Dr. Henry Paul, MD

Psychiatrist, Author and Educator

HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN?

September 28th, 2015

20639318_sThe discovery last week of who “Baby Doe” is has been bittersweet.  Her name is Bella Bond, and she was just a little over two years old.   After many months and millions of views online finally this week someone recognized this little girl was killed and did the right thing and notified the authorities.  There is relief in knowing that this child has a name.  There are disbelief and anger as the details of her death unfold.

This is a situation where we have a neglectful and abusive couple who used drugs.  Some may question whether the drugs are the reason for the neglect and abuse, but whatever the reason the outcome is that this child was abused and that abuse led to her death.

Michael Sprinsky, who said he had lived with the mother, her boyfriend and Bella, finally put the pieces together about the disappearance and called law enforcement.  CNN reported that Sprinsky said “he had briefly lived with the couple and was disturbed by how they yelled at the girl, demeaned her, spanked her and, on two occasions, locked her in a closet for 30 minutes to an hour.”

To make matters worse, the mother’s boyfriend thought the child was possessed by demons, so he killed the little girl.  The mother helped to cover it up, and so became an accessory to murder after-the-fact.

Why would any mother cover up such a horrendous crime? In many cases like this dependency is the main reason. Many such women I have examined have been highly dependent on their abusive boyfriends, and she might have stayed with him to fulfill these dependency needs, and to avoid abandonment, to avoid punishment and also for drugs.  News reports say she is also dependent on Heroin. Apparently her judgment was impaired-her dependency and drug use are powerful judgment destroyers.

When it comes to the death of Bella, the lingering question in people’s minds is how did the State Department of Children and Families Services (DFS) miss this?  After all DFS handles investigating allegations of child abuse and the agency had dealt with this mother before.   She was known to have drug problems.  She had two other children taken away from her, and she had already been investigated twice for neglecting Bella.  I’m certain that this investigation will look at the policies and practices of DFS and whether-or-not the agency responded appropriately in this case.

When it comes to child abuse each State has a system to receive and respond to reports of possible abuse and neglect. Professionals and concerned citizens can call statewide hotlines, local child protective services, or law enforcement agencies to share their concerns.

Childhelp® is a national organization that provides crisis assistance and other counseling and referral services. The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with professional crisis counselors who have access to a database of 55,000 emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are anonymous.

Links:

Death of Bella Bond: Blame game begins CNN

In a Year, Child-Protective Services Checked Up on 3.2 Million Children

2.5 million of those kids were declared ‘non-victims.’ Another 686,000 were ‘abused’ or ‘neglected.’ And an estimated 1,640 kids died as a result.

DISCLAIMER
Information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical or psychiatric advice for individual conditions or treatment and does not substitute for a medical or psychiatric examination. A psychiatrist must make a determination about any treatment or prescription. Dr. Paul does not assume any responsibility or risk for the use of any information contained within this blog.


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