When eleven-year-old Heaven Watkins was found dead in her family’s Virginia home on May 18, 2018, her mother, Latoya Smith, and the woman’s live-in boyfriend, Demont Harris, told neighbors the little girl with autism and cerebral palsy had died from natural causes. In truth, Heaven’s death was anything but natural, and Latoya and Demont were charged with murder, accused of beating Heaven so severely that her small intestine ruptured.
This is the story of a little girl well known to the child protection system in her home state of Minnesota who completely fell off the radar when her family moved to Virginia. It’s also the story of a child whose completely preventable death has paved the way for more vigorous child protection laws in Virginia, and, with any luck, nationwide in the near future.
In my next episode, you’ll hear my conversation with Heaven’s aunt and kinship caregiver, Dr. Sheronda Orridge, an incredibly accomplished woman who has never stopped fighting for her special niece.
This is part one of the tragic story of Heaven Watkins.
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This podcast is researched, written, hosted, edited, and produced by Laine.
For more stories like this one, visit Suffer the Little Children Blog.
Music for this episode is from Audio Jungle.