Anti-abuse organizations speak out after recent child murders
BATON ROUGE- The violence began with 11-month-old, Jericho Smith. The infant died Saturday after being shot, stabbed and beaten by his father, Fabien Smith. The baby's father is still in jail Tuesday, facing first-degree murder charges, with no bond set.
Tuesday morning, authorities in New Orleans say the 18-month-old child of a Baton Rouge City Government employee, was killed by the father.
Police say Mark Hambrick confessed to stabbing and suffocating his child overnight after 'receiving a message from God.’
The accused reportedly said "I messed up" to a neighbor following the murder described as "senseless" by investigators.
Amanda Brunson at Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana said many factors could play into what went wrong for those parents.
“So what we know is... Child abuse doesn't happen in a vacuum. It’s very often a pattern of behavior," Executive Director Amanda Brunson said. “One that comes hand-in-hand with mental health issues, substance abuse issues or domestic violence.”
The Federal Government said Louisiana recorded 39 deaths of children attributed to child abuse and neglect in 2015, enough children to fill two elementary school classrooms.
Brunson stressed that prevention is possible with the resources available, but they must be utilized.
“If we are willing to speak up and reach out and help our neighbors and community members that we see struggling, then truly this never has to happen again," Brunson said.
Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana has a counselor hotline for any parent struggling, and parents are urged to use it.
“They can get access to community resources," Brunson said. "Whether they need counseling, substance abuse treatment, or help to pay their utility bill...You know whatever it is that they're facing, the counselors can help them work through that.”
The hotline called ‘Kidline’ can be reached by dialing 1-800-CHILDREN.
The text assistance can be reached at (225) 424-1533 or online chat with a counselor at PCAL.ORG