In Wisconsin, a man has been charged with child neglect for leaving his 18-month-old child in a hotel room with the toddler's dead mother.
The man, James Amour, actually just thought she might be dead when he left. Later, he called the staff of the motel where they were living to go check on her, telling them she wasn't moving when he left. The motel room was apparently a mess, and the toddler was found there alone, except for the body, by police.
Leaving a toddler alone, in and of itself, is inexcusable, and in those circumstances, it's even more horrifying, but I still can't help but feel some sympathy for this guy.
The reason he left the toddler alone wasn't to go party it up or to go do some shopping, like other parents do. Rather, he was going to work. He told police he was scared to be late for work and thought he would lose his job if he was.
"She didn't move at all. It was bothering me. I didn't want to go to work. I had no choice," he told police.
It's not excusable by any means, and most of us can't imagine how anyone could EVER leave a toddler home alone with all the dangers and potential for tragedy -- especially with a dead body in the room. But most of us have also never been in a place so desperate that we can't see any other choice.
Of course, in this case, there's also the little matter of why the woman was dead, if he had any role in killing her, and if he could have saved her if he had called for help earlier, but there are plenty of other people out there who face daunting decisions when it comes to childcare versus work.
What do you do if you're faced with losing a job that feeds and houses your family or leaving them alone? Sure, calling a friend or neighbor or babysitter is the right thing to do, but what about when you don't have any and don't have any money to pay for daycare?
There are programs and food stamps and resources, but sometimes, for whatever reason, they don't work. People don't know how to get the help they need or they can't.
Really, what do you?
I don't know, and I hope I never have to face that question myself. But stories like this, while outraging us about such abominable behavior, are also filled with sadness about the many families out there for whom life is such a struggle.
Do you feel any sympathy for this man or just outrage that he put his child in danger?
Image via cogdogblog/Flickr