Monday, September 14, 2009

Some Just Aren’t Wired Right: The Summer of Statistical Anomalies

by Stacy Dittrich

After the horrific case involving the brutal abduction, murder, and sexual assault of eight-year-old Sandra Cantu in which a local Sunday school teacher, Melissa Huckaby, 28 (pictured left), is charged, most of us came out screaming, “That’s a statistical anomaly!" It very rarely happens. To find that a woman who looks like a typical PTA mom is allegedly a rapist and child murderer makes even those of us with steel stomachs shudder. When it came to the Cantu case, I was as guilty as everyone else who assumed the murderer would be a male.

Shockingly, it was my own 13-year-old daughter who set me straight. While watching coverage of the Cantu case back in March, my daughter entered the room and paused. “Did they catch who killed that little girl yet?” she asked, quietly. “No,” I answered, “but they’ll get him soon, no doubt.” My daughter gave me a funny look and said in her young and authoritative voice, “How do you know it’s a him, Mom? It could be a woman who did that!” I simply raised my eyebrow at her and calmly explained, “That’s ridiculous. Of course it’s a man who did it! Women don’t sexually assault little girls, and rarely anyone, for crying out loud.” Getting in her last word, as teenagers like to do, she left the room, muttering under her breath, “I think you’re wrong…”

Imagine the "I told you so's" reverberating through my home when Huckaby’s arrest was announced. It was one of those moments where I paced back and forth, scratching my head and wondering how the hell I missed it while my teenager got it right. Ironically, the case stayed in the back of my mind; I didn't know I would be approached to write the book on Cantu's murder. I couldn’t have imagined, as my daughter and I had our exchange, that I would be flying to San Francisco at the end of September to face the “Statistical Anomaly,” i.e. the aforementioned Melissa Huckaby — to watch her in court and conduct research for the book. Because the case sent such a poignant and stark reminder to parents to be careful of everyone, not just strangers, I agreed to do it.

When Jaycee Lee Dugard walked into a Concord, CA., police department on August 26 accompanied by her two daughters, she also became one of the dreaded “statistical anomalies.” The chances of a child falling victim to a stranger abduction and surviving, then being found 18 years later after bearing her abductors children, are minuscule. Jaycee Dugard shattered the experts' predictions on such cases. God help us if she talks to investigators and leads them to other crimes, perhaps even murders, her captor, Philip Garrido, (pictured right) may have committed over the past 18 years.

Oh, but it’s not over yet. I came across this headline last week: “Michigan Mom Found Long-Lost Son Online, Raped Him.” I figured there had to be more to it so I pulled up the article. There was more to it alright—a nauseating and disturbing account of an attractive Michigan woman, Aimee Louis Sword, 35, (pictured left) of Waterford Township near Detroit who had given her son up for adoption over 10 years ago. For unknown reasons she decided to track him down online. She found him and made arrangements to meet. Prosecutors on the case maintain the meeting consisted of Sword seducing, and raping her teenage son.

I simply don’t know what to say.

Detroit Sinai Grace Hospital Dr. Gerald Shiener had a similar reaction: “I’m at a loss for words because it’s something we consider to be so out of the normal, so prohibited in every culture that it unnerves every man just to think about it…it’s an abomination.”

Abomination? Statistical Anomaly? I have a better term: Evil — plain and simple. For me, these cases solidify the notion I’ve long held about certain people: We can blame upbringing, drugs, alcohol, years of abuse, and mental anguish but the bottom line with those who commit such crimes is that they were simply born bad.

These types of criminals weren't wired right at birth and have no acceptable place in society; they will never change, they will always be evil, and they can’t be re-wired no matter how skilled the mechanic is. Even more frightening is the fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands, out there roaming our streets and threatening our children. So, the questions society needs to answer: What do we do with them then? Where do we put them?

Obviously, I have strong opinions on these matters. What are yours?


Leah said...

Was it an open adoption?? How was she able to find him? That is the most horrendous thing I have ever heard of.

Great post.

Jan said...

Anyone who can kill an innocent child is evil and dangerous. And it doesn't have to be a man or a stranger. In fact, it's much more likely to be someone the child knows and trusts.

Tyciol said...

All other sources I've encountered on Aimee Sword have her middle name as 'Louise' not 'Louis'. Nice job, lol