There’s a pretty awful story unfolding here in Massachusetts, about four children living in filth and neglect at a home in Blackstone. It reads like a horror movie: The house was infested with vermin, 2-foot stacks of dirty diapers were everywhere and feces covered the walls. The two youngest kids showed signs of neglect. Police found the remains of three infants and a number of dead animals in the house.
The mom, 31-year-old Erika Murray, came off to neighbors as a dedicated mom, and her Facebook page paints the picture of a happy family. While the two younger children were severely neglected, the two older lived seemingly normal lives — going to school, playing with friends, smiling in pictures on the front porch. The Facebook page — taken down over the weekend — showed pictures of home-cooked meals.
Murray’s lawyer says the woman is mentally ill, trapped in a world of cold fear. The man she lives with apparently wanted no more than the first two kids, so she claimed she was babysitting the other two.
Authorities were first tipped off that something was wrong when a neighbor went to the house and saw the horror. The four kids were removed from the house on August 28, but the infant remains were only discovered a few days ago.
Predictably, people are rushing to judgement. The comments sections of the various news reports are full of anger toward the mother. I feel that anger, too, so I’m not criticizing the commentators.
At the same time, this story doesn’t add up on so many levels. For example, we know almost nothing about the man of the house, who lived there the whole time. It’s inconceivable that he lived there blissfully unaware of the filth around him.
Also, Murray’s parents have been described as doting grandparents to the two older children and didn’t know about the two younger kids. They apparently never went in the house. It seems impossible to me that they had absolutely no idea about what went on in the house and that they never saw anything about their daughter that was off.
Pardon the expression, but everything about this story stinks. The truth of it all will eventually come out.
My hope going forward is that Murray gets help. She needs to pay a price for subjecting her children to the terrible conditions. But if she’s mentally ill and can be treated, she should be given that treatment and given a chance to be rehabilitated.
Most importantly, I hope the kids are well taken care of from here on forward. I pray that the youngest children get the best medical care available.