Two Year Old Left Unattended By Drug Impaired Father, Falls Into Fire.

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This story is hard for me to tell. Everytime I think of this it makes my blood boil. I get so pardon the expression, Pissed Off! This is my beautiful Granddaughter, Elizabeth June. She is four years old now. The pic in the pool was taken just a few days ago on our vacation. The featured pic of her on the swing was taken right before the tragic misfortune and she was two. I’m going to tell this story from my Gram perspective. I’m sure my daughter Britt has her own…

Britt had just gone through divorce. Her ex had serious drug impairment/ addiction issues for which he chooses not to address. In court this was known and the judge had set up supervised visitation for him. His parents were to be supervising his visits with the children at their home. The ex lived with his parents. Britts’ three kids would spend the night on Saturday’s over there. This ex had been a mess for a long time. He didn’t care who knew it. I had seen him so impaired he would fall asleep standing up. Just out of it! Britt did all of the driving because he was always drug impaired at the end of their marriage.

The kids were very young. The oldest Tommy, was 6. Nathan was 4 and Lizzie was 2 years old. During what was supposed to be a supervised visit with Dad, the unthinkable happened. Dad started a fire in a pit outside in the yard. He had the two youngest out there with him. Dad went to the garage to go get high as was his routine… Before leaving, he told 4 year old Nathan to watch Lizzie. In Dad’s absence, Lizzie got up and fell into the fire! Her left leg lingered on those coals… Dad had left the kids unattended by the fire to go get high?! Grandparents were inside when this all took place…no supervision…

When I first got the call, I dropped to my knees… I knew the Grandparents had been in denial about the seriousness of his drug addiction but I thought they would see to it that the kids were safe. Along with being terrified for Liz, I was so angry that this could happen! We didn’t realize at first how extensive the injury was. The Grandparents had down played it to my daughter. When my daughter arrived at the Maricopa County Burn Center, she could see that things were serious. My daughter Delcee and I watched the boys for Britt so she could be with Liz. Two days in, I went to visit Liz. When I got there she was in a treatment room receiving treatment. I could hear her blood curdling screams all the way down the hall! This made me furious! Tears welled up and I saw the nursing staff look at me with compassion… I will never forget hearing those tortured screams…

When my daughter got back to the room with Liz, we discussed the incident and she went to talk to the social worker. She had been so busy with Liz that she hadn’t a chance to discuss the situation with the staff. The social worker called the police and CPS when he heard the accounting of the incident. Meanwhile, four year old Nathan was feeling horrible because his Dad had told him to watch Liz. He saw the whole thing happen and thought he was responsible for not watching his sister. We of course explained to him this wasn’t his fault.

Meanwhile, the Grandparents that had been down playing this tragedy were not at the hospital much. When they did come ,they would try to feel out the situation by grilling the nurses about who had been to the hospital rather than how Liz was…they were insisting it wasn’t a big deal. Liz remained in the hospital for over two weeks! She had two pig skin graft surgeries within a week. She went through weekly treatments for over a year…. My daughter Britt did daily treatments with medicated creams. She had to dress the wounds, wear compression garments. For awhile we didn’t know if she would have issues with her knee joint . She had 3rd degree burns all down her leg to her ankle. It was horrific! The care that she received from the Maricopa Burn Center was exceptional! The outcome today is terrific considering the depth of the burns. She is however very scarred for life in many ways.

The pic of Liz holding the stuffed doll was taken in the hall of the burn center on her last day of treatment after more than a year of visits to that center. We are so grateful for the level of care they provided to Liz! She is a tough little girl with a ton of spirit and determination! I’m so relieved with how well she has done through it all! I also appreciate my daughter for having been so patient and dedicated to keeping up with the therapy, treatments and special care she had to administer daily for months!

You are thinking alls well that ends well right? No…thats just the medical aspect. The legal aspect has not been mentioned. The police went to the Grandparents home and concluded that Dad left the kids unattended. They charged him with three separate misdemeanor charges. My daughter bless her heart was so busy with all of her children, trying to get her AA online and a full time job she had no energy to fight. She asked me to take that up for her, so I did! Having her signed proxy, I went to court for her. I talked to the prosecutors and took them pictures of the injuries. The prosecutor looked at me and asked “why aren’t they charging him with a felony?!” So, they sent the case to the county for felony filing. I’m not sure where the case got hung up and messed up but it did… The case was never excepted by the county for felony filing. We couldn’t tell if CPS failed or if the police did from the beginning . The case was heard in Mesa Municipal Court and it never made fit there! We would sit and listen to shoplifting, traffic violations…. This case was far different than the other cases we would hear. I tried my best to make sure that justice was done and that this druggy Dad had to realize what he had allowed to happen. This court case went on for two years! Dad would ask for repeated continuances for as long as he could. Meanwhile, he had other pressing legal issues like domestic violence involving his new girlfriend. Even contempt of court, probation violations…all within the municipal court system in Mesa, AZ!

When all was said and done and we finally got to court, we were really disapointed… He was given a mere slap. He spent only a few days in jail and more probation. It was really amazing to see how the judicial system works…the prosecutors were sorry they couldn’t do more…somewhere this criminal case went terribly wrong! We are sure that CPS dropped the ball with this case as they did with many other cases. Our AZ Governor Brewer took our CPS agency to task because is was so fatally flawed. They are rebuilding a new child protection agency. Anyway, I fought long and hard for justice for Liz…I didn’t get it through criminal court…

Several times within the two years of legal issues I had the press wanting to do the story. I was in such dismay over how the criminal aspect was playing out. My daughter feared retaliation from the family of the ex. She never felt secure enough to tell her story. She was so busy living daily life trying to keep everyone going that she didn’t have the energy. No body was interested in hearing the story from me, I’m just the Gram…I never heard an apology of any kind from the other Grandparents…when we went to court the other Gram would be threatening toward me. She would follow me into the bathroom to corner me asking what I was doing there…If the kids had been hurt during my watch I would apologize up and down to everyone.

I never understood why they fought the insurance claim against their property. I would have called my insurance company right away to instruct them to please take care of my Granddaughter! Strange bunch those people are! They still enable that son, to this day he still lives with them. He doesn’t pay child support to my daughter. He doesn’t have a job and still does drugs. My daughter is convinced he will just die one day.

I want to give you some insight into my view of this. When this all happened, my daughter Britt was working full time at a daycare. She took the kids with her to work and made very little money for many hours of work. She was attending Community college taking a full class schedule of online courses. Not to mention trying to attend to the needs of her small kids. Being a single Mom was tough enough! After the horrific thing happened, my daughter and her kids started this downward spiral. Britt had to miss three weeks of work. So, that translates to no money for nearly a month. She had to drop her classes because she couldn’t do school. She had physically, emotionally way too much on her plate. We tried to help but she just went under. I watched her have a breakdown. A disconnect…she physically cared for the kids but emotionally she shut down. She handed the legal crap to me and didn’t seem to care but, she did care… She just couldn’t fight…

I felt helpless in all of this and I was so angry! I had to watch my kid with her three little kids go into this downward spiral through no fault of her own! Her situation seemed so hopeless and daunting! I kept wondering how she was going to get through it? She chose to just stay emotionally detached and just kept on doing what she had and could do. She is working at a gym daycare, taking the kids with her. Working tons of hours. She got back into school with a new goal. I’m proud to say that she is almost finished with her AA and a Paralegal Certification! Almost to the point of making much better money! She is a wonderful Mom and a great person! I couldn’t be more proud of her. We are very close and I really understand all that she has been through. I even understand her not wanting to fight. I took that all up for her…I’m glad I can be done now… That was exausting…

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Maybe now I can put to rest all of this awfulness. I wasn’t able to help with getting justice for Liz in criminal court, that was unfortunate. I would love to figure out where this criminal case went wrong, lobby the injustice that precluded Dad from taking a mandatory drug test. That would have been our whole case right there. Lobby that part of the law and call it Lizzy’s Law…
* I have added a pic of the injury so that you can see and understand how serious it was. I warn you, the following pic is graphic! It doesn’t show that the injury extends down to her foot. The pic is right after skin graft surgery.

Update:
Talk about turning lemons into lemonade…
*My daughter Britt is finishing up the last of her classes. She will graduate in Dec. with her Paralegal Certificate and her AA. She just started an internship with a personal injury law firm! When the accident occurred Britt had no clue which direction to take her education. She was unsure… Since, she changed her direction, worked like heck and soon will find herself in a terrific career! Oh my goodness, I’m so happy with what she has been able to do. I think she is so incredibly awesome! I couldn’t be more proud of her!

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Author: tynajoymetzner

I've been a stay at home Mom for many years...Have earned a PhD in life experience. My oldest is 30 and my youngest is 13. On a quest to see all that I can be now. I am a musician, singer/ songwriter. In the process of trying to become marketable. Would love to make money doing what I love! I love to do many domestic things also. Nothing I do seems to be profitable. Guess I am at a point in life that I would like to be compensated . My whole life I have given freely. Now, show me my money making niche. Still in the process of figuring that out.

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