I ran across such a story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune the other day that will stay with me for a long time. And it will make me give my 7-month-old son a big bear hug every day.
Demond Reed is dead. Were it by an accident, I would be sad but would move on with my life.
Demond was beaten to death by the woman entrusted to care for him.
Demond was 4.
His father, Tony Reed, a 21-year-old from Chicago, was visiting relatives in Minneapolis. He was pulled over in late January and was arrested on an oustanding felony warrant. So he asked his cousin, Carla Poole, a 37-year-old in Minneapolis who turned out to be a drug addict, to care for Demond for the time being.
He couldn't have imagined that would be the last he would see of his little boy.
Demond's sin? He soiled his pants. Imagine the audacity of a 4-year-old soiling his pants.
A 4-year-old boy. Who was constantly asking questions about the animals in his alphabet book.
Poole's reaction? She ordered her other children, ranging in age from 4 to 11, to hold his arms while she beat him.
Feel free to stop reading anytime. It gets worse.
After Poole saw what she'd done, she laid Demond's body on a bed for two days before calling police, Feb. 6, to tell them he'd gone missing. Then she wrapped his cold body in a black plastic bag and threw him in a cluttered closet. ... Like an old pair of Nikes.
Before doing all of that, she'd ordered her children to make up stories about what had happened to Demond. Eventually, the 11-year-old told police the truth. This truth included her recounting that Demond's face looked like it was "pushed in."
Are you nauseous yet? Wait.
An autopsy revealed multiple bruises over Demond's body, puncture wounds and bite marks on his stomach, broken ribs and an injury associated with an object being forced into his mouth.
Apparently she's undergoing "psychological evaluation," this woman who was of sound enough mind to have four children of her own. The Star Tribune stated there was no evidence she'd ever abused them, though a baby came away burned and with broken bones after being in her care. (Charges were never filed because police couldn't determine which of the adults present committed the act.)
For years, I told everyone who would listen that I was against the death penalty for anything short of DNA proof. That it shifted the nature of our criminal-justice system from "rehabilitation" to "vengeance."
I've changed my mind.
Demond deserves vengeance.
Demond Reed, 4