The details of what Jerome Lynch, 69, did to his daughter, Darlene Lynch, 49, are beyond gruesome. According to the New York Daily News, yesterday afternoon the wheel-chair bound man threw a cup of liquid on her. She initially thought it was water, but it turned out to be acid, which caused the clothing and skin to melt from her body.
"My father did this!" sources say she shouted as she ran out in the street in front of their Brooklyn apartment. Witness Clarissa Shakespeare described the horrifying scene to the paper.
You could see the smoke coming off her body. Everyone was just traumatized and scared. Her skin looked like melting wax. And then her whole eye lid was melted. The whole left side from her face all the way down to her feet.
She's currently in the hospital fighting for her life, and we're left outraged and wondering just what kind of an evil monster could do such a thing. But the answer may not be so simple.
Darlene apparently had been serving as her father's caregiver, and his mental health had reportedly declined over the years. "He was losing his mind,” his niece Dominique Goodwin told the paper. A stroke two years ago left him largely unable to speak, but in a handwritten note to police he both admitted what he did and claimed she abused him.
Who knows if he has declined so far mentally that he fabricated the abuse. Perhaps she was abusing him; perhaps she wasn't. There is no justification or excuse for his horrific actions. None. However, it's hard to imagine any father doing this to his own child if he was in his right mind, and he very likely was not.
While his actions were that of a monster, most of all this case just evokes a deep sadness. Across the country thousands and thousands of people suffer from things like Alzheimer's, dementia, and other diseases that blur reality and challenge their loved ones. Often it's children and spouses doing their best to care for them, but they are too often ill-equipped for the job, which can turn tragic.
As details continue to come in perhaps there will be more answers that offer some insight into how this could possibly happen. But I'm left aching not only for this family but also for the many, many other relatives caring for those of declining mental capacity who face their own tragedies each day that may not be as horrific as this but could be.
Do you have any sympathy for this man?
Image via jayneandd/Flickr