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September 14th, 2006

Relationships Change

shield.jpgI used the story of Latanesha Carmichael to show how in time, relationships change and people who were reluctant to talk, for a variety of reasons, are now able to tell their story. This story is particularly sad. If I was going to write this book, it would be a book about family and not murder.

“In 1979, with the help of her 16-year old son, Madeline Carmichael beat her two-year-old daughter Latanesha to death, then walled her up first in one closet, then in another, where her body remained for the next twenty years. Madeline’s nine-year-old daughter Sabrina saw the whole thing but it took twenty years for Sabrina to feel safe enough to talk about it. Madeline routinely abused all her children, including Latanesha’s twin brother Andre, and even though Andre and Sabrina were placed in separate foster homes when they were ten and sixteen, Sabrina was so frightened by her mother she never talked about the murder with anyone until she was re-united with Andre in October 1999, when they both were in their 20’s.”

“One month later, Cold Case detectives found Latanesha’s black, mummified remains still clothed in a shockingly clean bright, white diaper and red tshirt. The trunk they found her in was wrapped in twelve layers of garbage bags and mothballs, and sealed inside a closet filled with incense sticks, baking soda, used air fresheners and exhausted camphor sticks. Upon arrest Madeline Carmichael rambled, ‘I can’t remember the name, but I remember the picture, all I can remember is the force. It’s a nightmare, it’s a dream. I can’t remember faces or eyes.'”

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