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Archive for Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Boy in the Attic: De Soto mother Rachel Perez discusses horrific child abuse case

An interview with Rachel Perez and others officials involved in her case. On August 17, 2010, police found her 6-year-old child with Down Syndrome malnourished — and weighing less than 20 pounds — in the attic of her De Soto home. LJWorld.com has censored the names of Perez's children and some offensive language.

June 30, 2011

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Rachel Perez talks about her case

Rachel Perez, in an interview at the Johnson County Jail on June 21, 2011, says her son was always thin and that "he wouldn't grow." When found, her 6-year-old son weighed less than 20 pounds, the average weight of an 8-month-old infant.

Audio Clips
De Soto mother Rachel Perez speaks with her father from the Johnson County Jail

Others involved in the case

  • The family: Two family members played prominent roles in Perez’s case: Martin Foster, Perez’s father, and Patricia Moran, Perez’s grandmother. According to court testimony, Moran and Foster called police with concerns about the boy. Their alerting authorities led to Perez’s arrest on a traffic warrant — and to the discovery of the boy in the attic. Foster spoke briefly at the sentencing hearing, saying, “What my daughter did was wrong. … But I do love her dearly.” Foster declined an interview request, and Moran could not be reached for comment.
  • Social and Rehabilitation Services: Open records requests to SRS by the Journal-World for information about the agency’s involvement in Perez’s case were denied. Perez said she had been investigated for child abuse in 2009, but the complaint was not substantiated. It’s not known if there were other complaints, or what interventions, if any, were made. Perez also said she was receiving state assistance up until 2009, but she said those benefits ended because of paperwork problems.
  • Stacey Eastwood: A relative of Perez’s who in court identified herself as the current foster mother of the boy discovered in the attic and Perez’s two daughters. Eastwood spoke at the sentencing hearing, detailing the abuse suffered by the boy and the girls. Eastwood declined an interview request for this story. Perez said she was “grateful” the children were in a good home and that they would “never want for anything.” It is not clear who has custody of the child Perez gave birth to while in jail in January. The newborn was taken into state custody.

Experts discuss damaging effects of abuse

Nancy Kellogg, a Texas-based pediatrician who studies intentional starvation, said the condition and weight of Rachel Perez’s son when found was one of the more severe cases of child starvation she’s ever known. Read about the effects of child abuse on WellCommons.com.

On Aug. 17, 2010, Rachel Perez, 26, phoned her grandmother from the Johnson County Jail to say she’d been arrested on a traffic warrant. Perez asked about getting a lawyer and making bail.

When the De Soto woman called back a half-hour later, things had taken a dramatic turn.

Perez’s father, Martin Foster, answered this time and unleashed an expletive-laced tirade. The angry, disappointed Foster couldn’t believe what his daughter had done.

“We found him, Rachel, in your attic!” he yelled.

Perez denied it, saying she wasn’t even tall enough to reach the attic.

“You will never convince me of that,” Foster said. “You put a little baby in a (expletive) attic!”

“Oh my God,” Perez said. “Oh my God.”

“Why? Why?” Foster said. “Are you that ashamed of him?”

A 6-year-old boy with Down syndrome had been left starving in an attic, and now Perez’s family knew.

‘Heard a noise’

The condition of some of the small duplex homes on Center Drive in De Soto progressively deteriorate the farther you go down the street. Nice, well-kept homes with fresh paint turn into older buildings — some vacant — with flecked paint and worn roofs. Rachel Perez’s former home is about halfway down the street.

About 2 p.m. on Aug. 17, Johnson County Sheriff’s deputies went to that home following up on a call from Foster and Patricia Moran, Perez’s grandmother. Moran called police with concerns about the welfare of Perez’s son, the middle child, who had reportedly been left at home alone at times.

In the recorded jailhouse phone call, Foster hints at other forms of abuse they suspected in the home.

“I keep hearing these horror stories about this little boy who can’t defend himself,” Foster tells his daughter.

Deputies found Perez with her boyfriend, Jose Acosta, along with Perez’s two daughters, ages 8 and 5. She told the deputies her son wasn’t home — he was with his father, according to police testimony.

Armed with a traffic warrant, police arrested Perez, while Acosta took custody of her two daughters, who were then taken to relatives of Perez.

The home was empty, except for the boy in the attic.

For hours, Perez sat at the Johnson County Jail, calling family members and friends, trying to make bail. She insisted the boy wasn’t at the home, and even told police there wasn’t an attic in the house.

Patrol Sgt. Mark Rokusek was working the night shift and was one of several deputies to return to the home later that evening. About 11:15 p.m. Moran met them at Perez’s home, determined to find the boy.

“She believed he was in the house,” Rokusek said.

Moran persisted.

Deputies knocked on the door and checked the outside of the building, looking for a legally justifiable reason to enter the home. They heard a noise, and Rokusek made the decision to go inside.

They looked through an open window. The smell of urine and feces wafted out of the home. In photos taken of the house, little white dots — which prosecutors explain were maggots — can be seen in the boy’s crib.

A deputy entered the home through the window. There were no signs of the boy.

Rokusek said they expected to find the boy hiding under a bed or in a closet — making it a routine child welfare check.

Then one of the deputies “heard a noise from the attic,” Rokusek said.

The deputy reached up to the 2-by-2-foot access panel, which led to a small overhead space, or attic. There was one small ventilation screen in the attic.

Photos of the space show loose insulation, broken boards and rusty nails. The high temperature for the day was 80 degrees, but it was much warmer in the attic.

Deputies slid the access panel over.

“At that very moment, these two tiny feet plopped out of the hole and the little boy’s head popped out,” Rokusek said.

Deputies took the boy, weighing less than 20 pounds and covered in feces and urine, handed him to his grandmother, and called for an ambulance.

Rokusek recounts the day’s events in a matter-of-fact, police-jargon technical way. That is, until he talks about the boy.

“I’ve always wondered what that little boy was thinking about when he sat in that attic by himself alone for seven, eight, nine hours; during the heat of the day, into the darkness of the night, all by himself,” Rokusek said.

Charges

Prosecutors initially charged Perez, who was four months pregnant with her fourth child, with child abuse and child endangerment, allegations that could have sent her to prison for 41 months. Then they added attempted second-degree murder.

Chris Brown, a Johnson County assistant district attorney who prosecuted the case, said the charge matched the crime. Perez left the child in the attic and knew she wasn’t getting out of jail until at least the next morning. By then, the boy could have been dead.

He was so malnourished that he couldn’t walk, according to medical testimony from Dr. Lisa Spector, a pediatrician at Children’s Mercy who treated the boy. Spector described the boy’s lack of muscle tissue and body fat. The boy wouldn’t have survived another 24 hours in that attic, she said.

“This is the worst case of child abuse that did not result in a child’s death that I have ever seen,” Brown said.

With a warning about their content, Brown showed several pictures — never released publicly — of the boy taken at the scene.

One of the photos shows the boy’s rib cage and bones nearly piercing his skin, as he clutches to Moran.

Mixed in with the shocking pictures in the prosecution’s case file is a studio portrait of the boy taken in March 2008. A healthy-looking 4-year-old smiles for the camera. Brown and Rasmussen also have another, more recent photo of the boy, taken just three months after he was found. This time, it’s a plump 7-year-old smiling back.

‘Everything will be OK’

Awaiting transfer to the Kansas Department of Corrections, Rachel Perez sat last week in a glaring white holding cell at Johnson County Jail, recounting to the Journal-World what happened the day she was arrested.

“Next thing I know, I hear ‘bam, bam, bam,’” said Perez, who was at home with Acosta, her boyfriend, along with her son and two daughters.

She peeked out the window and saw two police cars. Perez knew a judge had issued a warrant for her arrest for unpaid traffic fines. She knew the drill. She’d been arrested before on a similar charge. She said she didn’t want to put her kids through the trauma of seeing their mom arrested again.

Looking for places to hide, Perez slid a table over and picked up her son.

“I … put him up there because he’s the lightest,” said Perez about moving her son into the attic.

Then the table broke.

“I fell through,” said Perez, who then used a broom to slide the hatch, covering the attic. She reassured the boy.

“Hold on baby, everything will be OK,” she said.

Perez said she thought about running from police. She looked out an open window, and that’s when a deputy, from outside, reached in and pinned her against the wall. Acosta let the police in, and they took Perez outside.

“Then they started asking me questions about (her son),” Perez said.

Police arrived at the home around 2 p.m., and Perez was taken into custody around 4 p.m. Until 11 p.m., Perez’s son remained in the attic — as Perez denied he was there, saying the boy was with his father.

“Now they’re asking about him and what am I going to say? ‘He’s in the attic at the moment,’” Perez said. “It was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. I lost my life because I lied.”

In the panic, Perez said the lie seemed the “most logical.”

How did no one notice?

Jason Billam, Perez’s court-appointed attorney, says the photo of a healthy boy is a clue that at one point Perez had taken adequate care of her special-needs son.

But as the boy got older, his needs exceeded Perez’s ability to care for him, he said.

“She basically lied to herself about being able to take care of him,” Billam said. “At times her behavior was reckless. At times her behavior was scary. (But) at no time was she trying to kill.”

Starting out as a teenage mother, Perez said she did the best she could with limited resources. Days from being evicted from the house on Center Drive when arrested, Perez and her three children lived on the $674 monthly disability insurance payments she received from Social Security for her son. Boyfriends and the fathers of her children moved in and out of their lives, helping financially when they were around.

The family had been receiving food stamps and benefits from the state, but Perez said those were taken away in 2009. It’s not clear why they were cut off, but Perez said it was a paperwork problem.

Times were tough, and money was tight. But Perez insists there wasn’t any abuse.

She says the boy never was in the attic before that August day, though prosecutors say it was a typical place for Perez to put the boy.

Perez, however, admits to neglecting her children, and acknowledges her home was “trashed.”

She didn’t take her son to the doctor, didn’t keep the house clean, didn’t tell the truth about where he was. For that, Perez said, she’ll be punished for the rest of her life. She’s sorry that “all this happened.”

The apology didn’t extend to her son’s poor condition; in Perez’s eyes, that wasn’t a problem.

“(Him) being little bitty skinny was not unusual,” Perez said. “He wouldn’t grow.”

As the boy’s physical condition deteriorated over those one and a half years, Perez began hiding the child for fear that protective services would get involved if anyone saw him, Billam explained at sentencing. The boy wasn’t enrolled in school, and Perez moved around a lot.

It’s unclear how much interaction the boy had with the outside world. People in her neighborhood and at the De Soto library — where Perez frequently took her two daughters — reported seeing Perez out with her girls, but not the boy.

Perez and Billam say that Social and Rehabilitation Services, or SRS — the state agency that investigates child abuse and neglect — had investigated Perez’s family. But it’s not clear what role SRS played in the Perez case.

SRS, citing exemptions in the Kansas open records laws for child welfare cases, denied the Journal-World’s request for records related to investigations of Perez and her children.

Prosecutors also were unable to comment on SRS’ involvement in the case, citing confidentiality agreements mandated in child abuse cases.

Perez said any complaints that were made were not substantiated, and SRS took no action. The complaints, according to Perez, were made in 2009, at a time that her son may have been at a normal weight.

It was the suspicions of family members that caught up with Perez. Prosecutors credit those family members with saving the boy’s life.

SRS relies on concerns from family and community members in abuse and neglect cases, said Gina Meier-Hummel, director of children and family services for SRS.

In 2010, SRS received more than 55,000 reports of child abuse or neglect. Those calls are screened by 24-hour staff, and a determination is made regarding follow-up. Last year, 64 percent of those initial reports led to an in-person follow-up by workers — which must be done within 72 hours. The interventions in such cases range from parent education to removal of children from the home.

Meier-Hummel — who could not speak specifically about the Perez case — stressed that there is no reason not to call SRS when something appears wrong with a child, whether it’s an abuse or malnutrition case. Reports can be made anonymously to SRS’ round-the-clock hot line, 1-800-922-5330.

“We have a responsibility as citizens” to report, she said.

Court case

In Perez’s case, a phone call saved her son from what prosecutors contend was ongoing torture.

At a court hearing in February, testimony centered on the life of the boy who wasn’t a “picky eater,” despite what Perez’s attorney contended. Food was withheld when the child acted out, Brown said. It was a systematic, prolonged starvation.

And it wasn’t the first time the boy had been in the attic; it was routine, Brown said. The prosecution’s theory was bolstered by video testimony from Perez’s two daughters — interviewed by specialists at Sunflower House, an interviewing and assessment center for abused and neglected children in Shawnee.

“He was banished, so to speak, from the family,” Brown said. “It went beyond child abuse. I would definitely call it torture.”

After that hearing, Billam said there was no way he would put Perez in front of a jury. If convicted, jurors would have the option to depart from the sentencing guidelines and recommend that the judge double Perez’s sentence.

Perez and Billam decided to plead guilty to the child abuse and endangerment charges and no contest to the attempted second-degree murder charge. It’d be up to the judge, and not a jury, to determine how much time Perez would spend in prison.

At sentencing, Perez told her story to Johnson County District Judge Peter Ruddick. In her panic, she said, she put her son in the attic and thought she’d be out of jail in hours. She’d return and let the boy out.

Ruddick sat stoically through the May 26 sentencing hearing. He listened to Perez’s story, her statements of remorse and tears.

He’d heard the prosecution’s theory and the medical testimony detailing the boy’s starvation.

He’d listened to Perez, in one of those jailhouse telephone calls, deny her son was in the attic.

And during the hourlong hearing, he had those pictures of Perez’s emaciated son in front of him.

Ruddick called Perez’s actions “unfathomable” and sentenced her to the maximum amount for each count. In total, 102 months in prison.

‘Doing great’

Recent photos of the boy refute Perez’s contention that he “wouldn’t grow,” Brown said. The boy is now “doing great.” He’s gained weight and can walk.

Prosecutors couldn’t confirm what happened to Perez’s children, but Stacey Eastwood, a relative of Perez’s who declined an interview request, spoke at sentencing and identified herself as the foster parent of Perez’s three children. The whereabouts of Perez’s fourth child, the one she gave birth to in January, while she was in jail, remain unknown. The child was taken into state custody after birth.

Eastwood, who asked Ruddick to give Perez the maximum sentence, detailed the struggles she faces helping all three children recover from their abuse. The two daughters suffer from guilt and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, she said.

“We try to help them heal from their past but we can’t know what they (Perez’s three children) went through,” Eastwood said. “We live their past with them.”

When asked about reuniting with her children, Perez tears up. If she gets early parole, her oldest child would be 16 when Perez gets out of prison. She hasn’t seen her children since her arrest last August. She does send letters, unsure if her children receive them.

“I’d like to be able to move on and know my children are going to find me,” Perez said. “I know my kids aren’t going to forget me. They know in their hearts mommy loves them.”

Interactive Timeline

Timeline of the Rachel Perez child abuse case

This story will also be published in Sunday's printed Lawrence Journal-World. De Soto Explorer reporter Laura Herring contributed to this article.

Comments

ResQd 3 years, 5 months ago

After reading this story, I hope she gets the maximum sentence allowed by law. This is a disgrace and I don't buy her story.

Jonathan Kealing 3 years, 5 months ago

She's been sentenced to serve eight years in prison, which, I believe, was the maximum allowed under law, absent a trial by jury.

Cassie Powell 3 years, 5 months ago

She knew she was doing wrong. If it was to protect her children, from seeing her arrested, why were all 3 not shoved in the attic???

HighScore 3 years, 5 months ago

It seems that she is claiming she put him up in the attic first by using a table to reach, because "he was the lightest" and then the table broke. I am guessing that she is claiming she was also going to put the two daugthers up there too, but that she couldn't because she could no longer reach because the table broke (not that I believe anything she has to say).

“I … put him up there because he’s the lightest,” said Perez about moving her son into the attic.

Then the table broke.

shaunepec 3 years, 5 months ago

Wolflover, It's my understanding Perez fell through a table putting him up there and said she couldn't get back up there.

catndog 3 years, 5 months ago

Glad to know that he is doing well now. What happened to boyfriend, Acosta? Was he charged with anything?

shaunepec 3 years, 5 months ago

catndog, He was never charged. There seemed to be no consensus on what he knew. Perez made conflicting statements about whether Acosta knew the boy was in attic. But, from her account, it would be hard to believe he didn't know since he was at the home when it happened.

Shaun Hittle LJW Reporter

Courtney87 3 years, 5 months ago

It is extremely necessary.....anyone who defends this woman is just as sorry of an excuse for a human being!!!

Andrea Hoag 3 years, 5 months ago

In the third video clip, the little boy's name hasn't been beeped out.

Jonathan Kealing 3 years, 5 months ago

Thanks. I've removed that video for now, while we investigate.

Reta Cosby 3 years, 5 months ago

What have you (Nay Sayers) done for a kid today; a kid in need; a kid with special needs; a kid that needs; or a parent of a needy kid? If nothing, then SHUT (your blackberry) UP!

Lawrence Morgan 3 years, 5 months ago

The event is terrible, but the story itself is very well written, together with the Timeline, the pictures, and the medical testimony. The story presents as many sides to the story as possible. I would personally like to thank all those people who worked on this presentation. It is an excellent handling of a very difficult situation, very thoughtful and very thought-provoking..

Bassetlover 3 years, 5 months ago

Totally agree. Shaun Hittle, you did an outstanding job on this story. Put this one in your portfolio. It's a keeper. You've made your college journalism professors very proud.

shumm 3 years, 5 months ago

Agreed. This is one of the best written stories I've read this year. Very well crafted for such a sad story.

shaunepec 3 years, 5 months ago

Much appreciated. This obviously was a difficult one to write. Hard to parse out the "truth" in all this. But nice to see people appreciate the hard work.

Shaun

Katara 3 years, 5 months ago

A strong support system is not only financial. Sometimes it is as simple as getting just 1 hour of free time to yourself. Sometimes it is just a little help getting the house straightened up. There are so many little things that help a caregiver out so that caregiver can provide for the ones they are in charge of.

A strong support system does those little things.

Courtney87 3 years, 5 months ago

I agree....maybe she should not be poppin kids out left and right if she can't handle them!!! The children were her responsibility and no on elses, however it sounds as if her family was trying to help but she refused to provide the child's location. In fact if it wasn't for someone being observant enough and trying to help, the child more than likely would not have been found until it was too late. The system should not be blamed, people always want to blame someone else, in this case or any case like this there is absolutely no excuse at all, and I would love to witness what happens with her in the prison yard!!!!

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 5 months ago

And who suffers in the end? If the parent(s) can't/won't care for the child, who suffers? We're currently living in a state that it is doing it's damnedest to force women who get pregnant into forced birthing of children (with special needs and not) that they fully admit they do not want and cannot care for. The state will then, after forcing a woman into childbirth, refuse to give her the support she needs to raise that child. You will save tax money. But who will suffer in the end? As horrific as this story is, if the state's government continues in the direction it's going, I fully believe you can expect this kind of event to start happening on a routine basis. I truly hope you can sit in comfort in your recliner and watch "The Wheel" with beer in hand.

tomatogrower 3 years, 5 months ago

But, then again there are some like Brownback who believe birth control is wrong too. They would like to outlaw birth control. The only sex allowed is for procreation.

Chelsea Kapfer 3 years, 5 months ago

I was just thinking that too. Lets see what happens when birth control is less accessable, and the SRS office is closed. I shudder to think.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 5 months ago

It makes the irony of the line, "Are there no poor houses? No prisons?" glaringly apparent.

bevy 3 years, 5 months ago

Is that what you gleaned from this? Sounds to me like the grandparents had a feeling something wasn't right - they obviously cared about their grandson and did all they could to make sure he was found. Sounds to me like she had support and was too busy riding the boyfriend merry-go-round to take care of her kids. She was also a drug abuser.

You can rant all you like about "forced birthing." Birth control is available, free of charge, to anyone who wants to show up at the clinic and ask for it. Of course you have to be sober and responsible enough to use it.

I have no pity for anyone who does this to a child, particularly one who can't even speak for himself. This woman should rot in jail for the rest of her life, as far as I'm concerned.

countrygal07 3 years, 5 months ago

What a sick woman. 8 years isnt long enough for what she did to these children. She should be locked up for life and the keys thrown away. Better than that she should be locked in the attic, barely fed, and no contact with her children at all.

tmasenthin 3 years, 5 months ago

And still ... you can hear the child's name in jailhouse video.

Dixie Jones 3 years, 5 months ago

WOW im at a loss for words (rare)... all i can think of is the people out there who are praying to god daily to give them a precious child , but they do not recieve that ... and then we have this ANIMAL of a mother who does this to a child....so sad .

somedude20 3 years, 5 months ago

That poor child was that POS's meal ticket and it sounds like she just used him for the $674 a month. One person can hardly live on that let alone 4. She has no real remorse and never will but the one thing she will have is the ability to make more children. That woman is a monster!

love2fish_ks 3 years, 5 months ago

The female prision inmates have no soul if they do not make her life as miserable as she made that little boy's life.

Chelsea Kapfer 3 years, 5 months ago

Oh, they will. I used to work in the female maximum security prison in Topeka. It is rough, even rougher than the men's facility.

Hop2It 3 years, 5 months ago

So many unanswered questions. Thank you for such a well written story and thank you for attempting to answer out questions with facts. I also wondered about the boyfriend.

butterflylvr 3 years, 5 months ago

Why is it that trash like this can have children. I agree, she needs to be sterilized! Worthless POS! Put her in an attic for awhile and see how she likes it.

scientist23 3 years, 5 months ago

She is trash and deserves to rot in prison. Any person that can abuse a child is not a person at all.

ferrislives 3 years, 5 months ago

when our legal system cares more about the health and welfare of our children than someone smoking a doobie, America will be in a better place. In the meantime, this woman is trash, and I hope that they treat her as such in prison.

kernal 3 years, 5 months ago

Does she honestly think anyone believes her ridiculous story? I think she may be an actual moron in the real sense of the word.

Kat Christian 3 years, 5 months ago

This is so heartbreaking. I was raised with a sister born with Downs and I can't imagine ever being ashamed of her. She was the light of our lives and I miss her so much. She passed away 3 yrs ago at the age 50. This Rachel is delusional, she reminds me of another mother who shot her 3 children (Diane Downs). Some women should not have children. We need a better system in place in this country to detect child abuse with infringing on the rights and privacys. Child Protective serivces needs to be more proactive and dilligent in their investigations. Thank God that police officer had the foresight to continue to search for the little boy. I pray he gets a wonderful, loving family who will appreciate his presences as we did our beloved sister. DS people are special people in many, many ways and brings so much love and joy to the world.

BruceWayne 3 years, 5 months ago

this type of behavior will become more common following some of Brownbacks recent powerplays. very sad.

stuartthepanama 3 years, 5 months ago

There is absolutely no doubt that shes lying about just putting him there one time, she was out walking her kids around downtown desoto and to the library all the time. I was stunned when i read this originally because i was sure she only had two kids because that was all that was ever with her, She also worked for my wife for awhile, and never spoke of the handicapped child at all, while she always talked about her other kids.

stuartthepanama 3 years, 5 months ago

What was the name of that book i read when i was a child? Flowers in the attic?

Liberty275 3 years, 5 months ago

For a parent to kill their defenseless child, they need to be a psychopath. I'm sure the court system has and continues to work fairly for this poor woman. Short of corruption, incompetence or pure laziness by her defense team, there should be no reason she doesn't receive the appropriate punishment.

It's sad when anything dies, worse when it's killed and an absolute tragedy when the death stems from child abuse. This case looks about as riddled with sadness as they come.

KEITHMILES05 3 years, 5 months ago

Totally agree these females receiving aid and continue having babies need sterilized right away. Just a travesty bringing babies into the world and not being cared for.

toughangel41 3 years, 5 months ago

I so happy the little boy is safe now but I do wonder about the other children... what must they be thinking how their very own mother could do to their very own brother. Were they threatened if they spoke of him? Did she coach them daily to not even mention him? It's very disturbing to me that someone so evil could be given something as precious as beautiful children. God help the babies... they will need all the love and support while she is in jail... I know I will be praying for them all...

tomatogrower 3 years, 5 months ago

Sadly, it's cases like this that conservatives like to throw up as evidence that we should get rid of the support system that we have set up. This woman didn't seek the help that the state has to offer, or this would never have happened, and she would have been collecting welfare on the rest of the kids.
She was looking for a man to take care of her. I wonder how many different fathers there were. She probably got pregnant on purpose thinking the guy would then marry her and take care of her and her children. But they just kept leaving her. When are our young women going to realize that they first need to know how to take care of themselves, then find a man to share a life with. When are they going to work on their own lives and quit thinking their happiness depends on having a man, whether or not he is a real man or one of the worthless slimeballs. In fact women who have no sense of self worth always end up with the slimeballs.

Liberty275 3 years, 5 months ago

"Sadly, it's cases like this that conservatives like to throw up as evidence that we should get rid of the support system that we have set up."

Example?

tomatogrower 3 years, 5 months ago

That's all I ever hear from my conservative family members. Women will just go out and have lots of babies, because they get more welfare if they do. Are there welfare queens out there? You bet, but there are more people for whom welfare was a safety net when things went wrong. It helped them get back on their feet. The biggest problem I have is they don't help those who do want to get back on their feet as much as they do the ones who are just lazy. Some women stay on welfare, because they can't afford the child care. Once their kids get old enough to take care of themselves, mothers have a tough time finding a job with their work gap. But I don't think this woman was either. She was looking for a man. Gotta have a man. That's what we need to prevent with young women. Take care of yourself, then find a man.

Liberty275 3 years, 5 months ago

"Women will just go out and have lots of babies, because they get more welfare if they do"

This is a case of a psychotic woman that almost killed one of her own children due to long-term neglect and at least one acute bad decision. This isn't a case of someone having more kids to get extra welfare money.

Apples and oranges.

Courtney87 3 years, 5 months ago

Thank you soooo much for obviously being one of the only level headed people on this planet!!!!!!

Carol Bowen 3 years, 5 months ago

Rachel Perez is not sane. Eight years of prison will not change her. This is really a tragedy. Hateful dialog will not not make it go away. It happened. It hurts. What could we, as a society, do better to minimize the frequency of these tragedies?

Courtney87 3 years, 5 months ago

remove women like her from earth then her sanity will not matter :)

basil 3 years, 5 months ago

What can we do as a society to help prevent these tragedies? Maybe stress that every single human person is worthy of dignity? A child with Down syndrome, a ranter on a news website, even a poor mother who may be guilty of attempted murder? Maybe treating people with dignity before they do ill would help them not do ill? Maybe help when we can, like the officer, and not ignore? Weep when things like this happen despite our help, and do our best to teach our children to treat others with dignity, and model that behavior ourselves? Perhaps this could be something we do despite our political beliefs? And maybe only use words when words will help?

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