When Juan Gonzales and his wife were sent to prison they left their toddler daughter, Cyleste, and her four-year-old brother with a good friend of theirs, Sarah Sifuentes. But they trusted the wrong woman. Cyleste ended up in the hospital with blunt-force trauma to the stomach, bruising all over her body, and a broken arm. And because the 22-month-old girl didn't get medical attention early enough she died.
Sifuentes was found guilty of injury to a child and serious bodily injury by omission. Now it's her turn to go to prison. Gonzales later said, "We thought she was a nice friend. We trusted her, and I mean, obviously..." Obviously she was a horrifically incompetent care-giver, at the least! Was Gonzales too trusting? And didn't he and his wife have better options for their children?
I wonder why the Gonzaleses would leave their children with those friends, rather than with grandparents, or siblings, or at least more reliable friends. Maybe they don't have family they can rely on. Maybe they've always associated with people who just barely have their own shit together and can't handle more kids. They must have been desperate for someone, anyone to take their kids. And they must have thought even their friends' home would be better than a state foster home.
I know we're all supposed to have a living will with plans for what to do with our children in the event of our death -- or anything else that might happen to us. (I'm not planning to do anything that sends me to prison, anyway!) But it's hard to think about putting that burden on anyone else. Another mouth to feed, another child to raise. And it's even harder to decide who you really trust.
But this should make all parents think extra hard about who they can trust to care for their children in an emergency. You may think your friends are "nice" -- but are they loving, compassionate, patient, and emotionally strong? That's more important.
Do you know who you would leave your children with in an emergency?
Image via KENS5 News