Few scenes are more tortuous than this: a mother forcing water down her toddler?s throat, tying the girl?s hands behind her back to prevent resistance, until the bizarre punishment has ended. And then, within a short time, the child is dead.
We cheer, for justice has finally come for Cassandra. The mother, Jennete Killpack, who has yet to acknowledge that her actions killed her own child, was convicted Tuesday of child abuse homicide.
But we grieve, too, not only for Cassandra, who literally drowned by being forced to drink at least a gallon of water, but for what might have been. We do not know who Cassandra was. Her parents say she had a mental illness: Reactive Attachment Disorder.
They say Cassandra smeared feces on the wall of their home; slapped a baby sister; was destructive. We understand their parental frustration with Cassandra?s behavior.
But we do not understand forcing a child to drink more than a gallon of water. We do not understand a mother who would literally bite her child in the face. Nor do we understand a father who, privately disagreeing with bizarre ?therapies? for Cassandra, did not step in to stop it.
The Killpacks say they never intended to kill their daughter. But what is force-feeding a child a gallon of water, except child abuse? Why do they lack the conscience to acknowledge, whether fatal or not, that no parent should do that to a child?
Cassandra is now dead, lying cold in a grave, where no mother or father can hold her or love her. Nor will we ever know who Cassandra might have been.
But this much we do know: no parent who has treated a child thus should be set free; but, instead, must answer for the death she caused. Justice has called the name of the person who killed Cassandra Killpack: her mother, Jennete Killpack.
The mother who said she loved Cassandra killed her, instead. To have failed to convict Jennete Killpack for what she did would have been nothing less than a travesty of justice.