Hackney: Shaylyn’s father tormented on Facebook
Friends, family, and many who never even knew Shaylyn, gathered in a park in Spencer, Ind., Friday night to honor the young child’s short life. Michael Anthony Adams/IndyStar
I don’t profess to know everything Justin Ammerman is feeling right now. What I do know is that his 1-year-old daughter, Shaylyn Ammerman, was taken from their Spencer home last week and brutally raped and murdered. The forensic pathologist described Shaylyn’s injuries as the “worst case of sexual trauma” she had seen in her career.
Police and prosecutors say Shaylyn was removed from her crib by 22-year-old Kyle Parker, who is described as a distant family friend who was invited over to drink and watch movies. Parker allegedly drove the girl toward Gosport, pulled over and raped her, and then smothered her with a cloth in his vehicle. Shaylyn’s body was found next to a tree in an isolated, rural patch of land where the White River and Indian Creek meet.
Justin Ammerman is grappling with the reality that his baby girl was sexually assaulted and suffocated, allegedly at the hands of someone he knew. He’s likely swallowing inconceivable waves of grief, anger and guilt. Wednesday, he must bury his child.
And what are the good people of our region doing to support him? Hundreds of them have gone to his Facebook page to post deplorable comments.
Let me give you a sampling:
Erin from Terre Haute wrote: “I HOPE YOU GET RAPED IN YOUR (expletive) AS BAD AS YOUR INNOCENT DAUGHTER WAS HURT FOR ALLOWING COWARDS IN HER “SAFE PLACE” IN THE LIVING ROOM WITHOUT THE DOOR LOCKED!”
Amy from Bloomington wrote: “I would NEVER let anyone drunk rock my baby. I would never party while my 1 yr. old is home. That’s just (expletive) & very neglectful!! Not a good parent at all!”
Norma from Quincy wrote: “It’s a shame this baby had to lose her life over her parents seeking their own pleasure instead of assuring her safety. I have no pity for them at all. My heart breaks though knowing what she must have suffered through while the very ones that were to protect her were doing What?? So sad!”
Naomi from Indianapolis wrote: “I don’t have any sympathy for you or your (expletive) up family!! The only PRAYERS I have for you is that someone gives you the same pain your precious daughter had to endure!! I’m so outraged with the whole thing !!!!!!!!!”
Rebecca from Solsberry wrote: “And yes he did do something to that little girl. He FAILED HER. Didn’t protect her, he basically just fed her up to that monster on a silver platter.”
That’s just a sample. There are many, many others that I won’t publish because they are filled with obscenities and vulgar hate speak. This man, someone who just suffered a tragic loss, is being harassed on his Facebook page by strangers.
He shared photographs of his child and got verbally demolished. He posted the funeral arrangements and got condemned. He’s guilty too, they say. He’s not acting like a grieving father, they declare with authority. We may all have opinions about the case. Many of us are saddened and angry that someone would harm this innocent child. Much of our outrage exists because of how badly she suffered.
But the behavior of those playing Internet judge and jury is indefensible. It’s disgusting, entitled and heartless. Thankfully, there are also many folks on his page trying to police those who are writing such vile comments.
Ammerman finally lashed out himself Tuesday morning. He posted a note to “all the haters out there,” asking them to leave him and his family alone. He wants the harassment to stop. He used some expletives, too.
I can’t blame him. This man, the one who must reconcile that he will never see his child alive again, is being persecuted on a social networking website. Talk about piling on.
It would be wise for him to deactivate his page, or at least make it private for only real friends.
Clearly he has a lot of enemies.
Email IndyStar columnist Suzette Hackney at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @suzyscribe.