A mother who was serving in the military in the Middle East was horrified when she received a call saying that her 21-month-old toddler, Evan, was lying in the hospital with terrible injuries and would not survive. His mom, Nicole Dudley, who was serving in the Air Force in Qatar, rushed home, but was only able to spend less than two days with Evan before he was taken off life support. Then even more horror sunk in -- Evan's death was ruled a homicide. And the man arrested for the terrible crime was Justin K. Corbett, a 25-year-old airman who was helping take care of Evan through a reported "family-care plan approved by the Air Force" while Nicole served her country.
Corbett, who lived on the Dover Air Force base in Delaware, has been charged with murder by abuse or neglect in recklessly causing Evan's death. Corbett called 911 after he said that Evan had fallen down a flight of stairs and was unresponsive. Evan reportedly had multiple head injuries and bruises on his body, a detached retina, bleeding on the brain, and numerous bruises on his head. He died four days after sustaining his injuries. Two experts concluded that his death had not been accidental.
Evan had primarily been staying with his godmother's family during his mom's deployment; however, he would also regularly visit Corbett's home to play with his young son and daughter.
Nicole wrote on the Facebook page dedicated to Evan's memory and the investigation:
I'm relieved that an arrest has finally been made in the quest for justice for my baby, Evan Dudley. The past 15 months and 11 days have been a non-stop emotional roller coaster for me and my family. From the moment the doctor gave his characterization of Evan's injuries at A.I. Dupont Hospital, to receiving word of last night's arrest, I've alternated between grief, anger, depression and anxiety. I can now add hope to the list, as the arrest gives me the feeling that resolution and justice for Evan are within reach.
I can't imagine being so far away from your child, and believing and trusting he was in good hands, and then hearing your worst nightmare. It must be absolutely devastating. Hopefully justice is served.
Have you ever had to leave your child for a long period of time?
Image via Delaware State Police