Helena Gudell’s Wonderland Lost and Found

Time after time we see the news stories about a child that has gone missing and the mother pleads on camera for the person to bring back her child… but far too often that parent has been the one responsible for the death of their own child or could have prevented it. There was Susan Smith who drove her kids into a lake and claimed she was carjacked by a black guy, Andrea Yates who drowned her 5 kids apparently to save them from the hell on this Earth, then there are more recent cases like Haliegh Cummings who went missing from her Florida home and hasn’t been seen since. She was sleeping with her step mother Misty when she disappeared. Many have speculated that Misty sold or killed the young girl for drugs or out of pure ignorance. There is also the case of Kyle Hormon who was supposedly dropped off at school by his step mother never to be seen again. Her stories, like that of Misty Cummings have changed many times over the course of the years and during police and TV questioning. There is also the cases of Caylee Anthony, Relisha Rudd, and Jeremiah Oliver. These children were all reported missing but not after they initially went missing. That is what sets these cases apart from the others. These cases have delayed reports. But why would someone not report their child missing? The obvious reason would be to hide their involvement and hope that enough time passes to conceal any evidence of their involvement. So lets take a look at these cases and see what they all have in common.

Everyone knew the case of Caylee Anthony. The cute little 2 yr old girl who was missing for over a month before her grandmother called 911 and reported her missing. Now even if the mother was a piece of crap why would a grandmother wait a whole month to report her one and only grandchild missing? Simple… She was being strung along like everyone else. Or so she says. Here’s how it all breaks down. The last video/photographs of Caylee Anthony were taken on 6/15/08 when she went with her grandmother Cindy to the retirement home to see Cindy’s father. The next day according to George Anthony (Caylee’s grandfather) his daughter Casey and granddaughter Caylee left the home around 12:30 with their backpacks on and they said goodbye. That was the last time he saw his little granddaughter alive. That afternoon Casey made numerous calls to both her parents that went unanswered. It’s at this time that police believe Casey killed her daughter. It was the next day that George and Cindy noticed their pool gate was open and the ladder was in the pool. This was unusual because they wanted to make sure that Caylee was safe. Accidental pool drownings are the leading cause of child death in the state of Florida. On June 20 Casey went to a club and was photographed dancing with other females and on a pole. She still has not been home and has been telling her parents that she has been working and staying with a friend and her daughter is with the nanny Zenaida. On the afternoon of June 30, her car is towed from an Amscott parking lot where it was illegally parked for a couple of days. July 2, 2008 two weeks after the last time a photo has been taken of her daughter alive, Casey goes and gets a tattoo that says “Bella Vita” which is Italian for Beautiful Life. Finally two weeks after that on July 15 George and Cindy go to the tow yard to pick up Casey’s car. It’s there that George says he gets in and there is an odor that he deems as coming from the trunk. When they open the trunk they were taken aback by a smell they said smells like a dead body. It’s at that time Cindy calls Casey to find out where she and her granddaughter are. When Casey couldn’t produce her daughter when her mother turned up at the apartment she was staying at, Cindy called the police and told them that it had been a month since anyone had seen Caylee and that the babysitter had taken her. The next day police found out that Casey was lying about where she was working and where the nanny lived. They charged her with child neglect, obstruction, and making false statements. They continued the questioning day in and day out. Still not making any headway with her story. She insisted she left her daughter with the nanny and that she had spoken to her on the phone numerous times. On August 11,12, and 13 Roy Kronk a meter reader with the electric company called to report a suspicious bag in the area where Caylee’s remains were later found. The officer who came out to investigate didn’t give any credence to the tip and did a cursory search before saying there was nothing there. On October 14 Casey Anthony was indicted on murder charges despite not having a body. These charges were brought against her based on circumstantial evidence found in her trunk. Finally on December 11 Roy Kronk called a fourth time and they found skeletal remains later identified as belonging to that of 2 year old Caylee Marie Anthony. 

To this day I still believe that Casey Anthony got away with the murder of her daughter. My thoughts on that will never change. I think the state did a poor job of bringing an open and shut case to the jurors. I think that the defense got away with a lot of perjury and should have had some witnesses charged. The lawyer, Jose Baez used this case to make a name for himself. He decided to use his opening statements to accuse George Anthony of sexually molesting his daughter as if that would give cause or excuse for her doing what she did. Saying that he molested her and used that control over her to manipulate her into hiding the body after an accidental drowning on his watch. Keep in mind this is the same person who had a pool gate installed and made sure the ladder was always up so that she wouldn’t drown. The same former law enforcement officer who knows as any resident does that the #1 cause of accidental deaths in Florida is accidental drowning. He knew nothing would happen if Caylee had in fact accidentally drowned in the pool. To this day Zenaida is still suing Casey Anthony for defamation of character and a few other things are included in the lawsuit.

Another case is one that I have already written about so I will only touch up on it and that is the case of Relisha Rudd. Relisha was never reported missing by her mother. On February 26 Shameka Young asked Kahlil Tatum to watch her daughter. That was the last time she was in the mother’s care. She was last seen alive on March 1. The next day Tatum reportedly bought trash bags and spent a lot of time in the nearby park where his body was later discovered with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Relisha had been in the shelter for about 2 years with her mother. There were reports of abuse but her and her brothers were never removed from her care. Relisha would fake asthma attacks and other illnesses to get away from the bed bugs and filth of the shelter and stay with family for a few days. Teachers and others report Relisha would show up in dirty clothes, and have dirty hair, and an empty stomach. She would look for excuses not to go home to the shelter. She called Tatum her Godfather. He had taken her to get clothes, manicures, and one Christmas he got her a tablet as a gift. Relisha has yet to be found. It is quite possible that her mother sold her for drugs or money. 

Jeremiah Oliver is no different from the above cases. Like Relisha, he lived in a shelter with his mother and was on the radar of the Department of Family Services. Jeremiah was 5 yrs old when he went missing. The last time he was seen was September 14,2013. He wasn’t reported missing until Mid December and like the cases above, someone else reported him missing. His sister who was 7 yrs old told the school that it had been months since she had seen her little brother. She reported her mother and her mother’s boyfriend abused them. In the fall of 2011 the first case of neglect was reported to social services. In June of last year the mother told the daycare that her son would no longer be attending. She said he was going to move to Florida to live with his grandmother. The daycare passed this information on to the social worker but no one ever followed up with the family to verify. The last time the case worker actually saw the young boy was in May. When she made her visit in November she was told by the mother that she had sent her son to live with his grandmother in Florida. The case worker again didn’t verify this information. Elsa Oliver and her boyfriend Alberto Sierra were arrested in December when the reports were filed that the little boy was missing. This weekend the body of the young boy was found about 12 miles away from the city he lived in. He was wrapped in a blanket and put in a duffel bag and was about 40 ft off the Interstate. The police were led to the body by a tip from an inmate where the parents are being housed. Elsa is being held on charges of permitting bodily harm, 3 counts of reckless endangerment, and assault and battery with a deadly weapon. Her boyfriend Alberto has been charged and being held on charges of kidnapping, indecent assault and battery of a child, 4 counts of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, and 3 counts of reckless endangerment. There are 3 other people being held in connection with this case on charges of interfering with a criminal investigation and misleading police.

So what can cause a parent to be so unattached to their child that someone else has to report them missing or they blame someone else. Could it be postpartum depression as has been suggested in other notorious mother/child murder cases? Or is it just all about self involved narcissistic mothers who just don’t appreciate what they have? Do they not report for fear that the consequences would be worse if they had said anything? Unfortunately no one will ever really no because none of the above “mothers” are coming clean with the truth any time in the near future. Casey Anthony is sticking to the story that her daughter died while her father was watching her and he made her cover up the death by threatening she would be charged, Shameka Young states that Tatum took her child and she has no clue what happened and Elsa Oliver isn’t saying anything at all. These poor children were never given a life. They were never given a chance. The fact is that all the signs were there to save these kids. Especially Relisha and Jeremiah who were supposed to be in the assisted care of the state. They had caseworkers who were supposed to be looking out for them. When do we get to the point where we stop minding our own business and help these kids? It’s obvious that their parents aren’t doing what is necessary to keep up their daily health and happiness… at what point do we stop letting kids go neglected and do something to help before another one goes missing for over a month before someone notices? It’s not just up to the schools or the siblings to say something. We know when something isn’t right. And we need to stop worrying about being nosy or a busy body and speak up. I am sure Casey’s friends wondered where her daughter was even if she said her daughter was with the nanny or with her parents… you don’t go without seeing your kid every single day. Someone needs to ask questions and someone needs to make sure that someone gets the answers. If there’s no harm then they shouldn’t be upset that you are looking out for the better interest of their child. If you think someone is being abused please call the Child National Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4A-Child (422-4453)

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