“I hope you know how much I tried to get you…I have no idea what to do without you.”
Kelsey, Autumn’s mom
Systemic sexism has led to yet another child’s murder, by “homicidal violence” according to the coroner.
A Sherburne County, Minnesota Family Court judge ordered shared custody despite evidence of abuse, including a protective order. Worse, the father was permitted to keep Little Autumn completely away from her mother for over a half year, so the abuse and her deteriorating condition was not fully realized.
Police had been called to the father’s house by neighbors who suspected child abuse over 30 times, many of which were referred to social services. Meanwhile, her mother, Kelsey, desperately tried to get custody and enforce her visitation, to no avail.
Autumn’s step-siblings described terrible abuse including binding her hands and trapping her inside a sleeping bag with only her head poking out and left to sleep like that.
Autumn’s cause of death was asphyxia caused by drowning but an autopsy revealed puncture wounds on Autumn’s head, hair loss, atrophied muscles, severe emaciation, bruising on her hands and hips, and bleeding in her abdomen and brain.
The father and stepmother have been arrested and charged with murder.
As usual, the father was empowered by a system steeped in sexism to take and abuse “his” child, while a wonderful, primary nurturing mother was disempowered and unable to maintain custody or visitation and prevented from protecting her child.
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Kelsey’s message to Autumn:
My beautiful sweet baby. These photos are a perfect representation of who you are. Always smiling and being silly. You loved SO much. Your father kept you from me for several months and he then took your life. I hope you know how much I tried to get you. I hope you know how much I love every single part of who you are and I am so proud of how incredibly kind, thoughtful and amazing you are. I have no idea what to do without you. Noah and Delylah and all of your siblings were lucky to have a sister like you. I am so proud to be your mother and I know you will always be with me. I love you Autumn Lee.
Before Minn. Girl's Death, Police Were Called to Dad and Girlfriend's Home 30 Times
Cindy Dumas, M.A. has been researching, writing, and raising awareness about the Custody Crisis since 2003, when she was unable to protect her children from their abusive father. She fled into hiding when Family Court failed her and was tricked into returning home, when her children were given to their abusive father.