Thursday, March 3, 2011

Suicide Watch on Death Row

I'm not kidding, that is the latest news from Oregon's newest & only Death Row female inmate. She was just sentenced last Thursday, and moved to the State prison in Wilsonville, Oregon.

I'll give you a heads up:  
Graphic Violence Warning about this story. 

This is a story about a child abuse case that was fatal- so it is not a pretty story, and obviously did not have a happy ending.

In the end, the torturer, abuser (not a "Mom"), got the death penalty & is on suicide watch.
Todays headlines talk about how death row inmates can spend decades in the appeals process. But while they do, they remain in a secluded, single-cell isolated, death row ward of the prison.
She plead guilty to aggravated murder.

Honestly, that almost seems too good for her.
I am sorry to say I can't muster up much compassion for her. I almost wish her sentence was to be treated the exact same way she treated her daughter. But that would be barbaric, and illegal.

The mother, came from an abusive upbringing herself, so that is where she learned the behavior.
She had an older daughter from another marriage, and then remarried and had 2 more children.
The older daughter, Jeanette became the target & focus of the abuse.

Food became the item for punishment. As in no dinner for 2 weeks. The food cabinets had padlocks on them & if she helped herself to food, she was accused of "stealing"& beaten, severely.
The child was 15 years old & weighed 70 pounds.  Normal average weight would be about 110 pounds.

Her bedroom did not have a bed, but large pieces of cardboard, mostly used to absorb the blood from staining the carpet.  Her mother used belts, rulers & branch switches to beat her.
She would turn up the TV & turn on the vacuum & let it run idol to drown out the sounds of the beatings. This part of the story really got to me.

"He also reported finding two belts stiff with the girl’s dried blood, and tree branch switches stained red.
Wilkerson likened the room where the girl was beaten to “something out of a horror movie,” with her blood and bits of her flesh spattered everywhere. At one point, he pointed out spots of her blood on a peach-colored, Barbie-sized dollhouse he found in the room. Jeanette had been beaten with such force, he said, that blood flew through the tiny windows of the dollhouse and spattered on the miniature rooms inside."
"Dr. Daniel Davis, the Lane County deputy state medical examiner, said Jeanette suffered so much harm inflicted so many ways that he could not determine which injury killed her. He said his Dec. 11, 2009, autopsy showed that Jeanette had experienced “prolonged starvation,” wasting away to the point that she had no fat and very little muscle tissue left on her body. That alone could have been fatal, he said. But she also had “multiple injuries in multiple stages of healing” over most of her body, Davis said, including bleeding in her brain from a recent blow to the head. He said he found evidence of at least 200 injuries, many apparently caused when she was struck by a “manufactured object with a straight, machined edge.”

A blood-stained, broken wooden ruler was among evidence detectives seized from the ’ trash cans after her death.
She also had pneumonia in the form of an abcessed lung that also might have sent bacteria into her bloodstream, causing shock and death, Davis said. In the end, he attributed her death to multiple factors, saying she was the victim of “repeated, ongoing, visible abuse and neglect.”
The mother pulled her out of school, after at least 3 reports of suspected abuse were filed with DHS (child protective services). DHS did a home visit, where the Mom convinced them Jeanette was just not a truthful child. 
Fact is Jeanette was living in fear of telling the truth. She was starving. The stuff her mother did to her was horrific. 10 hours a day stress poses standing on one leg with both arms over her head (like Abu Ghraib). 
Even the bathroom was locked. At one point her step father observed her drinking out of the toilet because she was denied drinking water as punishment. The father a trucker, was gone most of the time, painted himself of slightly aware of the situation. The younger daughter testified that he too abused Jeanette. 
He's up for lessor charges, 10 years in jail-- but as far as I am concerned, if he knew about this & observed the abuse & let it go on, he was just as guilty.

The trial went on for the last two weeks, each day more of the story unfolding. I won't even share more gory details, other than to say this woman was a monster. 
In the end, as the child was unconscious & cold to the touch, the parents debated about if they should call 9-11, and took the time to discuss what their story should be, as well as the mother taking time to put evidence in the trash. It may well be that discussion time was the final moments the child had to live. Had they called 9-11 earlier, she might have been saved. To their credit the police & ambulance staff immediately deemed their home a crime scene & the trash was inspected. In fact the mother got an additional charge of tampering with evidence, filed against her. 
Hauntingly several more calls to DHS reporting abuse were made, even the day before she died. The step grandmother called & begged them to help-- she said to the DHS worker, maybe I should call the police?
"We're handling it" was the response. 
The step grandmother did not know the full extent of what all went on, only that the girl was emaciated & she was worried. 
Too bad she did follow her gut instinct & make that call to the police. Jeanette might be alive today. 
DHS earlier determined no cause & closed her case. But one would think if multiple subsequent report calls were coming in that would automatically reopen the case.  
But seriously, this is not about sensationalism or morbid curiosity, it is for us as a society to learn a lesson from all this. I wish the school districts would have  mandatory *KNOW YOUR RIGHTS* seminars, so that kids would know what is abuse (not just being asked to clean your room or do your homework!), but to know it is safe to report abuse- up to and including the ability to get a child out of the home ASAP if needed, while the bureaucracy churns through it's processes. Because as soon as abuse was suspected & reported, that child was removed from the school system, and that is when the real hell for this child went into full fledged torture. If one social worker took one look at her battered, bruised body- even her lip was deformed from having her face smacked around & lip split so often, any one of those things would have triggered an investigation & gotten her out of that house. 
Jurors wept when they saw the photos. The mother wept & sobbed during the trial & did not want to look at the photos of the abuse, but she did not react when she was given the death sentence. 
We all need to pay attention to this kind of thing. If we suspect abuse, we need to call. If child protective services do not respond, then calk the police. Because, better the family have a mild inconvenience,( if there is no abuse) than a child suffer this kind of fate ever again. 
Had McAnulty not pulled her daughter from school to home school her - and torture her to death in obscurity - Jeanette Maples would be a high school junior now.
Instead, Maples died Dec. 9, 2009.

As for DHS (child protective services) They have to evaluate information before they investigate. If someone calls in to report abuse, they need to respond, right away.  Thats their job. It`s their only job. It`s the reason that this agency exists. It`s more than a mistake, It`s an absolute outrage. It`s even more than a firing offense, in a sense, DHS was an accessory to the crime. 

Honestly, reading about the suicide watch on this death row inmate, seems wrong.  She tortured her own child to death.


Love is the thing you get
when it is true.

Love is the thing that can be
as true as deep blue.

Love is the thing that
can make you mad.

Love is the thing that
when broken, can be sad. 

- Jeanette Maples                                                                                                    

Rest in Peace, Jeanette


nonnie9999 said...

just sickening. there's a case down here in south florida of a little girl who was killed and her brother severely burned by their adoptive parents. a relative had called dhs, and they did nothing. a call was made to the police, and the caller was told to call dhs.

Fran said...

How could DHS totally fail at this job?
Underfunding yes, overworked sure. But when multiple calls are coming in.... to say *case closed* is a total fail on their part.
Even though the Mom w at the helm of abuse, the Dad knew it was going on & allowed it.
Pisses me off he only gets 10 years?

Sad FL case Nonnie.

Really tragic these kids are abused by parents AND the agency created to protect them.

Mauigirl said...

Simply horrific. So sad.