Memories and stories from my days of working at the children’s psychiatric hospital:
The Floppy Killer
I remember one specific child that was placed in our facility when he was about 8 years old. “Mark” was an extremely difficult child with a horrific history of abuse and neglect. I worked with him over the course of about two years and watched him, well, um…not really improve at all. He was constantly getting restrained and spent more time in the “quiet room” than most kids spend watching TV or playing video games. This child would flop around on the ground any time he was asked to do something that he didn’t want to do. He would literally “lose it” at the drop of a hat and actually had a psychotic look on his face as he engaged in his tantrums. He also acted out sexually at times and needed to be watched constantly, especially around other children. This was truly a broken child. One can only imagine the horrors of his life before he entered our facility. I specifically remember one day as “Mark” was acting out (probably for the fifth time that day) another staff member looked at me and said, “Someday we’re going to read about his kid in the paper.” About eight years later, this premonition came true. He was in the headlines for killing his friend’s father during a botched burglary. He beat the man with a shovel (I believe that’s what it was) then stabbed him until he died in his own garage. It turns out “Mark” was actually “on run” from another facility. He was recently sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole at the age of seventeen. I was shocked, though not surprised, when I saw his face and heard his name on the news the night he was arrested. I often wonder how many of the other kids I worked with, especially the teens, have moved on to serious criminal offenses like “Mark.”
*Obviously, Mark was not his real name. Though this story was all over in the Denver papers after it happened, I have still decided to maintain confidentiality.