Tag Archives: family annihilators

Lessons in Parenting

“Judgment of Solomon” by Raphael (c. 1510), Apostolic Palace, Rome (PD-Art, Old-100)

WARNING:  Graphic Images

  • Cynthia Randolph deliberately shut her toddlers, aged 16 months and 24 months, in a hot car to “teach them a lesson” for not leaving the car when she wanted [1]. Believing the toddlers could get themselves out, Randolph went into the house, smoked some marijuana, and slept for 2-3 hours.  The temperature outside that Texas day reached 96 degrees.  The toddlers did not survive.  Randolph is being held on $200,000 bond.
  • Aramazd Andressian killed his 5 y.o. son “Piqui” after a trip to Disneyland [2]. Andressian and the boy’s mother had been in the midst of a highly contested divorce.  Andressian alternately threatened to take the boy to Cuba, Iran, or Armenia.  The child’s body was found after a two-month search involving rescue personnel, volunteers, and cadaver dogs.  Andressian has since pleaded guilty.

The majority of child victims who die at the hands of their parents are under five years of age [3].  More than a third are under the age of one.  Men murder six out of ten of these children, most often by beating or shooting them.

To “Teach Them a Lesson”

Some 700 children have died in hot cars in the last 20 years [4].  Over half the time, these children were forgotten by their caregivers.  About 17% of the time, children were intentionally left in the car by an adult, as was the case with the Randolph toddlers.

One might be tempted to blame Cynthia Randolph’s stupidity for her children’s deaths (raising the possibility of an affirmative defense of diminished capacity).  But Randolph was capable of devising several stories, in an effort to exculpate herself, before disclosing the facts.  The deaths have been ruled homicides [5].

It would seem that Cynthia Randolph is the one who would have benefited from lessons.

Self-Centeredness

Aramazd Andressian went a step further.  He killed his son from sheer self-centeredness. The vast majority of “family annihilators”, i.e. those who kill their immediate family, are men [6].  These men come from all backgrounds.  Most show no outward signs that violence is imminent.

It may be that Andressian did not distinguish between his son and himself.  Perhaps he could not envision a future for the boy without him.  This is selfishness in the guise of altruism.  Or perhaps Andressian simply wanted to inflict maximum pain on his wife. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Christianity, domestic abuse, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Neglect, Physical Abuse, Religion, Violence Against Women

Heartbreak

Heart transplant in 5.5 lb infant, courtesy of Anatomy Box anatomybox.com

WARNING:  Graphic Images

Willow Short was born with a congenital heart defect, detected while she was still in the womb [1].  Doctors warned her mother, Megan, the baby could be stillborn.  But Willow was born alive.  And, at just six days of age, the little trooper survived a heart transplant.

A newborn’s heart is roughly the size of a walnut.  It can fit into a spoon.  The fact a child’s chest cavity is much smaller than an adult’s makes surgery more difficult.  The time a transplant on a child takes will vary.  The procedure may be as short as four hours or as long as sixteen.

Megan Short was extremely grateful to the donor’s family.  She was quoted by the The Reading Eagle as saying, “Someone else’s child died so mine could live.  I know they’re in so much pain.  I’m so thankful.”

But Willow needed fifteen different medications, around the clock, after being discharged.  Megan Short told the New York Times that she developed PTSD from the anxiety.  Continue reading

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Murder in the Family

Many news stories in December were overshadowed by the ongoing Ferguson controversy, the SONY hacking, and a terrorist siege in Sydney which left fatalities. Two, however, warrant our attention.

In Pennsylvania, Bradley Stone killed his ex-wife Nicole and five of her relatives before turning a knife on himself [1]. Victims included Nicole’s mother, grandmother, sister, brother-in-law, and a 14 y.o. niece. A 17 y.o. nephew is recovering from his wounds. Thankfully, the two Stone daughters were spared.

According to the prosecutor, Stone’s attack was clearly pre-meditated. It has been attributed to a custody dispute. Since Stone was a veteran and briefly on tour in Iraq during 2008, there was speculation that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) might have played a role. The Marines who served with Stone dispute this.

In Australia, a suburban mother (also, wielding a knife) killed seven of her own children and a niece – all youngsters between the ages of 18 months and 15 years [2]. A 20 y.o. sibling found the children. The woman unsuccessfully attempted suicide. She is now under arrest. Continue reading

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Filed under Child Abuse, Physical Abuse, Terrorism, Violence Against Women