If you spent any time on social media this week, you probably saw this picture. This adorable little blonde girl in pigtails, dressed in pink and clutching her doll. Perhaps you even shared it in the hopes that she would be rescued and returned to her mother.
But poor Mariah Woods has been found. In truth, she was never missing. She is dead. She was dead when her mother reported her disappearance to the police. Her body has been recovered, and her mother's boyfriend has been charged with her murder and allegedly sexually abused her before her death.
Her father said he found out about her disappearance from the media. That was probably the first red flag that went up in coverage of this case. Your daughter is missing, you call the police, but you don't even bother to tell her father? The father has now filed for custody of his remaining 2 children. He also claims that their mother's boyfriend abused all 3 of the children and that their mother knew about it and did nothing.
(On a side note, have you ever noticed how often cases like this include the phrase "The mother's boyfriend?")
In Dante's "Divine Comedy" he describes in gory detail the 9 circles of hell. (They talk about it a lot in that Tom Hanks movie.) The punishments grow more gruesome and the sins more serious as he descends levels. The 9th circle is reserved for the treacherous and they spend eternity bound to a lake of ice. That's not sufficient for someone who would rape and murder a child. We're going to have to break out the shovels and dig a 10th circle for those who prey upon innocent children and those that allow them to do it. Perhaps being flayed alive and suspended in molten lava would be a good start for the first 1,000 years or so.