The mystery of a little boy found dead on a roadside in rural Maine has been solved. His name is Camden Pierce Hughes, and his mother, Julianne McCrery of Texas, has allegedly confessed to killing him. It's not exactly the resolution the thousands of people who spread a computer-generated photo of little Camden across the interwebs were looking for.
Already too late to help this little boy in life, we saw a way to assist him in death, to find his parents, to ensure that he wasn't going to be forgotten. With the appearance of McCrery, his own mother, as the killer, we now have two choices. Hug our own kids that much tighter tonight and move on from the horror is one. I want to do that. I really do. But there's a part of me that's demanding I do something else.
If his own mother can't mourn him properly, I can give him that. I can do it for him. We, the people who cared enough to help find his parents, can do it for him.
It will be hard, I know. So far the details of the case coming out are heartbreaking. McCrery drove from Texas up north with the boy. She allegedly killed her 6-year-old in New Hampshire after three attempts to commit suicide herself were unsuccessful. Some sources say she gave the child an overdose of cough syrup, although it's something her attorney has disputed, leaving the exact details of the crime up in the air at the moment. It sounds like McCrery is mentally imbalanced. She's said to be begging the cops to allow her to join him "in heaven."
There's a comfort there, isn't there? In knowing that this woman isn't a cold-blooded killer so much as one whose mental state is seriously out of whack? That's what I have been telling myself. That a sane mother couldn't do this, wouldn't do this.
Still, little Camden is gone. It's a fact we can't get away from. Just looking at his adorable little face on Facebook makes me cry. I'm sad for him, and truth be told, sad for his mother. To have attempted suicide three times over means she was crying for help. If someone had stepped up, I wonder, could this tragedy have been avoided?
It's too late to know. But we can do what we have this whole week -- try to give this little boy's six years on earth their due. We can mourn him by sharing his story and by looking at moms around us who may or may not have tried suicide and stepping up to help them, to keep them safe, to keep their kids safe, to prevent another awful tragedy.
Will you be keeping little Camden Pierce Hughes in your thoughts and sharing this story, or will you be moving on to something less sad?
Image via Maine State Police