Tag Archives: Virginia

A. O., Granddaughter of Delores O'Brien Heffernan

clmccracken   February 16, 2014   Comments Off on A. O., Granddaughter of Delores O'Brien Heffernan

A. O. was born in 1999 when her mother was in prison. Her grandmother, Delores O’Brien Heffernan, was granted temporary custody and then guardianship. Heffernan’s housing and employment situation were unstable, and A. O. changed schools frequently. In July 2010, Heffernan was arrested in Fairfax, Virginia, for contributing to the delinquency of a minor after she and A. O. were… Read more »

Dominick J. (Andrew) Diehl

rachel   June 5, 2013   Comments Off on Dominick J. (Andrew) Diehl

Dominick Diehl, who also went by Andrew, was 13 when he was beaten to death by his adoptive parents, Michael and Karen Diehl. He was regularly tied to the floor of the family’s bus and beaten with rods and a homemade whip as a form of punishment. The couple homeschooled their brood of 17, including 4 biological children and 13… Read more »

Valerie Smelser

rachel   June 4, 2013   Comments Off on Valerie Smelser

At age 12, Valerie Smelser was beaten to death by her mother and her mother’s boyfriend. Her emaciated body was dumped in a ditch. Valerie’s mother claimed a religious exemption from public schooling and kept the girl home. She requested an application for homeschooling but never returned it. Child abuse tips were lodged against the family on numerous occasions, but… Read more »

Child of Matthew and Amy Sweeney

rachel   May 12, 2013   Comments Off on Child of Matthew and Amy Sweeney

An 8 year old adopted son of Matthew and Amy Sweeney ran away from home after yet another beating and sought help from a neighbor. The child had deep bruising across his arms and back that indicated that he received frequent brutal beatings, but was otherwise healthy. The neighbor reported the abuse and he was removed from his adoptive parents’… Read more »