January 2006

As 2006 approaches an end, I figured I’d have a look at some of the cases from the year (so far) and see where they stand now. The starting link for each story will take you to my original entry on the case. The update link will take you to the most current updated article available.

These are the nominees from January of 2006. Note that most of them didn’t actually commit their crimes in January, that’s just when they started making headlines that caught my eye.

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Consuelo Camacho — 18-year old Consuelo gave birth to a baby boy in her bathroom in December of 2005, and then stabbed him repeatedly with a pair of scissors. Miraculously, the baby lived, despite his mother’s efforts. At the time I wrote the original entry it wasn’t clear who had reported the baby’s stabbing, well it turns out that Consuelo is the one who made the call. She did admit to the stabbing at the time, telling police she didn’t know what else to do.

Update — Seems that as the year progressed, it was revealed that Consuelo was impregnated by her stepfather who has also been arrested. The defense contends that when Consuelo gave birth, she came out of the bathroom and told her stepfather, who then went in and stabbed the baby — and ordered her to say she did it. Consuelo is still being held on the original charges at this time. No telling how this one will finally unfold.

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Keon Lipscomb. Keon was babysitting his girlfriend’s nearly two year old daughter, Unique Thomas, in 2001. After he had raped her, the little girl was understandably frightened of him. Two days after the sexual abuse, Keon ordered Unique to come to him, which caused her to start crying. He then proceeded to beat the toddler to death, after which he disposed of her body and claimed she was missing. It was one week before Unique’s second birthday. When he finally confessed to his horrified family, the baby’s body was recovered and Keon was charged with her murder. He had delayed his trial through various machinations for five years, and then in January of 2006, when finally faced with imminent trial, he abruptly pleaded guilty.

Update — To add insult to injury (as it were), the reason Keon was babysitting Unique in the first place was because her mother was in the hospital giving birth to Keon’s daughter. Although eligible for the death penalty, the judge felt that Keon (now 24) had shown some remorse and therefore sentenced him to life in prison, with no eligibility for parole — showing him far more mercy than he’d shown Unique.

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Jacob Calero and Michelle De La Vega are the couple who went to Vegas to celebrate New Year’s weekend — and left their ten and five year old boys home alone. To make things more interesting, the five year old is autistic. The couple was arrested upon their return and charged with felony child endangerment. Interviews with the older boy revealed that this was not the first time they had been left home alone while their father and step-mother went out of town.

Update — Calero pleaded no contest to two felony counts of child endangerment. The Judge sentenced Calero to nine months in county jail — which can be served as home confinement — and three years on probation. The boys’ stepmother, De La Vega, pleaded no contest to being an accessory after the fact to a felony, which is a misdemeanor. She was sentenced to six months in county jail — which can be served as home confinement — and three years on probation. The prosecutor remarked that the sentences were quite stiff compared to your average child endangerment conviction.

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JoAnn Walker and Robert Troutman — Troutman sexually abused Walker’s daughter for three years (from ages five through eight) while Walker not only looked the other way, she also actively dismissed allegations and claims against him even when they were brought to her by the police. No update needed on these two — Walker got four years and Troutman got nine. Not nearly enough in either case.

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Shannon Cook really wanted to be on the Springer show. The fact that she had no babysitter for her three children didn’t stop her, she simply left them home alone. The children were aged three, one and a half and “less than one” … Shannon got thirty days and the kids went to foster homes. No updates can be found to detail what happened after the sentence was served — was she able to work toward reunification with her kids or did they remain in the foster system?

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Jason Strickland nearly beat his 11-year old stepdaughter, Haleigh Poutre, to death. He and his wife adopted Haleigh when she was five after her mother’s boyfriend was (apparently falsely) accused of molesting the little girl. Massachusetts social workers pressured Allison, Haleigh’s mom, to give her up for adoption, even threatening to take her unborn child from her immediately after birth if she refused. Allison’s sister, Holli Strickland and her husband adopted Haleigh. Six short years later, after DSS workers dismissed a series of complaints about onoging abuse, Haleigh lay in a hospital bed totally dependent on machines in what doctors said was a permanent and irreversible persistent vegetative state, caused by the final beating in a string of ongoing abuse by her adoptive parents. Holli and Jason were arrested and after she was released on bail, Holli was found dead of a gunshot wound next to the body of her similarly deceased grandmother. No one is sure if it was a murder-suicide or a double murder. The social services workers who had failed Haleigh so many times over the course of her life went to court to gain the right to remove her life support. Jason Strickland began fighting for Haleigh, arguing that the child should not be given up on so quickly — the fact that he faced murder charges if she died no doubt helped him develop this sudden concern for the child he’d beaten into a coma. Immediately after the court granted permission for Haleigh to be removed from the ventilator and for her feeding tube to be removed, Haleigh came out of her coma. (Guess that “permanent” vegetative state wasn’t all that irreversible, persistent or permanent, after all, was it?)