Monday, 9 December 2013

Falling On Deaf Ears - Justice For Quinten

I like to believe that every life is precious. No matter how old, young, abled or not. 

I recently read a harrowing tale, of a beautiful young man named Quinten. It tells of the injustice some families face, in the American judicial system.

I have been given permission, by Quintens sister Valerie to retell the story. My hope is that people from all around the world will read, and sign the petition.

This is Quinten's Story:

*Please note, the following story and photos, may cause some distress*
Justice for Quinten

Valerie was 19 when she met her younger brothers, Cameron and Quinten, and her biological father, for the first time. Quinten, who was 7 at the time, suffered from Chromosome 9 Ring, a  debilitating disease that left him unable to speak, walk, or care for himself.Just 3 days after meeting them Valerie's father disappeared overseas, and left the boys to live with her. 

The happy trio
"The doctors told his parents that he'd never walk, talk, or reach any sort of level of intelligence—but I wasn't there for those conversations," Valerie wrote. "Obviously he had his limitations, but within a year, I had him pulling up on people and things to stand, piloting his own wheelchair, feeding himself with a fork and spoon, and communicating with a mixture of hand gestures and monosyllable words."
The boys lived happily with Valerie for 4 years, before the task began to overwhelm her, both emotionally and financially. She was forced to return the boys to their father in 2008.

Valerie and the boys saying goodbye at the airport
Two years after the boys went to live with their father overseas, they moved back to the states, and were only 4 hours away from Valerie. They were ecstatic, Valerie would come and visit as often as she could, but as time passed, she noticed that Quinten had changed. He was looking pale, thin, and all around unhappy...
For the next five years, the boys endured hellish conditions and treatment. They suffered both physical and emotional abuse at the hands for their father. Cameron took on the role of sole carer for his brother, helping Quinten with all aspects of his care. 
"Cameron, who was 14 by then, was bearing the brunt of the burden—cooking, taking care of Quinten and himself—everything from bathing, to diapering. Our father was also physically and emotionally abusing Cameron. After coming to this realisation, I did one of the hardest things I've ever done, up until that point—on Dec. 17, 2012, I turned my father in for child abuse." tells Valerie.
Valerie says that before the neglect, Quinten was a happy go lucky kid, who loved Star Wars, listening to music, and just being loved. Even though Quinten was not able to talk, he would giggle and laugh at everything. He and Cameron were inseparable. Despite Cameron being the younger brother, Cameron was Quinten's body guard, he fought for him, shared his secrets, and tried his best to make his older brother better, with plenty of hugs and love.

A DHS worker visited the boys' school, and interviewed Cameron. He told them how their father no longer cared for the boys, and how he was looking after Quinten by himself. Cameron told her that their father was abusing him, and the boys hardly ever had food in the house. 

They were promised a worker would attend the boys house, and conduct a home study. But they waited, and waited. Three weeks came and went, and still no one came. Every day Valerie would call DHS, and every time she was told the same thing, "Just be patient, someone would be out soon". 

Valerie tells how she fought all of her instincts to go and take the boys back, "I struggled so hard with wanting to just drive down and get them - since this social worker has obviously decided that Christmas shopping or something was more important that getting my brothers out of this hell hole -but every time I called DHS they told me that if I took the boys out of state, it would be considered felony kidnapping, and I'd never see the kids again - they'd go right back to our father"

Around New Years, Quinten became ill again, and, just like every other time, he was left to be, and not taken to the doctors. Their father bought Quinten Nyquill and Vick's Vapor Rub, which he then made Cameron rub on his brothers chest. On January 3, Cameron called Valerie, panicking saying "Something is different - He's not getting better. He won't eat, he's crying and I can't get him to stop." Cameron put the phone to Quintens ear, so he could hear Valerie's voice, "Bubby, I love you. You'd better get better, I'm coming to town tomorrow and I'm going to hug you and squeeze you and take you home with me. Everything is going to be okay."

Cameron and Valerie begged their father to take Quinten to the hospital. He promised he would take him that night - he didn't. Valerie told Cameron to hold and rock Quinten, because sometimes, even though the medicine didn't make Quinten better, the hugs and cuddles did. So Cameron moved his mattress to the living room, where Quinten was sleeping.

With Quinten on the couch, due to his mattress being stained with urine, and Cameron on the mattress on the floor, the boys went to sleep, Cameron trying his best to help his older brother feel better. 

The urine soaked couch where Quintens body was found.

The morning of the 4th of January, Cameron woke up, holding Quintens cold hand. During the night, Quinten had passed away. Cameron ran to their father, who attempted CPR, to no avail. The paramedics were called, and while they waited, their father forced Cameron to change the continence aid on Quintens dead body, because he didn't want anyone to see that he was covered in his own filth. When the paramedics arrived, the declared that Quinted had been dead for at least 3 hours. 

Valerie now fights 24/7 for justice for her brother. She says "I'm working, pretty much around the clock, to try and see justice served. Our father needs to be in jail- there is just no other way around it. I don't care how depressed you are, it takes a special kind of monster to look the other way while their child wastes away to death. Unfortunately because NO ONE did their jobs and documented the abuse, it looks like our father could very well get away with this."

So please, click the link below, and sign the petition. Regardless of what country you're from, every signature makes a difference.

For more information:

#JusticeforQuinten #JusticeformyBrother #QuintenDouglasWood

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