I found this article where it talks about how the police solved — or closed, depending on how you define it — a nearly 40-year-old case involving the death of an 18-month-old boy. Bradley Cuturia’s father, Thomas, was dying of cancer last year when the cops tracked him down and, from his hospital bed, persuaded him to confess to killing the child. He was very weak at the time and most of his confession consisted of nod-or-shake replies, or very short verbal answers, to questions. But it was a confession, and the police have enough evidence now to make a case against Thomas for murder. Except that he has died since then. He was 60.
Bradley’s mother, Cheryl, had always thought Thomas did something to Bradley, because she’d seen Thomas hit Bradley before when he cried. And he was in Thomas’s care that day when Thomas brought him to the hospital, critically injured, with the old “he accidentally tripped and fell and bumped his head and somehow wound up with this terrible skull fracture and all those bruises” story. Doctors back in 1971 weren’t trained on how to recognize child abuse cases, and they didn’t realize Bradley had been abused before, because Thomas brought him to a different hospital this time. So when Bradley died two days later, his death was written off as accidental. Cheryl and Thomas had some more kids and then she took the kids and left him. She said he was abusive to her as well.
For what it’s worth, Thomas was serving in Vietnam when Bradley was born, and when he came back he was only 18 and had no parenting experience at all, and Bradley didn’t think much of this stranger and cried and screamed all the time whenever he was around. Not the best introduction between father and son. But that’s no excuse to murder a toddler and lie about it for four decades.
Even though the police can’t file charges in this case, I’m sure Cheryl Cuturia feels much better that the police established the truth of the matter and everyone knows Thomas for the kind of man he really was: a baby-killer.