I’m rather surprised that this news story hasn’t shown up here yet, and if it has, I apologize.
To sum up: mother and three children are at a Dollar General in Jacksonville when a man approaches them, having heard the mother talk about stuff they can’t afford, and offers to pay for stuff for them at Walmart with his “wife’s” $100 gift card. They wait a while at the DG, then the man says that it looks as if they’ll have to meet his “wife” over at the Walmart with her card. So mom GETS INTO THIS TOTAL STRANGER’S VAN WITH HER THREE CHILDREN and he drives them over to the Walmart.
After they’ve stalled around a while browsing in Walmart while waiting for the “wife”, the guy says he’s going over to the store McDonalds to get something to eat and would anybody like anything. Now, early reports said that the mother let her eight-year-old daughter Cherish go with him. Later, the mother said that she DIDN’T give her permission, that of course she wouldn’t have because the guy seemed “creepy” and she had a bad feeling from the time they were in the van, and that Cherish must have followed him without telling her (then why didn’t the mother notice?).
Anyway, once the mother realizes they’re gone she calls the police.
This eight-year-old girl’s body was found in a nearby church a day later. The man is a registered sex offender who had been released from prison in May.
Now, of course I feel nothing but loathing for the monster who could do something like this. But I feel no less disgust for the mother in this case. I’ve seen comments expressing sympathy for her like “she made a mistake and she’s being punished enough for it,” or, “she lost a child…hasn’t she suffered enough?”
Sorry, but that doesn’t wash. A “mistake” is if you take your eyes off your kid for a moment–which can happen to anyone. A “mistake” is if you trust a friend or family member that you didn’t know was a pedophile.
This…well, what is drummed into every person’s head from kindergarten on? “Don’t take gifts from a stranger. Don’t get into a stranger’s car.” This grown woman did both, and brought her three children with her. Regardless of whether she let her daughter go with the man (and her later story sounds suspect), she showed incredible stupidity and carelessness in going with this guy in the first place…so much so that I question her ability to raise her other two children.
Which Cherish’s father seems to agree with, BTW. Apparently, he (who was never married to the mother, but is married to someone else now and living in California) has been trying to get primary custody of her for years. To make it even sadder, she was supposed to fly out to California on Saturday to visit him. He made a Facebook statement condemning the family courts for ever giving her custody, claiming that he had tried to present her issues to the court but had been brushed aside, being told he was only trying to “hurt” her. Well, he says, the truth about the “great mother” has come out.
Either this woman is too stupid to be trusted with her two other children (with her current boyfriend), or…there’s something worse going on that we haven’t found out about yet.
So, either way, I pit this woman and I hope her other children are removed somewhere safe away from her.