Four, maybe five, years ago, I filed document with the regional agency responsible for the protection of children and family. I witnessed neglect and abuse. A child smelt rather too much like dog urine and feces. I saw bruises and behavior so often associated with abuse. The child played in a tiny stream toward the corner of my property. He sat in the mud and high grass with a blue ball soft from under-inflation.
I questioned the veracity of my assessment, and then decided not to ignore a legal duty. The law instructs that I must report my suspicions. That threshold is very low. Lower than a cop making a traffic stop, certainly lower than required for arrest.
The curtain of the regional agency opened the smallest amount. My faxed document remained unanswered for weeks. In time, the sole investigator designated for the county-plus-three-towns contacted me. He told me he would be in the area soon. He asked that I drive 15 minutes to meet him in a neighboring municipal office. So ended the process.
Three years ago, the local law asked me to surveil the same family to confirm reports of grow lights and drug trafficking.
Two months ago, I texted my local state police commander stating that I was listening to a domestic assault in progress. I could hear it from 250m away, outdoors with trees and fields between the incident and me. The homeowner refused access to the responding trooper. To avoid a search warrant triggered by any visible or olfactory evidence of marijuana, the homeowner presented the medical marijuana card belonging to the spouse.
Weeks later, a witness related that the homeowner owns firearms. That’s an additional five years for a felon in possession of firearms. I collected first-hand accounts of violence that involved dragging by hair. I presented both sets of data to the law.
Does it end?
We all expect the story to close in 42 minutes: bad guys go to jail; children get to school; agencies provide support to a foundering family.
The coming murder will not be a mystery, will it.
Finally, with another beating a family member broke into a neighboring house then rang the police. When they arrived, the spouse refused to press charges. While other witness may attest to the situation, the law was unable pursue. This time they applied for a search warrant. The issuance thereof took hours. One isolated trooper sat adjacent to the property awaiting the necessary form.
When it arrived, they made the largest seizure of marijuana in the area. Parties arrested and transported. Sadly, a murder took place in the county elsewhere. The judge spoke to the bad guy on the phone, told him to show up to court. The judge released the bad-guy without bail. My protagonist then slept at home with the family after his arrest. In a twist, the years the bad-guy spent in a state penitentiary did not result in a felony record. He owns firearms with the blessing of the legal system. I learned that our legal system provides the ability to remove felonies from one’s history. One may have once been a felon, then later owns weapons legally and votes and suffers no real consequences from the previous convictions.
Speaking with the state police commander, I learned that the child I once tried to help lives with untreated MRSA. He lives with poor health augmented by massive volumes of skin sagging – cascading – down his body and around the clothing.
This child sought the police to help with the violence witnessed. He broke into a neighbor’s house. He dialed 911 asking for help. He then slept in the same house under the same conditions that I reported four, maybe five, years ago. A long history of physical abuse, neglect, and amongst now-confirmed commercial drug production. He remains there with the family and the weapons.