Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Child abuse, impossible to understand

A 4-year old boy was murdered here in Michigan, close to where I grew up, in a small, pleasant little community surrounded by lakes and farmland. As so often happens, the people caring for Dominick weren't. His mother's boyfriend, who was also a drug dealer, beat and tortured Dominick for four days before the mother's sister reported the abuse to the police. It was too late. The details were gruesome, so awful the nurses and doctors who treated Dominick at the hospital had to speak with counselors about what they saw. The boy set off this man's abusive temper-tantrum by wetting his pants and soiling the couch.

The 24-year abuser's life is over. He'll spend, at the very least, the rest of his life in prison. So will the boy's mother, who is an accomplice in her son's murder. Even without a life sentence in prison, she will serve one in her mind. Worse, the 8-year old brother witnessed everything and has to testify in court. One wonders if the brother will ever recover while wishing and hoping he can. The mother's family and the child's father will be haunted by what happened, as will everyone who knew Dominick, indeed, the entire community.

How do things so incomprehensible happen? What happens, step-by-step, that leads to and creates such a horrific tragedy? This case isn't an isolated event. Children, the aged, and ordinary adults die of abuse every day. Where do we fail as individuals, parents, family, friends, and community that allows these results? More importantly, can we change?

Update 2012: the man who murdered Dominick received 100 to 150 years with no parole. Dominick's mother was convicted of second-degree murder and child abuse and will be in prison between 13 and 30 years.


  1. What a sad and shocking story, all too common I am afraid. The man should be flogged in my opinion, and what kind of mother would stand by and let this happen to her child? She is as bad or worse than the child beater and should be punished accordingly.


  2. I have never understood how an adult can hurt a child to the point of abuse and death. There is a mother on trial here in Houston who allowed her boyfriend to sexually abuse and then kill her 4-year-old. The BF has already been found guilty. The mother lied through her teeth when doctors discovered the girl had herpes a few weeks before her death. My heart bleeds every time I read of the tragic death of an innocent child at the hands of those who shoule love and protect them.

  3. At times like this, I wish this was only a book, and as an author, I could create an HEA where one doesn't exist. Sadly, things like this are all too common. While women who can't have children long for one, a mother who is fortunate enough to have two, can't be bothered to care for them. While I detest the man, I abhor the woman for putting anything before her kids.