By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)
Sometimes I have felt like I was totally alone in having a son (child) who was capable of horrible things. Sometimes I have felt like I was alone in turning my son in to police for the crimes he committed. Though the crime I turned my son in for was for theft, I still felt alone in doing so, and was criticized by people, even family members, for doing it.
However, two recent stories have ripped my heart out. I had been following the case of the missing 12 year old New Jersey girl, but the alleged murderers were caught and charged. Their mother turned them in to police. Here is the most recent news:
Teens accused of killing Clayton 12-year-old Autumn Pasquale showed two sides to town residents, on PressOfAtanticCity.com.
And then there’s the awful case from Colorado of the missing girl whose body was found dismembered:
Jessica Ridgeway murder suspect confessed to mother, sources say, on ABCNews.Go.com.
Even I can’t even imagine just what courage it took for those mothers to contact police to tell them they thought their sons were the guilty parties in such horrible crimes.
My son accused of murder
When the Sgt. Joe Decorte contacted me to tell me that my son Patrick was arrested for murdering Jessica Witt, age 17 in January 1992, I went immediately into denial. It could not be true! I locked myself in my house for three months, seeing no one except the family that lived with me and my mother and my step-father, taking no telephone calls and refusing to believe what Sgt. Decorte had told me, yet knowing it was probably true. I wished I could change places and have my son dead and the girl in jail for his murder.
Of course Patrick, when he would call me collect from the jail where he was being held, denied he had anything to do with the crime … later I found out, when I finally read the police report nearly 20 years later, that he actually gave a statement and admitted to the police that he had killed her. Even after his trial, when his attorney told me what the “evidence” against him presented at the trial was (he couldn’t tell me what Patrick had told him in confidence was), I still didn’t want to believe.
Would I, on the basis of a Facebook page, have called police? I wish I could say yes, but I’m not sure what I would have done. I do know that when I saw evidence with my own eyes that my son had stolen, I turned him in, also knowing that as a juvenile, he would only have gotten a sealed record and a “slap on the wrist” that I hoped would “scare him straight.”
While I feel great sorrow for the parents of the murdered girls, I also feel great compassion for the mothers of the boys who allegedly committed these crimes. I feel great compassion that they were put in such situations that they were required by their own moral compasses to pick up the phone and call the police and turn in their own sons for possibly being the killers of these young girls.
No matter how “bad” our situation is, there are always those that are equally as bad, or worse. There are always others who are suffering as we suffered because of “man’s inhumanity to man,” and because of the acts of horror committed by those we love or to those we love.
Each act of evil committed by any person (psychopath or not) not only affects the actual victim, but those who loved the victim, and also by those who loved the abuser.
Right now there are approximately two million people in prison and five million on parole or probation for crimes of various levels. Statistics and research show that a high percentage of people in prison are psychopaths, or at least very high on the psychopath check list-revised. Each of those criminals has victims, and the victims have families, but the criminals also have families who are saddened or destroyed by the crimes of those they love. The waves of pain radiate out like ripples from a pebble thrown into a pond.
We are not alone in being the victims of evil people, and we are not alone if we are among those who love(d) those evil abusers.