Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Tragedy That Never Should Have Been

If you've never read Laura's work over at Lost In Lima Ohio then you haven't seen all the hard work she has been doing to help put sex offenders and child abusers behind bars. This particular story will make you cry:
At only 2-and-a-half-years-old, Kelsey Briggs' tiny body had already endured more injuries than most people see in a lifetime. She had broken bones and bruises from head to toe. The DHS report states that Kelsey had a broken collarbone and faded bruises on her thighs and bottom. A doctor said those bruises were the result of abuse, likely from a beating with an object such as a hair brush. Kelsey's mom, Ray Dawn, said she didn't know how the bruises got there. At that time, DHS told a judge that Kelsey needed to be removed from the home and she was. In February the DA went to court to establish Kelsey as a deprived and abused child. The DA said Kelsey's mother and step-father either perpetrated the abuse or failed to protect Kelsey. Two months later, the judge, acting on a DHS recommendation, allowed Ray Dawn unsupervised visits. Given the history some people wonder why DHS thought that was a good idea. Department of Human Service official George Johnson says, Until you can prove a person has done abuse or neglect to a child, at whatever level; until you can prove that, the courts say you need to be certain of things and that there is enough evidence to prove otherwise. If that means returning a child to a childs home you have to do that. Kelsey's guardian, her paternal grandmother, insists the mothers visits only took place if Michael Porter was not around. Within a month, Kelsey was back in a DHS office. She now has more bruises and what's described as a sprained ankle. DHS staff noticed that Kelsey whimpered and would not walk or crawl. They tell her mom to take the little girl to the emergency room right away. Doctors eventually find broken bones and say the injuries are the result of abuse. DHS remove Kelsey from her grandparents home and continue to investigate. Because of Kelseys broken legs, within a month, the Lincoln County DA is back in court and files a petition saying, in part that Ray Dawn, "either perpetrated the acts of abuse or failed to protect Kelsey. However, a month later, in June, the court allows Ray Dawn to have physical custody of the little girl.
Because custody was given back to her mother, Kelsey had very little time left to live. And she died just hours before her father was to come home from serving in Iraq.
By the end of august DHS workers had noticed Kelsey was refusing to eat, had lost weight and was having night terrors. The last time we saw her she wasnt a normal little girl anymore. She had lost a lot of weight, her eyes looked glazed, she didnt have the light in her eyes she had, says her grandfather, Royce Briggs. She was sad. She was a sad little girl and before that, she never had any reason to be sad. It was like she wasn't even in there. But still, she remained with her mother and stepfather. The question is who messed up? The person who messed up did all these things. That is the person who messed up, period. says DHS, official George Johnson On October 11th at 1:30 p.m., a state worker visited Kelsey for the last time. That worker said everything looked fine, but two hours later, Kelsey was dead.
And a hero comes home, longing to see his little girl, only to find that he will never hold her again.
The little girl in the photo is Kelsey Briggs she was two, that hero beside her is her father, Lance. He was with the 1864th Motor Transportation Company from Nevada. While overseas he stayed at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. Lance was a truck driver. They went on convoys all over Iraq delivering supplies. He was injured in August in an accident while his truck was being pulled by another truck after it had mechanical failure. He spent 30 days on medical due to his back being injured.
Hours before he was to return home, his mother called him with the news that his only child had been murdered. After suffering nine months of horrifying abuse, her life was stolen from her by her step father.
The information was there, the proof was before their eyes and yet they sent her back to a certain death. This cannot be allowed to happen again. When abuse is documented over months, the judge should not be allowed to give custody back to the abusers.

This story is also posted at:
The Right Place
The Conservative UAW Guy
Stop the ACLU
My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
The Mudville Gazette
as well as other sites listed on Lost in Lima, Ohio

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