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Mother kept baby in drawer, fed him cough syrup ‘like juice’

Police: Mother kept baby in drawer, fed him cough syrup ‘like juice’

A mother charged with murder and neglect in the death of her young child kept the 2-month-old boy in a drawer and gave him cough syrup in lieu of juice, court documents said.

More alarmingly, family members and neighbors believed Bambi Glazebrook, 29, Indianapolis, wasn’t feeding her son and told authorities—but no one took action.

On Thursday, Nov. 8, police arrived at a home in the 1200 block of Earhart in response to a 911 call about a child who wasn’t breathing. When officers got there, they found 2-month-old Phillip Robey unresponsive. The boy went to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.

Police interviewed Glazebrook, who told them the child seemed “fussy” about an hour before the 911 call. She said the baby “spent most of the day” in a drawer. When she checked on him at 2:30 p.m, she began to make a bottle. About a half-hour later, Glazebrook said, she changed his diaper and noticed his legs were stiff and he wasn’t breathing. She said she called 911 after waking up her father, Phillip Brahlek.

Investigators said Glazebrook’s account wasn’t true; the boy had been dead for several hours, court documents said.

Police described the conditions inside the home as “deplorable and unfit for human habitation.” They learned the baby was sleeping in a drawer located in an entertainment center in the living room. The victim was “grossly underweight and malnourished.”

Several family members said Glazebrook had a history of neglecting her children; three of her five children were adopted after Child Protective Services removed them from her home. One witness said she called CPS and police multiple times. The Department of Child Services, which oversees CPS, acknowledged receiving at least one recent complaint.

Police interviewed several witnesses who said they’d noticed the boy’s emaciated condition and a general sense of defensiveness from Glazebrook when questioned about Phillip’s health. One witness said she encountered Glazebrook and the child and was concerned because she “rubbed the back of the baby and all she felt were bones,” court documents said.

The witness also noticed dog feces on the floor of the home and described the residence as a disaster. The woman also told police Glazebrook kept the child in a drawer.

A neighbor and relative also noticed the baby’s poor condition and said something appeared to be wrong with Phillip. According to court documents, Glazebrook told her not to worry because she “would handle it.” The woman followed up a few weeks later, again expressing concern about the baby’s condition. Glazebrook told her to “mind her own business,” court documents said.

Another witness said Glazebrook rarely bathed or changed the diapers of Phillip and a 2 year old who lived in the home. That witness also said the mother gave her children liquid cough syrup to “make them go to sleep,” court documents said. Glazebrook dispensed the cough syrup “as if someone would give a child juice.”

The other child has been removed from the home.

An autopsy found that Phillip died from acute failure to thrive/starvation. He weighed less than six pounds and had “absolutely no” fat on his body.

Glazebrook is due in court Wednesday morning.

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Broken Dreams

Stunning Medical Procedure Saves A Boy’s Baseball Dream

Eric Adelson

After the crying stopped, a 10-year-old boy had an awful decision to make.

Dugan Smith had cancer in his thigh bone. He was going to die without extreme measures. His dad had an opinion on what to do. So did his mom. But they decided to ask their son, who would hopefully be able to live with whatever came next.

Dugan needed an amputation. That was certain. But there were three options after that. The first was a cadaver bone to replace the cancerous thigh bone. The second was a metal bone with a mechanical knee. Dugan’s father, Dustin, figured that was the way to go. It would give his son some pain, but decent mobility.

“Nope, I don’t want that,
” Dugan told his parents, “because I can’t play sports.”

The third choice was extremely rare. It was a procedure done maybe a dozen times a year in the U.S. It’s called rotationplasty. Dugan’s lower leg would be detached, turned 180 degrees, and reattached higher. That would allow his ankle muscles and ligaments to do the job of his knee. Basically: his ankle would serve as a backwards knee. So his foot would be at the end of his thigh, and he could place it into a prosthetic and have more control over it.

Dugan lit up. “I want that one,” he said.

The boy didn’t seem to care about the risks, which were several. He didn’t care about the recovery time, which would be long. And he didn’t care about the possible awkwardness, both physically and emotionally.

Dugan wanted to play baseball.

“It wasn’t a question in his mind,” Dustin says.

Dad wasn’t quite ready to take yes for an answer. He was Dugan’s coach, and he didn’t want a charity case on his hands.

“I’m going to be pushing you,”
he told his only boy. “You’re not going to like me very much.”

Dugan didn’t care. The decision had been made: Baseball or bust.

***

It’s hard not to wonder if Dugan would be alive without baseball. He was a 10-year-old fourth grader on his dad’s sixth grade team in suburban Columbus, Ohio when he slid into second and felt a pinch of pain.

The pain only grew over weeks. Dugan got an X-ray and his parents, now divorced, thought it was bursitis. He was a tall kid, stretching toward 6 feet tall as a preteen. So maybe there was extra pressure on that knee.

Doctors put Dugan on crutches and told him to stop playing baseball. His parents got him an old wheelchair as well, to help him get around. But two days before the end of the fourth-grade school year, his friends were wheeling Dugan to Dairy Queen and he fell out of the chair and broke his leg.

Doctors did a biopsy. Dugan had a form of cancer so rare that only 400 American children get it every year. He had a tumor the size of a softball in his leg. Dugan was placed in a half-body cast up to his waist. He chose Disney World for his Make-A-Wish trip.

The surgery would be brutal. It took a total of 25 hours. There was so much swelling that doctors had to leave the leg wide open and Dugan could actually see his muscles flex as he tried to recover. He spent two weeks in the ICU. Then chemo. Then the pain of adjusting to the first prosthetic leg. Then four more prosthetic replacement legs after that.

You’d think, just once, Dugan would say, “Enough.” Maybe during one sleepless night or one agonizing moment, he’d give up.

Nope.

Never,” says Dustin. “Not once. We knew what he’d be able to do and what he wants to do. He wants to play.”

***

Dugan is now 13. He’s a member of his junior high school baseball team. And he’s not a DH or a pinch-hitter. He pitches. He plays first base. And he has a regular spot in the lineup. It’s been that way for more than a year now.

Yes, he limps noticeably. His left leg is designed to be longer so his right leg can grow to match it.

Most teens and adults would have just gone with a traditional amputation. Mayerson, the surgeon at Ohio State Medical Center, is considered an expert in rotationplasty and he’s only done three. But Dugan is a special case, and a special kid.

“The reason we do these is for a very young child who has a lot of growing to do,”
says Mayerson. “Dugan was perfect. His dream was to play baseball. He said, ‘Do whatever you need to do, but I need to play baseball.'”

Dugan’s chances of recurrence are slim. The cancer is out. The bat is back in the boy’s hands.

And now Dugan has another dream.

He wants to play football.
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Rape Factories

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Lovisa Stannow

In 1984 the photographer Tom Cahill smashed a plate-glass door in a fit of fury at the San Francisco Chronicle. He had just unsuccessfully attempted to get the paper’s reporters to write about rape in America’s jails and prisons. Cahill was a desperate man at the time, tormented by flashbacks and nightmares, his personal and professional life in ruins.

Cahill’s story began in 1968, when he was arrested in Texas during a peaceful antiwar protest. An Air Force vet who opposed the Vietnam War, he did not prove popular among jail staff in the heavily military town of San Antonio. Before placing him in an overcrowded communal cell, he says, the guards spread word that he was a child molester. Cahill remembers with a shudder how one of the staff members shouted “fresh meat” before leaving. After 24 hours of beatings and gang rape, his life was shattered.

More than four decades later, sexual violence behind bars is still widespread in the United States. But thanks to Cahill and other courageous survivors, the ongoing crisis is no longer shrouded in silence.

A man who is said to be crazy and who is beaten and raped regularly is pinned down by another inmate in the bathroom of the cell for the "hardened criminals" at the Karbala city jail in Karbala, Iraq.

The U.S. Department of Justice recently released its first-ever estimate of the number of inmates who are sexually abused in America each year. According to the department’s data, which are based on nationwide surveys of prison and jail inmates as well as young people in juvenile detention centers, at least 216,600 inmates were victimized in 2008 alone. Contrary to popular belief, most of the perpetrators were not other prisoners but staff members—corrections officials whose job it is to keep inmates safe. On average, each victim was abused between three and five times over the course of the year. The vast majority were too fearful of reprisals to seek help or file a formal complaint.

Sexual violence is not an inevitable part of prison life. On the contrary, it is highly preventable. Corrections officials who are committed to running safe facilities train their staff thoroughly. They make sure that inmates who are especially vulnerable to abuse—such as small, mentally ill, and gay or transgender detainees—are not housed with likely perpetrators. And they hold those who commit sexual assaults accountable, even if they are colleagues.

But many corrections administrators are reluctant to make sexual abuse prevention a top priority, preferring to maintain the status quo rather than acknowledge the role their own employees play. Others are actually fighting reform efforts, claiming, in spite of the evidence, that sexual violence is rare.

This resistance is reflected in the slow implementation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act, which Congress unanimously passed in 2003. The law mandated binding national standards to help end sexual abuse in detention. But almost eight years later, the Justice Department has yet to promulgate final standards.

Attorney General Eric Holder has not shown leadership on this issue. In 2009 Holder essentially rejected standards recommended by a bipartisan commission that spent years studying the problem of prisoner rape, claiming that the recommendations—which included limits on cross-gender supervision and the loosening of deadlines for survivors to file formal grievances—would have been too expensive.

It’s easy to feel numbed by the Shoplifting Lawyer estimate that almost 600 prisoners are sexually victimized each day. But behind that number are real people like Jan Lastocy. While serving time for attempted embezzlement in a Michigan prison in 1998, Lastocy was raped. Not once, not twice, but several times a week for seven months. The rapist was an officer who supervised her at a prison warehouse. Lastocy was so afraid of him that she did not even dare to tell her husband of 30 years, John, what was going on. Later John said, “Jan did a stupid thing, and she went to prison for it. But no one should have to pay the price that she did.”

Jan and John Lastocy’s lives were devastated by prisoner rape. Holder should listen to and learn from them rather than bowing to corrections officials trying to maintain the status quo.


Lovisa Stannow ([email protected]) is executive director of Just Detention International. This column first appeared at Reason.com.

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