Tuesday, September 20, 2011
The case of Kathleen Householer still haunts me all these years later. At the time I had an infant son and the fact that a mother's worst fear struck so close to home was unnerving. I can still remember watching Kathleen's tearful pleas for the kidnappers to return her baby and I felt her pain.
At the time I had a brother serving on the police force in Winchester, Virginia. When my asking my brother what the police were doing to find poor Lindsey he told me that he couldn't talk about the case but that he could tell me that there's more to the story than meets the eye.
I knew enough not to ask anything else. It was obviously confidential and he couldn't discuss it but at the time I didn't follow his comment to the next "logical" step. It never occured to me that the mother would lie about her child being kidnapped.
When Kathleen was charged after her daughter's body was found in a garbage bag in the Shenandoah River, I remember doing an almost instant 180 from disbelief to outrage.
How could she have possibly done such a thing to her child and then gone on TV, tears streaming down her face, begging for her child's return while she knew all the while her daughter was already dead.
How quickly we were all willing to reach out to her in her pain as two-week old Lindsey's picture was broadcast by Washington television stations, and the National Missing Child Search Society offered a $15,000 reward for information leading to her recovery.
When police pulled Lindsey's body from the river, one of the officers said she looked like a little doll. The icy waters had kept her little body in a pristine condition and she appeared to be sleeping and you almost expected her to awake at any moment.
In the end, Kathleen Householder, 22, admitted in court Wednesday that she threw a rock at her 2-week-old daughter, Lindsey Blake, and threw her body in the Shenandoah River. She pleaded guilty in West Virginia to voluntary manslaughter after spending a year in jail.
The Rippon, W. Va., woman spent the year in the Jefferson County Jail and will receive credit for the time when she is sentenced March 9, the Morning Herald in Hagerstown, Md., reported.
Voluntary manslaughter carries a penalty of one to five years, so Householder could be released just after her sentencing, because she was given credit for time served while awaiting trial.
Householder said she fatally injured Lindsey on January 3, 1985, as she was preparing to take the baby and her brother Dustin to the pediatrician.
''They were both crying, and I just lost my temper. I grabbed a rock and threw it. I had no intention of doing what I did,'' she said. Dustin, who was three, was not hurt.
It still amazes me to learn that an innocent child's life is only worth a year in jail. Then again I suppose in light of the Casey Anthony trial, I suppose she's served at least some time for her crime
For a long while Lindsey was burried in an unmarked grave just outside of Berryville, Viriginia. It is my understanding that some local people raised money to mark her final resting place.