The good book declares that all are born in sin.  For Riley Ann life began in turmoil to her 16 year old mother and 21 year old father.  Mother had academic promise but opted out for a GED while both completed basic parenting skills. After 2 years, the relationship ended and the teen mother found another romance over the internet. The common bond of internet love was an online fantasy game in the World of Warcraft. 

            Now 18 and baby in tow, the young mother left Ohio for Texas to be with her new found love. The couple married June 1, 2007, just three months after Riley turned 2.

            The life of this new couple must have been dark; one baby Riley would not survive. Who could imagine one day; perhaps the rent was late, the air was broken, and patience had run out. Whatever the factors were they did not justify the outcome on July 24.  Toddlers can be difficult; trying to live up to the parental expectations and suffering the consequences of their parents own unhappiness.

            Turning parental guidance into violence and brutality, with leather belt, they beat Riley, perhaps over a short time span.  When that did not change the nature of their child, they violently shook her. They held her head under water repeatedly.  All accompanied with verbal abuse and further threats.  They picked her beaten body up and threw her against the wall and down on the tile floor. Can you see her…helpless, bleeding, broken, and dehumanized? Which was the blow of death is hard to tell.  

            If that wasn’t enough, they took her dead body and shoved it in a plastic container.  They carried her out like trash and put her in the shed, left to decay for two months.  They thought, “out of sight, out of mind,” but voices of injustice never silence, especially the children.  After they could stand it no longer, they took her away and dumped her in Galveston Bay.

            The Savior came and said, “Enough.” “Man may destroy the body but I will save her soul.”  One may be asking, “How could a mother or father be a part of such brutality?” Danger is never far from us; it rises up within.  The good book says, “Sin leads to death.”

            Death could not have been more welcome for Riley.  She is known as “Baby Grace,” for that is the air she now breathes. The parents are left to live in a prison; one that they themselves created.  Baby Grace no longer lives in that prison and Hell no longer threatens her soul.  Baby Grace is safe, cared for by gentle voice and tender hands. Forever, she laughs and runs; picking flowers, singing songs of thanksgiving and swinging under the oak tree.  Baby Grace is home.   

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