There are times when the the truth–the actual facts of a matter–end up more terrifying and tragic than any posited theory could be. Such is the case, I recently found, with sweet, little Angelique James. But, finally, the truth is known. And we are here for the truth.
A few weeks ago I received a comment on our main page (What’s This All About?) from a young lady that is a sister to Angelique. She stated plainly, “My sister wasn’t kidnapped, she was murdered by our mother.” This woman, Ayani, also added me on Facebook and sent me an email. Anyone that goes to those lengths, that much effort to be heard, I believe deserves to be heard.
Initially, to my humility, I countered her statement with some of the information I collected over the years. Ayani, with great patience and tact, responded with an email explaining in great detail what factually happened to her little sister, Angelique.
Brave, from Child to Adult
When a child is taken and harmed by a stranger it is tragic. It is heart wrenching. It can evoke anger we did not know we had. But when a child is harmed by a parent or another entrusted with the care of that precious child, there invokes a rage like no one can effectively describe. I praise God for Ayani’s bravery and I pray for her healing. It had to have been quite difficult to come across my site and read my theories on what may have happened to her sister. The courage it took for her to reach out humbles me. Courage that, after all these years, has been ignored by many. Too many.
Ayani did agree that Los Angeles County California authorities handled the entire case desperately wrong. Child services (aka, child “protective” services) had been involved in the family’s life. What Ayani shared breaks my heart and angers me for the fact that it is yet another example of how grotesquely useless child services usually is. In fact, Los Angeles County in particular has been sued several times for the gross mishandling of cases. At least once they were found to have 65% of their caseload (children in custody) that should have never been taken from their homes.
At the same time, child services there and across the county routinely leave children in dangerous places.
Such was the case with Ayani, Angelique and their two sisters.
Just like with Jackie Cooper (OH) and so many others left in the custody of abusers, drug addicts and all forms of neglectful idiots, these children were under the supervision of child services authorities (CSA) that knew the mother at least had the potential to be dangerous. And when Angelique “disappeared” the CSA caseworkers covered up the fact that she was gone. They covered it up for months. Worse yet, if you can imagine, the CSA caseworkers knowingly, intentionally ignored the key witness statements of what truly happened to Angelique. Ayani told them. Instead of helping her and her sisters, they buried the facts and left these girls with the very person who beat to death precious little Angelique: Shirley James.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff Detective I spoke with in December 2004 even likened the case to that of Rilya Wilson (FL), whose body is yet to be found also. In Rilya’s case, the CSA workers covered up the fact that they had not visited the child for months. Almost a year. They did not even know she was missing. The caseworkers documented “visits”, but it turned out to be lies. In Angelique’s case, her actual date of death would have been early October 1996. Yet all information states she went missing anywhere from December of that year to February or March of 1997.
Caseworkers charged with the duty to protect children, knowingly leave four precious little girls in the custody of an abusive addict.
When they find one of the girls “missing”, their only reaction is to sit on the information? Again leaving the other girls in the custody of an abuser-addict-murderer. Worse? When the police become involved they also do nothing.
Here I will pause and simply share the words shared with me by an incredible, brave lady….
Hello. It is very nice to meet you and happy holiday blessings to you also. I’m sorry for the late response it’s just a very touchy subject for me. I been and still am struggling from that night. It’s sooo hard n I feel like it gets worse every year. I can remember the night Shirley took my sister from me like it happened yesterday. But you are right about one thing though, her case was poorly handled for the fact that me and my other 2 younger sisters was there n witnessed Shirley beating our sister to death, crying and begging her to stop.
But in every article I have read they never mentioned anything about that or the fact that I told the police everything when we were taken away, which was months later. My sister’s body went missing after her birthday actually. Around this time when Shirley finally stopped hitting Angie, she wouldn’t wake up and Shirley didn’t even try. She just put her in the bed n went to sleep. I stayed up trying to wake her that whole night until it was time for me to go to school, which I couldn’t miss because instead of buying food n paying the bills Shirley did drugs n I had to bring my breakfast n lunch home from school so we had something to eat. I checked on Angie before I left n she still wouldn’t wake up. When I got home Angie was gone. I asked Shirley everyday where she was she said she was in Louisiana with my grandma, which was a lie n it took months before they actually started to do anything. We had moved. I changed schools and everything. The time they have reported in every story with her picture December it was. She went missing in October. I remember because it was around her birthday. The dates they have reported February or March of 97 was the dates that social services couldn’t wait any longer for Shirley to produce Angie.
At that time (Oct. 1996) Ayani would have been around 7 years young. These 338 words of hers brought me to my knees. She, a child herself, made sure she got to school so she could bring food home for her sisters. Her words, “the night Shirley took my sister from me…” pierce my heart. This evil was perpetrated 22 years ago and the lasting affects are obvious. Join me in prayer, that God will “use (this) for the good to those that love Him….” (Romans 8:28)
Shame On Authorities
Shame on all the authorities that ignored and silenced this child. You essentially, aided a drug addict in the violent murder of a precious child, ruining the lives also of her siblings. All the caseworkers and their supervisors ought to be jailed for their intentional negligence. The police and detectives that did nothing to bring reprimand on them, shame on you also.
Throughout the years, I have met too many children (most now adults) that, for many years, blame themselves for not being able to stop or prevent a tragedy. When all the while the adults all around them–parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, the church communities, authorities, et al–are to blame. What I find most curious about these cases is the fact that a child–A CHILD–has more responsibility, sensibility and compassion than all adults surrounding them. They are my heroes and I pray they be delivered from assuming responsibility that was not theirs to begin with. Parents, adults and authorities failed you.
You failed no one.
Praise God for the grace in this young woman that reached out to speak for her sister. I encourage all readers to share this wide and broad–everywhere, and let us help find Angelique James so that her beautiful sister can lay her to rest…finally. Anyone with information can leave a comment below or send a private message and I will make sure it gets where it needs to go.