Hope Ruller

Grainy newspaper photo of a woman in an old-fashioned dress and hat; she looks to be in her twenties and is smiling.Name: Hope Beverly Ruller, née Carr.
Died: Body found December 29, 2014; died October 2013.
Age at death: 93.
Cause of death: Unknown suspicious death.
Location: Gloversville, New York, USA.
Disability: Unspecified; elderly disabled.

Hope lived in a duplex, downstairs from her daughter, who was supposed to be caring for her. However, instead her daughter isolated her and kept her from seeing family members or getting medical care.

When Hope died, her daughter did not report the death and continued cashing her mother’s disability checks for more than a year, assuring her family that she was “fine” and even cashing a check sent as a Christmas present. Eventually, Hope’s son grew suspicious and asked police for a welfare check; they found her body.

Hope’s cause of death can never be determined because her body was left in a bed for 14 months after she died. Police could only say that her death was considered suspicious.

Perpetrator: Mary Kerstig (Daughter), pleaded guilty to larceny, improper disposal of a body, and endangering the welfare of an incompetent or disabled person; sentenced to 6 months in jail, 5 years probation, and community service.

Upstate New York Woman Admits to Keeping Mother’s Corpse for More Than a Year To Collect Government Checks
Hope Beverly Carr Ruller

Kendrea Johnson

Photo of Kendrea Johnson. She is an African-American girl wearing a yellow dress, her hair in hair clips. She has her hands on her hips and is leaning forward, lips puckered, as though she is trying to kiss the camera.Name: Kendrea Johnson.
Died: December 27, 2014.
Age at death: 6.
Cause of death: Unknown.
Location: Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, USA.
Disability: PTSD.

Foster child Kendrea was showing signs of severe mental illness; she had been experiencing suicidal ideation every day for months. But her foster home did nothing to help her; instead, she was threatened with beatings and locked in her room. Four times, her foster home was reported for neglect, but not investigated.

Kendrea was found hanging from her bunk bed with a jump rope tied around her neck; the death was ruled a “ligature hanging” and showed all the signs of suicide, including a suicide note reading “I’m sorry”. If that is the case, then Kendrea’s death was the result of neglect, with her mental illness left untreated to the point that the little girl committed suicide. However, Kendrea’s grandmother believes her death was a murder rather than a suicide, since the knot in the jump rope might have been too complex for a six-year-old to tie.

Perpetrator: Tannise Nawaqavou (foster mother); child and family services. $1.5 million settlement paid to Kendrea’s grandmother by Hennepin County.

SiebenCarey and NewmarkStorms File Civil Lawsuit Following Death of Six-Year-Old in Foster Care
String of failures came before suicidal 6-year-old’s death
Did 6-year-old Brooklyn Park girl kill herself? Police wonder
Hennepin County officials say little about death of girl in Brooklyn Park foster-care home
Girl, 6, died by hanging in foster care. County settles with family for $1.5 million.
$1.5 million settlement in Minnesota six-year-old’s foster care death
Minnesota girl, 6, died by hanging in foster care. Hennepin County settles with family for $1.5 million.

Nancy Fitzmaurice

Photo of Nancy Fitzmaurice, leaning against a pillow.Name: Nancy Fitzmaurice .
Died: August 21, 2014.
Age at death: 12.
Cause of death: Euthanasia.
Location: London, UK.
Disability: Hydrocephalus, epilepsy, neurological disorders.

Nancy’s mother fought for a court order to have fluids withdrawn from her disabled daughter; Nancy died of dehydration.

Perpetrator: Charlotte Fitzmaurice (Mother). No crime.

Source: ‘My daughter is no longer my daughter… the light from her eyes is now gone’: Mother tells of heartbreak behind the hardest decision any parent could make – to let her disabled child die

Lucas Braman

Photo of Lucas Braman.Name: Lucas Braman.
Died: February 13, 2014.
Age at death: 23 months.
Cause of death: Unknown (Restraint?).
Location: West Yarmouth, Massachusetts, USA.
Disability: “Autistic-like behaviors”; born addicted to narcotics.

Lucas was found dead wearing a helmet and wrapped in a weighted blanket much too heavy for him; the autopsy was inconclusive. His caretaker had been abusive in the past.

Perpetrator: Sheryl Erb, Elizabeth Cavallini (Caregivers); no charges.

Source: Lucas Braman

Shamim Nalwoga

No Photo
Name: Shamim Nalwoga.
Died: December 17, 2012.
Age at death: Minor.
Cause of death: Murder.
Location: Lukuli-Makindye, Kampala, Uganda.
Disability: Paralysis in one hand and one leg.

Shamim’s grandmother and half-brother took her from her bed and kidnapped her to see a “traditional healer”, saying they would cure the girl’s disability. They fed Shamim soil and paraffin, and eventually killed her by slashing and cutting off parts of her body.

Perpetrator: Hanifa Namuyanja (Grandmother), Hussein Lukenge (half-brother); Hadijja Nasaka (Healer). Namuyanja and Lukenge are charged with murder.

Source: Hearing of Shamim ritual murder case to start

Patrick Clare

Blurry black and white yearbook photo of a young man with his hair falling over his eyes; he looks like the photo was taken before he got the chance to smile.Name: Patrick Clare.
Died: April 27, 2011.
Age at death: 35.
Cause of death: Medical Malpractice.
Location: Coalinga, California, USA.
Disability: Autism-like developmental disability, epilepsy.

Patrick’s father, a dentist, was removing Patrick’s infected wisdom tooth. When his father had been trying and failing to remove the tooth for an hour, Patrick wanted to stop and leave. Instead, his father administered a total of two doses of Valium and three doses of morphine. This was far too much sedative for Patrick’s 129-pound body, and his father had neither a license to use sedatives nor the necessary monitoring equipment.

Even though a dental assistant pointed out, twice, that Patrick was having trouble breathing, Patrick’s father ignored the problem until Patrick stopped breathing entirely. Patrick’s father performed CPR, described by police as “half-hearted”–using so little pressure that it wouldn’t have been enough to honk a car horn, and without moving Patrick to a firm surface. Patrick was dead on arrival at the hospital.

Perpetrator: Allen Clare (Father), charged with administering sedatives without a license, pleaded no contest, given three years of probation; probation terminated over a year early, charges dismissed.

Source: Dentistry so bad that police called it murder – but DA balked

Amanda Cooper

Photo of Amanda Cooper, a girl in a fancy dark red dress and hairbow. She is smiling and holding up her hand in a peace sign.Name: Amanda Cooper.
Died: November 27, 2010.
Age at death: 10.
Cause of death: Unknown; homicide.
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA.
Disability: Developmental disability, leukodystrophy.

Amanda was found unresponsive in her home by paramedics. She had been sexually assaulted, and died soon thereafter. At the time she was found dead, Amanda’s case was under active supervision by child protective services.

Perpetrator: Unsolved. Amanda’s death was likely caused by a family member, but there is a security hold on the case and no information is being released.

Source: Amanda Cooper, 10 [Updated]

Tia McShane

Photo of Tia McShane, a small girl in a ruffled red dress.Name: Tia McShane.
Died: Sometime in 2006. Body found August 30, 2010.
Age at death: About 7.
Cause of death: Unsolved.
Location: Pensacola, Florida, USA.
Disability: Cerebral palsy.

It is not known how Tia died. Her body was found, years later, hidden in a storage unit owned by her mother.

Perpetrator: Alicia McShane (Mother). Died before Tia’s body was found.

Source: Remains Found In Storage Unit Identified

Rebecca Riley

Portrait photo of Rebecca Riley, a girl with long wavy brown hair and an uncertain smile.Name: Rebecca Riley.
Died: December 13, 2006.
Age at death: 4.
Cause of death: Medical malpractice.
Location: Hull, Massachusetts, USA.
Disability: ADHD, bipolar disorder.

Rebecca died of a drug overdose. Her psychiatrist had prescribed high doses of medication to begin with, but her parents gave her even more, and eventually she died of poisoning.

Perpetrator: Michael Riley (Father), first degree murder, life without parole; Carolyn Riley (Mother), second degree murder, fifteen years to life; Kayoko Kifuji (Doctor), no charges.

Source: Rebecca Riley

Abubakar Nadama

No PhotoName: Abubakar Tariq Nadama.
Died: August 23, 2005.
Age at death: 5.
Cause of death: Medical malpractice.
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.
Disability: Autism.

In an effort to cure his autism, Abubakar’s parents took him to a doctor for chelation therapy. The doctor administered the wrong medication, too quickly, and Abubakar died.

Perpetrator: Roy Kerry (Doctor), charged with negligent manslaughter, charges dropped; Abubakar’s parents (No crime).

Source: Abubakar Nadama