I always know a news story is big when it gets tweeted at me and numerous concerned readers E-mail me about it, and people should be concerned because this story is horrifying and disturbing to say the least. I’m always careful when reporting about crimes and cases involving underage kids that I don’t use their names, but the mother of the young girl in this case is adamant that her name, the name of her daughter, and the names of her sons be made public and I think this is such a brave move. Her family is the victim here, and people should know who they are so they can rally around them and hopefully get this case the attention it deserves. On October 12 The Kansas City Star ran the entire terrible story, and it’s definitely worth a read , but for those of you who want a summary it goes a little something like this:
Daisy Coleman, a 14-year-old girl moved to the small town of Maryville after her dad was killed in a car crash. Daisy attended a party with a 13-year-old friend after texting with a 17-year-old football player who invited her to the party. A straight A student and cheerleader, Daisy was excited to attract the attention of this high school senior, who came from a prominent Maryville family; his grandfather had been a longtime member of the Missouri House of Representatives. Girls snuck off to party, were offered alcoholic drinks, and both were raped. Daisy had her rape filmed by a friend of the boy who assaulted her. Daisy was dumped off on her mother’s front porch, her shoes missing, the contents of her purse strewn across the yard, in freezing temperatures. She suffered frostbite, her hair was frozen.
From him, the lawmen also learned that Barnett and Daisyâs encounter had been captured with an iPhone. That led to 17-year-old Zechâs felony charge of sexual exploitation of a minor. Records show that after initially declining to answer questions, Zech said he had used a friendâs phone to record some of the encounter. He said, however, that he thought Barnett and the girl were only âdry humping,â a term commonly used to describe rubbing together clothed. Another teen, however, told police the video featured both Barnett and Daisy with their pants down.
By midafternoon Sunday, a search warrant for the Barnett home resulted in the seizure of a blanket, bedsheets, a pair of panties found on a bedroom floor, a bottle of Bacardi Big Apple and plastic bottles of unidentified liquids. The sheriffâs office also seized three cellphones, including the iPhone allegedly used by Zech.
Sexual assault cases can be difficult to build because of factors such as a lack of physical evidence or inconsistent statements by witnesses. But by the time his department had concluded its investigation, Sheriff Darren White felt confident the office had put together a case that would âabsolutelyâ result in prosecutions.
âWithin four hours, we had obtained a search warrant for the house and executed that,â White told The Star. âWe had all of the suspects in custody and had audio/video confessions.
ButÂ charges were dropped by the prosecuting attorney who didn’t believe the evidence was strong enough. And that’s when the Coleman family’s life started to get pretty terrible in Maryville. Melina Coleman lost her job as a veterinarian, due to the fact the case caused so much strife within the small town.
Two days after discovering her daughter on the front porch, Coleman says, she got a phone call from another mother warning her that online threats were being levied against the Coleman children, including a suggestion that her sons would be beaten up in the school parking lot.
When she checked online, she discovered that many of the comments were aimed at Daisy. On Twitter, the brother of one of the boys at the Barnett home that night wrote that he hoped Daisy âgets whats comin.â
At a dance competition, Melinda Coleman says, a girl arrived wearing a homemade shirt:Â Matt 1, Daisy 0.
I have no answers for any of this but I hope the Coleman family gets the justice they deserve and I hope Daisy, who is said to be suffering from severe depression due to this awful crime, is healing and she realizes that people do care about her. The young man accused of raping her is attending college and according to the news article:
Based on his Twitter account, before it was locked to non-friends, the events of the past two years havenât dampened his enthusiasm for the opposite sex.
In a recent retweet, he expressed his views on women â and their desire for his sexual attentions â this way:
âIf her name begins with A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z, she wants the D.
Hopefully I will be able to offer additional updates about this story, and hopefully it will be that the case is reopened and the house fire is investigated further.