It’s always sad when we read about a child being abused. It’s even more tragic when a child’s life is cut short by said abuse. Many times when we think of abuse, we think of the myriad of strangers that a kid can encounter on the walk to the bus or a quick trip to the neighborhood store. But what about the strangers that we invite into our homes and lives?
17-month-old Kymell Orem was admitted to the hospital on March 17. Covered with cuts and bruises, the toddler was also found to have sustained broken ribs and damaged lungs. According to the Daily News, the boy was barely conscious "and looked 'like he was thrown against the wall on a daily basis,' according to investigators." The New York Times reported that the little boy had to be resuscitated twice. After hanging on for 11 days, the child was declared dead and taken off of life support. He died March 28.
In the aftermath of Kymell’s death police arrested 19-year-old Kysheen "Killer" Oliver for second-degree assault and a number of other charges. Oliver was left to watch the little boy as his girlfriend, Orem’s foster mother, Teyunna Cummings left to take another foster child and her daughter to school. According to prosecutors, when Cummings returned, Oliver informed her that the child had defecated in the bed. When Cummings went to check on the child he was laying face down. The next time she checked on the boy he was still face down, but this time there was a pool of vomit.
So far no charges have been filed against Cummings, but maybe there should be. Although there is no record that Oliver was living in the home with Cummings or her children, but neighbors told police that they could always hear a man and a woman arguing as well as a baby crying.
We read stories like this, shake our heads, and say that it could never happen to us and our kids, but how well do we know the people we let into our lives? How long before we let them meet our children, the most important and helpless people in our lives? How many I love yous and sweet nothings does it take for you to leave a stranger alone with our children?
In any new relationship, it takes time for two people to get to know each other. When children are involved the process should take even longer. It only takes one misjudgement to change you and your child’s life forever.