Fairhill: Abandonment Inside and Out

May 12, 2010

A cherubic face of innocence wept inconsolably while he looked on as his handcuffed father was placed in the back of a squad car. The echoing of the blaring sirens concealed his own wails while the sirens’ red and blue lights reflected off of his tear strewn face creating an image similar to a festive Halloween mask. Large brown doe-eyes poured tears down the front of his romper while this tiny barefoot boy listened to his father yell “I love you, son” through a drug-induced haze from the sweltering backseat of the squad car.

Kids Sitting on Steps of Dilapidated Building

Kids Sitting on Steps of Dilapidated Building

At around 9:45pm Saturday night, Oct. 3rd, 2009, police of the 25th District responded to a report of a burglary in process. The police cruisers sped through the streets of Fairhill with sirens screaming but as they approached the corner where the residence in peril was located, the lights and sirens shut off to provide a more stealth approach. A woman came running out onto the front steps and directed the officers down the street to where the as-of-yet unidentified man had fled, furiously describing his appearance. The squad cars instantaneously reversed direction and sped down the street where they quickly spotted the man described, exited their vehicle, and took the fleeing suspect down with one swift expert maneuver.

“Why were you running?” They repeatedly asked him to no avail as they frisked him up against an adjacent wall and placed him in handcuffs. While questioning him about if and why he had been trying to break into the residence only blocks away, the man claimed that it was his wife’s house and that he was only trying to see his kids.

The officers then drove the suspect back to the residence in question and pulled him out of the back seat in order for the owner of the house, who was perched on her front steps, to identify him. When she did, the officers returned the man to the back seat and proceeded to question the trembling woman surrounded by her five small weeping children whom were all under the age of 8-years-old.

When asked about the man’s claim to be the father of these children as well as her husband, the young woman explained that the man, who was indeed who he said he was, attempting to enter the house was in violation of a court sanctioned protection order. After presenting the proper documentation to the officers, it was ascertained that the PFA (Protection from Abuse) had expired on the 30th of Sept., 2009, only three days prior, after the suspect had failed to appear in court. The officers, under the supervision of Sargent Rosemary Petro-Ryder who had also responded to the scene, phoned in the PFA to headquarters, whom confirmed that it had indeed expired and that police could not hold the man on violation of the protection order. However, after the woman showed the police the location in the rear of the house where the suspect had attempted to enter, it was clear that the suspect had exerted force and that therefore the forced entry qualified as attempted burglary – a charge that certainly was grounds for arrest.

Police Cruiser of the 25th District

Police Cruiser of the 25th District

While the officers along with Sargent Petro-Ryder phoned in questions about the PFA, filled out the appropriate paperwork, further investigated the scene, and questioned the victim, the scene in front of the house became one of utter despair. A few of the children had followed the mother inside the house with two of the officers and Sargent Petro-Ryder had retreated into the comfort of her own squad car to take care of the applicable administrative measures involved in such a situation while keeping one eye trained on the police cruiser in front of her holding the handcuffed suspect. This left two of the smallest children alone on the front steps of the residence hugging each other and wailing. Their father, who had just asked one of the officers for “some air” before they had headed indoors, was in constant motion. His bloodshot droopy eyes rolling around his narcotic-infested brain and sweat gushing down his face and through his coarse facial hair, Dad moved furtively between the two windows trying to gasp some air from the partially cracked window on the drivers side to pressing his face up against the glass on the passenger side that was facing the house, shouting “I love you!” to his distraught children.

The youngest boy, outfitted in a powder-blue one-piece romper stood and started to descend the stairs. Rubbing his teary eyes with both fists, the boy moved his bare feet across the litter-strewn sidewalk towards the glass window his fathers face was pressed up against. Fighting back the tears and trying to show his 28-year-old father the man he thought he should be, the boy reached out and pressed his hand up against the steamy glass of the squad car’s window and gazed into his fathers delirious eyes with the intensity and despair that should never have to be seen in the eyes of a child so young; an intensity that embodied the most desperate knowledge of utter abandonment and acceptance of needing to take on the role his father was leaving behind.

Abandonment Inside and Out Audio Slideshow and Video


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