My life in pictures, stories and open letters.

My life in pictures, stories and open letters.

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Wordful Wednesday - Amber Alert

My intent today was to post a picture of a 7 year old little girl.
After I blurred out her face.
Does that make sense to you?
Probably not.
I was unable to make her unrecognizable, so I decided to introduce to you this little girl's father. It is also a powerful photo.

We had an Amber Alert on the weekend. You may be asking "Why, then, dear Rhonda, are you not posting a photo of the little girl?"

Well, this story has a heart-wrenching beginning, disgusting middle, and happy ending.

This suspect (for the remainder of this story we'll just be calling him "Real Sick F*#k", okay?) went to the neighbourhood playground and called a little girl over to his jeep. He told the little girl that he had kittens for sale, and would she like to see them? Her brothers saw her climb into the jeep and ran over to try to stop her, but they were too late. They got there in time to bang on the windows. A neighbour got part of the license plate. The children ran home to tell their mother.

And every parent's nightmare begins.

"Real Sick F*#k" had this little 7 year old girl for almost four hours. In this time, he drugged her and raped her. Then he left her at a hotel an hour out of town with some money and a note requesting that she get home safely.

Does paying the little girl, somehow in his warped little brain, make this okay? I'm disgusted by the whole thing, but that one detail has me a little stumped. And you know what? Even drugged, this little girl probably smiled and said thank you when he gave it to her. They are so, so innocent.

And I'm actually thankful that he drugged her first. Hopefully that made the ordeal a little easier on her. As easy as it can be, anyway.

So, we do have a happy ending. Anastasia safely made it home. And that is the reason I am not posting her photo. I realize it is still on line. But because she is a minor and they have announced that she was sexually abused, her name and photo will no longer be published.

"Daniel Todd Gratton (aka Real Sick F*#k), 44, was arrested without incident Monday morning at an Edmonton residence. He was also charged with sexual interference and administering a noxious substance."

He was also on parole for past crimes against children. He raped one 70 times in a 6 month period. Then he moved into a condominium complex, surrounded himself with kids, and no one knew he was there. What on earth was a pedophile doing living so near children? This part, anyway, is a definite system failure.

And yes, I know he could have done it anyway, any time, any place. But, really, this is like me going into a 7-11 daily and not buy a slurpee. Helllooooo? Not friggin' likely.

Only a few days earlier, a 14 year old was killed in broad daylight just steps from her home. That family would, obviously, give anything for this happy ending. They are still looking for her killer.

What on earth is this world coming to??

We are all keeping our children a little closer these days.
I've left a note in comments that is worth thinking about (I believe it is comment number 20), and also would like to add that Real Sick F*#k is also now charged with raping (molest is not a strong enough word, I don't care what anyone says) another little girl on Friday, just two days before, with the promise of ice cream as a lure.

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Wordful Wednesdays!!


Tiaras and Tantrums said...

WOW - sad -
I have to say this is absolutely one of my worst fears for my children. This is the EXACT reason I am a neurotic mess with my kids! You have no idea how hard it was for me to let my kids go to school. I have given them every situation about what a sicko would ask of them (puppies have been given). I have never let my kids go to a play date with me or my husband. They will never be allowed to sleep over ANYWHERE. I'm a freak about this stuff!
This post just re-solidifies why I act the way I do!

Darla said...

Every time I hear something like this, my stomach twists to vomit levels. I've always been a real stickler about pounding different scenarios to my kids about how sneaky ppl can be to get kids to do what they want them to. Now, to hear this, it almost makes me feel helpless still because kids just don't have reality in their heads to not believe ppl when they seem nice, they smile, and tell them they have something any kid would like!

Cecily R said...

This is why I am a freak about knowing where my kids are at all times. Some people may think it's too much, but I have to know!!! That stuff just makes my heart break and my stomach hurt.

Cecily R said...
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Cecily R said...
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rachael said...

that just breaks my heart... i really wish there was something i could do when i hear stories like this. i just want to scoop up the lost and hurt children in my arms and make everything ok.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

This makes me so sick, and so angry. Pedophiles can not be rehabilitated, evidence has shown that TOO many times. We have to stop letting them out to reoffend!

Melissa said...

Yikes, that's horrible. I just don't see how people can harm's just wrong. And deserves a special little place in hell.

Ronda's Rants said...

So sad...
I am reading the shack as you know!!!
It is effecting me. Yesterday my 25 year old daughter and I were shopping and I lost sight of her and I was getting distraught. She was laughing..."Mom...You do remember I am 25!" I told her "Not to me" "You will always be my little girl"
I will never understand how people could hurt anyone let alone a child!!!
I am so very sorry!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this.
This is so sad. That poor little girl. It drives me insane that child molesters are let out early for 'good behavior' when they almost always turn around and do it again.
My husband thinks child molesters should be castrated...not a bad idea.

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Amy said...

The need to put the perv UNDER the jail. I know, it's so scary these days and you can NOT trust anyone. I am glad the little girl made it home safely, I just hope she can grow up and not have her life ruined because of it.

AVT Coach said...

At tragic story and one to really think about. Not a time in history to let our guard down is it? Hopefully parents of young children will not live in fear but live smartly to the best that they can and teach personal boundaries. So glad there was a neighbor to get part of the lic. plate. I am sure that helped. Prayers go out to this little one and her family.

jill jill bo bill said...

I say we just shoot them all. F the rehab, just kill them. Touch and harm a child= death. With today's technology, there would be no "what if he was innocent?" questins. I am adament, can ya tell?

Brandy said...

WOW! It's stories like this that remimd me that I'm over protective of my kids for a reason! My family tells me all the time that I need to loosen the apron strings but with sickos like this around NOT LIKELY!
I am glad this story had a happy ending and I will keep this family in my prayers.

Straight to Your Hart said...

How sick in everyway!!! I hope the little angel will heal and be a happy member of society...That fear sits so heavy in my gut. Poignant picture...thank you for sharing..

Blog Stalker said...

I actually agree with Jill in her comment earlier. Stories like this disgust, anger, depress, horrify and sadden me. I do not know what possess people to do these kinds of things to children but also know there is something wrong with their wiring. They definitely should never be free again. Have we not seen enough repeat offenders to know that these people cannot really change?

Tough, tough story. But we need to hear about it to protect those around us.

My heart aches for this girl and the guilt and anger her brothers must feel.

WOW, this one is gonna stay with me awhile.

Amy said...

This is so sad in many ways ... it is a strange world we live in. Protecting our children has become quite a task!

But can I also add that it is sad for the person who did this too, obviously someone who is very ill and needs help.

Live.Love.Eat said...

I have so many emotions when I hear things like this, horror, disgust, severe anger. Also, I feel a little ashamed because one of the 1st things I think of is where were her parents? I know it may not be right and I don't know how old her brothers were but if they were not adults then they should not take their sibling to a park. I'm glad she did get home eventually, it's just sick what happened before she did. (came over from Angie's WW).

Rhonda said...

Just a note that they added today on the news:

This guy's sexual/legal history began at age 12! He is now 44!

Anyone that can look at a child and think "sex" really is a sick individual. Really sick.

But like in "The Shack" could you also think of him as one of God's children who deserves love, forgiveness and mercy?

Just putting it out there....

Rhonda said...

Well, in response to's comments, I have to say that my kids go to the park. They are 14, 11, and 4. Sometimes it is just the 11 and 4 year old that go. And yes, they followed a stranger home. They are not immune. No matter how we try to teach our children, they are innocent and gullible and it is in their nature to trust people.

I grew up heading off to the park and the threat was there then also. Chances are we all grew up going out to play with our friends. I think that this whole disgusting mess doesn't happen any more than it used to, but that media is putting so much bad news out there for us that we have become over protective parents.

The other major issue here, is, why one of your first instincts (not just you, but as a society in general) was to judge the parenting. This park was across the street from their home and she was with her siblings. I see no issues whatsoever with that. We cannot lock our children in little padded rooms to keep them safe. They still deserve to be kids and have fun.

'Nuff said. And I'm sorry for singling out that one commenter, but it had to be defended. This is a time to come together, not pick each other apart.

wy-not said...

Wow. It's been a sad case from the first heart-stopping scream of the amber alert. Anastasia is a lovely little girl and it's a mercy she's home again. I think one important point is the existence of the amber alert, created when a little girl was taken in Texas a few years back. That outcome was much sadder than this one. I believe it was the amber alert that saved this child. I believe that monster (sick though too, and mental illness must be a terrible, misunderstood affliction!) heard the amber alert, and that may be why Anastasia is safely home today. Praise God and all that is Holy.

BoufMom9 said...

OMGosh! This is just HORRIBLE! We actually just recently found out that our Governor put in a park in our town for some "green acres" project (aka tearing down trees). Anyway, what they didn't check when they put in the park, was who lives in the neighborhood already.... 3 sex offenders. So, my kids can't go to the park without me there the whole time (even the oldest 3)
It is a sad world we live in!

lmerie said...

New here, came by for wordful wednesday from candid candies . . .

Wow, that is creepy, scary, sad . . .in response to your comment about the Shack. I read that book and that was quite a challenging idea. I think it naturally goes against our nature, not something flesh does not do on its own - only through God.

Probably love - yes, he definitely has an ingrained problem that he most likely, short of Divine intervention, is not ever going to get away from. Since he was 12?? and he was still out on the streets? Something that should not have slipped through the cracks.

Forgiveness, yes, but hard to do when someone so innocent is violated in such an awful way. I am glad for the child she was drugged - could this be a sign of his inner turmoil?maybe? just throwing it out there - not defending him at all.

Mercy, I guess, even though human nature feels differently, he should not be stoned, ripped limb by limb, but he absolutely needs to be removed from society.

I hate this happened, and especially so near to your home. I pray the family is able to get back to "normal" and feel the overwhelming comfort from God . . .

Weeksie50 said...

That is absolutely horrible. I cannont believe that people can do harm to children. It makes me absolutely sick.

Ryanne said...

My heart is breaking for the families in both situations. I have a plan for those types of evil people. It involves eye poking out and castration. I think it is said somewhere that it would be better for people like that to have a mill stone hung around their necks and cast into the see then they harm a little child.

Tulsi said...

This is so heartbreaking. Wow.

Sarah C. said...

I agree with the lady who said he should be under the jail, not in it.

Heather said...

This is so scary because I drill this lesson into my girls, but if someone tempted them with kittens or puppies, they'd forget. We role play over and over again, but I just know they'd want to see a cute animal. It's my biggest fear.

Jed said...

How revolting. lad she is back with her family but just ache all over for what she had to go through. I agree with all previous comments that said that people like this sick $%*& needs to be removed from society.

Mercy, love and forgiveness........absolutely....but we can't let them free.

Mercy - lethal injection, fast and easy compared to what most would want.

Love - because God would have us love even our enemies.

Forgiveness - because it is for the lord to forgive whom he will and for us to forgive all. But not easy for sure

Hard post to read, but We all need to be aware of the real danger out there.

BTW - Came from Blogstalker,
Nice blog.

The Nice One said...

This is so related to my jury duty experience. The guy gave his victim $ too. Wacky. Scary.
Is there a Megan's Law type sex offender registry in Canada?

Mamahut said...

That just makes me sick to my stomach. Why are there people out there like this? I really need to give my kids breathing room, room to spread their wings. I can't because I am afraid for them. It's sad. Poor little girl.

Lex the mom said...

I dont' like reading about things like this. One of the reasons I don't watch the news or read the newspaper anymore. It is devastating, the things that can happen & that is why I keep my kids so close.

How terrible for the girl & her family. It's so awful, awful for anyone who goes through something like this.

It is scary how easily they will stray & it isn't just the youngest ones that do. Creeps like this can entice with promises of a commercial gig, money, helping find a lost animal, etc. No one is immune.

organicyogamom said...

HORRIFYING! I just can't even pathom how I will keep my daughter safe. I only hope she always trusts her gut. If it feels in the least bit funny - don't go!
I wish these sorts of stories weren't out there!

Locked away for life. Absolutely!

careysue said...

Thank you for sharing this gives us all wake-up calls, to what could happen to our own children...I too like so many of you...have gone through every single scenario a pedophile could possibly use to fool them.

Even though it's so scary and sad I believe in this case knowledge IS power.

RhondaLue said...

such a disturbing story. I'm so sad for this innocent girl. I don't judge the parents or thebrothers...just the sicko who did it.

Like someone mentioned, these criminals have something wrong in their brains to make them see children in a sexual manner. The rest of us don't understand it but I really think they have this sick urge ingrained in them. They cannot be in society around children because they can't help but molest.

And for those worried about areas that have registered sex offenders I have only this to tell you.
"For every mouse you SEE there's a hundred others you DON'T see" It's not so much the registered ones that you need to fear the's all the ones that haven't been caught yet!

Rhonda said...

Very good point, Rhonda!

Anonymous said...

Yes he may be indeed very sick and what he did was wrong I agree onehundred percent but we should not ever want to kill him for that either I can only hope that as he is in jail he will get better mentally and have a change of heart I may be only 12 but my opinion is that he needs someone to show him the true love of God to get past his sick mind and love him like a normal person I don't know if what im saying Actualy means anything or makes sense but that's my perspective....... As the daughter of the sicko