Mother of Murdered 9-Year-Old Couldn't Have Known Babysitter Was Psycho

plumadoreMike PlumadoreYet another horrible, tragic end to a missing child case: 39-year-old Michael Plumadore has confessed to the murder of 9-year-old Aliahna Lemmon. Plumadore, a neighbor, was supposed to be babysiiting for Aliahna and her sisters because their mother, Tarah Souders, was sick with the flu. Initially, he said Aliahna disappeared from his trailer Friday morning while he was sleeping. In fact, he bludgeoned the girl to death with a brick, dismembered her body, and hid her head, hands and feet in his freezer.

As a parent, this story makes me physically ill. And, of course, terrified. What happened to Aliahna is a parent's worst nightmare. Virtually impossible to process. Still, we try to make sense of incomprehensibly horrifying crimes like this one. If we can do that, maybe we can figure out how to prevent the same thing from happening to our own kids.

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And so, the questions start and the blame is laid: Who was this "neighbor" and what was Aliahna's mother thinking, leaving her girls with him?

According to Aliahna's step-grandfather, Plumadore was a "trusted family friend." According to a state website, 15 registered sex offenders live in the Indiana trailer park where Plumadore and Aliahna lived. While Plumadore isn't on Indiana's list of registered sex offenders, he does have a criminal record in Florida and North Carolina including convictions for trespassing and assault.

Did Souders know about Plumadore's criminal past? Did she know that 15 out of the two dozen residents of the trailer park where she lived with her three young daughters were registered sex offenders?

I'm guessing she wasn't aware of Plumadore's history or the dangers lurking right outside her family's door. Why would Plumadore tell her anything about his past? Maybe she did know about the sex offenders in the park and knew Plumadore's name wasn't on the list. Maybe he seemed like the safest option available.

I don't know. What I do know is this: While I want to think that I would be able to pick up on the fact that a person I was considering leaving my children with was criminally insane, maybe I wouldn't. Maybe you wouldn't, either.

That's why I hesitate to make a statement like, "Well, that poor child's mother is an idiot for leaving her kid with a psycho." I want to say that, because it would make me feel "safe." But that wouldn't be fair to Tarah Souder or any other mother to ever live through this hell.

Do you think Aliahna Lemmon's mother should have known something was wrong with Mike Plumadore?


Image via Allen County Sheriff's Department

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