Earlier this week, a
Nacogdoches grand jury indicted a 37-year-old Shari Kamile Brandon for
attempted capital murder for allegedly trying to drown her 6-year-old daughter
after an auto accident on June 8.
The incident was
definitely on the minds of child advocates attending today's dedication at the
Nacogdoches County Master Gardener's Demonstration Garden.
A new statue is
creating awareness about the growing occurrence of child abuse and neglect in
this area. The statue of a happy child symbolizes a desire the Nacogdoches
County Child Welfare Board has for all children.
"Depicting the innocence of children and the
statement, ' because it should never hurt to be a child is what we all believe
in," said Lisa King, the Child Welfare Board's president."
too many East Texans exhibit much crueler actions.
"We've seen a rise in
the number of children that are in foster care," said Tonya Harry, the director
of investigations for Region V Child Protective Services. "Where we had roughly
maybe 35 children in foster care and we have over 100 children in foster care
in this area now."
Poverty and a lack of
education are factors. So is substance abuse.
"Substance abuse is
one of the number one problems that we face here as far as crime goes,"
Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges. "It affects everybody. It affects our
It's gotten to the
point children must develop survival skills. Brandon's six year old daughter
told authorities she played dead to prevent from being drowned by her mother. This
amazes those who hear the story, except for Judy Bowman, the regional director
for child protective services.
"That is very common,"
Bowman said. "Keep in mind that this child probably was abused from very early
on and so these are things that she had learned to do."
Foster parent Wendi Wallace
attempts to undo the negatives of child abuse.
‘To provide safety
for them so they know that there's a place they can be safe and they can be
innocent," Wendy Wallace, a foster parent said.
The hope is that a
forever home of love and nurturing comes along.
"We're blessed to
adopt two little girls and most recently we're blessed to have Lane," said
Jessica Henderson, an adoptive parent.
And his adoption will
soon be final because it should never hurt to be a child.
The child's statue
was given a special spot by the Master Gardeners. It can be viewed at the
garden on the corner of East Main and University drive in Nacogdoches.
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