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Friday, August 24, 2007

WTF? Kids Found Dead Under a Sink!

Extremely disturbing...

HANAHAN, South Carolina (AP) -- Sametta Heyward was in a bind. The single mother was scheduled to start a double shift at 3 p.m., and her baby sitter had just canceled.
Attorney Andy Savage talks with Sametta Heyward before her bail hearing Tuesday in Hanahan, South Carolina.

1 of 2 "She was either told to come to work or be fired, or she was afraid to call in sick -- one of those things," said police Lt. Michael Fowler.

She made it to her job at a county-run group home July 29, a typically warm summer day. After eight hours, she called a supervisor and said she had to leave because of child-care issues.
According to her employer, she didn't tell the supervisor or a co-worker that for all that time, she had left her 1-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son in her Chevy Cavalier hatchback, parked on a residential street.

She had left Triniti and Shawn with battery-powered fans, food and drinks, but it was not nearly enough to combat the sweltering conditions inside. She later told relatives that when she got to the car at 11:30 p.m., the children were unconscious and had weak pulses.
A day later, police found her at her apartment wailing, "Oh, my babies!"
Officers said in a police report that she tried to kick and bite them and asked them to kill her. The bodies of the children, bathed and dressed, were found wrapped in trash bags and stuffed under the sink.
Heyward, 27, was charged with two counts of homicide by child abuse. A funeral for the children was held Saturday.
Lab tests are pending that could help determine whether the children died in the stifling car or sometime after their mother rushed their limp bodies back to their tiny apartment.

A host of other questions remain unanswered: Why didn't she take the children inside the group home? Did she ever check on them? Why didn't she tell her supervisor that the baby sitter had canceled? If the children were alive when she got to them, why didn't she seek medical help?

People who know her say they considered her a loving mother, despite a life that turned tough long before she moved into the 252-square-foot efficiency apartment.

"She and her kids were always happy, smiling and joking," said Tony Smith, who lived a few doors down and often shared meals with the family.

Smith's wife, Sheryce Robertson, would sometimes baby-sit, but Robertson was sick when Heyward asked her to care for the kids that Sunday.

It was an average summer day by South Carolina standards: 88 degrees. But the inside of the car would have been like an oven, according to experts, who say the children may not have had much of a chance even if the windows were cracked.

"If it's in direct sunlight, you can easily get temperatures of 130 or 140 degrees in a car in 10 or 15 minutes," said Dr. Keith Borg, an emergency room physician at the Medical University of South Carolina. "At that kind of temperature, it could kill an infant or a small child in minutes."

Her friends and her bosses -- and even the officers who arrested her -- say Heyward had been trying her best: working long hours and providing for her children.

In May, she and her children had moved into the $185-a-week apartment in Hanahan, a bedroom community of about 14,000 people some 15 miles from Charleston. She told the apartment complex manager they wouldn't be there long, that she was already looking for another place.

She had been arrested twice in the past three years, but she was not prosecuted on a charge of hindering an officer and was found not guilty of first-degree criminal domestic violence in February 2006.

A few months before the move, she put a newborn up for adoption. A 12-year-old son lives with his father in Maryland.

If those things affected her, it didn't show on the job. In a recent statement, the Disabilities Board of Charleston County said Heyward "was a valued employee who received good evaluations of her work" and was well-regarded by staff and clients.

Her lawyer, Andy Savage, said he hopes a mental evaluation will shed light on what happened.

"Neighbors see her as a great mother. This isn't a woman who beat her kids," he said. "Suppose she went to work that night and left them at home. Would that have been better?"

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are no words for a situation like this. May the mother find peace...some how, some way.

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't have been better to leave them home or in the car it would've been better to take them into her job or call out...I mean that is just what I think...this is truly a sad, and disturbing story...

Shai said...

Oh, my God the pics of the kids hit me hard. I have never been to a child's funeral who was under 12. It looks so unreal and sad.

muslimahlocs said...

that's really sad. this is the first time that i have actually been able to look directly at the pictures even though i have had them in front of me several times before. may Allah grant them paradise and grant the mother what her actions have earned.

blackrussian said...

Not to excuse her at all, but she must have just not been able to think straight. I mean she must have been in a mental state where she just didn't feel like she had options.

I don't feel like she was able to think conclusively, cause and effect: if I leave my children in the car, they'll die. I have to do something else.

I don't have another explanation for how she could know better than to leave them at home alone, but not know better than to leave them in the car.

Mental deficiency is all I can come up with.

I don't think she meant for it to happen. Criminal negliegence, surely, but I think it must be due to some other mental health issue.

Like the fact that she dressed and bathed them but then put them in trash bags under the sink???

I think that shows more evidence of crazy than 'bad parenting' or a desire to hide her actions so she didn't get caught.

In any case, it's terribly sad for everyone all around.

I'm sure you've since heard of the assistant principal who left her daughter in the car all day because she "forgot" to drop her off at the baby-sitter.

What???

I believe her too. I think she really did forget, but it's just like, how do people let themselves get so distracted and disconnected that they can forget their own children???

It's not like leaving your keys in the ignition or your purse on the counter at the bank.

It's scary!

Anonymous said...

i have no remorse for her she picked her job over her kids she mite have been trying to work to take care of them but in the end its her fault they are dead!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!