Clint and Lynn Engstrom, the couple accused of forcing their teen daughter to stay in a barren room 22 hours a day for two years, are being evicted from the prison-house for close to $5,000 in past due rent. Seems fitting, no? (Hat tip: Sinthyia)
Amanda Hamm, convicted of standing back while her boyfriend drowned her children in a car, was sentenced to 10 years in prison. As readers on a previous thread have noted, this means that she could walk out of jail in a year or two, once time served is taken into account. Justice? Um…not quite. Hamm will get have the chance to rebuild her life and move on. That’s a chance her kids will never get.
Recently we reported on the case of Clint and Lynn Engstrom, the Oshkosh, Wisconsin couple who kept Clint’s 13-year-old daughter in her room for 22 hours a day. Today was the teenager’s turn to tell her side of the story – in court.
According to the girl, she wasn’t physically locked in her room, but merely ordered to remain their for her “bad” behavior, which included talking back, hitting, kicking, and lying. In other words, being a pre-teen. When the teen asked her stepmom why she couldn’t see her friends from an old private school, Lynn Engstrom reportedly told her that all her friends hated her. Nice. It sounds like the parents’ treatment of this girl became a self-fulfilling prophecy: the more they told her she was bad, and treated her as bad, the more she internalized it…and the worse her punishments became.
Meanwhile, the blame game continues in fierce fashion, with Lynn Engstrom saying she did only what the girl’s psychiatrist told her to do, and with psychiatrist Dr. John Korger denying he ever told the parents to lock her in a bare room with a piss-soaked mattress. And the Engstrom’s attorney continues to maintain that the two did everything they could to “help” their daughter. Spare me. Depriving a kid of two years of her childhood? Treating her like the Cinderella of the house, while her three siblings slept in rooms stocked with toys, on clean and comfy beds?
That is criminal negligence. it’s abuse. And there is no excuse for it.
(Hat tip: Sinthyia)
Hot tipper Norma gave me the lowdown on one Francina Katina Shepard, who is apparently well known by Child Protective Services in Detroit, Michigan: three of her kids have been taken from her in the past. But that didn’t stop Shepard from bearing twins, and beating them both so severely that the 16-month-old boy died.
There’s very little information beyond that. Mostly all we have at this point are questions. Was CPS involved with these kids from the get-go, given Shepard’s history with the state? Did she give birth to them before or after the other kids were seized? In short, what (if any) is CPS’ culpability in this case? Obviously Shepard bears the brunt of the moral blame. But if this is another case of a state agency turning a blind eye to a known abuser, I’m going to blow my stack. It’s hard enough to watch what happens to some of the kids we profile on this site. It’s almost unbearable knowing that some of these tragedies could easily have been prevented.
If you have any information on this developing story – past CPS records, court records, etc. – please give us a heads-up.
(Some hot tipper supplied this link to me, but I lost their name. Sorry. It’s been a loooong week.)
Hey folks – check out a new feature of the site, The Bad Parent Heatmap, which maps the cases we’re covering to their geographic location. I’ve geo-tagged our last 20 or so cases, and will get more of our archive tagged this weekend. (Hopefully some of these will include international cases, so the map doesn’t look so Americentric.)
More bad parents coming shortly…
Trenton Duckett case update: Police are following a slim lead that suggests Melinda Duckett, Trenton’s mom, might have arranged for her son to be taken to South Korea. Melinda, who was adopted from South Korea as a baby, reportedly talked with friends about sending Trenton there. Not sure how plausible that is, but any lead is better than radio silence.
Thanks to Sinthyia for the heads-up on yet another story of parents doling out the alcohol to minors. And when I say “minor”, I mean MINOR. 21-year old Stephanie Ann Helton of Phil Campbell, Alabama was busted by the authori-tays when police (for reasons unspecified) were called to perform a “welfare check” on the three kids who were at the house. Either the 7-year-old or the 8-year-old who were at the house had the common sense to tattle on the mom, telling the cops that mom had let the 1-year-old quaff some beer. Helton admitted as much to police, who booked her for child endangerment. She now faces up to 10 years in prison for her, ahem, lapse in judgment.
I have to say that, for a bad-behaving parent, Helton is kind of cute. Too bad she didn’t have the common sense that God gave crabgrass – at least, not when it counted. There’s nothing sexy about dumb parenting.
It’s not clear to me whether the 7- and 8-year-old are her kids or not. If so, that means that she would have had one child at age 14 and another at age 14, which seems doubtful. But the reports also state that all three children are in foster homes or with relatives. Being drunk around your kids may be stupid, but it’s not usually an offense that causes you to lose your kids. Can anyone clarify that?
If the baby if Helton’s only child, then I say that 10 years is too excessive. Give her a few years of probation and put her in parenting classes until her eyes bleed. Scare the shit out of her. That’s assuming, of course, that she let her kid drink a decent micro-brew, and not any of that Pabst Blue Ribbon shit – in which case, THROW THE BOOK AT HER!!
What do you call a man who tries to blame his wife’s vicious murder, first on his wife’s lover, and then on his own daughter? You call him “somebody’s bitch in county”. You can also call him Brad Reay. The 47-year-old dad from Pierre, South Dakota got desperate when accused of killing 41-year-old Tami Reay after she declared she wanted a divorce. Days later, her naked body was found nearby, with several penetration wounds running to the hilt of the blade that had stabbed her.
During his court testimony, Reay testified that he had found his daughter Haylee by her mom’s bed, holding a bloodied kitchen knife. (It was just coincidental that this freak-out happened days after Brad’s marriage fell apart, you see.) After supposedly cleaning her off, Reay dumped his dear departed wife’s body, stripping her naked and shoving a condom up her ass to make it look like a rape.
All to protect his daughter. Right? Right.
Not surprisingly, Haylee had quite a different story. According to her, she woke up one day and found her mother gone – and her dad insisting that she not talk about it to anybody. She also maintained that her dad had always been cold with her, and that the two didn’t have a good relationship. The jury believed Haylee more than her old man, and found him guilty of first degree murder. The jury also considered manslaughter, but apparently decided that this wasn’t an act of passion or rage: it was an act of cold-blooded calculation.
The murder of Tami Reay is horrifying. But blaming it on your daughter? Lord, what a scumbag.
I can’t find whether the prosecution intends to seek the death penalty. Given that South Dakota hasn’t executed anyone since the mid-1970s, I doubt it. Ah well. He’ll rot the rest of his life in prison…and those of us on the outside will ensure his name lives on in infamy.
Hosanna! The mom and four kids who were abducted this weekend have been found safe in a motel room. The childrens’ father, Jerry D. White, took them there by force after invading the home of his ex-girlfriend Kimberly M. Walker, shooting her sister’s boyfriend in the process. Police arrested the ne’er-do-well dad as he tried to escape through the motel heating vent.
Heheheheheh. Sorry, but I can’t get the image out of my head of White’s legs dangling out of a vent as police shout “FREEZE!!” and point pistols at his ass.
Authorities were able to trace White because Walker had been able to make several calls to a family from a nearby pay phone. It’s unclear if White let her call the family, or if she snuck out. If the latter, he may be one of the dumbest criminals to grace the Earth. Either that, or he’s just a deeply troubled man who, when push came to shove, couldn’t cause any real harm to his family. Mind you, he nearly killed a man, so let’s not give Jerry D. White too much credit.
Thank God we can laugh about it now. This is a fitting end to what might have been an awful tragedy. If only they all ended like this…
For those who hadn’t heard, LaShaun Harris, the Oakland, California mom who thought God told her to toss her kids into the river, was found legally insane by a judge. Too bad no one made that determination BEFORE she murdered her children. This is an obviously sick woman who should never have been left to care for kids.