The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Brittany Smith Found Alive, Police Say Jeffrey Scott Easley ‘Very Good Suspect’ in Death of 12-Year Old Girl’s Mother

Posted on | December 13, 2010 | 4 Comments

Let’s begin at the beginning:

She was 41. He was 32.
They flirted over the Internet. He sent online kisses and declared her “hot.” She thanked him for his patience with her.
Jeff Easley moved into Tina Smith’s house . . . a few months ago, a neighbor said.
Their love story dissolved [Dec. 6] with a terrible discovery. A co-worker found Tina Smith slain in her home . . . Her 12-year-old daughter, Brittany Mae Smith, was gone, presumed abducted by Easley and “in extreme danger,” according to a state police Amber Alert.
Mother and daughter were last seen alive [Dec. 3], police said.

The lonely single mother meets the online boyfriend, and doesn’t spot the warning signs:

One neighbor said she’d seen Easley with Brittany, and it made her uneasy.
“This guy gives me the creeps,” said Roxann Pille. “Just the way he touches her, just the way he looks at her, gives me a very uneasy feeling.”
Easley’s MySpace page . . . pictures him with Brittany. Both are grinning broadly.
Brittany’s MySpace page lists her age as 18. Her MySpace and Facebook pages use the last name Easley.
Brittany is a seventh-grader at Glenvar Middle School.

There were other clues:

Brittany, her mother and Easley were active users of Facebook and MySpace, commenting on one another’s postings and noting the ups and downs of life almost every day to their circle of online friends. . . .
Tina Smith’s Facebook had this ominous message the day she died:
“God please protect us from the evils of this world.”
The next day, Easley’s MySpace status was updated, saying, “Got a lot on my mind.”
One of Brittany’s friends, Nicki Mullins, said Brittany didn’t feel comfortable around Easley. Another said she was scared of him. . . .
Brittany’s grandmother, Liz Dyer, wouldn’t discuss what she thought of Easley when she met him at Thanksgiving dinner. Ask social services, she told a reporter.
“They know what I think of him,” she said before hanging up abruptly.

A seventh-grade girl’s mother was killed, presumably by the man who abducted the girl and took her to California, where Brittany was found alive after a five-day national manhunt:

Virginia police detectives talked Sunday for the first time with a 12-year-old Virginia girl and the man who allegedly kidnapped her and has been deemed a prime suspect in her mother’s death.
Roanoke County police Detective John McPhail said that Sunday morning he and three colleagues discussed the death of 41-year-old Tina Smith with Jeffrey Scott Easley, currently in police custody in San Francisco, California, on warrants for abduction, credit card theft and credit card fraud.
While police are investigating Tina Smith’s death as a homicide, they have not said how she died.
They also talked with Brittany Mae Smith, Tina’s daughter, who police had been searching for since Monday. McPhail said the girl “will be heading back to Roanoke soon,” but did not disclose when exactly that might happen. . . .
Roanoke County Police Chief Ray Lavinder said Saturday that Easley is a “very good suspect” in the death of Tina Smith — his girlfriend and Brittany’s mother — who was found dead inside her Salem, Virginia, home last Monday.

Tina Smith and her daughter were evidently victims of one vicious man, but they were also victims of a trend. I’ve often said that the most dangerous man in the world is “mom’s boyfriend.” This is a fact abundantly evident from research. The epidemic of divorce and out-of-wedlock births has exponentially increased the risk to children, especially girls.

“[S]exual abuse does not randomly occur throughout the child population. Rather, it occurs more often in single-parent or reconstituted families. . . .
“Virtually all studies of child sexual abuse report that girls living with stepfathers are at high risk. . . .
“In sum, mounting divorce rates, soaring nonmarital births, and the ubiquity of cohabitation combine to create a profoundly negative consequence for young girls: the prospect of sexual exploitation.”
Robin Fretwell Wilson, “Children at Risk: The Sexual Exploitation of Female Children After Divorce,” Cornell Law Review, 2001

Despite this evidence, however, liberals continue to demonize the traditional family — the safest environment for children — while celebrating single motherhood and divorce as “empowerment” for women. Never mind the women and girls who suffer abuse, and even murder, as a result.

UPDATE: Easley is from Pitt County in eastern North Carolina, where a local TV station had this report:

UPDATE II: More warning signs:

Brittany Smith’s great-aunt, Lois Choquette, told ABC affiliate KGO that she first met Easley on Thanksgiving and was immediately suspicious about the way Easley interacted with the seventh-grader.
“He was touching her hair and touching her hands and just gazing at her,” said Choquette. “It was like he wanted to consume her with his eyes. It was just gross.”
Choquette said she called Child Protective Services and a child abuse hotline four times the following day and never heard back. She also called the girl’s mother to express concern, KGO reports.

Thanksgiving was Nov. 25. At least one of her relatives warned Tina Smith about Easley shortly after Thanksgiving. And on Dec. 3 — eight days after Thanksgiving — Tina Smith was killed.


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