This post authored by Mike Staton.
Nowadays a youth basketball game or baseball game will find proud parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles standing up on the bleachers at gyms and ball fields all across the country snapping photos and taking videos with their smart phones and iPads. Sometimes the smiling faces and the action – a fifth-grade girl sinking a field goal or a six-year-old boy getting a fly-ball hit into the outfield – gets posted on Facebook for loved ones to see, like and share. Sometimes the photos appear in the local weekly newspaper along with a small story or caption providing details on the kids shown and the game. Mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, all the myriad aunts and uncles, older nieces and nephews – the whole menagerie of family – chase down the scissors, cut out the photo and paste it into the family memory album.
That’s the feel-good moments we treasure and hope to collect and keep close to our hearts, like young boys and girls in grandma’s backyard collecting lightning bugs in bottles. Or like the times girls entering their teen years unlock their diaries and write down the memories of their first kiss or their first slow dance.
I spent Thursday, April 10 with my friend Sharon’s father as he got fitted for a new set of teeth. It was a good day overall with a visit to the Red Rock National Park north of Las Vegas inserted into the afternoon as Charles waited for the plates to be made. By the time we made it back to Henderson, it was 5 o’clock, and after a snack, I sat down at my computer to scan my Facebook timeline. What I read sent jolts of shock searing through my body.
I had just read a post by my stepbrother filled with exasperation and rage. Comments from others in the West Virginia county where he lives were filled with sympathy and shared anger as well. My brain neurons went into overdrive and I quickly grasped that something unspeakable had just happened to the mother of his three boys and their older sister. I immediately called his mother.
It was as horrifying as I feared, happening to a young woman who I had shared Thanksgiving and Christmases with through the last ten years. As all good weeklies do, the local newspaper reported the incident: “A Calhoun woman was taken to Minnie Hamilton Health System Thursday suffering from what was described as multiple and severe traumatic injuries, reportedly linked to a dispute. Family sources reported that the woman suffered injuries to most of her body. A status on her condition was not available. Deanna Nelson Jones, 28, who had reportedly been living at Cabot Station, was then life-flighted to Women and children’s Hospital in Charleston.
The newspaper included the name of her “significant other,” who brought her to the hospital. I’m not going to identify him, though. He’s not locked up like he should be. The newspaper said the Sheriff’s Office was investigating “the matter.” However, charges hadn’t been filed against the thug.
My stepmother Linda, who’s actually a few months younger than me, said the severe beating resulted in multiple broken bones including legs and back. No doubt there are just as grave internal injuries. Linda is an aide at the hospital and had heard talk that Dee might not make it.
How the do you beat someone that severely? And it’s not the first time. She’d been beaten earlier – several times. I’ve seen photos of her on Facebook, the ugly bruises, the missing teeth. Yet she married this monster earlier in the week.
I’ve already seen the repercussions of Dee’s new lifestyle. I was going through some old photo albums at my dad’s house and came across a photo of Dee. The ten-year-old girl stood near me. Dad showed her the photo of her mother and asked, “Do you want it?” The girl shook her head and walked away.
Dee is a walking billboard on the dangers of meth. She’s been indicted and faces charges related to the manufacturing of methamphetamine. Her meth addiction has ruined her life, led to terrible decisions by her, and is having dreadful ramifications in the lives of her loved ones, especially her four children.
Linda reminded me that Dee wasn’t always this way. There was a time when Dee would sit with her daughter and read books to her. I noticed early on that the girl at four years old loved to read books. That’s a doting mother who wants her daughter’s life to turn out better than hers.
But now meth rules her life and could very well end it, with the help of a man’s fist and God knows what else.
The local newspaper reports that Dee’s new husband, Adam Andrew Jones, 25, of Big Springs, has been arrested and charged with attempted homicide, kidnapping, malicious assault, wounding and battery. Authorities allege that Jones bound and wounded Dee with intent to kill.