Children can get hurt in the blink of an eye. Therefore, it’s easy to understand the fear of parents and caregivers when the younger ones are not with them. They’re afraid of kidnapping and other crimes, that are happening even more nowadays. Unfortunately for this grandmother, her biggest nightmare became reality: the disappearance of her granddaughter.
Our job is to ensure that our children, or children we care for, remain safe. This may seem easy, but accidents can happen anywhere and anytime. Unfortunately, keeping your children safe is not a priority for some parents. This five-year-old child we’re talking to had a grandmother who loved her very much, however, the parents were real monsters!
Grandma worried about missing granddaughter
The girl was being taken care of by her grandmother, Linda Benskey, but the social services decided to give her to her father, who had a history of violence, and his partner. After losing custody of the loving girl, Benskey spent several months without seeing the child. The woman was extremely worried, and she had the feeling that something was wrong.
Fearing something had happened to her granddaughter, Benskey called the police. She asked them to check out the North Carolina home belonging to her stepson, to find out if a girl named Angel was okay. What the police discovered shocked the city!
They found the 5-year-old girl locked in a closet under the stairs. She was covered in dirt and had been beaten and burned. Police also called the child’s former caretaker, Tracy Harrell, from a local day care center, to join them in the search. When Harrell saw Angel, she could not believe her eyes.
Garota estava irreconhecível
“Her little hands were shaky,” said Harell. “Her hair was shaved, but what wasn’t shaved was pulled out in knots, so she had bald spots all over her head.” “Her face was dirty and cut up. She had bruises around her neck.” The little girl, who once had bouncing blond curls and big blue eyes, was almost unrecognizable.
The police were not sure how long she’d been under the stairs. When Harrell asked Angel when it was the last time she had eaten, the girl’s response was “I don’t remember.” Harrell joined the police in the search, which proved to be a smart move. The caregiver provided a sense of comfort and security to the girl after the trauma. Recalling her time as Angel’s caretaker, Harrell says: ““There was never a day when she left and she wouldn’t say, ‘I love you miss Tracy.'”
After the girl was rescued, Harrell said: “She clung to me and wrapped her arms around me. I had her laying here and she kept saying ‘please don’t leave me, please don’t leave me.”
Family tries to regain custody
Fortunately, the police managed to locate her before it was too late. Her father, Adam Byrd, and his girlfriend, Crystal Carnahan, were charged with child abuse, neglect and assault with a deadly weapon.
The family is now working to regain custody of Angel: both her birth mother, Holly, and Benskey’s brother and wife. The social worker who was originally assigned to the girl’s case resigned from her position, and the supervisor was fired for “grossly inefficient job performance.”
If you know a child with signs of abuse, report it! Fortunately, Angel had a grandmother who loved her and sensed that something was wrong… but the case could have had a much more tragic outcome. Let’s share to raise awareness against child violence!