandwich and juice. Lunchtime is over, Katie.”
Katie was tired of these diets her mother had her on. She wanted to eat ice cream like all the other children. Katie had gained a pound and a half the doctor told Leda that morning. Even though the doctor said Katie was a little underweight for her age, Leda insisted that she lose that pound and a half she had gained over the last six months.
“At age three, she should be at least five pounds heavier. And Katie is displaying a lack of iron. She needs more meat in her diet and a supplement as well. A few pounds won’t hurt your daughter, Leda,” Doctor Addison insisted, showing Leda the growth chart he kept on his desk.
“She looks just fine to me, Doctor. She is not very tall either, Doctor. You have to take that into consideration.”
Leda had stormed out of the room then, leaving Doctor Addison confused and shaking his head….
With the release of my new book, I have been particularly busy lately. I haven’t been around too much, and for that I apologise.
Click picture for purchase link
In the meantime, I have a couple of links for the book I already have available for only $2.49. Much like this book, my new series will be made available at very reasonable rates, so that they are accessible to everyone. You do not need a special eReader to view this or any other eBook. You can read them right on your computer!
Here is the synopsis for “Love, Faith & Fidelity – Wrapped In A Great Sex Life?”:
*Have you turned dinner time into playtime with your hubby lately? Sneak in any extracurricular activities at work that involved an office chair and high heels lately? Do you know what aroma is guaranteed to initiate arousal in men? Hints, tips and playful tricks galore in this book for adding or keeping the fire in your love life. I will show you some of the benefits of being physically healthy in your intimate relationship. So sit back and have a hot Ginseng tea ready, because there is plenty of juicy stuff to cover. Not only do we address some of the common issues that we face in today’s relationships, but many ways to add some spice into your already existing partnership. Risqué little tidbits and new ideas to try out on your mate. No need to wait for tomorrow – these are tips you can try right now!*
As a special sneak peek at the upcoming serial publication, here is the mission statement, especially for my dedicated readers:
Our commitment to your child is simple;
We Guarantee quality stories you can read to your child without fear of monsters to frighten them… only magic to delight them. In this series, our promise to you, the caregiver, is simple; you can be confident that these books will never contain anything other than good, pure fun for your youngster. With each story in the series comes a life lesson. With that lesson, we are only reinforcing the positive morals and values that you are already teaching your child as they embark on their own journey through life. Together, you and your child can plunge into a new odyssey of pure excitement in every book!
PPD is very common to varying degrees after childbirth
Post-Partum Depression, or Postnatal Depression (PPD) is more common than you may think. Though common, it can be anywhere from undetectable to severe. It is a condition that occurs after the birth of a baby, usually appearing as uncontrollable and rapid mood swings and depression, though may be accompanied by several other symptoms. It usually occurs within the first three months of childbirth, but can take as much as a year to appear.
It should not be confused with the ‘Baby Blues‘, a moderate form of mood changes after childbirth, generally caused by the fatigue and overwhelming new responsibilities.
PPD differs from the more common Baby Blues in many ways. Here are a few ways to tell them apart:
Loss of appetite – usually mild
Difficulty concentrating – mild in intensity
An unexplainable sadness – can be mild to moderate
Touchiness – can be fairly severe. Fatigue plays a major role
Insomnia – usually mild and temporary
Weepy – mild to moderate
Periods of uncontrollable crying – usually mild
Mood swings – mild to moderate. Fatigue is a major factor here
Feelings of inadequacy – mild and temporary
Anxiety – usually mild
We can compare that to PPD with these symptoms:
No longer finding pleasure in activities previously enjoyed – moderate to severe
Lack of motivation – usually severe
Sleeping more or less than usual – sleeping through the baby’s crying is common
Little or no interest in the new baby – may be drastic, requiring intervention
A general feeling of sluggishness – moderate to severe
Feelings of guilt – usually due to negative thoughts about the baby
Little or no care about appearance or basic self-care – typically severe
Feeling worthless – usually severe
Alternating feelings of wanting to hurt the baby, then worrying about hurting the infant. These thoughts make the affected mother feel guilty about having the feelings at all – the guilt is usually the worst
Moderate to severe increase or decrease in appetite – typically lack of appetite, causing worry if the infant is breast-fed
Blaming or having negative thoughts about the child – moderate to severe
Unpredictable and /or bizarre behaviour – moderate to severe
Variable and rapid mood swings – mild to severe. In most cases, this is severe, but may not always be the case
Recurrent thoughts of death and suicide – no one can say accurately enough to judge the severity, but this is a major cause for concern regardless how severe. All of these symptoms I have listed here are symptoms gathered from several sources. I complied the list and common severities myself.
New mothers alone face a double danger. They need support
The list of possible effects of PPD is not far different from that of someone suffering from severe depression, but unlike common depression, a new baby brings forth a coupled guilt along with it. When a new mother cannot control her raging emotions and general feeling of malaise, the baby is also demanding attention that the mother sometimes does not want to give. It is not the fault of the mother, and she should never be blamed. We should however, be supportive and encouraging, even if it seems futile. Some mothers have experienced intense PPD, and actually harmed their babies, perhaps blaming them for the depression. We know that is unrealistic, but the afflicted mother doe not.
PPD if not treated can lead to Post-Partum Psychosis. In general, most new mothers will not need therapy, though in some cases, it is recommended. If left untreated, Psychosis may occur in the more severe instances. I have touched on this subject in another Post. Here, you can read what the results were for two daughters, on newborn, the other 9 years old. (Opens in new tab). The cause is the rapid change in hormones, during, shortly prior to birth and after giving birth. It is a very intense and rapid change in the woman’s body that can leave anyone feeling ‘out-of-sorts for some time. Couple that with the new and life-altering experience of caring and being responsible for another human life.
Any type of depression is difficult to understand and cope with
In the most serious of cases, we see attempted suicide, and suicide-murder, where the mother will actually kill herself and her baby. These mothers have usually reported having PPD to such a degree that they have thought about physically harming their newborns. Thoughts such as this produce such profound guilt, that the mother believes that the child is better off without them. Unable to live with what they have done, they will take the child’s life and their own simultaneously. One case that was widely publicised was the case of Dr. Suzanne Killinger-Johnson, a Toronto Psychiatrist. August 11 /2000, the 37 year-old mother cuddled her infant son close to her and stepped in front of a Toronto Subway train. This is the worst possible scenario. As a Psychiatrist, one would believe that she could diagnose her problem and seek help. This is not so.
What she suffered was the darkest, deepest side of PPD. It was believed that she stopped taking her medication, fearing it would harm her breast-fed baby. Everyone that knew her thought she had life by the horns. She was a successful Doctor in her practise with a loving husband, mortgage free home and a brand new luxury vehicle. She was beautiful and charming. A new healthy baby would have been the ultimate addition to her life, we would think, but all of this could not prevent the evil that PPD can cause. We cannot know what was going on in Suzanne’s mind in the weeks before her death, but can only imagine the horrors that she suffered. God rest her passionate soul, she became another helpless victim of severe PPD.
A loving and supportive partner is indispensable for a new mother with PPD
Post-Partum Psychosis symptoms are more intense that PPD symptoms, involves the onset of psychotic symptoms, and may include:
Thought disturbances – unusual patterns in thinking. We may see some off-the-wall remarks that would indicate such thought processes.
Disorganized speech or behaviour – erratic behaviours and random speech.
Hallucinations – we may or may not be aware of this, unless the affected person makes us aware. On the other hand, we may see this person act erratically in reaction to such hallucinations.
Delusions – An affected person has a false belief that is resistant to confrontation with actual facts. They may alter the truth to suit themselves, or be genuinely sincere about the falsehood.
Whether it be Baby Blues, PDD, or the more severe Post-Partum Psychosis, none of these things should be ignored. As a society, we see the ‘horrible’ side of these problems, and ignore the fact that these are real people with real problems. society tends to treat these women as though they were contagious and shuns them. They are looked-upon as though they were abnormal, or lepers that they should run from. Why is this? The answer is simple .. we do not take the time to understand the real issues, or to care. If society remains ignorant of the real facts, they remain ignorant to themselves.
What if this happened to your sister, cousin, aunt, or even your own partner? Would you take the time to care? Take the time to learn about what you do not understand before you pass judgement, or simply pass them by. We are all in this world together, and need to begin to be more understanding of one another. The next time you see a stressed-out mother trying to calm a crying baby, and getting frustrated, do not pass judgement, but rather pass along a knowing smile. She will appreciate the gesture, because you have shown some human compassion.
Many thanks to Ant World for supplying the topic and in-depth discussions on this and many other significant matters.
Have you ever heard anyone say, “don’t act like an idiot”? How about, “you will do better next time”? Perhaps, “you filthy little liar!” Or maybe, “you’re useless!”? Sure, we have all heard those things, but saying them to a child, any child, can be as harmful as hitting them with a belt – hard. Those words can be more damaging than a spanking. Giving our children a loving and nurturing home is something we all strive for, but sometimes stress and pressure from outside elements cause us to lash out at the nearest person, and too often, that is our own children, or children in our charge.
I studied the cycle of abuse aggressively many years ago, for reasons of my own. I had a deep desire to know why it seemed to worsen in families over time – for the most part. There is a trend in abusive families that cannot be ignored. I worked as part of my communications studies in a shelter for abused women in Alberta, Canada, some years ago. What I discovered there was astonishing. Of all the women that were there, all were abused by a partner .. anda parent.
Statistics show that anyone raised in an abusive home will almost always be abusive themselves, or be abused by a partner. This is true among the entire population. Race, religion, social standing and sexual orientation are not factors in determining whether one will be abused or abuse. The most common denominator is upbringing. There are cases where we find a psychological element will facilitate the inability to understand what we are saying /doing is wrong. This is the chief exception in the cycle.
Emotional pain is forever
To say, “you’re stupid” to a child will increase their chances of failure because, being said enough, they come to believe that yes, they are stupid. Some children will only need to hear that once to believe it. Children do learn what they live, and if they live a life of abuse, they too will either be abused as adults or be abusive. On the other hand, if a child makes a mistake or does something naughty, like swipe a couple cookies from the jar before dinner, and we respond calmly with, “Why was that wrong?” or, “What can you do better next time?” Even, “Why was it wrong to have cookies before dinner, when I told you no?” This will likely produce an answer that may surprise, or even astound you.
Children are far more intelligent than we give them credit for. They know what they did was wrong. By responding in in a rational manner, we also enforce their ability to problem solve on their own.
There are many different types of abuse .. these are the most common found in families with young children:
1) Mental abuse – things such as telling a child they are stupid or ugly is common for this type of abuse
2) Physical abuse – speaks for itself, except to say that not providing the necessities such as food is included in that umbrella.
3) Emotional abuse – blaming a child for the trials or stresses of an adult is one example. Another is commonly overlooked by adults – that is arguing or fighting in the presence of a child.
4) Neglect abuse – this embodies everything from lack of food and clothing to being left alone or abandoned. Also in this category is neglecting a child’s emotional needs.
5) Verbal abuse – yelling and name calling are forms of verbal abuse.
I wrote my thesis on four different case studies. All four were real people, and the theory was solely mine. I would like to share my findings. I no longer have my dissertation, but do remember the cases well. It was something that not only fascinated me, but became a new way of thinking for me; a new outlook on some very old questions.
CASE ONE – “SAMANTHA”
Samantha was born into a lower-middle-class family. The family had its struggles financially, but nothing that was not overcome fairly easily. By the time she was 10, the family moved comfortably into middle-class. Samantha was an only child until that time, and was doted-upon outrageously as a small child. Samantha was born with a physical defect, which was undetectable most of the time. Her parents married very young. Both were still teenagers when they married and Samantha was born 10 months later. Her parents treated her like a doll – quite literally. She began protesting, to which her parents responded by having her hair cut very short to embarrass her. This occurred about the age of 9. Approximately the same time her mother became pregnant with their second child. A child they desperately wanted.
An abused child feels very anxious
Here we have a child who is paraded around like a prize for years, until she begins to resent the treatment. Then the second child is born, and Samantha is suddenly the odd-man-out. Samantha had many friends, though because of the manner in which she was raised, was very shy and reserved. Her friends were similar in demeanour and accepted Samantha into their group. Samantha was often bullied at school because of her disability. Nonetheless, she remained a pleasant child and was very easy to get along with. She was an honest and caring child. Well-mannered and patient.
All of this took an about-face by age 10. Samantha’s sister, Rachel was born and her mother went into a severe postpartum depression. Her father cared for her mother, while Samantha was expected to care for the newborn. Samantha took care of the child day and night for an entire year, while her mother battled her depression. Samantha was thought the real mother of Rachel and was shunned by much of the tight-knit neighbourhood. She had little time left for friends after school; that time was consumed by caring for the baby, cooking and cleaning. (The life and treatment of Rachel is the second case study in this post).
Within the year, Samantha had become resentful of her ‘motherly’ duties, and began to rebel. Little things like not coming home immediately from school. Instead she would hide in the nearby woods and meet her friends for some time to do the things any young child would enjoy. Samantha started to sleep in class due to fatigue, but this was seen as another form of rebellion. The officials questioned the parents, and they described her as being ‘difficult’ at home. By age 13, Samantha began running away. Though feeling frightened in a big City alone, she ran to a stable farm, about five kilometres from her home. The police caught on to this very quickly, however. Perhaps she thought the officers would figure out why she ran away in the first place, sooner or later. It was an obvious call for help, but again, all that was seen was the ‘difficult’ child Samantha had become.
Frustrated because the police could not stop Samantha from running away, her parents became exasperated with her, and thus the verbal, mental and emotional abuse began full out. Samantha was often told she would never amount to anything, and despite the excessive responsibility beginning at the tender age of 10, she was told constantly that she was lazy. She was told she was ‘stupid’ . When she refused to wear dresses, (the only thing that revealed her disability) she was told that she was ugly because she wanted to wear long pants. She was a very sensitive child and when Samantha cried, she was laughed at and told she was even uglier for doing so. Samantha was accused of doing drugs, smoking and having intercourse with boys by age 15. Her mother called her a tramp and other derogatory names when she dated at age 16. She was innocent of all she was accused of even years later, but still was categorically accused of these things.
All our children want (and need) is a loving and nurturing environment
Samantha’s extended family became distant from her immediate family because of the obvious dysfunction of her parents. This isolated Samantha considerably. Samantha’s parents separated just before she turned 16, and was accused by both parties for being the cause. Samantha dropped out of high school at 16, a year advanced. She found a job as a barmaid and an apartment with one of her co-workers. Samantha continued her duties to her younger sister until she was 18. Samantha married at 18. Divorced at 19. Her husband was a drug abuser and was verbally abusive toward Samantha, until he landed in jail for trafficking. She decided to go back and finish her grade 13, which was complete in one term.
Samantha dated, and had two long-term relationships over the next ten years, and all were in some way mentally or verbally abusive – until the age of 30. The last abusive partner was the worst, having a problem with alcohol and heavy street drugs. (Chiefly crack cocaine and acid) He was also the father of her child. Samantha endured that relationship for two years before she became pregnant, and one and a half after her child was born. She left him behind, after a string of verbal threats of physical violence, which she knew he was capable of, and moved her child halfway across the country. Having the child in that kind of home, something snapped in Samantha, and then and there, she broke her own ‘cycle of abuse’.
Samantha spent years reliving the same abuse she suffered at the hands of her parents. She did so because she honestly believed all the things her parents told her she was – Stupid, worthless, ugly, would never amount to anything, lazy, etc. Her list was extensive. All of this stemmed from the way her parents spoke to and looked upon her. It wasn’t any of her fault, not one tiny bit, but because of it, Samantha spent the better part of twenty years feeling very little self-worth.
She was either too fat, too skinny, to stupid, too ugly, or too lazy to be any good in her own eyes. None of which was true, but she didn’t believe that she deserved any better from life than what she had. Samantha struggled for years to be ‘better’, to be ‘smarter’, and to be a good person. A hard worker and dedicated to anything she set her mind or heart to, Samantha, I am happy to say, has broken free of that cycle, raised a perfectly well-adjusted child, and has become a much stronger person over the last 15 years.
Don’t say things you may later regret and will harm your children
Samantha learned what her parents did caused her to choose abusive partners and she has since learned the signs of an abusive partner. She got the help she needed to pick up where her parents should have left off all those years ago. She is still wary of people she doesn’t know and struggles with trust issues when it comes to sharing personal matters with others. Sometimes afraid of being hurt but willing to take certain risks. Samantha armed herself with knowledge and is empowered with it. Strong as a mother and role model. A dedicated humanist that loves without condition. Sadly enough, Samantha was engaged to a man who respected her and showed her the kind of happiness that she had never known, but he passed away ten years ago, after his heart failed. He suffered from ‘Epstein’s Anomaly’, a rare deformity of the heart – ironic, isn’t it? Since then, Samantha has been perhaps a little too cautious about whom she spends her time and energy on, but I am confident enough to say she is no fool and knows her own heart and knows what she wants.
Samantha broke free of the abuse cycle before it was too late. For millions of others, they will carry on the cycle to abuse their own children, partner or themselves. After doing some research, Samantha discovered that this abuse had seen at least four generations in her family before her. Both her parents were victims also. This type of abuse causes self-doubt, and self-derogation .. fortunately, this was not one of those cases.
In the worst case scenarios, abuse can lead to suicide, murder, and death by the hand of another. When we abuse our children, we just may be setting our children up to be abused or an abuser as adults. Is that what we want? Is that our real intention? If you or someone you know struggles with their children, please, for the love of God and our children – GET HELP – before it is too late! When we belittle others, remember, it has impact!
CASE TWO – “RACHEL”
The next case in my study is the younger sibling of Samantha. Born into an already dysfunctional family, Rachel was subjected from birth to the depression her mother suffered and the distance from her mother as an infant. Some have thought Rachel to have ‘unattached syndrome’, a type of dissociative disorder that causes the affected person to have persistent feelings of depersonalization and/or derealization. Rachel continuously displays what others perceive as selfish and self-centred behaviours in her adulthood.
Contrary to the upbringing of her older sister, Samantha, Rachel was almost ignored by her bickering parents until age 5. Before this, she was the chief responsibility of her sibling. A child rearing a child. This in itself was damaging. A child of 10 does not have the ability to be child-rearing. Rachel was a temperamental child, who often destroyed her belongings and those of others. She displayed a propensity to aggression and belligerence. Ill-mannered toward her peers and oppositional toward any authority. Rachel bullied her peers at school and found herself in the Principal’s office frequently. At home, her parents, on the verge of divorce, spent most of their time fighting, causing a lot of tension in the home.
By the time her parents separated, Rachel was already showing symptoms of a dissociative disorder. Lying and bullying had become typical behaviours for Rachel. After the separation, Rachel remained in the family home with her father for two years, until he no longer wanted the responsibility of a disobedient child. Her mother worked long hours and Rachel was often left unattended late into the evening. Rachel’s mother was too self-involved at this point, to care for a young child; spending time in the company of different men became her primary concern since the separation. Left alone for the most part, Rachel became more distant and reclusive as time passed. Her ability to connect on an emotional level was almost-non-existent.
As an adult she repeatedly blames others for her misdeeds or lack of her own success and motivation. Rachel exhibits poor self control and depends on others to provide external behavioural control. She also has a strong lack of foresight, and has a poor attention span. She shows lack of guilt when breaking rules and laws. When Rachel is cruel or abusive to others, she shows no evidence of remorse.
Abused children are often aggressive
Rachel is unable to gain any real satisfaction from tasks well done and has difficulty enjoying herself, unless alone; rejecting the true companionship of others. She demands attention but lacks depth in all relationships and has a hostile dependency issue. Rachel struggles to be in control of all situations and will lie profusely to gain control. She has an impaired social maturity, and cannot behave in a group setting as a mature adult. Rachel has trouble recognizing and expressing her own feelings appropriately, especially anger, sadness, or frustration. She also has immense difficulty recognizing feelings in others.
Beginning in early childhood, Rachel displayed difficulty with basic cause and effect and experienced problems with logical thinking and seemed to have a confused thought processes. Rachel still exhibits difficulty thinking ahead and difficulty with abstract thinking and auditory processing. A marked difficulty in expressing herself well verbally is also present to this day. Eye contact is a definite problem for Rachel. Most people with ‘dissociative’ disorders do not make eye contact with those they are speaking to. To them, it is a way of maintaining control.
Other issues that people face when dealing with Rachel is her evident phoniness, and hollow, empty emotions, frequent and intense angry outbursts. A seemingly amiable woman, Rachel turns angry quickly when faced with opposition or things do not go her own way. If she is asked to do something by an employer, Rachel will find any excuse not to do it, if she does not feel like doing what is required. The excuses are extensive and they are fictitious. Rachel will delegate duties to others, in order that she will not have to perform them herself.
Children with dissociative disorder do not respond well to affection
In relationships, Rachel is ‘needy’ for attention, and will demand it, and at the same time, will almost suffocate her partner with attempts to control. She has involved herself with mainly married or attached men – again we see the need to control, in her repeated attempts to separate someone from their partner, to be with her. This also may be due to the lack of desire to put any real effort into a healthy relationship. When Rachel does not receive the attention demanded, or the partner begins to pull away, Rachel will threaten suicide and ‘stalk’ the male friend until there is an absolute end to the relationship – she will however, use any means necessary to obtain and maintain control, only relenting once there is another that shows interest in her.
Rachel will never live and thrive on her own. Even at the age of 36, she cannot be independent. Rachel is the abuser in all relationships. This includes family and friends. She needs control, and will do anything to get it. Unfortunately, her own mother is a victim of emotional, mental, and financial abuse at this time, by Rachel. Having been a victim herself, Rachel’s mother does not, (and likely never will) realise what is happening, and continues to be abused in this manner.
Rachel leads a sexually promiscuous lifestyle. Meeting men through websites, and after speaking with them a very short time, Rachel meets with them in their own homes or hotel rooms – a danger to herself, at best. Last known, Rachel was unemployed, and had been for two years, having faked an injury to avoid working, and now lives off monies gained from the Government as well as her own mother. Rachel is addicted to prescription pain medication and Valium, and remains a recluse, playing online video games day and night – her substitute for human companionship.
CASE THREE – “MARIA”
A child is a gift from God, and should never be harmed in any way
In contrast with the first two cases, Maria and her sister, Ashley, were raised in a loving and supportive home, though their upbringing was very strict. They were the children of a classic over-protective rearing, by today’s standard. Everything had to be earned – right down to time with friends. The family was well-to-do, the home expressly lavish. Maria’s father was a successful criminal Lawyer, her mother a respected Surgeon. The family had a live-in nanny and domestic engineer, who did the cooking and cleaning. They lived in the city, while maintaining a luxury summer home in northern Canada.
Maria was a complacent child. She excelled in her education and took extra pains to further her education later on. Maria was never one to demand of or question her parents’ methods. She was told the rules were to protect her and her future, and she did not challenge this. Her nanny adored her and spent considerable quality time with her. Maria’s younger sister was only two years her junior, and spent a lot of time with Maria. Maria loved (and still does) he younger sibling, though they began to grow apart once Maria began high school.
Her parents did not allow Maria to spend more than a half hour a week on television programmes, and during the week, there were no visits with friends or telephone calls to them. Her parents did not allow her to eat anything but healthy food, and there was no candy or junk food in the home. Her family ate vegetarian only. Bed time was 8pm right through high school and it was lights out by 9pm, or lose the week’s television and weekend privileges with friends. Sleepovers were non-existent in the home and friends seldom visited their home. When adults visited or her parents had dinner parties, she spent that time with the nanny only.
Maria made the top of her class through high school and college. She went on to University to become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and is very successful in her field. Maria married at 25, and has three children. She too is strict with her children, though at a far lesser level. Her husband is also a Veterinarian, and after 17 years of marriage, they live a quiet home life and are very happy and content with their lives. Their children are well-adjusted and do well in school. In contrast to Maria’s upbringing however, the children spend plenty of quality time with their parents. I guess you could say that in Maria’s case, she ‘learned from her parents’ ‘mistakes’. When we compare this to the average norm, we know it is not an average outcome. Maria has laboured to make her way and her mark in this world. Her situation was / is not by any means average. Perhaps she tried too hard?
CASE FOUR – “ASHLEY”
Don’t ignore your children – this too is abuse
Ashley was a typical child from an upper-class home, except for her inborn anger. The child of well-to-do parents, and the youngest of two children, Ashley felt ignored and shunned by her parents and friends. She and her sister wanted for nothing growing up – even love. Raised chiefly by her nanny, she still always had all that a young girl could possibly want or need. Although her parents loved their daughters unconditionally, they expected great things of them. Success for their children was utmost in their minds. They made all efforts to see that the girls had the best education and care growing up.
Ashley was, as I mentioned previously, the younger sibling of two children. She and her sister were like best friends until her sister began high school, and made new friends. Feeling like the third wheel, Ashley became reserved and lost all interest in her studies and social life. Ashley started to show signs of rebellion and depression. She cut her hair short and began wearing black clothing only, citing that she was mourning life itself.
Childhood abuse can lead to alcohol and drug abuse later in life
By the time she was 14, her parents sought help from a top-notch Psychiatrist. His diagnosis? ODD (oppositional defiant disorder). This meant that Ashley had trouble with authority, nothing more. She was in therapy for this with the same doctor for a year, and only seemed to worsen in that time. Her grades were all failing by the time she entered high school, and she began skipping classes. Eventually, she no longer attended and the private school had her suspended permanently.
The nanny complained about Ashley and her lack of self care to the parents, for which she received a reprimand, almost losing her job. After that, the nanny simply abided Ashley’s apparent road to self-destruction. Her older sister went off to college, leaving Ashley utterly alone. At this time, Ashley became manic-depressive. She never bathed, nor left her room. Despite these things, her parents continued to love her as she was, figuring that this was simply a phase, and she would just outgrow it. They hired a Tutor for Ashley, to which she had little response. Her academics suffered greatly and she found herself behind by two years.
Ashley found solace in alcohol at age 16. With her parents’ social standing, they had copious amounts of alcohol in the home, and did not notice the missing bottles. Hiding in her bedroom, Ashley was never seen while she was impaired. Though she began to show signs of severe impairment not long into her bingeing, and began screaming and yelling profanities at passer-by through her bedroom windows, which drew complaints from police and
Don’t let them feel unwanted
neighbours. At age 17, Ashley took an entire bottle of antidepressants and drank several glasses of champagne with it.
Luckily, she was discovered in time and spent a couple of weeks in hospital, under the care of the psychiatric team there. Her own psychiatrist left the case files to another doctor at this time. Once home, things seemed to be getting better for Ashley .. for a time. Her nanny was fatally injured in a car wreck, and Ashley was quickly on the way to becoming a train wreck herself. She became involved in a group of peers that could be termed a ‘cult’ of sorts. Claiming to be religious, the cult convinced Ashley to forsake her worldly goods and her family to live on a large ‘farm’ with them. There she became a concubine for the so-called leader and was pregnant at age 18. The child was taken from her as soon as she delivered the child, to be raised ‘properly’ by the cult leader’s
From birth, children need loving care from anyone that cares for them
‘proper wives’. This, they told Ashley, was the proper way to raise the child, to better serve him, so that he may serve their god. The child, a daughter, was burned as a sacrifice to the leader. Ashley and another similar victim ran away from the cult when she was 20, to live in a city together on the west coast.
Believing she had no one to turn to, Ashley was more vulnerable than ever. She connected with a man who claimed he would take care of her and make her rich. He did neither. He
Get on their level and speak in a calm voice
began sticking Ashley with needles, telling her it was vitamins, and feeding her lines about needing her help to ‘entertain’ his clients. The needles contained heroin and other illicit drugs. Drugs he used to keep her under control and compliant with his ‘friends’. He had Ashley moved to a sub-standard flat with several other young women, as young as 14. Ashley lived in the rat infested shack, drinking and shooting heroin into her veins for several years.
Ashley became so depressed she could not remember her own name most days, and refusing to speak to her parents, for fear they would control her life, she sank into an abyss deeper than most of us could imagine. After several years, the man who claimed to be caring for her was arrested for his crimes, and it was weeks before Ashley realised he had not been around. Needing more food and drugs, she left her hovel to search for him. She did not find him, instead she found another like him, though he was far worse – he beat her until she was near death. Fearing he had killed her, he dumped her on the roadside and drove away.
Abused children more often become victims of domestic violence than those who are not abused in childhood
The police found Ashley the next morning and she was admitted to hospital once more. She remains under the psychiatric hospital’s care to this day, oblivious to her surroundings and herself. Doctors claim that this is due to the persistent and heavy drug abuse. She no longer speaks and does not recognise her family members. Ashley’s chances for a normal life are gone because no one recognised what was happening before it was too late. Though her parents had searched for her for many years, the authorities were unable to locate her. During the time she spent with the cult, the investigators were close, and in fact arrested the leader just after Ashley left. The other women received the help they needed, and most went on to lead normal lives. Unfortunately, help came too late for Ashley.
In closing I would like to say that while the stories are real, the character names are fictitious. These cases have stuck with me for the last dozen (plus) years, and will for the rest of my natural life. It is sad to know that with just a few harsh words, we can alter the lives of someone we love. If you know anyone who says hurtful things to their children, please seek help – the future of these children may depend upon you to step up to the plate and help them. Remember, children are vulnerable and rely on us as adults to ensure their success in the future. It is not only wrong to demean children – it is child abuse.
STOP THE SILENCE AND SPEAK UP FOR A CHILD WHO NEEDS YOU!
They are a priceless part of us, and capture our hearts and souls the instant they are born. From that moment we will do anything to protect and care for them. This is human nature. It is an inborn instinct to safeguard our loved ones and is something we all experience. Whether it is our children, our elderly, our partner, a family member, or even our friends, we all experience protectiveness at one point in our lives. For most of the world’s population, this is an ongoing phenomenon – for life.
What if someone you loved went missing; what would be your first reaction? Worry? Panic even? Perhaps. If that ‘someone’ was a mere child of only two years, you might even be out of your mind with terror and apprehension, fearing the worst.
Would you wait an entire month before calling police to report the child missing? Not very likely now, is it? However, that is exactly what happened when Caylee Marie Anthony went missing on June 16 / 2008. Caylee’s (then) 22-year-old mother, Casey Marie Anthony waited until she was pressured to report the toddler missing on July 15 / 2008. A month after her baby girl was last seen. Seems impossible, doesn’t it?
Casey Marie Anthony – Mother of missing toddler Caylee
On July 15, Caylee’s Grandmother, Cindy Anthony, called 9-1-1 and told police she had not seen the child in weeks. Caylee lived in Orlando, Florida, USA, with her mother and grandparents (George and Cindy Anthony). The hartbreaking call was made far too late. Cindy told the 9-1-1 dispatcher, “Caylee’s missing. There is something wrong. I found my daughter’s car today and it smells like there’s been a dead body in the damn car..” Haunting words that will play over in the dispatcher’s mind for a very long time. When the dispatcher asked why she hadn’t reported the missing child earlier, Cindy Casey replied, “I’ve been looking for her
Caylee with Cindy and George Anthony (grandparents)
and just gone through other resources to find her, which was stupid.”
The ‘car’ Caylee’s grandmother was referring to was used by her own daughter, Caylee’s mother. The day the child was reported missing, Casey’s parents went to the impound yard to retrieve Casey’s car, where it had been towed. The car smelled like a body had been decomposing in it, the impound yard manager and Casey’s father claimed later. As a nurse, Cindy knew the odour immediately. She later recalled asking her husband after driving home, “What died?”, not actually thinking that there had ever really been a dead body in the car at the time she made the statement. The car was owned by her parents, but it was driven by Casey alone.
It appears that Casey was staying with a boyfriend at the time her daughter went missing. After locating the car and returning it to their home, Cindy Anthony searched it and found a purse with information on a friend of Casey’s. Cindy asked the friend to take her to Casey’s boyfriend’s house. She confronted her daughter and demanded to see Caylee. They drove around for a while, then Casey finally admitted that she didn’t know where her daughter was. Returning to the Anthony family home, Cindy finally called police. Casey spoke to the 9-1-1 operator as well, and calmly told them that her daughter had been missing for four weeks, but she was afraid that her abilities as a mother would be questioned by authorities, and that is why she did not report the disappearance.
Casey was arrested following the report of her daughter’s disappearance that same night, and charged with the egregious act of murdering her own child. In all, Casey faced seven counts in her daughter’s death, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, child neglect and misleading investigators. If she were convicted, Casey could have faced the death penalty. That was not to be the case. Casey Anthony was acquitted of all charges. That is astonishing, when you consider the evidence the Crown presented at trial.
FACTS IN THE CAYLEE ANTHONY CASE:
Last time Caylee was seen was on June 16 / 2008. Casey claimed (one of several claims) that a nanny, Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, had run off with her daughter on June 19. Casey gave the fictitious woman the nickname “Zanny” . A woman with this name exists, but has never met Casey or any of the Anthony family. September 5, Casey was released from prison on $500,000 bail, posted by her parents. On October 14, Casey Anthony was indicted by a grand jury on charges of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child, and four counts of providing false information to police. She was arrested once more. Judge John Jordan ordered that she be held without bond. On October 21, the charge of child neglect was dropped against Casey, according to the State Attorney’s Office, citing that “as the evidence proved that the child was deceased, the State sought an indictment on the legally appropriate charges.” On October 28 Anthony was arraigned and pled not guilty to all charges.
Skeletal Remains, Presumed at the Time to be That of Caylee Anthony
Sadly, on December /11 / 2008, remains of a small child are discovered in a wooded area near the Anthony family home. The skeletal remains of the tiny body were found in a garbage bag, along with a blanket. Duct tape was found at the front of the skull, skin tissue was attached to the tape, but little possible DNA sources remained, save the hair, which was consistent with the colour of Caylee’s hair. On December 19 / 2008, DNA tests confirm that the remains were indeed little Caylee.
Evidence from the trunk of the car was indisputable. A strand of hair found matched the DNA of hair from Caylee’s hairbrush, and upon analysis, the strand from the trunk confirmed that the hair was from that of a deceased child; specifically Caylee Anthony. October / 24 / 2008, a forensic report by Dr. Arpad Vass of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory deemed that results from an air sampling performed in the trunk of Casey Anthony’s car provided chemical compounds “consistent with a decompositional event” based on the presence of five key chemical compounds out of over 400 possible chemical compounds. A group of technicians from Dr. Vass’ lab confirmed the presence of chloroform in Casey’s trunk.
On April /13 / 2009 prosecutors announced that they planned to seek the death penalty. In October / 2009 officials released 700 pages of documents related to the Anthony murder investigation, including records of Google searches of the terms “neck breaking” and “how to make chloroform” on a computer accessible to Casey Anthony. According to detectives, crime scene evidence included residue of a heart-shaped sticker found on duct tape over the mouth of Caylee’s skull. However, the lab was not able to capture a heart-shape photograph after the duct tape was subjected to dye testing. A blanket was found at the crime scene that matched Caylee’s bedding at her grandparents’ home.
Casey Anthony shown during trial
Jury selection began on May / 9 / 2011, and took longer than expected; 9 days, with twelve jurors and five alternates being sworn. The panel contained nine women and eight men. The trial took six weeks, during which time the jury was sequestered. The trial began on May / 24 / 2011, at the Orange County Courthouse, during which time, Casey was described as someone who was a ‘party girl’, loved to have a good time and did not want the responsibilities of parenthood any longer. Casey’s defence attorney claimed that the little girl had drowned in the family pool, and it was George Anthony that found the lifeless child. He said Casey’s father told her that she would spend the rest of her life in jail, and hid the body. Defence also claimed that the reason Casey was able to carry on as she would normally is because she hid her feelings well, after having been molested by her father as a child. This, of course, did not hold water.
George Anthony was the first witness for prosecution and refuted all claims during his testimony. When Cindy Anthony testified, she claimed that her comment to the 9-1-1 dispatcher that Casey’s car smelled “like someone died” was just a “figure of speech”. At some point, the question whether Lee Anthony (Casey’s brother) was Caylee’s father arose. This was proven false.
After examination and cross-examination of dozens of experts, friends and family, the jury was left with more questions than answers. Questions were raised about the examiners method during autopsy. More about the use of chloroform and whether it was actually used. Someone even claimed that despite the fact Caylee was found in a garbage bag, dead, it did not mean there was homicide involved. How that makes any sense is beyond all logical thought. Yet it is this lack of professionalism that bemused jurors and placed that ‘shadow of a doubt’ in their minds. The evidence against Casey is impossibly clear, yet the lack of ‘hard’, ‘tangible’ evidence allowed her to walk free on all charges related to her daughter’s death.
On July /5 / 2011 the jury found Casey not guilty of aggravated manslaughter, first-degree murder, and aggravated child abuse. She was however, found guilty of four misdemeanour counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer. 1) Casey told law enforcement that she was employed at Universal Studios during 2008, pursuant to the investigation of a missing persons report, and leading the investigation astray. 2) Casey also told law enforcement that she had left Caylee at an apartment complex with a babysitter causing the authorities to pursue the missing babysitter. 3) Casey told law enforcement that she informed two “employees” of Universal Studios (where she lied about being employed) of the disappearance of Caylee. 4) Casey lied to the authorities and claimed she had received a call and spoke to Caylee on July / 15 /2008, causing them to expend further resources. None of which will carry a sentence that has much impact.
Sentencing was on July / 7 /2011. Casey Anthony was given one year in jail and a $1,000 fine for each of the misdemeanours in turn. She received 1,043 days credit for time served. Additionally, she was credited for ‘good behaviour’. Casey was released on July / 17 /2011. She filed an appeal for the minor charges and fines two days prior to her release. A judge ruled that Casey Anthony must pay $217,000 to the state of Florida. In the end, she had to pay those costs directly related to lying to authorities about the death of Caylee.
Timeline of Important Events in Caylee’s Case:
June 9, 2008 — Casey Anthony and her daughter Caylee move out of Casey’s parents, Cindy and George Anthony’s home, and in with her ex-boyfriend, Ricardo Morales, and friend, Amy Huizenga.
June 15, 2008 — Cindy swims with Caylee in the Anthony’s pool that day, afterwards removing the ladder and closing the gate.
June 16, 2008 — Caylee is last seen alive at the Anthony family residence. According to George Anthony, Caylee departed with Casey by car around 12:30 PM with backpacks on their shoulders. According to the defense, Caylee drowned in the family’s above-ground swimming pool during this day and both Casey and George Anthony panicked upon finding the body and covered up her death. Between 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Casey makes numerous short calls to her parents and several friends. Surveillance videos show Casey Anthony and her boyfriend walking around casually at a Blockbuster video store.
June 17, 2008 — George and Cindy Anthony notice that the gate to the swimming pool is open and the ladder is next to the pool.
June 20, 2008 — Casey Anthony is captured in various photos partying at the Fusion nightclub and participating in a “hot body contest.”
June 30, 2008 — Casey’s car is towed from a parking lot after being there for several days; her purse and a child’s car seat are found in the car.
July 2, 2008 — Casey gets a tattoo on her back saying “Bella Vita” which means “beautiful life” in Italian.
July 15, 2008 — George and Cindy Anthony pick up Casey’s car from the impound yard. George Anthony observes a strong odor emanating from the vehicle. Distressed because Casey has not brought Caylee home in a month, Cindy has Amy Huizenga take her to where Casey is staying and makes Casey come home.Casey tells her parents that she hasn’t seen Caylee in a month and that a babysitter named Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez (“Zanny”) may have kidnapped her. Cindy Anthony immediately calls 911 and reports her granddaughter Caylee missing.
July 16, 2008 — Police investigators discover Casey Anthony has been lying about her place of employment and where she says her nanny lives. As a result, Casey is arrested and charged with child neglect, making false official statements, and obstructing an investigation.
July 17, 2008 — Casey appears in court, during which time the judge denies bail, saying she showed a “woeful disregard for the welfare of her child.” The policemen from the Sheriff’s Office searches Casey’s car and takes several items of evidence.
July 18, 2008 — Casey Anthony hires Jose Baez as her legal attorney,who writes a letter to Orange County Sheriff’s Office about Casey’s willingness to cooperate with law enforcement.
July 22, 2008 — Because of police testimony about allegedly incriminating evidence from the car, Circuit Court Judge Stan Strickland sets Casey Anthony’s bail at $500,000.
July 29, 2008 — Judge denies defense motion to ban the release to the media all jailhouse recordings, 911 tapes and visitor logs. Florida public records law mandates record requests by media be honored promptly. Over the next three years thousands of pages of audio, video, forensic information and legal documents detailing the criminal investigations will be released.
August 5, 2008 — The State Attorney’s Office files formal charges against Casey Anthony for one felony count of child neglect.
August 8, 2008 — WFTV reports that investigators suspect Caylee may have drowned in the family swimming pool on June 16.
August 11, 12, 13 – Meter reader Roy Kronk reports suspicious bag to police. A police officer meets Kronk at the scene and Kronk tells him he had seen a skull and bones in a bag. However, the officer was rude and conducted only a cursory search.
August 21, 2008 — After bail bondsman Leonard Padilla pays Casey Anthony’s $500,000 bailshe is fitted with an electronic monitoring device and released.
August 29, 2008 — Casey Anthony is arrested again on charges of writing four checks worth nearly $650 on Amy Huizenga’s checking account without permission. Orange County police said the charges are “unrelated to the investigation.”Prosecutors offer Casey a limited immunity deal related to “the false statements given to law enforcement about locating her child.” She refuses it soon after.(The offer is renewed on August 25and again refused.)
September 5, 2008 — Casey Anthony’s parents post a $500,000 bond and she is released from county jail into their custody after being fitted with an electronic tracking device.
September 6, 2008 — Deputies seize a handgun from the trunk of George Anthony’s car because having a gun on the property violates Casey’s bail.George says he planned to use it to force Casey’s friends to tell him what happened to Caylee.
September 10, 2008 — The whole family allegedly refuses to take a lie detector test offered by both the FBI and local authorities.
September 15–16, 2008 — Casey Anthony turns herself in on new check fraud charges, fraudulent use of identification, and petty theft.She is released the next day on $1,250 bond, and again fitted with an electronic tracking device.
September 25, 2008 — Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzalez, the woman Casey Anthony reportedly named as an alleged baby sitter and suspect in the case, files a defamation lawsuit against her.
October 14, 2008 — Casey Anthony is indicted by a grand jury on charges of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter of a child, and four counts of providing false information to police. She is later arrested. Judge John Jordan orders that she be held without bond.Because it is a capital crime, Casey Anthony faces possible death penalty.
October 21, 2008 — Charges of child neglect are dropped against Casey Anthony on assumption the child is dead.On October 28 Casey Anthony is arraigned and pleads not guilty to all charges.
November 8–9, 2008 — Texas EquuSearch leads hundreds of volunteers in a search of a grid for Caylee, but when nothing is found they suspend their search.
November 15, 2008 — A psychic instructs the Anthony family’s private investigator Dominic Casey to search the area where Caylee’s remains later are found. The search is videotaped. The family’s attorney denies asking Dominic Casey to search there. The area was under several inches of water at the time.
December 5, 2008 — The state initially says it will not seek the death penalty against Casey Anthony.
December 11, 2008 — After yet a fourth tip from Roy Kronk, skeletal remains of what appeared to be a small child are found one-quarter mile from the Anthony home.Orange County Sheriff’s Office obtains warrant and searches Anthony residence.
December 19, 2008 — Police announce DNA testing confirms that the remains belong to Caylee Anthony.
January 23, 2009 — Police discover George Anthony, who had been text messaging family members, despondent and possibly under the influence of alcohol and medication in hotel room. Police also discovered a lengthy suicide note.
January 29, 2009 — Judge Stan Strickland orders Casey Anthony to appear at all court hearings in her case.
April 14, 2009 — The State of Florida reverses self and will seek the imposition of the death penalty.
September 17, 2009 — Casey Anthony’s defense team files a motion to dismiss the murder charges against her because the state allegedly failed to preserve evidence in the case. The motion is denied.
November 24, 2009 — Defense attorneys accuse EquuSearch’s Tim Miller of lying to the court in their claim that only 32 people searched in the area where Caylee’s remains were eventually found and that the number was much higher.
December 18, 2009 — Judge Stan Strickland denies a request to take the death penalty off of the table in the prosecution of Casey Anthony.
January 26, 2010 — Casey admits guilt for 13 fraudulent check charges, takes responsibility for her actions,and makes full restitution. The judge sentences her to time served.
April 19, 2010 — Judge Stan Strickland steps down after Casey Anthony’s defense team files a motion accusing him of having inappropriate conversations with a pro-prosecution blogger. Strickland granted the motion because the accusation would “generate renewed allegations of bias”. Judge Belvin Perry, Jr. is appointed to take over the case.
May 11, 2010 — Judge Perry will allow the state to seek the death penalty.
August 14, 2010 — Cindy Anthony on the “Today” Show calls Casey a victim, and claims she’s not involved with what happened to Caylee’s remains.
August 16, 2010 — George and Cindy Anthony’s attorney, Brad Conway, steps down because he disputes a Jose Baez motion claiming Conway was given unrestricted access to documents belonging to Texas EquuSearch to which he was not given the same access.
Cindy Anthony on the witness stand
January 4, 2011 — Judge Belvin Perry postpones ruling on over two dozen defense motions to exclude evidence from the trial. Over the next several months Perry rules for or against these various motions to exclude evidence. He admonishes, and later financially sanctions, defense attorney, Jose Baez, for failing to turn over expert witness discovery information to prosecutors before a certain deadline.
April 1, 2011 — After numerous outbursts by lawyers in court over what is and is not scientific evidence, Judge Perry ruled more such behaviour would result in a fine of $100 per outburst, with the proceeds to go to the United Way.
May 20, 2011 — After eleven days of jury selection, Judge Perry swears in a jury of five men and seven women, plus three men and two women as alternate jurors.
May 24, 2011 — Trial begins in Orlando, Florida. The prosecution states Casey Anthony used duct tape to suffocate Caylee Anthony. The defense contends the child actually drowned in her grandparents’ swimming pool, that Casey’s father George Anthony warned Casey she would be imprisoned for life for child neglect and then covered up the death; thus she failed to report the incident for 31 days. Also, because George Anthony had sexually molested Casey as a child she had a habit of hiding her pain and lying.Baze admits Casey had fabricated the story of the nanny named Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzales. Baez also questions whether Roy Kronk, who found the remains, actually removed them from else where and questioned police motivations for pursuing a murder investigation. Prosecutors call George Anthony as their first witness and he denies to them having sexually abused his daughter Casey or covering up the death of Caylee.
May 25, 2011 — Various friends of Casey Anthony testify about her fabricated stories during June and July 2008 of having a job and employing a nanny for Caylee. Neighbor testifies that in mid-June 2008 Casey and a boyfriend borrowed a shovel from him to dig up a bamboo root.
May 26, 2011 — Former boyfriend testifies Casey told him her brother, Lee Anthony, sexually groped her. George Anthony says he did not smell decomposition in Casey’s car on June 24, 2008 and states he put duct tape over a hole in one of the plastic gas cans she had returned to him.
May 27, 2011 — Tow truck company manager and George Anthony testify that from their experience the smell from Casey’s car resembled human decomposition.George Anthony denies to Jose Baez having sexually abused Casey.
May 28, 2011 — Former boyfriend testifies about Casey’s normal behavior on June 16, 2008. Cindy Anthony testifies that they swam that day and that Caylee could get up the ladder into the pool. She also believed Casey worked at Universal Orlando Resort and had a babysitter named Zanny.
May 31, 2011 — Cindy Anthony says her description of Casey’s car smelling “like someone died” was just a “figure of speech.” She tried to get rid of the smell by spraying Febreze household odor eliminator. She says she found the pool ladder in the pool the evening of June 16. Casey’s friend Amy Huizenga talks of Casey’s frustration about getting help with Caylee and reveals that on June 27 Casey texted her about a dead animal on the frame of the car.
June 1, 2011 — The first officers to arrive at Anthony home on July 16, 2008 say they did not smell human decomposition in Casey’s car and admit they did not search the other two family cars. They testify about Casey going to Universal Orlando Resort with Casey that day, where she confessed she no longer worked there and did not have a nanny named Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez.
June 2, 2011 — Video tapes of Casey lying to her parents in jail and denying to an officer on July 16, 2008 that Caylee had drowned in the pool, as he suggested.
June 3, 2011 — Investigators describe evidence collection from Casey’s car and obtaining from the towing yard the garbage bag that had been in it. One investigator states he smelled human decomposition.
June 4, 2011 — An FBI forensic scientist testifies the single hair removed from the car trunk was similar to a hair from Caylee’s hair brush and had “root-banding” consistent with that from a decomposing body.
June 6, 2011 — Dr. Arpad Vass of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory describes using a gas chromatograph mass spectrometer to find signs of human decomposition and a high level of chloroform in the trunk of Casey’s car. The defense challenges Vass’ financial motivation and the chain of evidence.
A little too late
June 7, 2011 — FBI forensic chemist confirms chloroform residue in trunk of Casey’s car but admits household cleaning products leave traces of chloroform. Dog handler describes dog alerting to human decomposition in the trunk, as well as Caylee’s playhouse.
June 8, 2011 — Second dog handler says his dog smelled decomposition in back yard. Computer analysts confirm a search for “chloroform” on Casey’s computer March 17, 2008 and “how to make chloroform” on March 21, 2008.
June 9, 2011 — Software analyst John Bradley states someone used the Anthony computer to search the website Sci-spot.com for “chloroform” 84 times on March 21, 2008. He admits that automatic page reloading could account for that number and there was no way of knowing who performed the searches. Investigators show photographs of the remains, including of duct tape that appears to be over the mouth area. One admits that duct tape might not originally have been on the mouth and could have shifted position as he collected remains. Casey Anthony becomes ill looking at the photographs and the jury is dismissed for the day.
June 10, 2011 — Medical examiner states that the death is ruled a homicide because of the delay in reporting the disappearance, the fact the body was hidden and the existence of duct tape, but admits she did not know how the child died. Crime scene investigators describe similar maggots found in the car trunk and at the crime scene.
June 11, 2011 — An expert in forensic entomology states he found flies related to decomposition in the trunk of Casey’s car. Orange County crime scene investigators identify a piece of Henkel brand duct tape found at the scene and testify it is the same brand as George Anthony put on the red gas can. One states that no Henkel brand tape was found else where in Anthony’s home.
June 13, 2011 — FBI examiner states a hair from the child’s skull is consistent with but not identical to the single hair found in the trunk. FBI agent could not find fingerprints on duct tape found near the remains but initially did find adhesive in the shape of a heart on a corner of a piece of duct tape; later she could not find it again.
June 14, 2011 — FBI quality assurance specialist says the hair found in trunk could have come from any member of the Anthony family. A crime scene investigator says heart shaped stickers were found in Casey’s room but did not link them to the one alleged to be on the duct tape. Testimony about and photo of Casey’s “Bella Vita” tattoo made on July 2, 2008.
June 15, 2011 — Prosecution rests its case. Defense makes a motion to acquit based on insufficient evidence a murder was committed, which the judge denies based on previous case rulings.
June 16, 2011 — Defence begins it’s case, often recalling state witnesses for further testimony. Crime scene investigator says no blood was found in Casey’s car or incriminating stains on her clothes. FBI analyst states no DNA evidence was found in the car or at the crime scene. She states FBI did a paternity test that showed Lee Anthony was not Caylee’s father. Crime scene investigator and forensics supervisor state a heart-shaped sticker was found far from the body. An FBI forensic document examiner found no evidence of a heart shaped sticker on the duct tape found near the remains.
June 17, 2011 — Entomologist called by the defense states if there was a body in the trunk, there should have been hundreds or even thousands of blow flies trapped in the trunk as well.
June 18, 2011 — Defence calls a new witness, Dr. Werner Spitz, who questions the medical examiner’s autopsy, including the failure to open the skull, and says there was no indication the death was a homicide. He believes the duct tape was placed on the skull after decomposition and that the crime scene photos of the position of the hair on the skull were staged, possibly by the medical examiner.
June 21, 2011 — A defence-called forensic botanist challenges the prosecution’s theory of when the body was placed at the crime scene. An expert in analytical chemistry who works with Dr. Vass challenges the process of testing for the presence of chloroform.
June 22, 2011 — An FBI forensic examiner says no dirt from the crime scene was found on shoes at the Anthony home or a neighbor’s borrowed shovel. FBI forensic toxicologists found no toxins in the hair from Caylee Anthony’s skull. A scientist who worked with Dr. Vass who testifies tests did not conclusively prove there was a body in the trunk. The FBI’s forensic chemist examiner could not find traces of chloroform in the car. The FBI forensics expert found no hair in the trunk liner showing signs of decomposition. She also testified the duct tape at the crime scene was dissimilar to that in the Anthony home.
June 23, 2011 — An FBI hair and fiber expert says only one hair from the car truck had a sign of decomposition. There is a long debate among prosecutors and defense over the reliability of “root banding.” An expert in forensic toxicology testifies Dr. Vass’s test “lacked organization and planning” and had “minimal standards of quality control. ” He also mentions that chloroform is a byproduct of chlorinated swimming pool water.
June 24, 2011 — The defense shows Cindy a photograph of Caylee on the pool ladder and she again mentions the ladder was in the pool on June 16 when she returned home, adding that she called George to ask about it. The defense also showed the jury a picture of Caylee appearing to open a sliding-glass door at her home. Cindy says Caylee was capable of opening the sliding door to the yard and the pool. Lee Anthony states he was not told Casey was pregnant until days before Caylee’s birth. Search volunteer testifies about duct tape being used at search headquarters.
June 25, 2011 — Judge Perry temporarily halts proceedings after defense motion to determine if Anthony was competent to proceed with trial, based on a privileged communication from Casey Anthony.
June 27, 2011 — Casey Anthony found competent to continue after psychological evaluation. June 27 also is the date the prosecution states it discussed with defense attorney Jose Baez software analyst John Bradley’s post-testimony admission to prosecutors that there was only one search for chloroform, not 84. In testimony, the lead detective admits cadaver dogs had not searched inside the Anthony’s home, or in two other Anthony cars. A professor of chemistry called by the defense says there is no scientifically valid instrument that can identify decomposition, that there is no consensus on what chemicals are typical of human decomposition and that chemical compounds identified by Dr. Vass in air samples can be found in household products and garbage. Three witnesses discuss the November 2008 videotaped search by Anthony family private investigators in the woods where Caylee’s body later was found.
June 28, 2011 — A Texas EquuSearch team letter discusses their November search for Caylee of the site where the body later was found. George Anthony denies he had an affair with Krystal Holloway, borrowed money from her, or told her Caylee’s death was “an accident that snowballed out of control.” He admits going to her home and sending her a text message. He testifies he bought a gun to threaten Casey’s friends into telling him where Casey was, even though he knew having one violated Casey’s bail. Cindy Anthony denies she sent private investigators to search the site where Caylee’s body later was found; her son Lee Anthony and the case’s lead detective then testify she did so, after talking to a psychic. Roy Kronk testifies about his calls to police and finding the body. He denies he told his son finding the body would make him rich and famous, but admits he did receive $5,000 after Caylee’s remains were identified. Judge Perry does not allow jury to hear Casey’s ex-fiancée say that Casey told him Lee had once tried to grope her while she was sleeping.
June 29, 2011 — Cindy Anthony says Casey’s response to the media theory that Caylee drowned was “Surprise. Surprise.” Baez asks George Anthony about his suicide attempt in January 2009 and the next day the judge allows the jury to see the suicide note. Roy Kronk’s son states that Kronk did say that finding Caylee Anthony would making him rich and famous. Kronk testifies about why he changed his story about lifting the skull. An expert on grief and trauma testifies that pretending nothing had happened and partying was one of many different ways people, especially young people, express grief.
June 30, 2011 — Casey Anthony tells Judge Perry she does not want to testify. Perry will not allow the jury to sniff air samples from the car trunk. Defense calls search volunteer Krystal Holloway who states that she had an affair with George Anthony. She states that George Anthony told her that Caylee’s death was “an accident that snowballed out of control.” Under cross-examination she also agreed with her earlier statement to police in which she said George Anthony did not say he knew it was an accident. After Holloway steps down, Judge Perry tells jurors that her testimony could be used to impeach George Anthony’s credibility, but that it is not proof of how Caylee died. George, Cindy and Lee Anthony testify that their pets had been buried in the back yard. Cindy calls it a “tradition” to wrap them in blankets and a plastic bag; duct tape was used to keep the plastic bags from opening. After this final witness, the defense rests. The prosecutor rebuttal begins with showing the jury photographs of Caylee’s clothes and George’s suicide note.
July 1, 2011 — The prosecution continues rebuttal with two representatives of Cindy Anthony’s former employer explaining why their computer login system shows Cindy was at work the afternoon she said she went home early and searched her computer for information about chloroform. A police computer analyst says someone had purposely searched online for “neck + breaking.” Another analyst testifies she did not find evidence that Cindy Anthony had searched certain terms she claimed to have searched. An anthropology professor is recalled to rebut a defense witness on the need to open a skull during an autopsy. The lead detective states that there were no phone calls between Cindy and George Anthony during the week of June 16, 2008, but admits he did not know that George had a second cell phone.
July 3, 2011 — Judge Perry rules that during closing arguments the defense could argue there was a drowning because there was sufficient evidence of that, but could not argue George had sexually abused Casey. Prosecution does an hour and a half of closing arguments, offering a timeline of events and asserting that Casey suffocated Caylee by putting three pieces of duct tape place over her face. The alleged motive was that the child interfered with her partying and spending time with her boyfriend. The prosecution states the defense’ story that Caylee drowned and George encouraged her to cover up the accident made no sense. The defense counters with four hours of arguments insisting there was no proof of how Caylee died, challenging the prosecutors’ most important evidence as “fantasy,” and emphasizing the reasonable doubt that Casey killed Caylee. It again insists that after the child drowned, Casey panicked and George Anthony made the death look like a murder and put the body in the nearby woods.
July 4, 2011 — Prosecutors present a rebuttal to the defense closing, telling jurors their forensic evidence had proved their case, while the defense made claims they did not prove. The case then goes to the jury. Judge Perry issues final instructions to the jury.
July 5, 2011 — After more than ten hours of deliberation, the jury acquits Casey Anthony of all felony charges (i.e., of first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter, and aggravated child abuse), but finds her guilty of four misdemeanor charges of giving false information to police.
July 7, 2011 — Judge Perry sentences Casey Anthony to one year in county jail and $1,000 in fines for each of the four misdemeanor counts of providing false information to a law enforcement officer. The judge orders all sentences to run consecutive to each other, with credit for time served. Based on three years credit for time served plus additional credit for good behavior, her release date is set for July 17, 2011. Judge Perry announces he will not release the juror’s names for seven days saying some people “disagree with their verdict” and “would like to take something out on them.”
July 13, 2011 – Texas EquuSearch, which assisted in the search for Caylee, sues Casey Anthony for the costs of the search.
July 15, 2011 — Casey Anthony appeals convictions of providing false information to a law enforcement officer.
July 17, 2011 — Casey Anthony is released from jail at 12:10 AM, with $537.68 in cash.
July 19, 2011 — Prosecutors write a letter responding to a New York Times article about alleged withholding of exculpatory evidence about the chloroform searches and says they were about to give the jury a Notice of Supplemental Discovery but did not do so because jurors had reached a verdict.
July 26, 2011 — Judge Belvin Perry rules juror names will remain secret until October 2011, citing public “outrage and distress” over the not guilty verdict. He also appeals to Florida legislators to bar the release of juror’s names in some cases “in order to protect the safety and well-being of those citizens willing to serve.”
August 1, 2011 — Orange Circuit Judge Stan Strickland signs amended court documents that order Casey Anthony to return to Orlando within 72 hours to serve one year of supervised probation for the check fraud charge that Anthony pled guilty to in January 2010. Jose Baez accuses Strickland of bias in the ruling. Strickland excuses himself from the case.
August 5, 2011 — Baez obtains an emergency hearing with Judge Perry arguing Anthony already had served her probation and that Strickland no longer had jurisdiction over her. Perry postpones a decision calling the situation “a maze.”
August 10, 2011 — The Florida Department of Children and Families releases report concluding that Casey Anthony failed to protect Caylee, and that Casey’s actions or lack of actions resulted in the death of the child. The finding has little legal relevance.
August 12, 2011 — Judge Belvin Perry upholds Judge Strickland’s order, ruling that Casey Anthony must return to Orlando to serve one year’s probation for check fraud, reporting no later than noon on August 26. The judge declares that her residential information during the probation period may be kept confidential because of threats made against her life.
August 23, 2011 — After defense attorneys file motion to appeal Judge Perry’s probation ruling, the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeals upholds it.Casey Anthony reports for probation at a secret location on August 24.
September 15, 2011 — Judge Belvin Perry rules Casey Anthony must pay $97,000 of the $517,000 the state of Florida wanted her to pay for investigative and prosecution costs to the state under a provision of Florida sentencing law. He ruled she only had to pay those costs directly related to lying to law enforcement about the death of Caylee, i.e., search costs up to September 30, 2008, when the Sheriff’s Office stopped investigating a missing-child case. In earlier arguments Attorney Cheney Mason had called the prosecutors’ attempts to extract the larger sum “sour grapes” because the prosecution lost its case. He told reporters that Anthony is indigent.
September 23, 2011 — Judge Belvin Perry rules Casey Anthony must pay an additional $119,000 for the recalculated costs of the sheriff’s search for Caylee Anthony, for a total of $217,000.
October 8, 2011 — Casey Anthony answers a few questions and takes the Fifth Amendment repeatedly in a video deposition regarding the Zenaida Fernandez-Gonzales lawsuit.
October 25, 2011 — Judge Perry releases names of jurors in Casey Anthony trial.
Just days after the not guilty verdict, several Sates in the U.S. Began drafting ‘Caylee’s Law”, which tightens the noose on parents and guardians who do not report the disappearance of a missing child in a timely manner. Something that should be common sense – for those who have common sense and have not caused the disappearance themselves. It is a moral obligation for all to take appropriate actions when we believe another life is in jeopardy. Another question I would pose is, “why did the grandparents wait so long to report the child missing themselves?” Or at least have an appropriate authority investigate when their daughter failed to produce the child earlier?
A poignant message in support of Caylee’s Law
This is a very tragic story, one we are not likely to forget, once known. It is not about the Anthony family. It is not about the media or press. It has been exploited abundantly, but there are plenty of people out the who know exactly what I mean – it is about a little girl who is no longer in this world because someone stole her life. A heinous crime of hideous proportions. That killer walks the same streets we do every day. Is the person that stole little Caylee’s life even the slightest remorseful? Where is the justice for Caylee?
We all have our opinions on these things, and I for one, am struggling to contain mine. You will always be in my thoughts and prayers, Caylee.
Sweet Dreams Precious Angel. May God Watch Over You.
Listen to Caylee’s Song – She’s Going Places .. Here
Song performed by Rascal Flatts – Link leads to YouTube. Song posted by ‘ripBenoitFamily’
New Release by Amarissa Amber Cale - Angels Wear Lipstick: Based on a True Story - Born to teen parents in 1964, Katie’s parents treated her like a showpiece – and a punching bag for her resentful mother. Her life revolved around flashing camera bulbs and tyrannical abuse by both her parents.. Despite suspicion surrounding what took place behind the Pryor’s closed doors, friends, family, and professionals alike remained silent.