As the father of four, I was struck yesterday with a story out of Harford County, Maryland where a 3-year-old girl named Harmony was left at a Chuck E. Cheese’s and the parents did not realize that their daughter was missing until watching the 11 p.m. news.
The parents are separated and Harmony went to the location with a group of 14 kids. She was handed over to the police and eventually Child Protective Services. The parents said that they thought the girl went home with relatives and the child was returned to them.
Of course, that means that someone left the child at Chuck E. Cheese. The absence of charges is probably appropriate but it does bring to mind the contrast with the case of Kevin Kelly the father of 13 children. Kelly was doing sole duty year ago when his youngest, a 19-month-old girl, was accidentally left in the family van. She later died. I was highly critical of the move to prosecute Kelly who was by all accounts a deeply loving parent who was destroyed by the loss of his daughter. In a large family, the older kids were tasked with watching the younger kids and Kelly thought that one of his older daughters had brought the baby in the house on the cold day. It was a terrible tragedy for this family — a tragedy then magnified by the long prosecution of the father who was the only source of income for the family.
To this day, Kelly runs an Annual Frances Kelly Blood Drive — ten years in running. The Tenth Annual blood drive will be held Sat May 26, 2012 7:30am – 2:30pm in All Saints School Gym (9294 Stonewall Rd Manassas VA 20110) (Red Cross Sponsor Code 05310193).