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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Haleigh Cummings

Yet another beautiful toddler has gone missing. Haleigh Cummings lived with her younger brother "Junior" (I am not making that up - although Bubba would have been better) and her father in a double wide mobile home located near a body of water in a secluded area in Florida. I am unsure if this was a mobile home park or if they lived on private land. 24 year old Ronald Cummings had a 17 year old girlfriend (Misty) who had been living with them for about 4 months. Ronald worked nights and his girlfriend watched the children for him at night. She said she was lying in bed with Haley and when she awoke a few minutes before Ronald was due home, Haley was gone and the back door to the trailer was propped open with a cinder block.

When dad got home and noticed Haley gone and the back door open, he called 911 and when they kept asking him questions (as they always do), he became irate when they suggested maybe she wandered outside. He vehemently denied that she would do that because she was afraid of the dark.

According to Police Report, Haleigh has Turner Syndrome. I cannot comprehend this (uneducated)Father and a 17 year old girlfriend dealing well with a condition such as this. I am also having a problem with the conflicting stories from Misty and Ronald. Crystal Sheffield (Haleigh and Junior's biological mother) is 19 which means she was 14 and Ronald was 20 when their daughter was born. Apparently this man has a history of statutory rape. Based on this, my gut would tell me that something is not right here. However, that gut instinct would be coming from a person raised in an upper middle class (and intact)family.

My grandparents had tons of sharecroppers (for those of you who don't know what that is - look it up) who lived on their lands the whole time I was growing up. I had occasion to observe them, interact with them (on a very limited basis) and I listened to my parents and grandparents talk about them. Although I'm not an expert on this breed of people (and they are a different breed all into themselves), I think I know enough about them to realize that their culture (if you will) and mine are vastly different.

In their cultures young girls either find a man to move in with who will support them, become waitresses at a truck stop, sell drugs, prostitute or have a passel of kids for the welfare checks. Those are their options.

As for the men, especially the ones with kids to raise, they latch on to the first warm body they can find to move in with them so they will have a full time (and virtually free) babysitter, cook, maid, and lover.

Misty probably comes from a family that is so dysfunctional (and probably abusive) and poor that living with Ronald in a double wide was like moving to a penthouse in Manhattan would be for me.

It should also be pointed out that in their culture girls grow up MUCH faster than in mine. They have absolutely NO choice in the matter. Do you think for a second that any one of them daydreamed about living in a trailer taking care of 2 children when they were kids?? Hell, no! They had the same dreams that we all have. It's just when you live in that culture you learn quick and early that in order to survive, you have to do what you have to do.

When I was 17 I was going to proms and stressing out about if I could get an appointment with my favorite beautician to get my nails and hair done before going home to beg my parents for permission (and money) to go to the mall and hang out with my friends. Moving in with a much older man to be his lover was the furthest thing from my 17 year old mind. I shudder to even imagine telling my parents that I was packing up to go live in a double wide with a man!! LORD help me!

Ronald Cummings had just been issued a court summons because little Haleigh (in Kindergarten) had been absent so much from school. DHR was also involved for this reason. The police state there have been no reports that they have had to visit the property in the past for any reason.

Remember Misty has only been living with them for a short time and she is only 17. If dad has to work nights getting home in time (and with enough energy) to get Haleigh up out of bed, washed, dressed, fed and off to school may just be more than this man of humble origin can handle which would explain her lengthy absences from school. Men of this nature don't value education much anyway (especially for girls) so in his mind, what's the big deal if she misses kindergarten? Misty probably stays up till all hours of the morning watching MTV and can't be bothered to do it for him so Haleigh stays home that day.

I'll eat crow if I have to later, but I don't think it's the dad. I think people are too eager to leap to that conclusion because these people appear low-class and have some dysfunctions. The man we heard on that 911 call was not trying to make himself look good -- he was venting uncontrolled frustration and rage. Plus, to the police he blamed "my dumb bitch girlfriend" for leaving the door open, and I'd think if they were in on it together they'd support each other a bit better. In two different pleas to the kidnapper, he's stressed that he doesn't want revenge. That makes me think he really believes someone out there has Haleigh and he is trying to affect how that person thinks and acts.

Reports that Misty and/or Ronald may have killed Haleigh out of frustration that she wet the bed again could not have happened according to the girlfriend's family and some AC guy that all say were at the home the afternoon before the disappearance from like 5pm to 5:30pm. After that time Dad went to work and work says he was there the whole time.

One of the weird things is that the girlfriend just happened to wake up 5 minutes before the Dad came home from work and find Haleigh missing. I think it is possible that the girlfriend went to a neighbors house or outside to meet someone for some reason. (Don't want to sound harsh but knowing the general area, the age of the girlfriend and the general circumstances of the living arrangements) the girlfriend may have gone out to smoke pot without the Dad. She probably would have left the door open so she wouldn't get caught coming in or so she could hear the kids if they needed her. She came back in before the Dad came home only to find Haleigh gone. She is trying to cover her tracks because she wasn't even in the house when she should have been.

I know not everyone in rural north central Florida gets high but MANY do and she fits the stereotype and if you factor this in then you see why some things just don't look right.

There have been reports that in excess of 25 convicted and registered sex offenders live within 2 square miles of that trailer. 25! Remember Jessica Lunsford? She was abducted from her grandparents trailer in the middle of the night as they all slept and of course, her family were prime suspects. They later found her body buried in a shallow grave under the front porch of one of their neighbors - a convicted sex offender.

Or what about Cynthia and David Dowaliby? On September 14, 1988, 7 year-old Jaclyn Dowaliby was kidnapped from her bed and the working class Dowaliby's were actually tried for her murder! David was convicted, their remaining children taken away from them (one within hours of its birth) until Cynthia got a law professor involved and they were able to prove David's innocence.

It's dangerous ground when we judge folks by what they do for a living or where they live. Especially when we are accusing them of murder. Maybe Ronald and/or Misty did indeed kill little Haliegh - but then again - what if they didn't???

But that's just me.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Nadya Suleman

Hmmm. I hate to jump on bandwagons. I really do. It upsets the image I hold of myself as an independent thinker and champion of the underdog.

However, this situation is BIZARRE. Nadya holds a bachelor in early childhood development, she adores children but has never been able to have kids on her own and doesn't want to be married. Okay. That all sounds fine.

Then Nadya has 6 children by invitro. Okay. I guess that's her business. Too many for a single mother trying to get her master's degree but what business is it of mine? Then she gets impregnated yet again and has 8. 14 children for a single woman trying to get her master's, unemployed and living in a small 3 bedroom house with her parents? That's too much for anyone. Absolutely too much.

When asked how she afforded all these invitro sessions, she stated in an interview that she was "paid" to have the other children by invitro. She didn't go on to elaborate. Paid? What? Was she paid to have these as well? She must have because I saw an invitro specialist on a news show who estimated that these 8 babies probably cost in excess of $150,000 just to conceive them and at this time are costing in excess of $100,000 per day per child for their medical treatment. Who is paying for this?? She doesn't have health insurance so who is footing this enormous bill??

That is one of my issues with this entire thing. The Duggar family over in Arkansas who have 18 (or 19) children, although I think they are out of their minds, are a good example of what you do when you want a BUNCH of kids. They have never received any amount of public assistance. They struggle and sacrifice to pay cash for their vehicles, furniture, house. I know they had help finishing their house up by an HGTV show but still, the public was never taxed with having to support them in any way. Having said that, if they want to have 30 kids, as long as they take care of them, don't abuse them, and I don't have to pitch in to help support them, I am fine with it.

Nadya is another story. There is NO way that she can support these kids without public assistance. There is certainly no way that she can pay these medical expenses without public assistance.

She hasn't been so much of a planner apparently. She has depended HEAVILY on her parents for support and from the sounds her mother is making, I think that gravy boat has sailed. Her mother issued a statement yesterday that said when Nadya came home from the hospital, she was on her own because grandma didn't want her to have these 8 extra kids anyway. Go grandma!

Another issue I have with this is, how is she going to take care of them?? I had 2 children who were 3 years apart. If I hadn't had my parents and my sister to help me when they were growing up, I would have jumped off a bridge. Back to the money thing, kids are expensive. They eat, they wear clothes, they have to have a place to sleep, toys, space, privacy, entertainment, outings, birthday parties, school lunches, school trips, school supplies, medicine (not just prescription but stuff that health insurance won't pay for like bandaids and aspirin and cough syrup). Then there is the actual physicality of the situation. I don't know about California but where I come from, there are state laws about how many people can live in a house. It's some formula equating to so many square feet per person and judging from the looks of that house, it won't work.

Then you have just the basics of life. How do you possibly give each of them the attention they deserve and need when you have this many? Do you turn the older kids into nannies and caregivers and maids? How do you keep an eye on that many children? How do you make sure that many children have done their homework, brushed their teeth or even that they are present and accounted for??

I think the doctors who allowed this are at best, irresponsible. One of them stated on TV that they are not "baby police". No, I agree. However, ethics have to come into play at some point. And allowing an unemployed single mother of 6 who lives in a small house with her parents to carry 8 babies to term goes far beyond irresponsible.

My last reason that this was such a bad idea is the health issue for the children. When a baby is born at the weight that her children were born with (a little over a pound each)there are health issues. Underdeveloped vital organs such as lungs, hearts, kidneys. And most importantly brains. How many of these children are going to be "retarded"? It is reported that one of her other children has autism. How many of these babies are going to be besieged with seizures (another potential byproduct of very low birth weight)? How about the ever present asthma or bronchial and/or ear infections that babies like this face? Or a plethora of other very serious health issues that accompany low birth weight?

Again, I am back to health insurance and money. There is no way in the world that a single woman with this many children can work outside the home. For one, who will hire her? For another, how long will she be employed before she gets fired for excessive absences?

As stated, I had 2 children and there were many many times that I could not come to work because one or both of them were sick. There were many many other times that I had to leave work because one of them was sick or their school got out early due to inclimate weather or whatever. How many days will she have to miss with this many children? Especially since my bet is, these 8 babies will have TONS of health issues that will either never go away or will not decrease in frequency until they are well into their elementary years or older.

If ever an agency needed to keep an eye on kids, this is one of them. The Department of Human Services (yep, taxer payer money) needs to keep a very close eye on this situation because however good intended Nadya may be, there is NO way that she will be able to care for this many children either financially, emotionally or physically. There is just NO way.

But that's just me.

Blog Update

An update on Mr. Drew Peterson. I'm sure everyone knows by now that it would appear that Mr. Peterson's engagement to Christina Raines is off. Did his 23 year old mother of two sweetheart decide that he was too "scary" to marry? Did she decide that perhaps her children would be safer NOT living in the same house as Drew? (although they are just engaged, she moved herself and her children into his home). Nope. Drew gave an interview to ABC (which I watched) wherein he stated (in short) that he simply cannot remain faithful to any woman and doesn't even want to try.

He admitted that after a short time, he becomes bored and moves on to greener pastures. (duh!) SO, honey of the month called the police and had them at Drew's house while she packed up their stuff and moved back into her parents house. Of course, she and her father showed up wired with microphones and accompanied by a bevy of reporters and camera crews. When Drew saw the circus he shut the door on them and refused to allow anyone inside his home. The police eventually entered Drew's house and got Christina's stuff and placed it on the curb.

Her father said that since she has been living in Drew's house, he has called the police on at least 2 occasions to have them do a welfare check because he couldn't get in touch with her and panicked. Yeah, I completely understand that. I can imagine not being able to sleep at night wondering if Drew was putting my daughter's body in the trunk of his car at that moment. I would probably camp outside his house. What a nightmare for a parent. What a stupid, stupid, stupid girl! (Those of you who know me personally know that stupid is a word I don't allow spoken in my house so for me to call someone stupid - it's serious.)

Apparently Ms. Raines has a long history of dating (and reproducing) with crazy men. Her first (her babies daddy) was reportedly abusive, her second (the one she dumped for Drew) she lived with until the day she moved into Drew's house. He admits to peeking in Drew's windows to "check on Christina" and according to Drew, he was abusive to her. Christina is 23 and already, according to her and Drew, she has had an abusive marriage, an abusive boyfriend and now Drew? Girl needs medication.

Now Drew is sad. The pool of 20 something girls must be drying up for him. Since Stacey's disappearance he has had 2 of them actually living with him and God knows how many on the side. The boy is getting some action.

Of course, Kim Mazurka didn't stay there long. Once she was hauled before the Grand Jury and pumped for information by the police, she backed away rather quickly.

Speaking of Drew, I will say one thing positive about him. I liked his reply when asked why he is not participating in the numerous searches for Stacey's body, he replied, "because I know they won't find her". Now HE says he means they won't find her because she's not dead but - you know I'm thinking he really means they won't find her because she has been ground up into hamburger meat and fed to the dogs or something.

I should add a disclaimer of sorts to this update about Drew. I have blogged about Carl Rodgers earlier on and in that blog I have ranted and raved about people assuming he was guilty when there was no evidence to support their suspicions. Let me explain why I feel justified in branding Drew a murderer. His third wife, with whom he had children (3?) died in a bathtub accident that was later declared to be murder (he hasn't been charged - I don't know why). Coincidence only goes so far.

Now, having said that, Drew could very well be innocent and I just don't like him. Could be. I state that in every blog about Drew. Also, if the police are so certain that he is guilty of the murder of his third and fourth wives, why haven't they charged him?

I would also like to know what became of the rectangular blue plastic container that Drew's step brother swears he helped Drew remove from his master bedroom on the night that Stacey disappeared??

The step brother actually attempted to commit suicide the next day because, as he stated to a friend, he thought "I just helped hide Stacey's body". He also said that Drew left him for a few minutes in a coffee shop and gave him his cell phone instructing him not to answer it no matter who it was. Within a minute or two, the phone rang and the caller I.D. stated it was Stacey. Then they went to his house and moved the container. He said the container weighed probably 110 pounds (Stacey weighed 100 pounds) and that it was warm to the touch. I think a normal person would have demanded to know what was in that container before they helped him move it. I would. I'm not about to be a party to covering up a murder. Well, not for free anyway. (That was a joke - seriously).

Drew Peterson is/was a cop. He wasn't just a patrolman, he was a Sergeant. He has escaped 2 murder charges (at this point), would he be so simplistic as to pull this type of stunt off? OR, is he betting that because his step brother has a history of mental instability that he is the perfect one to help dispose of the body because he would be easily discredited in court? Is that it? So this scenario would be perfect in that situation. Come to think of it, that would make sense.

I applaud the police for waiting until they feel they have enough evidence to convict because as we all know, should they jump the gun and he gets acquitted, the show's over. Except for the civil case which is easier to win because it requires less "preponderance of evidence". But then, collecting is a real bitch. By the time you hire a firm to follow his income and assets and then file motions in court to seize or levy against those assets and income, you are probably going to be in the hole rather than ahead. Plus, it takes an enormous amount of energy to stay on top of it all which further victimizes the family of the lost one. While the suspected killer goes on with his/her life, the family of the lost one is reminded each and every day as they continue to attempt to collect on their judgment. Personally, it wouldn't be worth the effort to me. Getting the judgment would be but I would then want to move on with my life and not be bound to this person forever. I would want to be able to step back from the trauma and begin to remember my lost one and celebrate his/her life without having the suspected killer in the mix.

At any rate, innocent until proven guilty. Like it or not. That's the way it works.

But that's just me.