These Parents Still Need to Love Their Baby's Killer

Anyone who has two children knows how painful it is when one hurts the other one, but perhaps no one knows better than a set of parents in Oklahoma whose 13-year-old son shook their baby girl -- his sister -- to death. I will give you a moment to let that sink in and try to imagine the enormous pain their parents must be in today.

According to police, the boy was left with his baby sister for six hours while his parents worked and he was playing a video game. When her cries interrupted the game and made him lose, he shook her until she quieted and fell asleep. Soon after, she died.

At first the parents said the girl had fallen, but the injuries weren't consistent with a fall. Then the boy admitted what he had done.


It's impossible to not try to imagine what those parents feel. Every time one of my children hurts the other one, no matter how minor, it makes me crazy. Because I want to protect both my babies. I want nice children who don't hurt anyone, let alone my other child.

The boy -- Crystian Rivera -- was first accused of child abuse, but was booked on a murder complaint after the baby died. And the parents are left with an impossible situation. Do they support their son accused of murder when the person he murdered was their own child?

The answer: Yes. One has to imagine they're beating themselves up and wishing they hadn't left their son with their baby. And maybe they shouldn't have. I was eight years apart from my sister, but my parents rarely left me alone once I was old enough to babysit precisely because of these kinds of sibling rivalry issues. It's just impossible to know what this boy was like.

Certainly 13 is old enough to be left with a baby for six hours. I babysat for babies younger than 10 months when I was 12. But maybe he wasn't mature? Whatever the circumstances, this is what happened and it can't be changed. And while it's probably easy for an outsider to say he should be cut off and his parents should hate him, anyone who has ever had children knows they probably won't.

They do bad things and we still love them. That is part of parenthood. Clearly this boy needs love and care. And while this is "bad" on an unimaginable scale, he is still their baby, too.

Do you think they will stand by him?


Image via RebeccaPollard/Flickr

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