Baby Murdered in Clothes Dryer

Sep 19, 2008 by

I had read the headline in the Times-Picayune and went on to the next without giving it the full attention I probably should have.  Up until a phone call last night, I hadn’t thought of it again.  The phone call helped put that headline into perspective…personal perspective.  The headline read: 5-month-old baby killed in clothes dryer in Harvey

The phone called followed this rough outline:  A mother drops off her two kids at the babysitter, ages 5 months and sixteen months.  The babysitter has a one-year old herself.  Sometime later, the mother gets the call from the babysitter that the 5-month old has stopped breathing. 

When she arrives, her son is definitely dead, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to resuscitate him.  She is told by the babysitter that her other son had dumped a boiling pot of water on his brother.  Neither of them has burns to indicate that possible.

The police arrive and begin questioning the babysitter who finally admits that she was frustrated with the 5 month old and put him in the dryer with a load of clothes, turned it on and left the room. 

Now, for pure imaginations’ sake, I’d like each of you to pause for a moment and close your eyes to picture the callousness of a mother who would do this to someone’s child.  Picture that child spinning to his horrible death in absolute darkness, being beaten and burned until he is a lifeless mass.  Visualize what it would take to pull that dead body out of the dryer and then try to cover up the crime.

The plot thickens though.  Now, the babysitter, Ariel Smith, 19, of 512 MacArthur Drive in Harvey, who has been arrested for first degree murder, has decided that she is going to pull the insanity plea.  Despite the fact that a small percentage of defendants are actually successful in using the insanity plea, she and her lawyer are going ahead with it.  The reason for such insanity, her own postpartum depression. 

Postpartum depression occurances where a child is hurt is most commonly by a mother to her child and not by a mother to someone else’s child.  So, either she’s that far off the mark or she’s just that stupid not to know the true psychological facts of the disease she’s trying to hide behind.  To further illustrate her deception, even Ariel Smith’s mother has denounced her own daughter to the family of the deceased and has announced she will not assist her daughter in legal fees. 

But, let us not lose sight of the issue is here.  The issue is not about the alleged murderer and her cheap lawyerly theatrics to get her off the hook for cold-bloodedly torturing and killing an infant child left to her good care.  The issue is that there is a family that has to come to grips with the death of their son, their grandson, their nephew and their cousin.  There is a family who has a hole in their heart where there once was an immeasurable amount of love to be given. 

So, why does this matter enough to me to write about it?  Of all the tragedies to write about in this city, why do I pick this one?  Well, my friends, it boils down to that phone call I mentioned earlier about Baby Dozier.  One of my old friends called me to tell me about his cousin’s baby being murdered…

As many of you might know, I am rarely left speechless, but this was one such time.  It has me pondering the safety of my own daughters half a country away.  It’s got me thinking about my neices and nephews when they are left in the care of a young babysitter.  It makes me picture all of these grotesque images that I can’t get out of my head until I am in tears that this is the hell people have to live in.  I want to fly to my daughters right now so that I can just hold them, though eventually they’d be like, “DAD! Stop, I want to play.”  And I would just want to cherish the fact that I still have them.

As you might imagine, the parents of Baby Dozier have made little headway into getting back to normal.  Their road is going to be a long and painful one and they still have another child to care for.  Idiots on have already started posting inappropriate comments without realzing the gravity of what they say and how it hurts.  Thus, it comes to this.  What can I do and what can I encourage or ask others to do?

The family has had many of the expenses of the funeral covered, though some still linger.  The extended family has chipped in and gone to bat in all of the many different ways that they can.  Friends and strangers alike have done what they could and now I appeal to you, please help this young couple get through these darkest days.  This is unlike the drug-related crime we usually see in New Orleans; this is something far more grotesque and harder to deal with for there is no rationalizing what has happened.

The couple lives check to check like so many of us and they haven’t been able to get back to work.  Just this week, they buried their son and are still trying to make sense of why.  The family has set up an account at Gulf South Bank (Routing #: 265070435 / Acct#  100308980) to help the couple, so if you have the means, every little bit counts. 

It’s during times like these that the spirit of the New Orleans community is strong.  We face many issues and problems on a daily basis in our city, but when disaster strikes or tragedy occurs, we are always there as members of the larger family (the family of New Orleans) to help out.  If you are able to help, then I say wonderful, please do so.  If you cannot help, then I say please offer up a prayer to whatever deity you cherish and hope the best for them in their struggles.  It’s what we do, it’s Na’wlins y’all!

Your obedient servant,

ReX, Magister of NoLA Rising

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