Saturday, April 29, 2017

John Baxley

John Taylor Baxley
November 2, 2006 - August 10, 2010
John was born on November 2, 2006 to Crystal Baxley and Justin Garwacki. John was called "J.T." by many who knew him. In February of 2007, Crystal filed for divorce and moved back home in Missouri. Justin remained in Florida where he lived with Crystal's former friend, Kara O'Connell. Kara gave birth to Justin's daughter, John's half-sister, around the same time that John was born. In response to the divorce papers, Justin denied that he was John's father and managed to draw out the divorce until March of 2009 when the divorce was granted.

Justin continued to deny that John was his child. Eventually a DNA test proved that John was his biological child. Crystal had to complete multiple online parenting courses and meet certain qualifications so she could have custody of John and receive child support. Crystal did this and it was agreed that Justin would give her a monthly $259 to help raise John. Justin did not willingly give child support and Crystal was forced to go to court to make him.

Justin believed that Crystal was using the money for herself, rather than for John, and Kara often complained that they did not spend enough money on the daughter they had together. Justin and Kara were also given visitation with John. They were not happy about paying child support or taking care of the little boy. 

On June 28, 2010, John was preparing to go visit with his father for the summer. It was reported that Kara would not allow John to play with his half-sister. Justin also regarded John as an extension of Crystal, whom he was angry with. Justin took out the anger he felt toward Crystal on their son. On June 28, 2010, Justin picked up John from Crystal's home. Crystal had packed him clothes and toys for her visit. She told him that she would miss him while he was gone and she would see him soon. She never saw him alive again.

As soon as John arrived in his father's home, he was physically abused. Justin later told investigators that about a week before John's death, he had put John in the bathtub and poured water over his head to teach him how to hold his breath. When John didn't hold his breath the way Justin wanted him to, Justin would hit his head. This caused John to fall face-first and smash his head into the bathtub. Justin filled a sock with rice, heated it, and put the sock on John's forehead. This burnt his head.

Kara also told investigators of the abuse that John had endured. She admitted that she had hit John numerous times hard enough to bruise him. She also said she had picked him up by his throat before when he would not listen to her. John became so fearful of Justin and Kara that he began to lose control of his bladder and his bowels. He had been picked up, dropped, hit, bitten, and burnt. He was never given medical treatment for his injuries, even when his arm was broken and he had open wounds.

On the day John died, his father had hit him multiple times with a cupped hand on his head, face, stomach, genitals, and legs. Justin said he did this because John would not eat. When Justin grew more frustrated with his young son, he pulled the chair out from under him, causing John to fall to the ground. Later in the day, John ate a nutri-grain bar and drank some juice, but later vomited it up. Kara put John into the bathtub where he stopped breathing.

When Justin arrived home, Kara told him that John was not breathing. Justin called 911. When officers arrived at the scene it was clear to them that John had been abused. John was transported to the hospital where he died shortly after. The autopsy showed that John's death was a homicide and the two adults that were supposed to be caring for him were charged.

Justin was arrested for aggravated child abuse, child abuse, child neglect, and failing to report child neglect. Kara was arrested for the same four charges. Six months after John's death, Justin and Kara were charged with first degree murder. Justin took a plea deal and testified against Kara. He was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison for pleading guilty to second-degree murder. The jury found Kara guilty of manslaughter. She was sentenced to twenty-eight years.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Olivia and Magnus Bernsdorff

Olivia Bernsdorff
December 20, 2003 - December 14, 2007

Magnus Bernsdorff
February 16, 2005 - December 14, 2007
Olivia and Magnus were born to Oliver Bernsdorff and Jennifer Davis. A few days before the children died, their father, Oliver, sat down and wrote a letter detailing how he planned on killing them. He said that he and Jennifer had "sociopathic tendencies" and were conditioning their children to be "future time bombs." He wrote that the children were beautiful and lovely, but after their conditioning, it was best for society if he, Jennifer, and the children were "eliminated." Oliver planned to kill his ex-wife (Jennifer), his children, and Jennifer's current girlfriend. Then he was going to kill himself.

In the letter, Oliver also noted that he and Jennifer had committed crimes such as getting a false driver's license, income tax evasion, and drug use. He did not mention the crime of having child pornography, though some was found on his computer later. On the day Oliver killed his children, shortly after six in the morning, he was seen in a store trying to buy beer. When that didn't work, he went to his mother's house and took some from her refrigerator.

After this, he went to Jennifer's girlfriend's home, removed a screen, and crawled in through the window. He walked past her four year old daughter who was asleep on the living room floor. He went to the bedroom where Jennifer's girlfriend, Andrea Pisanello, was sleeping. He shot Andrea twice and shot Jennifer seven times as they slept in their bed. Since Oliver had custody of his own children, he killed them in his own home. Olivia and Magnus were each shot more than once.

At 10:30 in the morning on the same day, police received calls about someone driving erratically. When they responded to the calls, they tailed Oliver's car. At one point the vehicle plunged off the road and officers found Oliver inside with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was dead. He had twice the level of blood-alcohol content for legal driving in the state of Florida.

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Tampa Bay Times

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Bobbie Jo Barry

Bobbie Jo Barry
February 8, 1993 - August 27, 2000
Bobbie Jo was born on February 8, 1993. Bobbie Jo's body was found in a sleeping bag labeled with the name "Barry S" on the day she was supposed to start first grade. The sleeping bag belonged to a man named Barry Satta, a close family friend of the Barry family. Bobbie Jo's father even said that he had considered Barry to be "like a brother." An autopsy report revealed that Bobbie Jo's neck had been broken and she had been sexually assaulted.

It was discovered that Barry had broken into the Barry family's home in the early morning hours, kidnapped Bobbie Jo, sexually assaulted her, and then killed her. This theory was supported by shoe prints found at the scene and the fact that Barry's vehicle had been seen at the Barry family's home around 4:30 in the morning on the day Bobbie Jo died.

In Barry's home, a handwritten note stating, "Babe, I love you. I know I messed up." was found, as well as duct tape, sexual devices, condoms, photos of neck ties, photos of sleeping bags, and children's clothing that matched those Bobbie Jo was wearing when she went missing. Barry was found guilty of killing Bobbie Jo and was sentenced to life in prison.

Marissa Burghart

Marissa Faith Miao Burghart
September 19, 1995 - September 20, 2003
Marissa was born on September 19, 1995 in China. She was an orphan there, as she had been abandoned as a newborn, until she was adopted by the Burghart family. Her favorite color was purple and she loved the Lord. She loved drawing and was quite an artist. On December 21, 2002, Marissa was diagnosed with a form of cancer known as DIPG. This is a brainstem tumor that is inoperable. There is no cure, only treatment that prolongs life and sometimes masks symptoms. No child has ever survived DIPG.

Just one day after her birthday in 2003, Marissa passed away in the arms of her loving family. She was surrounded by other family members and her friends who loved her very much. 

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Jake Belisle

Jake David Belisle
December 10, 1997 - April 28, 1998
Jake was born on December 10, 1997 to Pamela and David Belisle. Jake's mother worked part-time after Jake's birth to be sure they had enough money to raise him. While Jake's parents were at work, other family members would watch over Jake, until schedules got too busy for that to work. Then, Jake's parents let a woman that Jake's mother met while she was pregnant watch Jake. This woman was a grandmother to two grandchildren. One of them lived with her. Jake's parents thought she could be trusted.

The woman, Virginia Stanley, lived only about five minutes away and Jake's mother knew that she could easily call her if there were any issues. Jake's mother even interviewed Virginia one two separate occasions to be sure that she was trustworthy. On April 27, 1998, it was a normal Monday. Jake was dropped off with Virginia. He was wearing his green pajamas and was happy, as he usually was. Pamela's work day was busy that morning, but just before 11:00 a.m. the day got worse. She received a phone call from Virginia. Virginia frantically told her, "Pam, Jake, come now!"

Pamela dropped everything she was doing and told her boss that she needed to leave because of Jake. She rushed to Virginia's home and found Jake lying on the kitchen table, an officer performing CPR in an attempt to save his life. Virginia said that she did not know what happened, but she thought Jake might have choked on his bottle. The ambulance arrived and took Jake to the hospital. Pamela still had hope that Jake would be okay.

After Jake was at the hospital, DHS questioned the adults around him. They were told how serious his injuries were and that he was transferred to the special care unit. Multiple tests were done and it was finally revealed that Jake had been the victim of shaken baby syndrome. Jake's parents were told that in the morning a child abuse examiner would come and then Jake would be removed from life support, as he could not be saved. His parents were cleared of hurting him and Virginia was arrested on May 1. Two days later she made $50,000 bail. Almost two years after Jake died, she was sentenced to fifteen years in prison. Five years were suspended, and she will only have to serve eight and a half years. 

Stella Bruner-Methven

Stella Joy Bruner-Methven
April 18, 2009 - October 22, 2012
Stella was born on April 18, 2009 to Aimee Bruner and Michelle Methven. She had two brothers named Samson and Hugo. Her best friend was her cousin, Gracie. In 2011, Stella's parents noticed she was having issues with balancing and walking. They took Stella to the doctor and it was suspected that she had an ear infection. They took Stella to another doctor later because the hospital was known to be a very good one. It was there they discovered that Stella had a brainstem tumor that was fatal. It is known as DIPG. No child has ever survived it. It is inoperable and treatments that are available do not cure patients. They only prolong life and sometimes help mask some symptoms.

Stella bravely battled cancer. In October of 2012, Stella's doctor told her family that Stella had anywhere from hours or a few days left to live. Stella passed away surrounded by love on October 22, 2012.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Kristina Babura

Kristina Maksimovna Babura
March 23, 2002 - May 10, 2011
Kristina was born on March 23, 2002. One day, Kristina had what her parents believed was a cold. They took her to her doctor. Initially, Kristina was treated for an infection, but it was eventually learned that she had a condition much more scary than a cold. She had acute myeloblastic leukemia. She went through chemotherapy, but the chances she would survive were not very high. Unfortunately, in 2011, Kristina passed away due to cancer.

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Caleb Bishop

Caleb Eli Bishop
January 21, 2007 - February 25, 2007

Caleb was born on January 21, 2007 to Courtney and Daniel Bishop. In February of 2007, Caleb was admitted to the hospital with a fractured skull, broken leg, an ear injury, and retinal hemorrhaging. Caleb survived in the intensive care unit for a few days before passing away. Both Daniel and Courtney denied knowing how Caleb was injured. Eventually, Courtney was charged with murdering Caleb and she and Daniel separated and divorced.

Courtney pleaded guilty to reckless homicide. It was recommended that she serve five years and that her criminal child abuse charge be dropped. Daniel was not charged with anything regarding what happened to Caleb, although there was word that he had been seen "handling Caleb roughly."

In December of 2010, Courtney was granted a shock probation of five years. 

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Janessa Banks

Janessa S. Banks
July 22, 2011 - July 19, 2013

Janessa was born on July 22, 2011 to Tony Banks and Crystal Lugo. She had a brother named Tony who passed away before she did. She also had a sister named Iyana. Those who knew Janessa sometimes called her "Nessa." Janessa passed away after bravely battling cancer.


Alyssa Bruno

Alyssa Rose Bruno
August 2, 2000 - August 24, 2006
Alyssa was born on August 2, 2000 to Christopher and Lori Bruno. Alyssa passed away on August 24, 2006 after battling a form of cancer called diffuse pontine glioma. Throughout Alyssa's whole battle, she was brave. Not only was Alyssa brave, but she was kind, generous and sensitive, especially to other children. 

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Karlie Breeden

Karlie Marie Breeden
January 16, 2003 - March 1, 2007

Karlie was born on January 16, 2003 to David and Renada. Karlie loved a lot of things, some being nail polish, make up, chewing gum, the colors pink and purple, aquariums, ocean, camping, and Disneyland. She also was a big fan of music, walking her dogs, four wheelers, horses, and Harley Motorcycles. She had one brother named Brody who she adored. Karlie was known for being independent as well.

When Karlie was about two and a half years old, her parents began noticing that she was having difficulties controlling her anger. At first, they thought it was due to her age and the fact that she had a little brother and busy parents. They sought counseling for Karlie. Later, they went on a trip to Disneyland and noticed that Karlie didn't seem to have much energy. They assumed that this was just due to the excitement and busy tone of Disneyland.

When they arrived back home from Disneyland, Karlie began violently vomiting. Her parents thought that she had the flu, but grew concerned when she vomited about every fifteen minutes all night. They called the doctor and set up an appointment. The next day, Karlie was unable to stand or walk and her eyes looked crossed. They took Karlie to the doctor and were immediately referred to the emergency room.

Karlie's vitals were taken and she was given a CAT scan. Then the doctor informed Karlie's parents that they had found a mass in Karlie's brain. They flew her to a children's hospital where they gave her an MRI. Karlie was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, which is often called "DIPG." DIPG is a form of childhood cancer that is inoperable due to its location in the brain stem. In addition, there are treatments for DIPG to help reduce the symptoms and possibly prolong life, but no cure. The treatments are also often very uncomfortable. Every child who has been diagnosed with DIPG has passed away.

Karlie's parents were told that Karlie had two months to live without treatment and twelve months to live with treatment, or less. Karlie passed away at the age of four years old due to DIPG. 

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Justin Bissett

Justin William Bissett
February 9, 2000 - June 26, 2007
Justin was born on February 9, 2000 to Jeffrey and Darlene Bissett. He was a fan of NASCAR and liked playing the Game Cube. He was also on a T-Ball team. In 2005, Justin was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, often simply called "DIPG." DIPG is a form of cancer that has no known cure and every child who has been diagnosed with it has passed away. There are treatments to reduce symptoms, but no known treatment that gets rid of the cancer.

Justin went in five days for radiation treatment and also had other treatments as well to help reduce his symptoms. He was granted a Make a Wish trip for a Disney Cruise. Later, doctors told Justin's family that his tumor had grown. After this, Justin passed away on June  26, 2007. He was seven years old.

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Samuel Bish

Samuel Gordon "Sam" Bish
January 25, 2001 - August 20, 2010
Samuel, most often known as "Sam" to those who knew him, was born on January 25, 2001 to Cindy and Michael Bish. He had two younger sisters named Aubrey and Caitlin. He liked playing video games and watching movies. His favorite movies were the Star Wars series. He also enjoyed music. His favorite musicians were Chris Daughtry and Lifehouse. Samuel had the opportunity to meet both. He also enjoyed playing with legos and playing with his friends.

In the summer of 2009, Samuel began experiencing an unexplained pain in his right knee. Eventually the pain became more intense, even causing Samuel to wake up in the middle of the night. He also started limping and was unable to run like he used to. His parents took him to the doctor to have his leg examined. They thought that he had probably just pulled a muscle or strained his leg. The doctor ordered an x-ray which revealed a mass in Samuel's leg.

Samuel was admitted to a children's hospital for more testing and more scans. He also had a biopsy. It was then determined that Samuel had Osteosarcoma, which is a form of bone cancer. The cancer had already spread to Samuel's spine, his left femur, and both of his lungs. He started chemotherapy immediately. Unfortunately, chemotherapy made Samuel very ill. He had to spend several days every month in the hospital. During his treatment, Samuel also had four surgeries.

On October 30, 2009, Samuel's right leg was amputated just above his knee to remove the tumor. A portion of his bone in his left fibula was also surgically removed. Still, Samuel was receiving chemotherapy. He also had more than one lung surgery. In 2010, Samuel got his Make a Wish trip to Disney World where he and his family had a wonderful time.

When Samuel returned home from his trip, he was feeling good. His family hoped that the scans would prove that Samuel's treatments worked, as he appeared to be feeling better. Unfortunately, the scans proved the opposite. His cancer had returned and it was now stronger. It was now in his lungs and his left leg.

The treatments had not been helping Samuel and now there was nothing more that doctors could do. Even more surgeries would not be able to remove the cancer from his body. Samuel's parents decided that Samuel should spend his last days in hospice care at his home where he would be most comfortable. About a month after being in hospice care, Samuel passed away surrounded by his loving family. He was eight years old.

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