Nixzmary Brown: Dead At 7
7 year old Nixzmary Brown, weighing a mere 34 pounds was murdered by her stepfather last Wednesday. She had suffered long term torture, molestation and neglect, before she finally died of her injuries. What this poor child went through is something many of us can't begin to comprehend. Her stepfather Cesar Rodriguez, aged 37, along with her mother Nixalize Santiago have been arraigned on charges ranging from murder to molestation. Not that it does little Nixzmary any good.
New York City residents are outraged at the system that failed her, mainly the Department Of Social Services ACS. The school Nixzmary attended sporadically (missing 43 days) had made many attempts to get help for a child they saw as frail, grossly underweight and often badly bruised. And each time, ACS failed her. Why?
One excuse tendered by the head of the unit was they were still dealing with the ramifications of the death's of 3 other children, and that they found Nixzmary's parent's "uncooperative". Mayor Bloomberg is seeking answers as to how all the differing agencies are coordinating their efforts and can they be improved. Good, great, wonderful. Everyone will now debate, and adjudicate Nixzmary's death. But who will speak the truth for a child no longer living? Who here speaks for the dead? I will.
If Nixzmary could write her life out for you, this is what she'd say:
When I first saw Cesar, he made me sick in my tummy. His eyes watched me when I passed by. I was glad he didn't live with us. He made me afraid. Then Mommy came home with him one night and everything changed. I remember wanting a drink of water and Cesar slapping me so hard I fell down, because he said I didn't ask permission. He tied me to chairs and kicked my legs and ribs when he got angry. I asked Mommy for help but she told me to stop making things bad, and be a good girl. My brothers and sisters told me not to get in his way, but be quiet like a mouse.
When he punched and kicked me too hard, I got very sick and couldn't go to school, because he was afraid they would see. To stop me going outside he made me pee in a litter box, and kept me tied to a chair in my room. I'd cry for Mommy, asking her for help. But she didn't. I was so hungry, and could smell cooking at dinner times, but he wouldn't let me eat. I wanted to tell someone but Cesar, Mommy and my brothers and sisters said no you can't tell. They will take Mommy away, and then Cesar said he would kill me.
Going to school was so hard. Walking hurt, because sometimes Cesar did things-bad things to my private parts. My ribs ached from being kicked, and my hands shook from being so cold and hungry. The teachers try and help, I see they care, but no one knows they are making things worse. People from ACS come, but all they do is talk about family plans and try pretending they don't see the bruises and scars on my body.
It's so lonely, the neighbors know, but when Cesar gets started, they just turn up their music or TV's so they can't hear. No one cares, no one helps, no one sees ME. Why God, doesn't somebody stop this pain. He tries to drown us under faucets, he's always slapping Mommy too, but no one comes. It's scary in the dark, when he calls me to him, but I have to go to him or Mommy gets mad. Finally I died last Wednesday.
Cesar got angry because I couldn't stop crying, so he hit me hard again. I was so scared I peed myself, and he said I was a dirty girl and needed punishing. So he filled the tub with cold water and dragged me in there, and stripped my clothes off. I was so afraid I tried to fight him, but he slammed my head into the faucet. I woke up tied to that chair, and my head hurt so bad. None of the others would look at me, and soon, I began to go away from this place. Finally an angel came and carried me away from all the hurt and loneliness. Too bad there wasn't one to carry me away while I was alive. So I could grow up, have friends, jump rope with other kids and maybe one day go to college.
Now I never will. But maybe my sisters and brothers will have the chance no one gave me. Please don't let my death count for nothing. Remember. My name was Nixzmary, who lived 7 years on earth in pain and isolation, because no one cared enough to save me.