off-topic but extremely important.

Robin Cooke abbacus at
Wed Dec 11 20:53:18 PST 1996

Some disclaimers:

1.  Yes, it's off-topic.   2.  If you have kids, this message will impact
you right in the gut.  Find them and hug them NOW before reading. 3. 
If you have a heart, this message will impact you almost as hard.  Hug
someone who you care about NOW before reading. 4.  If you cry and/or
vomit from disgust easily, be prepared to do so after reading.

>I don't normally send out stuff like this, but I did some research
>and this really DID happen.  So, please, take a few minutes out of
>your day and read the following letter.  If you want more information
>about the contents, set your web browser to

>>Please read this, particularly if you're a parent.
>>I'm not selling anything and I'm not promoting any product.  I'll be
>>as brief as possible.
>>I read a news story recently, a follow up article about a little
>>girl, a 12 year old (some say 13) that was found dead, wrapped in a
>>blanket, thrown in a ditch along a Virginia roadway.  I live in
>>Virginia, and as I read the story I remembered hearing brief radio
>>updates during earlier months about the girl.  The radio reports
>>never provided many details and I remember feeling saddened each
>>time I heard one.  Then, thankful my own children were safe, at
>>least for the day, I'd continue with my daily routine. (We're all so
>>busy...aren't we?)
>>I found the follow up story while visiting The Virginia Gateway at
>>The story had some details and they sickened me.  This innocent
>>child, Valerie Smelser, was kept in the basement of the family home
>>for months. She was starved, naked and cold.  The article said the
>>temperature in the basement was measured at 68 damp degrees. She was
>>made to live in her own excrement.  She was beaten, then ultimately
>>killed.  The monster who did this was her mother's boyfriend. 
>>Although in my opinion her mother is equally responsible because she
>>allowed it to happen.  Both are disgusting. Both are to blame. 
>>Funny how monsters seem to stay together.
>>Her hellish life, according to the report, began in October and
>>ended in January when the monster ordered her to empty a pan of
>>urine.  The undernourished child spilled it, probably too weak to
>>carry it, and the monster attacked.  Striking her to the bottom of
>>the basements steps, he followed behind her, beat her, and the next
>>day the creatures (the mother and boyfriend) found Valerie dead at
>>the top of the steps.  (Can you imagine her struggling to the top of
>>the steps hoping for someone to help her?)
>>The monsters tried to dress her, but she was too stiff.  They
>>wrapped her in a blanket, drove to a neighboring county, and tossed
>>her lifeless body into a ditch.  Then they went out to eat.  (Just
>>how heartless can a person be?)  I know it's repulsive, forgive me. 
>>Please read on.....
>>By the time I finished reading of her horror I was literally in
>>tears.  I'm a grown man of 37 years and quite honestly few things in
>>this life shake me, but this story was different.  I did not know
>>the child, I do not know the monsters.  After reading that the
>>boyfriend is appealing his conviction, I felt an overwhelming need
>>to do something, anything, to make people more aware of things like
>>him. Anyone who could do this to a child is no human being.
>>I saved the story to my hard drive where it haunted me for some
>>time.  I had difficulty sleeping, thinking how on earth could an
>>adult get into bed at night knowing there was a cold and hungry
>>child just a few floors beneath?  I thought of her humiliation, her
>>suffering. Can you imagine her thoughts??
>>She must have felt so very unloved.
>>I thought of her Christmas, probably spent at the top of the
>>basement steps, listening at the door as the others in the house
>>enjoyed their holiday.  I thought of her hunger, surely she was
>>aware when the others were having dinner.  The only relief I've
>>found is to tell myself the death of a child brings the birth of an
>>angel. At least that's my belief. One thing is certain, Valerie no
>>longer suffers.
>>Finally, while watching NBC Dateline it came to me.  Maybe they
>>would do a show about Valerie.  The exposure would make people
>>aware, possibly help keep the monsters incarcerated.  It was worth a
>>try.  If the show created enough  awareness to prevent even one
>>child from experiencing the same nightmare, then it would be worth
>>it and Valerie will not have died in vain.
>>I sent e-mail to NBC and waited.  I pleaded Valeries case, begged
>>them to do her story.  I want answers.  I want to know why, after
>>the situation was reported to Social Services, Valerie still died. 
>>I'd like to know the extent of their investigation.  I want to know
>>why no family member acted in her behalf.  I want to know if there
>>is ANYONE who will visit this child's grave with flowers.  I want
>>someone to ask the monster how he could have done this to Valerie.
>>I want to know why he gets to live.
>>Even in prison, he has a better life than he allowed Valerie to
>>have.  It makes me sick when I think of my tax dollars keeping him
>>warm and fed after what he put her through.  As bad as prisons are,
>>they're too good for him. I want the nation as outraged as I am that
>>our justice system will even entertain the SUGGESTION of granting
>>this monster an appeal.
>>I received an automated response from NBC's mail system
>>(acknowledging receipt of my message to them, nothing more) and I
>>The article was still there on my hard drive.  The icon irritated
>>me.  It reminded me of something I wanted to spend less time
>>thinking about.  It won eventually, for I had to delete the file. 
>>It seemed Valerie would be yet another number added to some list
>>somewhere.  Even that's a disgusting reality.  By now that list must
>>be incredibly long.
>>Within days of deleting the file NBC phoned my home.  They wanted
>>additional information.  I was delighted, but unable to provide
>>anything more.  I explained I had deleted the file and asked eagerly
>>if they were going to do the show.  "It's being considered" was the
>>reply and it didn't sound promising.
>>Which brings me to the point of THIS letter to you.  First, let me
>>thank you for having read this far.  I wanted to be brief, and it
>>would seem I've failed to do that, but I also needed to include as
>>much information as possible.  Almost finished, honest. Here's the
>>IMPORTANT part...................
>>It occurred to me that if ONE e-mail message would prompt NBC to call
>>me, then thousands of messages would likely encourage them to do
>>Valeries story.  That is my request of you.  Please, write NBC
>>Dateline at this address:
>>Dateline at
>>Ask them to do the story about Valerie Smelser (Clark County
>>Virginia). Tell them I contacted you if you want. Forward this
>>message to them if you think that will help. Tell them anything to
>>persuade them to air her story. This child deserved better. I want
>>her to know somebody DOES care.
>>You can send mail from their web site at:
>>It'll only take a few minutes and when you SEE the story, you'll
>>know you were part of the influence that got it aired.  I think we,
>>the Internet (for it IS the users that MAKE the 'net), can see to it
>>that Valerie's death isn't dismissed to an evergrowing list. 
>>Something has to change.  We as a society cannot continue to
>>tolerate the monsters that live among us.
>>I looked up the word INSANITY once....
>>INSANITY:  The acceptance of unacceptable behavior.
>>Our society is almost there.....right now we simply tolerate
>>unacceptable behavior....what's next??  Kinda makes you think
>>doesn't it??  Perhaps it's time Justice took off the blindfold, or
>>at least peek from beneath it.
>>I promise I'm nearly finished,  just two more
>>requests................. Please forward this letter to five or more
>>Net friends. If every recipient replies to NBC, surely it will
>>persuade them to air Valerie's story.
>>(Bear in mind, if this works, this message could be around for quite
>>a while.  I think it's entirely possible NBC's mailbox could be
>>flooded with forwarded messages within weeks.  It seems necessary to
>>plan an end to this e-mail effort, however at the same time I'd like
>>to insure a high volume of replies sent to NBC.  I begin my
>>distribution efforts today, November 13, 1996. If you receive this
>>message after March of 97 I suggest you end it's journey at your
>>mailbox.  Surely the 'Net can make a point within 4 months.
>>Lastly, if you would reply to me at:
>>wmartin2 at or send mail from my web page at:
>>I'll attempt to monitor how much mail is being sent to NBC as a
>>result of this letter and I'd appreciate any comments or
>>suggestions. (good or bad but please don't flame me, this is just
>>something I more or less need to do, although I don't know
>>why.............) If you'd like to receive updates (I can't seem to
>>let this thing rest) let me know. If you want me to delete your
>>email address from the distribution list, I'll do that too.
>>Thank you very much for reading and helping.  Now please, go hug
>>your kids.
>>W Martin
>>Virginia, USA
>>wmartin2 at

I don't believe in the death least I didn't.  Thanks
for reading it, y'all, now please write NBC.  Dateline does a good job
of investigating injustice.  Social Services in Virginia should have
to pay for this.  At the very least, the publicity may help make sure
this person never gets parole.  As to the egg donor (as opposed to
mother)......well, what I have to say about her is not for today.  But
there will be another day, and another place.

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