Re: Cameron Smith - Slain boy's dad seeks custody of other kids
- From: "tinydancer" <tinydancer357@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 31 May 2007 00:31:40 -0400
"MaryL" <stancole1@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
"Indigo Ace" <indigoace@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
From the Chicago Tribune--
Slain boy's dad seeks custody of other kids
By Lolly Bowean
Tribune staff reporter
Published May 30, 2007
The father of a 4-year-old Calumet City boy who was beaten to death
while his parents were serving in Iraq said Tuesday he is grieving his
son's death and he wants custody of his other two children.
Gary Smith Jr. said that during the 10 months he was away serving in
the Army he thought his wife, Lavada Smith, was here caring for their
three children by herself. When she was ordered to active duty by the
Army National Guard, Smith said his wife told him their children would
be cared for by her older, stable uncle.
So on Thursday, when he was notified about his son Cameron Smith's
death, Smith said he was devastated to learn his wife left their three
children with a boyfriend he didn't know about.
"I'm highly upset, and I'm sad," Smith said in a phone interview from
his mother's home in Columbus, Ga. "My boy got beat to death. He
should be alive. It doesn't make any sense to me."
Cameron was discovered lifeless in his bed Thursday. Calumet City
police said the boy endured two days of being punched in the head,
stomach, chest and back and was beaten with a belt. Authorities
charged Donell Parker, 23, who was left in charge of the boy and his
two siblings, with first-degree murder.
Parker was the boyfriend of Cameron's mother and had been watching the
children for about two weeks, police said. Because of the brutality of
the crime and the age of the victim, it could be a death penalty case,
An autopsy determined Cameron died of the beating abuse, which left
him with multiple rib fractures, bruises on his head, face and chest,
a subdural hematoma, injuries to the liver, spleen and kidneys, and
massive internal bleeding.
Cameron's mother and father arrived back in the United States over the
Lavada Smith issued a statement saying she's in mourning.
"Cameron did nothing to deserve what happened to him," she said. "When
I think of Cameron my heart hurts and aches.
"Though heartbroken, my strength lies with being strong for my other
Gary Smith said he was struggling to understand what happened. He
described a happy marriage that was at times strained because of the
couple's military obligations.
Before his son died, Smith said, he had never heard of Parker. The
National Guard requires a written family care plan before parents
enlist, in the event they are deployed.
"I didn't agree on this family care plan," Smith said. "Now my son is
dead, and I'm trying to get to the bottom of it."
Smith said he is on emergency leave from the Army and did not know
whether he would be required to return to duty in Iraq. He said he
wants custody of his children so he can ensure they are being cared
for properly. "They've been through too much," he said.
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune
Anne, indigoace at goodsol period com
I read about this case earlier. If the facts given in the article are
correct -- and if the father is checked out and is an appropriate
guardian -- he *should* be given custody. The mother left for Iraq
having an appropriate care plan. In fact, she apparently lied about theIraq.
existence of such a plan. Instead of leaving the children in the care of
older relatives -- as she claimed -- she left them in the care of a
boyfriend that other family members did not even know about. The problem
with what I have just written is that *both* parents were deployed to
So, the father also would need a plan for their care if he is returned to
Iraq (he is now on emergency leave).
I agree with you Mary. But what I'm wondering is, if nobody in the family
knew about this boyfriend, where did they think these children were? Didn't
anyone in the extended family ever try to see the children? Get in touch
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