First let me say that this story is about 2 months old and sorry for the delay in posting about it, it made national headlines.
Rachelle Grimmer had it rough, that I will not disagree with. She was a struggling single mother of 2 kids, a 10-year old boy and a 12-year old girl. In recent years, they were homeless at times or living in a rundown RV or even in a tent on the beach. She begged closing crews at restaurants for food they planned to throw away so she could feed her kids. Her kids bathed with a garden hose and her son was seen wearing the same camouflage shorts day after day after day. She also didn’t have a job, and the state denied her repeated requests for help and food stamps.
To say that Rachelle was desperate would be an understatement. Her repeated attempts to get food stamps were denied. She failed to provide proof of income and when she submitted her paperwork, the math worked out that her child support checks totaled more than her monthly living expenses. So she was denied time and time again.
I don’t know and can’t find out why Rachelle didn’t have a job, or if she worked as hard at finding one as she did at trying to get the state to give her food stamps. I do know that she had a very unstable existence with her kids and that her ex-husband (and father of the children) had tried to get the kids removed from her care for years. They lived a nomadic life, living in Ohio and then Montana and then settling in Laredo, TX. The county they lived in is one of the poorest in the country with the median income at $13,600 annually. Rachelle never made anywhere near that each year.
There are conflicting reports about how much CPS was involved in their lives. The Montana CPS said they hadn’t had any reports about her. Ohio CPS declined to comment. Texas officials had interviewed Rachelle late summer in 2010 after getting reports of a woman living on the beach with her children in a tent. She was able to show that she had food and some cash and out-of-state food stamps. She then showed him a pistol that she said she kept for protection while they traveled. The deputy requested a welfare follow-up, but it never happened.
More than a year later on December 5, 2011, Rachelle took that pistol and her two kids to the state social services office in Laredo that had denied her food stamps and held a supervisor hostage. There was a 7-hour standoff with police that ended with her shooting her kids and then herself. She died at the scene. Her children, Ramie and Timothy, died days later at University Hospital in San Antonio.
I’m sure that Rachelle felt helpless. I can only imagine the pain of watching your children suffer and not having any food to feed them. But there’s always another alternative, I don’t have to spell that out for all of you. Killing your children because you’re poor is not ok. So many other ways to get around these issues, one of them would have been her getting a job. I know the job market is tough, I’m sympathetic to that. But there are shelters that can help and there are churches and food banks and soup kitchens and food pantries. I don’t live in Laredo, but a simple Google search shows me that they do. There was always the option of letting the children go back to live with their dad since he showed interest and getting your feet off the ground then bringing them back one day.
Rachelle’s 12-year old daughter Ramie posted on her Facebook wall that fateful day in December. She changed the “employer” section of her Facebook account to “may die 2day.” Nearly three hours later, at 10:34 p.m., Ramie posted “im bored,” and then 18 minutes later, ‘ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhahhhhhhhh”. Ramie’s final post, at 11:28 pm, read “tear gas seriasly” [sic], an apparent reference to the SWAT team that had surrounded the building. In response, a woman on Facebook who identifies herself as Ramie and Timothy’s grandmother wrote back, “I’m here for you guys. no reason to be afraid”. Shots were reported to be heard at 11:45pm.
RIP Ramie and Timothy. Sounds to me that you all had a harder life than most could imagine. The world will certainly be a darker place without your smiling faces.
Thanks to everyone who sent in the tips.