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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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CYFD Speaks Out About Child Abuse In Dona Ana County

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Phil Anaya-KFOX News Reporter

Posted: 6:11 pm MDT July 21, 2010Updated: 9:29 pm MDT July 21, 2010

LAS CRUCES, N.M. — After the recent death of 5-year-old Angel Barron, who Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Deputies said died from abuse of her own mother, as well as several other recent severe child abuse cases, many are wondering why some people are continuing to hurt their children. KFOX news reporter Phil Anaya went to Albuquerque to speak with New Mexico’s Children Youth and Families Department spokeswoman Romaine Serna about the issue.“I think that we’re all trying to figure out why Dona Ana (County) is experiencing these cases that are just tragic,” said Serna.Serna said child abuse isn’t on the rise, but cases are becoming more severe. At an overall state level, she said it’s hard to tell what part of New Mexico has the biggest problem with child abuse, but statistics from May 2009 to May 2010 show that CYFD investigated 231 cases, or about 19 a month. That state average during the same time frame was 179 cases, or 14 a month.Even with some cases of child abuse resulting in death, CYFD stands firm in that it’s doing the it can to protect children.“I think that’s a really hard question to answer, because when you had a child die to abuse, it’s hard to say we did the very best possible. But that doesn’t mean CYFD didn’t follow our policy our procedures and didn’t make decisions based on the information we had available to us at that point,” said Serna.Serna said unless someone has worked for Child Protective Services, judgment and finger-pointing should be limited. Furthermore, she said the community can have some faith that CYFD is being held accountable because there are plenty of other agencies and organizations keeping it on its toes.CYFD said it is under the scrutiny of judges, countywide citizens review boards, court-appointed special advocate programs, the New Mexico Children’s Code and probably its biggest critic, the federal government.“The feds come in, the Children’s Bureau comes in and reviews states, and if you don’t meet the criteria set forth, then they have the ability to set monetary sanctions,” said Serna.Serna said, at the end of the day, there’s really only one person or people who can take full blame for child abuse.“I don’t think we should lose sight of the true perpetrator here and that’s the individual who caused harm on the child,” said Serna.CYFD said it is working on a way to make reporting child abuse easier for others. It’s hoping to have an easy hyphen to hyphen remember four digit phone number the same way New Mexico does for DWIs.And since the death of Angel Barron, CYFD has also announced it will be hosting a community forum in Las Cruces. The event will be Tuesday, July 27 from 6-8 p.m. at the Dona Ana County Government Building at 845 Motel Blvd.

Copyright 2010 by KFOXTV.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Mother accused of starving 3 kids gets life term

By JEFF CARLTON Associated Press Writer The Associated Press
Friday, July 30, 2010 5:40 PM EDT

FILE -This July 20, 2009 file photo provided by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office… (AP Photo/Dallas County Sheriff’s Office, File)

DALLAS (AP) — A mother whose three children were found starving after being shut away in a hotel bathroom for as long as nine months was sentenced to life in prison Friday after changing her plea to guilty in the middle of her trial.

Abneris Santiago, 31, had faced between five years and life in prison on a felony charge of injury to a child.

Police rescued Santiago’s 11-year-old daughter and 10- and 5-year-old sons from a bathroom at an extended-stay hotel along one of Dallas’ busiest freeways in July 2009. The children, whose skeletons were visible beneath their flaky, stretched skin, were near death from chronic starvation. Authorities say the girl was repeatedly sexually assaulted by her mother’s boyfriend.

Alfred Santiago was convicted Tuesday of injury to a child and continuous sexual abuse. He was sentenced to two 99-year sentences, to be served concurrently.

The former couple share a last name but never married.

Abneris Santiago’s plea on the third day of testimony came a day after she apologized to her daughter in a tearful courtroom reunion, saying she wasn’t strong enough to stop the abuse. The girl said she loved her mother and did not want her to go to prison.

Prosecutor Eren Price addressed the girl’s concern in her closing argument, asking the jury to sentence Santiago to life in prison.

“One day (the girl) will understand,” Price said, adding that she wanted the jury to let Santiago know that she was the “worst of the worst.”

The defendant apparently thought her guilty plea Friday would end the proceedings and was confused after testimony continued before the jury for purposes of sentencing.

“I think this is unnecessary since I already pleaded myself guilty,” Santiago told the judge. “I want it over with. This is pointless.”

Instead, prosecutors called to the stand the doctors who treated Santiago’s children last summer.

Dr. Susan Scott, an emergency room physician, said the girl “looked like a skeleton with skin.” A photograph pinned to the courtroom wall showed the girl’s bare back, her ribs and spine clearly defined.

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.

03:56 11/6/2009

November 6th 2009

An Anna, Texas woman has been convicted of sexual assault involving her daughter even though she was never accused of molesting the child.

A Collin County jury found Michelle Lynn Smith, 42, (pictured left) guilty of three counts of aggravated sexual assault because she allowed her husband to repeatedly abuse the preschool child, said Crystal Levonius, lead prosecutor in the case.

“She knew what he was and what he liked,” Levonius said. “She continually gave him access to her.”

Each count carries 70 years in prison and will run consecutively. Smith will have to serve 90 years of the 210-year sentence before she will be eligible for parole.

“I don’t believe Ms. Smith ever wanted the little girl to be abused,” said Thomas D’Amore, Smith’s defense attorney. “There was never any evidence presented that she intended or aided it.”

Levonius disagreed, saying that Smith knew Glen Bracy was a registered sex offender when she met him and was warned by a therapist not to marry him.

Smith ignored the warning and married Bracy on Jan, 26, 2002.

At the time, Bracy already had two prior convictions for child molestation. In California, he was found guilty of molesting a deaf and mute child, Levonius said.

In 1995, he was convicted in Collin County of indecency with a child by sexual contact and sentenced to five years in prison. He was on parole for that conviction when he met Smith. Their daughter was born in 2002, the same year they married.

Levonius said the family would sleep together naked, and that Bracy began molesting his daughter before her second birthday.

The child reported the abuse in 2007, when she was 4 years old. She told officials that “Michelle” would watch as the sexual abuse took place, court documents show.

When he was arrested, Bracy confessed to sexually abusing his daughter “up to 50 times.” Bracy, now 42, is serving five life sentences for aggravated sexual assault.

Levonius thinks Smith’s conviction on the same charges sets a precedent for Collin County and sends a message to other mothers who allow their children to be sexually abused.

“You’re going to be held accountable if you help sex offenders get access to your child,” she said.

Levonius said the girl is now in a much happier place.

Five weeks after being placed in foster care, the child “initially denied having a family other than her foster family,” court records show.

The child, who is now 7, has been adopted.

“Although she grew in Michelle Smith’s womb, she’s grown in the heart of her new mother,” Levonius said. “She’s with a family that loves her and protects her.”

She also calls the child a hero for reporting the abuse. At the time, Michelle Smith had given birth to a second daughter, who was 4 months old when both children were removed from the home.

“By speaking out, she was able to protect her younger sister,” Levonius said. “She’s a hero because I have no doubt that the 4-month-old would have been in store for the same life.”

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/DN-momgetslife_06met.ART0.State.Edition1.4b87aab.html

http://cbs11tv.com/local/harsh.prison.sentence.2.1302319.html


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