14 September 2013

A bit of advice to the world from the mom of a special needs kid

Dear World,

I know that most of you don't have any experience or knowledge about people who are disabled, especially when the brain is involved in the disability. I try my hardest to remember this and not bite anyone's head off. Instead, I'm offering this post as an etiquette lesson of sorts.

1. Please don't treat my child differently unless you have been asked to. Parents are pretty quick to let you know if you are doing something that is going to aggravate or otherwise upset their special needs child. Just act normal until further notice.

2. Please don't assume that because a child has special needs that they cannot read, or enjoy an outing, or enjoy a birthday gift. While my kid does have a tendency to carry a gift around and talk to it for nearly a day before opening it, she is definitely enjoying it in a non-traditional way. Also, even if the child is not able to participate or read or anything else, us parents like to feel like our families still love our kids. Please do go ahead and write a message in the birthday card just like you do for our other children (who also can't read because they are too young). The absence of message is rather glaring for me and I find it hurtful. I imagine other parents probably feel the same way. I know that folks think that a disabled child probably doesn't know the difference, but that isn't necessarily true. Either way, feel free to just pretend for the parents' benefit if you have your doubts about the kid's ability to care about your actions.

3. Just because a child is autistic and/or very limited in their ability to speak, it doesn't mean they are unable to learn, care or participate. For the record, my child may not be able to hold a conversation, but she mastered Kindergarten and then moved on to first grade, so she’s technically at grade level. Oh, she also understands what you are saying so be careful, she holds a grudge.

I hope this brief lesson was helpful. I know it can be awkward and no one wants to do the wrong thing. It will be okay.


02 June 2013

Where is Justice for Millie and Michael?

     Today, I learned a few things. First, I learned that my old junior high school friend, Millie Worrell, and her three year old son died a horrific death that was presumed by her family and friends to have been caused by her abusive boyfriend (though he was not prosecuted at the time).

The only pic I have of Millie, it's from our junior high school yearbook

 Second, I learned that same abusive boyfriend is facing trial for killing his ex-girlfriend last year. The story he gave to the police before confessing is eerily similar to his unlikely story when questioned about Millie’s death. Is it too late for Millie and Michael? Can there still be justice for them?

     Millie was a brave woman. Her obituary says she died of smoke inhalation. That is the most gentle description possible. I was told she was beaten, her dog killed, the front door nailed shut, and the couch where she lay over three-year-old Michael was set on fire. That’s where the smoke came from. Perdock was present and did not call 911, but a passerby did. How can this be something other than murder? I will be looking at her death certificate this summer to see if this was ruled accidental or homicide, but I’m sure she didn’t nail herself into that house.

     Her friends and family long suspected her boyfriend and Michael’s father, Carl Richard Perdock, of causing her death just before Christmas in 2002. The police questioned and released him after he said he was trying to help Millie but couldn’t do anything. The police dismissed the concerns of Millie’s friends and family. Perdock was able to attend Millie’s funeral and did not shed a tear for her.

     While we all grieve differently, this situation looks even worse when we evaluate where Carl Richard Perdock is today. By his own admission, he punched his former girlfriend, Arianna Villareal, several times, stabbed her with a pencil, and then stuffed her body in a sleeping bag that he buried in a shallow grave in Sky Valley, California in late September 2012. But the court documents tell a different story, as detailed in an article by Laura Yanez:

“According to court documents, his roommate told investigators that Perdock arrived at their home with Villareal in the front passenger seat of his jeep, with a "sack" over her head. He then carried her to a bed "asked for his brass knuckles" before stabbing Villareal with a pair of scissors, he said.
However, Perdock told investigators a different story. The report says Perdock said a man fired at him with a shotgun at Villareal's house when he came over that day, missed and took off.
Perdock claimed Villareal had a bullet hole near her neck, took her to where her body was later found by authorities to tend to the wound. He said he tried giving her CPR until he realized she was dead and then stuffed her body in a sleeping bag and buried her, according to the documentation.”
     Sound familiar? I guess there are now two women who are no longer with us after Perdock “helps”. He is sitting in jail in Indio awaiting trial for Arianna’s torture and murder. Let’s get the justice Millie and Michael deserve and have waited eleven years to receive as well.

Want to help?

  • Show up at Perdock’s court hearings with a display (shirt, sign, whatever) that asks for Justice for Millie and Michael out front of the court house.
  • Contact the Riverside County Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit or the Palm Desert station at 760-836-1600 and remind them that Investigation #O122710013 is not ready to be closed until charges are filed against Perdock for the deaths of Millie Worrell and Michael Perdock.
  • Contact the San Bernardino Sheriff Homicide group at 909-387-3589 and ask them to investigate the death of Millie Worrell and Michael Perdock in light of the recent charges pending against Carl Richard Perdock in Riverside County.
  • Leave comments on every news site you come across that mentions the Arianna Villareal homicide, and ask about justice for Millie and Michael.
  • If you knew Millie or Carl Richard Perdock, and either of them told you anything that might bring Millie justice, please report it to both the Riverside and San Bernardino Sheriff’s office, as well as commenting here so that I can pass your contact information along to Millie’s family. If you want to do so anonymously, call the tip line at 951-955-2777 instead.

Please feel free to share your stories of Millie and Michael. Millie and her son deserve to be remembered and loved in our hearts forever.

Laura Yanez’s article can be found here: 

25 February 2013

The Zoo, Part 2

The kids all had a great time at the zoo, as evidenced by my rockin' photography skills below, but I wanted to share something that happened with one of the workers there.

One of the women who works at the zoo came and tried to cheer Starling up. Starling was bored and probably a bit hungry and we were waiting and being boring. The woman got Starling in a good mood again and started talking to the other kids. Rejeanne ignored her, of course, and I felt the need to say she's autistic lest anyone think she's just rude or something. Someday maybe I won't feel the need to do this.

What happened next might really freak a few people out, but it made me a bit homesick and thankful. This woman just touched Rejeanne really quick and prayed over her in good ol' black church fashion. God bless that dear lady for asking the Lord to let my child speak and be the queen her name stands for. She could have lost her job for doing that. She could have really upset me by doing that. But she did it anyways because the spirit moved her. I miss seeing the church ladies in the fancy hats out there praisin' the Lord. It's not something I saw in Orange County or in Vermillion, SD, but I sure saw a lot of it in Duarte. I was so stunned by this lady that I couldn't even muster up an Amen until she had already gone off to the bathroom to  finish cleaning. I still believe that the good Lord works through the warm, work-roughed loving hands of black women everywhere.

Princess Rejie Cake

Rejeanne and Gary taking in the sights

Cyrus makin' friends

Starling was alert and nearly silent for the entire trip. This kid LOVES the zoo!

The desert dome

Starling, blurry as always since she is never actually still


Crimson fixing Rejeanne's hair

The Zoo, Part One

Well, here's something I never do anymore...BLOG!! Life has been happy and moving along. We had the chance to escape winter for a moment at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. I still haven't explored the place thoroughly, but I've decided that it might be the Best Zoo Ever. Parts of the exhibits remind me of Disneyland!

Lee had to go to the zoo as part of a class assignment so we figured I could go down later in the day with the kids and meet him there. It was so much fun!! I (shockingly) remembered to take some pictures. I now remember why I tend to not take pictures.

My kids are fast moving and easily distracted. I am terribly impatient and not a great photographer. This combines into epic photo fail most of the time. But hey, we're weird and so are our family photos!

Could have been awesome, if not for the photographer!

At least the peacock was cooperative

and the spider crabs!