Quantcast

Family of slain 2-year-old speak out - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Family of slain 2-year-old speak out

Posted: Updated:
FAIR HAVEN, Vt. - "She was so happy. So full of life," said Michelle Brown, a family member of Dezirae Sheldon. "She is beautiful -- very, very beautiful."
     
But just days after Dezirae Sheldon's second birthday, that young life was tragically cut short. Police say the Poultney toddler died from blunt force trauma to her head. On Saturday her stepfather, 31-year-old Dennis Duby, was arrested and is being charged with second degree murder.

For family and friends -- like Dezirae's Aunt Lisa Eastman -- the loss has been devastating. "We just wish we could hold her and kiss her and show her that she is loved, because the last act of any kind that she ever saw was in vain.  And that's all we keep playing in our mind is what she must have seen," Eastman said.

Eastman says Dezirae had a troubled upbringing from the beginning.  She says her sister Sandra -- the girls mother -- has a rocky past of child abuse.  "And it's important that no other family or no other children go through this," Brown said.

And this family that is dealing with the tragic loss says it could have been prevented.  Last March Eastman started a petition -- Justice for Dezirae -- after a previous incident that left the baby with a broken leg. Eastman pleaded guilty to child cruelty for failing to get Dezirae prompt medical care for the broken leg.* The aunt says that Vermont Department for Children and Families failed Dezirae and the many signs along the way should have kept the girl away from her mother and stepfather. "She was two years old. She died three days after her second birthday. She will never see her third birthday. She will never be able to go to school. She'll never be able to fall in love and get her heart broken by some stupid little boy. She'll never be able to get married and have her own kids. She'll never be able to do anything," Eastman said.
 
DCF officials were not available for comment Sunday.  A rally for the toddler is planned for Monday at noon in front of the DCF building in downtown Rutland.

*Editor's note: Authorities brought to our attention on June 26, 2014, that WCAX News previously reported Sandra Eastman was convicted of breaking Dezirae Sheldon's leg. That was incorrect. Eastman was convicted of child cruelty by medical neglect. We apologize for the error.

Related Story:

UPDATE : Police investigating Vt. toddler's death 

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Child car seats in the spotlight

    Child car seats in the spotlight

    Monday, September 15 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-09-15 22:59:59 GMT
    Car crashes are the number one cause of death for children in the United States, which is why making sure children are buckled up correctly is so important -- unfortunately most are not.
    Car crashes are the number one cause of death for children in the United States, which is why making sure children are buckled up correctly is so important -- unfortunately most are not.
  • Franklin County residents focus on lake pollution

    Franklin County residents focus on lake pollution

    Monday, September 15 2014 6:48 PM EDT2014-09-15 22:48:35 GMT
    A proposal to save Lake Champlain's water quality was dead on arrival last February in the state legislature, but residents in Franklin County are renewing their push for legislation to improve the water.
    A proposal to save Lake Champlain's water quality was dead on arrival last February in the state legislature, but residents in Franklin County are renewing their push for legislation to improve the water.
  • Emily Peyton and Dan Feliciano add voices to the debate

    Emily Peyton and Dan Feliciano add voices to the debate

    Monday, September 15 2014 5:29 PM EDT2014-09-15 21:29:49 GMT

    Two other gubernatorial candidates shared the gazebo with Scott Milne and Gov. Peter Shumlin for Saturday's debate.

    Two other gubernatorial candidates shared the gazebo with Scott Milne and Gov. Peter Shumlin for Saturday's debate.

  • FAHC: The wrong bill is in the mail

    FAHC: The wrong bill is in the mail

    Monday, September 15 2014 4:51 PM EDT2014-09-15 20:51:03 GMT
    The medical center confirms that 3,800 people with last names that start with the letters L through Q, errantly received old bills Monday.
    The medical center confirms that 3,800 people with last names that start with the letters L through Q, errantly received old bills Monday.
  • Sterling College launches $2M fundraising challenge

    Sterling College launches $2M fundraising challenge

    A tiny Vermont college that focuses on environmental stewardship is launching a $2 million fundraising challenge.
    A tiny Vermont college that focuses on environmental stewardship is launching a $2 million fundraising challenge.
  • Dump truck rolls over in Berkshire

    Dump truck rolls over in Berkshire

    Monday, September 15 2014 6:06 PM EDT2014-09-15 22:06:37 GMT
    There was a mess in Berkshire Monday when a dump truck rolled over.
    There was a mess in Berkshire Monday when a dump truck rolled over.
  • Fall hearing could determine fate of Vt. GMO labeling law

    Fall hearing could determine fate of Vt. GMO labeling law

    Monday, September 15 2014 6:51 PM EDT2014-09-15 22:51:09 GMT
    A fall hearing could provide the first clue to the fate of the state's recently-passed GMO labeling law. A group of food producers is suing Vermont over the mandated labeling of some products made with genetically engineered crops by 2016. The legal process is expected to take years, but experts say the first ruling could mirror the final ruling.
    A fall hearing could provide the first clue to the fate of the state's recently-passed GMO labeling law. A group of food producers is suing Vermont over the mandated labeling of some products made with genetically engineered crops by 2016. The legal process is expected to take years, but experts say the first ruling could mirror the final ruling.
  • Manchester woman celebrates 105th birthday

    Manchester woman celebrates 105th birthday

    Monday, September 15 2014 7:15 PM EDT2014-09-15 23:15:20 GMT
    It was a special birthday Monday for a very special lady. Her friends call her "Midge" and in Manchester, Vermont, she is a living legend.
    It was a special birthday Monday for a very special lady. Her friends call her "Midge" and in Manchester, Vermont, she is a living legend.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.