After reading this story you won't forget the name. Patricia Marie Richardson was born on February 28,1996. She was a wonderful baby, when you looked at her she would smile from ear to ear. Patricia did all the normal things that a "normal" child would do up to the age of five months. We had one baby-sitter lined up for Patricia and her older sister Kimmy. Then after I had Patricia the baby-sitter backed out. I had to start all over to find a new one. I finally found one. Her name was Laura and she had 3 kids. She seemed very nice, she was even glad to get a newborn. It went very well. Kimmy even liked going over there to play with Laura's kids.
This went on for 5 months. Then the nightmare began. Laura was keeping Patricia one day as I was running errands. It was August 12, 1996. The phone rang, it was Laura. She said that Patricia was on the way to the hospital, that she just stopped breathing. It only took 30 minutes to get to the hospital, but it felt like hours. As soon as I got to the hospital one of the EMT's ran up to me and gave me a hug. They had no idea who this child was until they seen me. Kenny said that they got her breathing and removed a lot of fluids from her lungs. Right before they got to the hospital she started having seizures. We went in to see Patricia. There she laid still. My little girl. Tubes and hoses running in and out of her little body. I was so scared. What is going to happen now? They started running all kinds of tests to see what happened to her.
The first day at the hospital Laura sat there and said not a word. When the doctors came in she would hang around to see what they said. The doctors and us both asked her over and over what happened. Laura said that she was sitting in her carrier and stopped breathing. One and a half days went by before we started getting some answers. A CAT-scan revealed that there was a skull fracture that went across 3 sections of her skull. There was also some bleeding. DCFS was called in to find out the truth. At first they thought my husband had done something. What saved us from being accused was the fact that she had been at Laura's 3-4 hours. The doctor said that she had been hit in the head with an object within 10 minutes from when she stopped breathing. First she claimed that one of her own kids dropped the baby which the doctors said didn't add up, than she said that she was holding Patricia when she fell backwards out of her hands and her head hit a wood stove. So we thought this is what happened.
After 4 days in a coma Patricia started waking up. She left ICU and went into a kid's wing. We left to go home to get a few things. Patricia's Godparents called and told us the doctors needed to talk with us. We knew this wasn't going to be good. Patricia went into respiratory distress and quit breathing. They rushed her back into ICU. They also did another CAT-scan. She had extra fluid built up on her brain. The doctors sat us down and told us if she made it through the night that she would have brain damage. They would do everything to save her. All the family was called and our Priest was called. We prayed. Patricia slowly started getting better and after 3 weeks got to go home. We noticed Patricia rolling her head back and forth, she had worn the hair off a spot on her head. She was in a lot of pain. There was another CAT-scan done and we found out that 7% of her brain had died. That was why she was in so much pain. They re-admitted her for another week.
We finally got to take our girl home. We left the hospital to a whole new way of living. We didn't know what was going to happen with Patricia or how we were going to get bills paid since we couldn't work while she was in the hospital. Everything just turned upside down. Laura slipped and told her probation officer that Patricia was crying while she was changing her diaper. Laura was screaming at her to shut-up which made Patricia cry even more. Laura said she couldn't handle all the crying, so she just picked Patricia up and just started shaking her as hard as she could to shut her up. Laura said as she was shaking Patricia her head was hitting the wall. Patricia's head hit the wall 20-25 times. She stopped breathing somewhere at 15 shakes but Laura just kept shaking her.
Now I know you are wondering what happened to this woman that took the normal life away from an innocent child. She got 30 months probation and had to pay us $2500. Judge Pacey didn't want to take her away from her children, that's why he didn't make her pay more and why she isn't in jail. I am sure you are thinking what I have been thinking all this time, look what has been taken away from Patricia. Her whole life. In a sense this woman killed my baby. Patricia will never know a normal life. She can't sit up, roll over, or eat any kinds of food. She only can take Pediasure from a bottle. She loves to kick her legs. We can't keep a blanket or socks on her. She is a happy baby. She has a few tickle spots and loves to laugh. We talk to her as if she is a normal child. I think she understands more than we think she does. Patricia has many disabilities. Blindness, seizures, brain damage, mental and physical disabilities.
Written by Patricia's loving mother Lorie