The body of a nine-year-old girl from Smithville, Ohio has been found dead in a trash bin. Reann Murphy was playing outside her mobile home Saturday night when she went missing. Her dead body was discovered far from her home.
When Murphy was reported missing from her home in Ohio Saturday night, everyone, it seems, became involved–residents and authorities–and launched a quick search. The girl’s body was found early Sunday morning, five hours later. An arrest has been made but the suspect has not been named. The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office will hold a news conference Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
“Any violent death is troubling but the death of a child is much more so,” said Sheriff Travis Hutchinson in a news release.
The mobile home park where Murphy lived, in Smithville, 30 miles from Akron, is apparently not a location beset by crime. A neighbor of Murphy’s, Marilyn Briggs, reportedly says she has lived in the Ohio mobile park for eight years. While it is not the best area, it is relatively safe and she isn’t aware of any serious crimes having been committed in the general vicinity.
“It sickens me and I’m so sad for the family, and this close to Christmas,” said Briggs. “It’s just awful. You never think something like that is going to happen in your area.”
Homicides are always tragic but when it involves children, it’s even more so. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4,800 children were murdered in 2010, most of which involved firearms. Males are more likely to be murdered than females, and blacks are most affected by crime than other races and ethnicities.
In spite of these numbers, violence prevention has been proven to work, the CDC says. Such programs help children develop better communication skills and encourage parents to be proactive in their children’s education. If a child succumbs to violence, there are interventions such as therapy to help the family cope; these might include family therapy and cognitive-behavioral group therapy.
The CDC funds the Prevention Institute’s UNITY (Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth) program, which function to prevent youth violence. Many different programs are in place such as after-school and mentor programs. One section called Cities in Action which profiles, state by state, any youth programs functioning to help prevent youth violence.
For the state of Ohio, the city of Columbus has a program called SAVE (Strategies Against Violence Everywhere), a nonprofit with three programs focusing on promoting peace and nonviolence among youth. One of these programs focuses on the effects of violence in media on youth, led by the MVEP (Media Violence Education Project). As children are faced with violence on a daily basis, SAVE can show them ways to confront that violence and find peace in their communities.
To prevent violence and protect our children, public health uses a system to determine why violence occurs and how to prevent it. This is done by defining the problem, examining risk and protective factors, and developing and testing prevention strategies to prevent violence.
By Juana Poareo
The Kansas City Star