Family Matters

Letter from NYC

Cesar Rodriguez, a 27-year-old unemployed security guard, had it in for 7-year-old Nixzmary Brown, the daughter of Nixzaliz Santiago, his common-law wife.  After losing his job a few days before Christmas, Rodriguez increased the frequency of his daily beatings of the helpless, undernourished four-foot-tall girl.  Police records indicate that Rodriguez had been beating her for 18 months.  When he tired of his savage poundings, he would tie her to a chair that he then anchored to a radiator in a sealed-off room.  Neighbors living below claimed to have heard the child ramming the radiator in an attempt to free herself from the painful bondage.  Rodriguez rarely allowed Nixzmary to leave the room.  If she wanted to eat, he gave her cat food.  When she needed to relieve herself, he made her do so in a litter box.  We may never know why Rodriguez treated her this way.  We do know, however, that, on the night of January 11, life became catastrophic for Nixzmary Brown.

That evening, after watching her five siblings eat yogurt, Nixzmary, starving and weak, struggled to get some for herself.  Although suffering excruciating hunger pangs, Nixzmary probably figured it would be worth the almost-certain beating that the atavistic Rodriguez would deliver for undermining his tyrannical authority.  After learning that Nixzmary had broken his rule against her consuming anything other than cat...

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