Thursday, May 26, 2011

Candice Alexander

I hope that's it pretty obvious where both mine and David's passion lay when it comes to fighting methamphetamine - advocating for the children who are the innocent and most helpless victims of any addiction.  I've decided to share real life stories of lives destroyed by methamphetamine.  I thought it was only fitting to speak first for those who cannot speak for themselves.  The next few posts will be dedicated to children who have lost their lives because of their parents addictions.  

Candice Alexander was 15 years old when she was murdered by her parents.  Her death was preventable.  School officials and social workers knew she was in danger.  Other addicts were actually in the home when she was being beaten to death.  Some testified at trial of the immense guilt they felt for doing nothing for fear of angering their drug connection.
We first heard of Candice's story when someone sent us a powerpoint containing her autopsy photos.  It was shocking to see a beautiful young girl, filthy and beaten, laying on a morgue table.  Several things stood out to me - how underdeveloped she was (she looked more like she was 11 or 12 because of her drug use and malnourishment I'm sure), her defensive wounds (this little girl fought hard for her life), and the obvious signs of a beating (her death was initally ruled as an accidental overdose until a caring and diligent Sergeant with the state police stepped in).  We then began researching her story and the details were so disturbing we thought it was only fitting that she not die in vain.  David tells her story whenever he speaks.  The Sergeant that was responsible for investigating her death has encouraged us to to keep doing so.

Instead of retyping her story I have copied a section from our book.  I hope those that hear her story remember it and realize this could be any child, any where that needs help.

Candice Alexander was first given methamphetamine when she was just twelve years old. That’s also probably when the sexual abuse began. Candice reported the abuse to her school, but instead of calling social services, they called her mother, Rebecca Lee, who in turn removed her from school.
            Candice was not the first child to be abused by her mother. Her older brother, Cody, was taken from his mother as an infant by child protective services in 1986. A bone scan at a local hospital revealed fractures to the right ulna and radius, the tibia and femur of both legs, and multiple rib fractures in varying stages of healing. He was also blind. Nearly six months old, Cody weighed only nine pounds.
            While Cody was in foster care, his mother gave birth to two more children, Amanda and Candice. Amanda was the first of the two to be molested by her stepfather. When Rebecca caught the couple in a sex act when Amanda was fourteen, the girl was kicked out of the house and forced to live with older meth addicts. The parents then moved on to Candice.
            Rebecca knew her husband was sexually attracted to her daughter, but didn’t mind if he molested Candice as long as she was also present. But one day, Johnny took Candice fishing without inviting her mother. When Rebecca found out they’d had sex on the trip, she went berserk.
            For the next ten days, Candice was violently beaten. Then on May 9, 2003, the 90-pound teenager was forcibly injected with enough methamphetamine to kill four 150-pound men. She had a wound on her arm where the drugs were injected and finger-shaped marks near the injection site that were consistent with her arm being forcibly held. Her mother and stepfather also injected her with saline to try to revive her, but it was too late. Candice, at fifteen, was dead.
            The killers waited more than three hours to contact law enforcement. By the time they arrived, the meth lab had been disassembled and the bathroom scrubbed with the water hose that had been brought in from outside. The crime scene had also been cleaned.
            In the autopsy, Candice’s battered body revealed what had occurred during her nightmare. She had fingernail marks on her face from being held down. There were marks extending the length of her right arm from being struck multiple times with a hard, round, elongated object. There was a large abrasion on her nose and blood in her right nostril indicative of being struck in the face.
            Candice’s hands and chest were covered with motor oil and dirt that had come from the transmission of a truck; at some point during the savage beating she had run out of the house and sought refuge under the vehicle. There were bright red abrasions on her hips that had occurred when she was pulled away from the car by the back of her belt. There was also a prominent linear bruise on the midline of her abdomen, an imprint of the inseam of her pants, and fingernail marks and grass in her pubic area.
            In 2005, Rebecca and Johnny Lee were found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Candice’s younger sister, who was thirteen at the time of her death, spent time in a psychiatric hospital while her mother was on trial. She had witnessed part of her sister’s murder and was forced to participate in the cleanup.
            Tragically, the cycle of abuse continues. On September 5, 2008, Benjamin Terrance Rawls, the biological son of Rebecca Lee, was indicted for abandoning and endangering his ten-week-old son after he allegedly shook the infant. He was also accused of endangering his eighteen-month-old son by leaving him alone in the house with drugs, weapons, and a pit bull.