The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein

Friday, December 30, 2005

A Year In Review

As tomorrow is the official end of the year, I thought I would present a special review of the stories that touched me the most over the last months.
On of the first crime stories I wrote on happened locally. It was the story that made me realize I had had enough, and that I could no longer ignore what what happening.

my reaction to the Fort Jennings man who drowned his OWN child. Michael Luebrecht. I sat growing madder and madder as I watched the story unfold on the local news. Heres a 13 month old child, another innocent victim of it's parent(s) as the too familiar story goes. When did we forget that parents are suppose to protect, love, shield, and comfort their kids? How does one take any child- let alone a child who they have helped bring into this world, and decide to end their life? A whole country divided and cried over a case where an adult woman's parents fought to keep her alive- thousands mourned her passing, and her parents lingered even for a small chance of hope to keep her in this world. It brings to mind the fight parents should have for their kids- the desire to always have hope. This drowning reminds of the other side to some people in this world.

The story angered me even more as it unfolded, with the mans supporters claiming his OCD was responsible for the death. That defense was something that never sat well with me, as I have more than one family member who suffers from mental illness, and even some with OCD.
Sadly, the story is not yet over, as a grand jury put the death penalty on the table, and Luebrecht family and supporters are currently attempting to have it taken off. The trial has not yet started, but I am hoping the despite the families misgivings on just what the rule of the state in is this case- the County Prosecutor will seek full justice for the life that was taken. Just today, more pleas from the family were highlighted in the local news:
The family of the man who admitted to drowning his 13-month-old son wants treatment, not vengeance. Relatives of 36-year-old Michael G. Luebrecht don’t want to see him face a possible death penalty for his actions May 23 against Joel Michael Luebrecht, said the child’s mother and the suspect’s wife, Amy Luebrecht. “As Mike’s dad puts it, it’s not like he went out and harmed another family,” she said. “We are the victims here. He took Joel away from us. We are forgiving him. It’s not like the prosecutor has to seek vengeance on behalf of the victim. THE LIMA NEWS
I disagree with the comments, because Joel was not just taken from the family, he was taken from the world. He was denied his right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And this, by the very man responsible for raising him. The state prosecutes, not on behalf of the family, but on behalf of of a government and its people. Even if the family desires are that he be treated with leniency, the prosecution is responsible to seek justice on behalf of the government. I have often wondered in this case whether they would be so forgiving of a stranger.
Amy Luebrecht said. “Not one person I’ve talked to said they would’ve expected that or were watching for that. Everybody, including his psychiatrist, counselor and our pastors, everyone he’s ever dealt with was totally blown away by this.” Darby noted the family learned more about Michael Luebrecht’s mental illness
after the drowning incident and realized how out-of-character his actions had been. “After all this happened, we found out that he had a lot more problems than (Amy Luebrecht) knew, and because of the HIPPA law she was not notified,” Darby said. “It was left to Mike telling her that he had thoughts of hurting the boys, but he didn’t because he did not want to freak her out. No one ever thought he would act upon them.” Lammers said the family’s connection with both the suspect and victim makes it difficult to abide by their wishes. Lima News

The last part, still strikes me as odd. If his doctors were aware that he had thoughts of hurting his children, (although HIPPA rules kept them from telling her) then, her first comment would be wrong. Because someone was aware that he had this feelings, and therefore could not have been surprised by what happened. It wasn't out of character, it was just part of him she was unaware of.

More on this disturbing story can be found Here.

In the fall of this year, I was stunned to hear of the young woman who went missing in Columbus Ohio, Julie Popovich. She was friendly, outgoing, attractive, and by all accounts she vanished into thin air. While searching for information on her, I came across another story- with a familiar sound to it. Just a year earlier, another 20 year old girl had vanished, not far from the area Julie was last seen, in fact just a few miles. While Julie's body was found, and the suspect arrested on other charges (yes, he has not as of yet been charged in connection to her murder, but rather is in jail awaiting trial on another rape case) Ashley Howley has still never been found.

I felt a personal connection to Ashley's story. She was a young girl, living far from home trying to make it on her own. The reward for information in that case has been raised to $100,000. I can only hope that someone will come forward, and give her family the answers they so desperately need.

Kelsey's story. If I had to pick just one story, this would be the one. Two year old Kelsey Briggs was waiting for her father to return from serving in Iraq when she was brutally killed. It may have been the blond hair and the blue eyes that reminded me so much of my own little girl, or the fact that her father was bravely serving our country when those serving her returned her to the very people now responsible for her death- or just the fact that another beautiful innocent child was cruelly murdered that captured my attention. But after seeing the love had for her by her grandmother, and hearing the disturbing details of how hard they fought to protect her while DHS let her down- I couldn't leave the story alone.

Kelsey's story was the first that I asked other bloggers to share with their readers, and the response from them all was overwhelming. This little girls life, and her tragic death has touched the hearts of so many people, I couldn't not include it in this review. You can find full coverage of Kelsey's story here

I hope you'll take some time and revisit some of the stories that impacted me this year, and I hope to see you all more next year.

Special thanks to all the bloggers who have linked to here, Dan Riehl for inspiring me to blog, Trench and Steve for starting the True Crime Blogroll, Tina for always being so nice, Sam for letting me be funny at her place, and all the readers who have left comments- even the ones that I don't agree with.

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