Six-year-old Jersey Bridgeman never really had a chance in life. The little girl's body was found two days before Thanksgiving, and now a neighbor -- Zachary Dewayne Holly -- is charged with capital murder, kidnapping, and residential burglary in connection with her death. But that isn't the only time little Jersey has been in the news.
Just last year, her father and stepmother were arrested for chaining the little girl to the dresser because she got into medication and other things around the house. Both David and Jana Bridgeman pleaded guilty and are now in jail. It was unclear who Jersey was living with and where her biological mom is. But one thing that is clear: This little girl never stood a chance.
Some cases just haunt you. This is one for me.
This little girl was born into a family where parenting was clearly not the priority and then she fell into the hands of some kind of predator. It's unclear what her life was like in the middle years, but the arrests of her father and stepmom give us some notion.
It's completely unfair that some are given so much while others are given so little and spend their whole lives suffering.
As the mom of a nearly 6-year-old girl, I can't help but see my child in Jersey. My child is beloved, well cared for, and nourished, taught all the fundamentals, and full of life and joy. Why should she -- or any other child in my social group -- get so much and this little girl get so little. It's just sickeningly unfair.
It's impossible to know what to do. We can change public policy and give parents stricter punishments. We can provide more foster opportunities and help kids have some semblance of normalcy. But we can't make people who shouldn't have kids stop having kids. We can't force parents to see that things like chaining a child to a desk are BAD if they are so deluded that they don't realize that anyway.
I imagine that being a social worker or anyone who works with at-risk children must be so disheartening. No child deserves a life like this and yet there is so little we can do.
So now I get to report this horrific story and talk about how sad it makes me. But I can't hold her or make her life better or do anything to help. No one can. That's the sad and awful truth and it's so, so staggeringly unfair.
Does this story break your heart, too?