Wednesday, April 13, 2011

17 children left motherless after their moms were MURDERED by their male partners, ex-partners (Orlando, Florida)

Let's write this headline honestly, rather than in the "father-friendly" way favored by the fathers rights people. We do not have 17 children who have been left "parentless." We have 17 children who have been robbed of their mothers (e.g. left motherless) because their father (or stepfather or Mom's current/former boyfriend) KILLED HER. In 12 of these cases, the cowardly father/boyfriend/step CHOSE to kill himself rather than face the consequences. And in 5 cases, the daddy/boyfriend/step IS STILL ALIVE (e.g. still a "parent") but in jail. Saying "parentless" really strips the headline of agency, doesn't it? And it fudges the truth. Of who did what to whom. Once again, male violence directed against women is neatly erased, even when the results are reported.

17 children left parentless after recent domestic-violence slayings
Ruth Owino was found bludgeoned to death by a hand weight, according to Orlando police
fiancé was charged with slaying

April 11, 2011|By Bianca Prieto, Orlando Sentinel

An Orange County judge on Tuesday will determine who should care for four children who are in limbo after a woman was bludgeoned to death by her fiancé last weekend.

It's likely that the children — products of a blended family — will remain with a close family friend who has been caring for them since 36-year-old Ruth Owino was killed early Sunday inside her home at the Island Club apartments on Kirkman Road. Nestor Habarugira is being held at the Orange County Jail on a first-degree murder charge.

The couple's children join a growing list of child survivors who have lost one or both parents to deadly domestic violence in Central Florida since March 1.

A total of 17 children have been affected by the recent spate of violence in Orange and Osceola counties. Of those, 12 were orphaned when both parents were killed in murder-suicides. The mothers of the remaining five children were killed and the father or step-father jailed, according to law enforcement records.

"It's unbelievable," said Carrie Hoeppner, Department of Children and Families spokeswoman. "When you hear a number like 17, and you think of what that means, that they may have forever lost their mom and their dad, it weighs pretty heavy on the heart."

On Monday, Judge Donald Grincewicz placed a no contact order between Habarugira and the children. He was not able to attend the short hearing because he was on suicide watch at the jail. Another hearing is scheduled for Tuesday morning.

"Four children are at the heart of this tragedy," Hoeppner said. "The most important thing is that the children are safe."

Owino, a native of Kenya, and Habarugira, of Burundi, joined their families a few years ago and were to be married. They argued about breaking up prior to her death, police said.

The combined family was made up of children from prior relationships and also from their union. Case workers are now trying to find the mother of Habarugira's 15-year-old son, and the father of two of Owino's children, ages 10 and 6. Both of those parents are believed to be living in Africa, according to DCF.

The youngest child, 2, belonged to both Owino and Habarugira.

The department is providing counseling to the children in the aftermath of the slaying, Hoeppner said.

Experts say giving children and caregivers counseling and other services is key to the healing process.