After reading Dana's blog posting I thought it would be interesting to see how many parents out there that had been wrongly accused of hurting their children. Parents who could no longer trust that the legal system is fair and just because it had failed them miserably. Police Officers who were supposed to help them but instead built cases against them. Parents who were already reeling from the loss of their beloved child and instead of being able to grieve and get justice for them, they are ripped away from their families and their jobs, sent to prison, and a stigma is attached to their name. They are labeled baby-killers and child abusers. It seems like the plot of a horror movie and certainly not something that actually happens in real life but even with all of the technology available to us in this day and age, it can and does still happen.
To many it may seem like the case against Justin and those in the home the night Ayla disappeared is a slam dunk. No one can figure out what is taking so long, it is so obvious Ayla is dead and at the hands of someone in the house that night, primarily Justin although it tends to change from time to time to Elisha or Courtney, so why no arrest? I tend to have my suspicions about what happened but I also am smart enough to know that not everything is always as it seems and with so little the public has to go on it would not surprise me a bit if my suspicions were way off.
Take the case of Lindy and Michael Chamberlain for example, at the time it was so unbelievable that a dingo was able to enter their tent, grab a 2 month old baby and run off with her and her body never recovered. Police built a case against the Chamberlains claiming Lindy Chamberlain slit her daughter's throat with a pair of scissors in the car, placed her body in a camera case and then cleaned the blood off the seats and the outside of the camera case before disposing the body and changing her clothes. She did this all in the amount of time it took to get a can of baked beans from the car to feed her son. Police backed up their theory with the presence of blood found in the car even though the test also would react to mucus and chocolate milk shakes both of which would probably be found in the cars of many people with children. Lindy was found guilty of Murder and her husband was convicted of Accessory to Murder. His sentence was suspended, Lindy ended up serving over 3 years before she was released. It wasn't until 2012 that she was finally completely exonerated and Azaria's death certificate changed to reflect that she had died at the hands of a dingo. Lindy spent over 3 years in prison, was even forced to have her fourth child behind bars. The family spent all of the money that they had on their legal defense trying to clear their names. The family suffered 32 years of torment for being wrongly accused of murdering their own child.
Sally Clark was a British lawyer and daughter of a police officer who was brought up strongly believing in the justice system that was until she was convicted of murdering her two children all because a pediatrician named Roy Meadow testified that it was a one in 73 million chance that two children could both die of SIDS. Clark spent over 3 years in prison and although released for her appeal the damage was already done. Clark developed a number of psychiatric problems, including an alcohol dependency and ultimately died of alcohol poisoning. When Clark's conviction was overturned, prosecutors looked into the cases of other women who were convicted of their children's death and Donna Anthony was also set free after serving six years for the murder of her children. Angela Cannings had three children die of SIDS and her conviction was overturned as a result of Sally Clark's case. Medical examiners concluded that a genetic disorder was likely to blame for the children's deaths. Cannings marriage ended because of her wrongful conviction, it also ruined the relationship with her daughter.
Lynn DeJac was convicted of strangling her 13 year old daughter, Crystallynn Girard, to death in 1994. DeJac was convicted on little more than the now recanted testimony of a neighbor who claimed Lynn confessed to the crime. There was absolutely no physical evidence tying Lynn DeJac to the crime. She ended up having her conviction overturned thanks to DNA testing. Prosecutors then thought that maybe DeJac's boyfriend at the time, Dennis Donohue was guilty of her murder but because he was given immunity for his testimony in the original trial he could not be charged with the murder. Even more surprisingly, in 2008 it was revealed that Crystallyn Girard died of a cocaine overdose and wasn't even murdered.
Julie Rae Harper's story is beyond tragic. It is unthinkable. On October 13, 1997, Julie awoke to the sound of her 10 year old son screaming. Julie ran to his room only to see a masked man in her son's room. The man fled and Julie noticed her son had been stabbed to death. Julie was a PHD student at a local college and a single mom. Julie was the sole focus of the crime for three years before police finally arrested her in 2000. Police said that because there was no sign of forced entry and because the knife used to stab Joel came from the home she must be guilty even though there was no motive and no evidence linking her to the killing. Julie was convicted of capital murder and exhausted her life savings on her defense. Eventually it was discovered that Joel was murder by confessed child serial killer, Tommy Lynn Sells, who claimed he killed Joel because Julie had been rude to him in a grocery store earlier in the day. It also came out that police withheld evidence at trial and lied on the stand. Julie was released from prison in June 2004 after serving 4 years.
The Ramsey family is another case that should have made the list but maybe that case will make it into a future blog post because of the vast amount of information available online regarding it.
For further reading- The story of the Velasquez Family, accused of abusing their infant daughter. The Reader's Digest article describes their ordeal and the hell the family was put through. http://www.rd.com/advice/parenting/parents-wrongly-accused-of-child-abuse/.
Sadly there is no shortage of these kind of cases, be it parents accused of murder or child abuse. In all of these cases, the public and prosecutors were positive that they had the culprits. All evidence led to the parents, the evidence was enough to convict these parents of murder and enough to put them away for the rest of their lives but in the end the evidence was not all it appeared or was interpreted wrong because these parents were not guilty. How many other parents are sitting in jail for the rest of their lives while their child's killer runs free? How many parents have been executed for the murder of their child because the evidence was stacked against them?
Maybe Justin, Elisha, or Courtney are guilty of Ayla's disappearance, the evidence at this time seems to point that way or maybe they aren't guilty and the evidence isn't as strong as we think or it is being interpreted wrong. It is because of cases like the ones above that I cannot stand here and adamantly say that based on the evidence that has been released in this case to date that one or all of the three in the home the night Ayla disappeared are 100% without a doubt guilty.