Name: Heaven Watkins.
Died: May 18, 2018.
Age at death: 11.
Cause of death: Abuse.
Location: Norfolk, Virginia, USA.
Disability: Cerebral palsy, autism.
Born a micropreemie at 1.7 pounds, Heaven survived a brain hemorrhage and hydrocephalus and had to spend three-and-a-half months in the NICU.
Heaven had two sisters. Her favorite colors were purple and pink. She was autistic and had cerebral palsy. She was outgoing and had fun with the neighborhood kids. She liked to play tag and to draw on the ground. One of her classmates, a girl named Claire, liked to run her fingers through Heaven’s hair. She was outspoken and “didn’t hide anything from anyone.”
She lived with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, both of whom were abusive. She was once brought into the hospital with burns to her hand that required skin grafts, and her teachers were worried that she had been sexually abused; but the child abuse allegations at that time were ruled unfounded. Heaven usually wore a jacket to hide her bruises. She was put on a bread-and-water diet and made to stand against a wall for hours.
Heaven died of blunt-force trauma, having been severely beaten in the head and torso to the point that her gut ruptured. Doctors who examined her body found she had bleeding on the brain, as well as a dozen or more healed rib fractures and several new ones.
After Heaven was found dead, her two sisters were removed from the home and are now living with their aunt. Her neighbors held a vigil for her, releasing pink, purple, and white balloons into the sky in her honor.
Perpetrator: Latoya Smith (Mother), pleaded guilty to felony homicide and child abuse; Demont James Harris (Mother’s boyfriend), charged with felony homicide and child abuse.
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