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Sheriff: Woman suffocated sons before submerging bodies in car

By the CNN Wire Staff
August 17, 2010 4:48 p.m. EDT

Shaquan Duley, 29, is facing two counts of murder in the deaths of her sons, the Orangeburg County sheriff says.

Shaquan Duley, 29, is facing two counts of murder in the deaths of her sons, the Orangeburg County sheriff says.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Authorities say the children were dead before they went into the water
  • Sheriff says a South Carolina mother admitted she suffocated two of her kids
  • Shaquan Duley, 29, will be charged with murder, sheriff says
  • The bodies of Duley’s two children were found in South Carolina’s Edisto River

See local coverage with CNN affiliates WOLO-TV, WIS-TV and WLTX-TV in Columbia.

(CNN) — Unemployed, single and apparently fed up with criticism from her mother, a 29-year-old Orangeburg, South Carolina, woman suffocated her two toddlers with her bare hands before strapping them into car seats and submerging her car in a river, authorities said Tuesday.

Shaquan Duley is facing two counts of murder in the deaths of her sons, ages 1 and 2, said Orangeburg County Sheriff Larry Williams. She is set to appear in court Wednesday.

“She was a mother that was unemployed. She had no means of taking care of her children,” Williams told reporters. “She lives with her mother and her mother was a very, I guess, firm individual. … She often talked with her daughter about, I guess, maybe being more of a mother or being more reliable.”

Mother and daughter argued the night before the children’s bodies were found early Monday in Duley’s Chrysler sedan, submerged in the Edisto River, he said.

“We believe this is a direct response (to the argument) from Ms. Duley,” he said. “I believe she was just fed up with her mother telling her she couldn’t take care of the children and she wasn’t taking care of her children and she just wanted to be free.”

Video: Police: Mom admits to killing sons//

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Video: Sheriff: Murder charges sought//

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Video: Car sinks with boys inside//

However, he said, “this wasn’t a hardened criminal. This was a young lady in trouble, in trouble in more ways than she realized.” Duley has no previous criminal history, he said.

Duley’s third child, a 5-year-old daughter, was at the home of Duley’s mother. Police identified the dead children as Ja’van T. Duley, age 1, and Devean C. Duley, 2.

Under questioning, Duley told authorities she smothered the boys by putting her hand over their mouths at the Trumps Inn in Orangeburg, Williams said. She drove them to the river while “trying to find a way to discard the bodies,” he said.

“She just wanted to get rid of the children, as sad as it may be,” Williams said. Authorities do not know how long the boys had been dead before they went into the water, he said.

Duley initially reported that she had lost control of the car and it had rolled into the river. But authorities from the outset believed her story didn’t add up, Williams said. Her clothes were dry, he said, and there were no skid marks or other indications of an accident at the scene.

In addition, Duley reported she had walked a mile before flagging down a motorist to call for help, Williams said previously. The sheriff told CBS’ “The Early Show” that she could have run to residences nearby.

Authorities responded to a report of a car accident near a boat landing on the river Monday, and divers found the children’s bodies.

Williams said Monday he couldn’t confirm reports that the key was still in the car’s ignition, but he said the car apparently was in neutral.

Ramona Milhouse told CNN she lives next to the boat landing, and her house and a neighbor’s house are clearly visible from the road. She said she was at home around the time Duley told authorities she lost control of her car.

“I don’t know why the young lady would walk that far when we are here, that’s easy to see, and we have phones so we could have called someone for her,” Milhouse said.

In addition, she said, the road near the landing is a busy one. “It’s not a quiet country road,” she said. “There’s a lot of people driving up and down, all parts of the day and night.”

She said she did not see the car go into the water, but heard sirens as authorities responded.

“When I heard what happened, I just couldn’t go to sleep at all, thinking about those two little boys,” she said.

It wasn’t immediately known whether Duley had retained an attorney.

Williams described Duley as distraught, but said she showed no signs of remorse.

“I don’t believe she woke up and said, ‘I’m going to the Shillings Bridge Road to get rid of my children,'” he said. “Of course, that hasn’t been determined. I believe she was just angry, upset and for some reason found the boat ramp, but mind you the children were deceased … so (she was) trying to find a way to discard the bodies.”

The father of the two children has not been found, Williams said. Duley “was more or less being mother and father for the children,” he said.

“The mom has basically been a good mom,” he said, but was just unable to financially support the children. “For whatever reason, this was her weakest moment,” he said.

The South Carolina Department of Social Services has no record of prior involvement with Duley, department spokeswoman Marilyn Matheus said.

The incident has striking similarities to a 1994 case, also in South Carolina. The bodies of Michael Daniel Smith, 3, and 14-month-old Alexander Tyler Smith were found in their mother’s car, still strapped into their car seats, in John D. Long Lake in Union, South Carolina. Their mother, Susan Smith, was convicted on two counts of murder, but jurors opted to spare her the death penalty and she was sentenced to life in prison.

The case inflamed racial tensions in Union, because Susan Smith claimed at first she had been carjacked by an African-American man. She stuck to that story for nine days, issuing tearful pleas for her sons’ return on national media outlets, before confessing to authorities. Prosecutors alleged she killed her children after being rejected by a man she was dating who did not want children.

Duley spent two years as a cashier at a Dairy-O fast-food restaurant a couple of years ago, said assistant manager Grace Simpson.

“She was such a good-natured person, very friendly, but quiet,” Simpson recalled. “Never disciplined. Never in trouble with our boss. She left because she chose to. We don’t have health insurance here, and she wanted to just move on and up with her life maybe.”

At the time Duley worked for Dairy-O, she did not have children, Simpson believes. Simpson did not know if she was married at the time.

“Whatever compelled Shaquan to do what she did … Lord please be with her,” said Simpson. “I cannot judge Shaquan. I will not judge her. But God, be kind to her.”

HLN’s Natisha Lance and CNN’s Ashley Fantz contributed to this report.

Sheriff: Woman suffocated sons before submerging bodies in car – CNN.com.

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Police look for mother accused of abducting son

Last Updated: Thursday, August 5, 2010 | 12:40 PM ET Comments8Recommend3

CBC News
Police are looking for Emilla Sardaru and her one-year-old son Robin Stanciu.Police are looking for Emilla Sardaru and her one-year-old son Robin Stanciu. (Toronto Police Service)Toronto police are looking for a 23-year-old woman who they allege abducted her son during a parental visit.

Emila Sardaru and her one-year-old son, Robin Stanciu, were last seen July 23 at around 10 p.m. near Dawes Road and Danforth Avenue.

Police are asking for the public’s assistance to find them.

They say Sardaru is of Romanian descent and speaks limited English.

She is described as white, about five feet and five inches tall. and about 165 pounds.

Part III – Female Sexual Abusers: Who are They?

January 13th, 2010  |  // ShareThis

By Roni Weisberg-Ross, L.M.F.T., Abuse Topic Expert Contributor

Part three of a three part series of articles.

There weren’t a lot of statistics, because no one thought it was a problem. But then in 1990, Ramsay–Klawsnick found that adult females were abusers of male adolescents 37% of the time and of female adolescents 19% of the time; and in six studies reviewed by Russell and FInkelhor, female perpetrators accounted for 25% or more of those abused. In 1996, The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect conducted a widespread investigation on the maltreatment of children. Of the three million children investigated, more than one million were identified as victims of abuse and of the one million, 12% were sexually abused. The sexual abuse of children by women, primarily mothers, once thought to be so rare that it could be ignored, constituted 25% (approximately 36,000 children) of the sexually abused victims. Furthermore, all of these statistics are likely underestimated because victims of this type of abuse rarely disclose. Finally, there is an alarmingly high rate of sexual abuse by females in the backgrounds of rapists, sex offenders and sexually aggressive men – 59% (Petrovich and Templer, 1984), 66% (Groth, 1979) and 80% (Briere and Smiljanich, 1993).

Why haven’t we, as a society, been aware of this problem? Most probably because women have been idealized as mothers and nurturers. They haven’t been viewed as sexual aggressors. And because they are caretakers and are expected to be emotional, warm and physical with children, no one notices or suspects them. Sexual abuse by women is rarely reported because their victims usually are their own children – who are dependent on them. Furthermore, these children either do not understand what is happening to them or do not think anyone will believe them. And for male victims, there is additional embarrassment and denial – they must have wanted it – men (boys) can’t be raped!

But women can be sexual aggressors. And even though the abuse they are capable of doesn’t conjure up violent images of attack and penetration, surveys show that women are capable of a different type of violence toward their victims, sometimes physical and almost always psychological and verbal. This abuse can penetrate the psyches of their victims more deeply because they are the one person who was never supposed to betray them.

What type of woman would betray her own child or another person’s child in such a manner and why? A profile of a female sexual abuser looks something like this: She would probably be a person with low self-esteem who may have had a history of severe emotional and verbal abuse and/or been a victim of childhood sexual abuse herself. In fact, a study by Fowler et al in 1983 maintained that 80% of incest offenders had been sexually or physically abused as children. There would be feelings of alienation and isolation and possibly the loss of a spouse or other adult partner. She might have a history of drug or alcohol abuse and less often a history of indiscriminate or compulsive sexual activity. There might be arrested psychosexual development; there might be a need to have power and control in some aspect of her life. But the common perception that any woman who does this has to be mentally insane is false. Only a minority of female abusers do not pass reality-testing measures. How the abuse takes place and with who may differ, but the personality type can be constructed from the above profile.

David Finkelhor, who has written extensively on this subject, maintains that there is a Four Factor Model, or to put it another way, there are four components that contribute in different degrees to child molestation:

1. Emotional Congruence – a satisfaction of emotional needs through the abuse of a child that is due to either arrested psychosexual development, immaturity or low self-esteem.
2. Sexual Arousal – probably due to familial conditioning through their own childhood abuse or early fantasy reinforced by masturbation.
3. Blockage – Age appropriate sexual opportunities have been cut off by either a traumatic sexual experience with an adult, sexual dysfunction, limited social skills or a marital disturbance such as the loss of a spouse. The latter has been described as a “Theory of Loss” phenomenon precipitating abuse.
4. Disinhibition – due to poor impulse control either because of substance abuse, a chaotic family background or psychotic mental illness.

There are women who are pedophiles and simply pursue children for the sex, but the female abuser usually falls into one of three categories:

1. Predisposed Offender – the abuser was herself abused as a child and she continues the generational pattern by abusing her own children. It is thought that she becomes an offender in an effort to resolve her own childhood sexual trauma.
2. The Teacher/Lover – she generally becomes involved with an adolescent male with whom she relates to as a peer. She may be looking for non-threatening emotional intimacy.
3. The Male-Coerced Offender – she is being led by an abusive male who she is extremely dependent upon. But she may eventually initiate sexual abuse on her own.

While the public is periodically shocked into awareness by sensational revelations of the second and third type of female abuser (i.e. Hedda Nussbaum, Mary-Kay Latourneau), it is the first type that we have to finally give a face to – she is the one that is quietly victimizing thousands of young children who have nowhere to turn for safety. And the children ARE young. Studies have concluded that women abusers victimize younger children than male abusers – probably because of their role as caretakers. If current research is correct and more female than male children are sexually abused, then it is logical to conclude that more girls may grow up to be sexual offenders themselves and there may be a significantly larger number of female sexual abusers than we had previously imagined.

It is up to us to put aside deep-rooted myths about females, and more specifically mothers, in order to deal with the widespread problem of child abuse and more accurately expose all types of child sexual abusers.

©Copyright 2010 by Roni Weisberg-Ross L.M.F.T. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org. The following article was solely written and edited by the author named above. The views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the following article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment to this blog entry. Click here to contact Roni and/or see her GoodTherapy.org Profile

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Mother of scalded boy pleads guilty in 2-year-old’s death

written by: Jeffrey Wolf 1 hr ago

DENVER – A woman pleaded guilty on Wednesday to the death of her 2-year-old son in 2008 who died after being scalded in a bathtub.

The Denver District Attorney’s office says 24-year-old Isela Reyes-Talamantes pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death.

Denver Police say she brought her 2-year-old son, Elijah Archuleta, to St. Anthony Central Hospital on Nov. 7, 2008 with severe burns. He was pronounced dead shortly after he got to the hospital.

In exchange for her guilty plea, the first-degree murder charge against Reyes-Talamantes was dropped.

She will be sentenced on March 19 and could get up to 32 years in prison.

A co-defendant, John Vigil, is charged with first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death.

During a preliminary hearing it surfaced that Elijah’s then 4-year-old sister told investigators that Vigil had “got fire on Elijah in the bathtub.”

Pictures show that the burns to the boy were so severe that the skin on his forehead and chin had fallen off.

(Copyright KUSA*TV, All Rights Reserved)

via 9NEWS.com | Denver | Colorado’s Online News Leader | Mother of scalded boy pleads guilty in 2-year-old’s death.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Female Narcissist

This article comes from the website of Dr. Irene Matiatos (article reprinted with the kind permission of the author):

The Female Narcissist
by Irene Matiatos, Ph.D.

February 16, 2002

Abusive behavior in men or women can be a function of many underlying issues. Personality disorders or their milder counterparts (i.e., “traits” or “features”) are one underlying etiology. This article tries to help the reader understand the mindset of the female with NPD or with narcissistic features.

Like her narcissistic male counterpart, this lady harbors deeply held and undisputed irrational underlying beliefs that affect her feelings and behavior. Most of these beliefs are never questioned and are only dimly realized, if they are realized at all. While we all harbor irrational beliefs, those with personality disorders harbor belief systems that are deeply embedded and intertwined.

A Real Charmer

Dana is an extremely pretty 23-year old young lady. A delight on the surface, she has an uncanny knack of presenting herself extremely well to the target audience she wants to impress. She has a corresponding almost magical ability to make people feel verrrry good. She can WOW you! You’ll be gushing (or panting if you’re a guy), and there just isn’t anything you wouldn’t do to please her. She will continue to reward your good behavior as long as she needs you. After all, it is very hard work to be “on” so much of the time.

If she’s accomplished her mission and you are no longer useful, she spends less and less energy being perfectly charming and engaging. In most cases Dana has no real desire to be disrespectful, but as she “relaxes,” becoming more “herself,” she becomes quiet or mildly disrespectful.

A Typical Narcissist

The problem is that the only person Dana cares about is Dana. You are no more than the object who provides her with whatever it is she wants and needs: love, admiration, money, encouragement, support, etc. While she pretends to care, and indeed wants to care, the reality is that she doesn’t care. Her world starts and stops with herself. She hides that fact pretty well from most people; especially those who are consistently meaningful to her (i.e., parents, husband, siblings, boss, etc.). Most of these individuals would be shocked to hear this, and in fact would think you’re crazy!

Dana is typical as pretty female narcissists go. She relies on her beauty and her charm. She feels good about herself as long as she “has it over” anybody she considers “the competition.”

Few Real Friends

Parents are parents and too often love unconditionally, but friends and acquaintances don’t. As a result, while new people Dana meets like her, the more they got to know her, the less interested they are in her company. Except, of course, for the young men, most of whom vie for her attention.

Other than a childhood best friend with virtually non-existent self esteem, there are no friends. There are acquaintances and those who share her environment as well as the many men who surrounded her – all of whom she refers to as “friends,” but there really are no friends.

She explains this deficit by rationalizing that her peers disappoint her in one way or another. This one uses drugs, that one you can’t trust, the other one is jealous of her, etc. There is virtually no recognition that the reason people who are not related to her or have no sexual interest in her do not like her given how she treats them!

I’m The Best!

Dana is not content unless she feels she has it over her peers, especially female peers. She believes she has the prettiest face, the nicest hair, and the best figure – which she flaunts with her form-fitting, sexy, and hip wardrobe. She is always well-dressed, even when lounging around. “Studied cool” describes her style. While giving the impression of having thrown together any old top and pair of jeans, the trained eye can discern the hours and hours spent trying the outfits on, making up to appear not made up, etc.

Every asset she has, she flaunts. One weekend, invited to spend a weekend with some new friends at their family’s home in a poor section of a neighboring town, she found reason to make a 30-mile detour to her parents’ upscale, gorgeous home – to show it off – as though announcing her supremacy. Of course, she would never admit that’s why she came home. Her reasons are always framed in wording that casts her in a positive light such as “It’s my dad’s birthday, or, “I have to pick up something important I forgot.” Never an honest reason like, “I wanted to show off the house to intimidate them.”

Jealousy

Jealousy is a huge issue. Her own envy is as cut off from her consciousness as Wisconsin is cut off from the Atlantic Ocean. While she has no clue regarding her pervasive jealousy, it is sadly evident to the sensitive observer.

One year Dana didn’t get her cousin a Birthday present. While Stephanie routinely bought Dana beautiful and expensive gifts, Dana couldn’t say why she didn’t get Stephanie anything. When pressed, annoyed, she provided a series of senseless answers. “I made a deal with my friends that we were not to exchange gifts.” “Did you made that arrangement with Stephanie?” “No, but I’m not getting any gifts. We’re going to lunch. I’ll pay.” Not only did she not end up paying, Stephanie paid for both Dana as well as for Dana’s boyfriend!

The “problem” was that Stephanie, her peer, had gotten her life together. Also beautiful, she found her calling and was pursing an advanced degree with straight As – a feat Dana couldn’t hope to accomplish. She also had a rich boyfriend who adored her. You get the picture. When asked point-blank if she was jealous of Stephanie, Dana replied too quickly and with an affected laugh, “Jealous of Stephanie? WHAT is there to be jealous about?”

The Price She Pays

Part of the price Dana pays to manipulate others is the exhaustion required to be “on” much of the time. When caught with her vigilant guard down, she is not nice: often impatient, short, arrogant and condescending, reflecting her near chronic bad mood. Shopkeepers, boyfriends who try too hard and all the not-too-important people in her life who will put up with it are the unwitting victims. This is subtle. For example, one day she walked into her compulsively clean mother’s house and saw a leaf on the sparkling floor by her feet. Instead of picking it up, she asked, “What’s that?” Her mother, almost on cue, dropped what she was doing to pick up the leaf by her daughter’s feet.

The Devil in Disguise

The apparent angel is the devil in disguise.

A compulsive liar who needs to mislead to maintain her unblemished facade, Dana is not a mean or cruel person. This young woman really wants to do the right thing. While she derives a measure of immediate satisfaction from her cruelty, when forced to face her behavior, she is not happy she mistreats others. After all, a misbehavior is not in keeping with her perfect image of herself! When reality occasionally hits her and she is confronted with her condescending acts, she becomes upset with herself, often in tears. For a short time. Soon all is forgotten. Time heals or she takes solace in blaming others. When she presents her selectively-presented view, it sounds compelling. Until one realizes nothing ever seems to be her issue. Someone or something else is to blame – or the entire topic is dropped. No matter how much she has vowed to correct these behaviors, she does not. She cannot because she will not.

Why, Why, Why?

She cannot because she chooses not to face the truth about herself. She cannot face that her nature is in fact dark and very imperfect. She cannot face that she is no more special, no more unique, no more perfect than anybody else. Unthinkable! What can she possibly fall back on if she were to simply enjoy her many assets as well as accept and work around the impact of her many deficits?

She believes special rules apply to her, and she is not willing to give these up without a struggle. She’s secretly glad others haven’t figured out how to be as special as she is. Giving up her specialness in unthinkable. It does not feel good.

How, How, How?

Keep in mind that narcissism is a lifelong pattern developing from childhood and believed to have a biological basis. If deception and pretense have provided a lifetime of comforts and esteem supplies, why mess things up? Isn’t it more satisfying to concern herself with gratification in the moment? Why work when you can instead do just enough to get by? Better to spend that energy cultivating one’s external assets and targets. These yield immediate rewards.

After all, the only thing she compromises is herSelf, her integrity, her relationships. All the things she has never known or understood, but thinks she knows well.

Trustworthiness

With all these issues, the narcisstic woman (or man for that matter) cannot be trusted. They are not trustworthy – unless they are expending energy pretending to be trustworthy. So, at best, their trustworthyness is inconsistent. Like the male abuser, her moods are unpredictable. When frustrated, the energy demands of being “on” are too great. Her frustration slips away from her – and spills onto anybody unfortunate enough to be in the way.

In a Nutshell

To feel whole, a woman like Dana needs to be the center of attention, be the prettiest, the most fortunate, the most talented, the bestest. She cultivates others who will be manipulated by her to admire her, adore her, inflate her, love her, and overlook her pretense, lies and half-truths.

If she is questioned, she distances. This simple yet effective technique invariable affects the codependents in her life. On cue, they lay low and let the issue drop or chase her, thinking they must have done something wrong/ worrying that she won’t want to be with them. Should an admirer truly believe in her specialness and try too hard to win her, they are treated with contempt instead of charity. These people represent that which she despises: only the weak and common permit themselves to be demeaned.

The bottom line is that this very beautiful, very charming (and extremely manipulative) young woman has absolutely no concern for others apart from those who are in a position to provide her with narcissistic supplies.

Does anybody know a Dana? Even worse, have any men out there fallen in love with a Diana? (May God help you…)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Female Offenders online

This article below talks about an another area that is almost never talked about when the discussion comes around to the internet and sexual predators:

Women go online to share child sex-abuse fantasies
By Nina Lakhani

Days before three women are to be sentenced, an IoS investigation suggests thousands may share their interests

Thousands of women appear to be using the internet to share sexual fantasies of abuse involving children.

An investigation by The Independent on Sunday found a series of websites that depict female-perpetrated child abuse as “natural, educational and enjoyable” for children.

Users log into online forums to meet other “like-minded” web users and to share personal childhood experiences about sexual acts with adults that they say include mothers, teachers and babysitters. User profiles on one website monitored by the IoS claimed to be those of teachers, doctors and retired grandmothers with an interest in “young girls” and “lesbian incest”.

The postings on such sites – assuming they are not posted by men – run counter to the widely held belief that female abusers are either anomalies or feel forced into such depravity by abusive men. Many of the users appear to have easy access to children and describe deriving sexual gratification from sharing their fantasises.

This information agrees with other similar information from a few studies. Female abusers are often able to groom and obtain victims much easier than males because most people do not expect a woman would do such a thing.

The IoS findings are supported by research carried out in a study in Ireland, which found that women were using such websites to justify their feelings as “natural”. Many of the women used the forums, chatrooms and “frequently asked questions” to share tips on how not to get caught – for example, by exploiting situations such as bath time or breastfeeding.

They share many of the same beliefs as men who abuse children: that having sex with a child is educational and children are sexual beings.

An excerpt from one website reads: “If you are a female child lover we want you to know there is nothing wrong with you. The biggest problem is the teachers, therapists, cops, clerics and parents who force their stale morality on the young people in their custody. For children, experiencing sexual pleasure is not damaging at all, they enjoy it … just like we do.” A discussion forum on another website details myriad claims of abuse. “Julie”, 32, wrote: “My first real kiss was from my mom, I was about 6/7, she had been on her own a long time I guess … it was a bit scary, but she was so loving and I just loved the way she held me …” – Read the entire article here

I am trying to locate the study mentioned in the article but have not been successful in finding it yet.

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Posted by Bloggert7165 at 1:09 AM

Md. woman sentenced for severe child abuse

By: SARAH KARUSH
Associated Press
01/08/10 5:49 PM EST

PRINCE FREDERICK, MD. — An 8-year-old girl with scars on most of her body from regular beatings by the woman she used to call “Mommy” confronted her abuser in court Friday, telling her: “I do not think you will be going to heaven.”

The woman, Renee Bowman, is accused of killing the girl’s two older sisters and keeping their bodies in a freezer for months. She was sentenced Friday in Calvert County Circuit Court to 25 years in prison for the abuse of the surviving girl. Bowman, 44, pleaded guilty in September to first-degree child abuse.

She faces a separate trial on murder charges in Montgomery County, where the family lived previously and where her other daughters are believed to have been killed.

All three girls were former foster children adopted from the District of Columbia, and Bowman continued to collect subsidies for all of them from the D.C. government even after the older children were killed.

The surviving girl, who was 8 months old when Bowman became her foster mother, was found wandering around her Lusby neighborhood in a bloodstained nightshirt after escaping through a window in September 2008.

Police searched the home and found the bodies in the freezer, as well as a high-heeled shoe used to beat the youngest. Feces and urine were found in the girl’s bedroom and in a closet because she had been locked in both places, Calvert County State’s Attorney Laura L. Martin said. The child had human bite marks and shoe marks on her body, a piece of her lip was missing, and she had broken bones that improperly healed, Martin said. The girl could not read and authorities found no evidence that she had ever been to school.

The girl, who was dressed neatly in a black and white dress and came to the hearing with the therapist and her foster parents, appeared to shudder and put her head on her foster mother’s shoulder when Bowman was first led into the courtroom. But moments later she laughed loudly after her foster mother whispered something in her ear.

The girl was led out of the courtroom while Martin described the abuse. After she was brought back in, Martin asked her if she wanted to make a statement. Clutching a piece of paper, she walked to the front of the courtroom with her therapist by her side.

“You should never do things to little girls or little boys because God sees you and will put you on the liars list. I do not think you will be going to heaven,” she told Bowman in a barely audible voice. Martin later provided a copy of the statement.

“I’m happy now. I know my math. I read. I am in the first grade. It’s amazing I got that far,” she added. “I have a lot of people who love me.”

Martin said the girl made a point of reading the statement to prove she could read to Bowman, who claimed the girl couldn’t learn.

Before Judge Marjorie L. Clagett handed down the sentence, Bowman apologized to the judge and to the victim.

“I’m very remorseful. I don’t know what happened. I’m very sorry for my actions. … I wish her the best with her family and I’m proud of her,” she said. “Despite what Ms. Martin says, I do have love in my heart for her.”

Bowman claimed she tried to return the girl to the adoption agency after she realized she couldn’t handle her.

Public defender Dorothy Gardner-Hodge, in arguing for a lower sentence, said Bowman was abused as a child and in foster care from an early age. She said her mother and sister both suffer from mental illness and that Bowman suffers from chronic pain and has been treated for breast cancer.

Clagett sentenced Bowman to the maximum sentence allowed because of the horrific nature of the crime. She said she wouldn’t rule out sending her to serve her sentence at the Patuxent Institution, a psychiatric treatment facility that is part of Maryland’s corrections system. However, she said she would need more information before she did so.

Clagett said the system failed the girl, but told Bowman: “You were her mother. You were meant to protect her and nurture her, and all that happened was just the opposite.”


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