A man recently learned about the death of his daughter via Facebook. He is understandably devastated.
Kellon Edwards, 35, from Brooklyn, initially learned about the alleged murder of his young daughter because a family member wrote a Facebook post about it. Bella Edwards was only three years old at the time of her death.
The little girl was found unresponsive and unconscious at her home in Queens on the evening of April 2nd. She would go on to perish at Saint John’s Episcopal Hospital due to blunt force trauma injuries to the abdomen. Law enforcement is treating the little girl’s death as a murder.
3-year-old Bella Edwards was found dead in her Queens apartment overnight, according to police sources, who said she might be the victim of child abuse.
— the foreign 🔮✨ (@foreigNbeautii_) April 4, 2018
Edwards is understandably upset that Bella’s mother Shamika Gonzalez didn’t notify him of his daughter’s death, leaving him to learn of her passing via Facebook.
Edwards and Gonzalez had been in a relationship years ago—it lasted for a few months; while they tried to make it work following Bella’s birth, they were unable to do so.
Edwards spoke to The New York Post and said that nobody told him anything about Bella’s death; when the mother of his daughter did finally reach out, she told Edwards that she was sorry.
Bella may in fact be a victim of child abuse. Mark Jenkins, her 32-year-old stepfather, has already been charged in connection with Bella’s death. He was in charge of looking after her on the day of her death.
According to records, Jenkins has been arrested four times, and he has served 5 years in prison for attempted murder.
A press conference was held regarding the little girl’s tragic passing. Robert Boyce, the New York Police Department’s Chief of Detectives, stated that law enforcement believes Bella was hit by Jenkins in the abdomen.
When law enforcement saw her, Boyce said, she appeared to be in some sort of distress. He spoke of how the assault to her abdomen likely occurred while she was in a car with Jenkins.
Boyce added that law enforcement will use “cell sites” to see where they might have travelled or stopped; hopefully, he said, there will be video of the incident.
Bella reportedly bled to death due to internal injuries; the possibility of sexual abuse is allegedly being looked into by investigators.
— PYT 💋 (@MsBadPyt) April 5, 2018
Kellon Edwards has claimed that he’s never had a conversation with Jenkins. That seems weird to him, he said—Jenkins wanted to take care of a child, but had never had a conversation with her father.
Mark Jenkins allegedly murdered #Bellaedwards. Just now his lawyer asked judge to place him in protective custody in jail, Bella’s family jumped up, yelled “feed him to the wolves”. Authorities say Jenkins hit 3 yr old so hard, parts of her abdomen were “ripped apart” @ABC7NY pic.twitter.com/RbIR71fKRh
— Kemberly Richardson (@kemrichardson7) April 4, 2018
If Jenkins is convicted of the charges against him, he’ll likely spend at least 25 years in prison. He might be incarcerated for life.
Gonzalez, the mother, used Facebook to comment on the death of her daughter. She said she was sorry that she was not there to protect Bella, adding that the situation feels like a bad dream from which she can’t wake.
She said that her daughter was loved by everyone—and funny memories were shared. Gonzalez said she will miss all of the times Bella hugged and kissed her every day.
She also stated that Bella was beautiful, affectionate, loveable, and smart. She has a younger brother named Logan, to whom she was an affectionate sister.
I’m just learning of the murder of #BellaEdwards after reading the stories as a father I’m heartbroken for her family and filled with rage as well. What could a 3 year old possibly do to a adult to have them treat them in the manner she was treated?
— Stringer Bell #QGTM (@PresidentedeSHC) April 4, 2018
On Wednesday night—April 4—a vigil for Bella was held at Gonzalez’s apartment building. Those who attended were asked to bring red or pink balloons to be released in her memory.
Child abuse is a serious matter, and not only in the United States. In the United Kingdom—based on the most recent statistics available—over 20,000 cases of sexual abuse are reported each year. Those figures do not include children who are 16 or 17 years old, and it is well known that many cases of child sexual abuse are not reported.
When you factor in physical and emotional abuse, it is believed that over 500,000 children in the United Kingdom are abused every year.
Child abuse is devastating to the victim, and the effects of being abused can last for a lifetime. Those who have suffered child abuse have higher rates of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, low self-esteem, eating disorders, academic problems, and criminal activity.
There are resources trying to combat child abuse, of course. One US-based organization is the National Child Abuse Hotline. Its website is www.childhelp.org.