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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"We Can Do Better" -- Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths in America

Working on the Blue Ribbon Commission, appointed by Board of Supervisors, Phil Serna, I began conducting data analysis on African American child death disproportionality in Sacramento County.

From 1990 through 2009, The Sacramento County Child Death Review Team (CDRT) has found that African American children die at a rate two times (or more) higher than that of Caucasian children.

Exploring this disparity, I began reading articles on child abuse and neglect deaths in America. Specifically, I paged through a second edition article titled "We Can Do Better - Child Abuse and Neglect Deaths in America" written by Every Child Matters, Education Fund from Washington D.C.

The article stopped me in my tracks. I dropped my highlighter, and sat there, stunned. As Project Manager of the CDRT, I analyze child deaths daily. But I don't very often have to see "their" faces. Seeing the pictures of the children that died due to abuse and neglect in the article made me stop dead in my tracks.
"Each year our country FAILS to protect thousands of children in desperate circumstances, circumstances which sadly end only with their deaths."
Here are 51 children, of all races, who met this fate.

Alabama - 6 month old Phoenix Jordan Cody-Parrish was beaten to death in December 2004
Alaska - 5 month old Kaydence Lewinski died in 2007 after being shaken and beaten
Arizona - 5 year old autistic Brandon Williams died in March 2007 from an inflicted fractured skull
Arkansas - 6 month old Rihanna Robinson was strangled in February of 2009
California - 12 year old Christopher Cejas died after being starved and beaten in August 2002
Colorado - 7 year old Chandler Grafner died of starvation and dehydration in may 2007
Connecticut - 2 year old Alex Nathan Murphy was shaken to death in November 2007
District of Columbia - 12 month old Selena McDonald was beaten to death in January 2004
Delaware - 14 month old Jaylah Salam died from blunt force trauma in February of 2009
Florida - 3 year old Zahid Jones was beaten to death in may 2007
Georgia - 11 year old Joella Reaves died of blunt force trauma in November 2003
Hawaii - 5 year old Talia Emoni died as a result of "battered child syndrome" in July 2005
Idaho - 6 year old autistic Elizabeth Goodwin drowned in October 2002
Illinois - 13 year old Shavon Miles was bludgeoned with a 2-by-4 in August 2004
Indiana - 7 year old Adrian Norris, was starved to death and set on fire in January 2003
Iowa - 8 month old Antwaun Williams died of head trauma in February 2008
Kansas - 9 year old Brian Edgar died of asphyxiation after being bound with tape in December 2002
Kentucky - 10 year old Michaela Watkins was beaten to death in March 2007
Louisiana - 6 year old twins Samuel and Solomon Simms were strangled to death in 2007
Maine - 5 year old Logan Marr died of asphyxiation after being bound with duct tape in January 2001
Maryland - 11 year old Irvin Harris was stabbed to death in July 2006
Massachusetts - 4 year old Rebecca Riley died from an overdose of three medications in December 2006
Michigan - 5 year old Rose Kelley died from liver disease likely brought on by malnutrition and overuse of medication in June 2006
Minnesota - 4 year old Demond Reed was beaten, resulting in a trauma induced seizure. He died in February 2008
Mississippi - 14 month old Tykiriah McClendon was killed by blunt force trauma in October 2008
Missouri - 2 year old Alyssa Eickmeier died from a skull fracture after being thrown in October 2006
Montana - 2 year old James Many White Horses was beaten to death and put in the trunk of a car in May 2008
Nebraska - 20 month old Nathaniel Saunsocie-Mitchell died of brain injuries and other abuse caused in September 2006
Nevada - 3 year old Crystal Figueroa was beaten to death and dumped in a trash bin in January 2006
New Hampshire - 21 month old Rylea Belonga died from brain injuries sustained from severe abuse in January 2006
New Jersey - 7 year old Faheem Williams died from starvation and blunt trauma in January 2003
New Mexico - 5 month old Brianna Lopez was raped and thrown. She died in July 2002.
New York - 7 year old Nixzmary Brown died from torture and starvation in January 2006
North Carolina - 13 year old Tyler McMillan died in June 2008 of dehydration and heat stroke after being tied to a tree overnight
North Dakota - 4 month old Reese Coleman died of brain damage after being severely shaken in February 2006
Ohio - 17 month old Jaydon Hoberg was raped and beaten to death in July 2006
Oklahoma - 4 year old Christopher Barnard was beaten to death in April 2008
Oregon - 4 year old Adrianna Romero Cram was beaten to death in June 2005
Pennsylvania - 3 year old Kavanna Salvador was beaten to death in February 2008
Rhode Island - 6 week old Naomi McCoy died in 2006 from blunt force trauma
South Carolina - 6 year old Chaquise Gregory was beaten to death in 2005
South Dakota - 21 month old Tanner Jurisch died of brain injuries after being thrown at his crib in January 2007
Tennessee - 13 month old Jordan Holland died after he was punched in October 2008
Texas - 7 year old William Weschke was killed by blunt force head trauma in February 2008
Utah - 2 year old Jayden Cangro died after he was thrown across a room in July 2006
Vermont - 1 month old Angelo MacEwan died from blunt impact to the head in December 2007
Virginia - 13 year old Agyepong-Glover was drowned in January 2009
Washington - 4 year old Summer PHelps was tortured and killed in March 2007
West Virginia - 2 year old Logan Goodall was sexually abused and killed in September 2005
Wisconsin - 19 month old Alicia Burgess was suffocated in May 2007
Wyoming - 13 month old Ariana Martin was beaten to death in April 2008

Are you disgusted? You should be. We all should be. Children are indispensable. We must protect them. We must take legislative action to protect them. Even if it's through education and awareness of the epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Ignorance is not bliss.

Rest in peace fallen children. I pray you are happy in a new life far away from all the pain and destruction of your past.

I am going home and holding my son extra close tonight.


  1. I don't know how you do your job, Naz...I could not eve scroll through the entire must be hard to keep positive admist the details you are burdened with on a daily. I can't help but feel the parents failed on their primary role...protecting their young should be a matter of instinct. I know I would not hesitate to take a bullet for any of my children. It is beyond me how someone could be the trigger behind the gun, so to speak, when it comes to their own child. Thank you for your dedication & efforts to this pressing issue