Should We Feel Empathy for a Mother Whose Neglect Killed Her Baby?

11 October 2016

In August, 62-year-old Kathleen Steele was arrested for the death of her infant child, who was killed by the hands of Steele’s 6-year-old son. Steele left her three children in the car, aged 13 days, 3 years and 6 years. According to reports, Steele left her kids in a parked car with the windows up and the doors locked. While Steele was away, the baby girl began to cry. The 6-year-old told police that the crying made him mad. So he grabbed his sister from her car seat and proceeded to throw her around the vehicle, ultimately killing her.

This case has three victims: the children. The youngest lost her life when it had only just begun. The 3-year-old has had his family ripped apart. The 6-year-old faces an incredibly difficult road to overcome the grief, trauma and shame of what he did at such a young age. A psychiatrist told the Tampa Bay Times that his future will hinge on “how stable a support system the boy will receive in the future.”

On the surface, this tragedy appears to be a straightforward case of parental neglect. Anecdotes by neighbors paint a picture of a neglectful mother and a jealous son with aggression issues.

“By numerous witness accounts, Kathleen Steele was an inattentive parent and [the boys] were largely unsupervised and had very serious behavior issues,” Florida Sheriff Gualtieri said. Much of the conversation in the media has been about how she “left her children alone.” Commenters on social media have said things like, “The mother should be skinned alive for leaving those kids alone.”

Continue reading article at Wear Your Voice Mag

Kristance Harlow

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