Hey, pals in TV production: Katie Allison Granju has continued posting updates about her son’s death after a fatal drug overdose. The more she posts, the more I hope one of you will pick up the story and do a piece. It would make compelling television, I promise.
Katie’s son was beaten terribly before he went into a coma and died, and he was given a potentially fatal dose of methadone. Since law enforcement seems to have declined to pursue the case (what with Henry being “just” an addict), Katie has been digging into what happened to her son in the last 48 hours of his life, all on her own. She’s hoping that attention drawn to the case will shame the Knox County (TN) sheriff’s and DA’s office into pursuing the leads she has in hand. She’s found witnesses and has text messages (from Henry’s phone and another phone found with him) to back up all her assertions. These people and messages establish who beat Henry (when he was found, he was in terrible shape, with a boot imprint on his chest and bleeding from both ears, probably from a fracture at the base of his skull, and he told witnesses he’d been hit with a tire iron). They establish who supplied the massive amount of methadone. They establish who kept Henry at their house and refused to call 911 for hours.
But investigators have told the Granju family they had no case.
Katie, who blogs for Babble and for Mamapundit, wrote obsessively about Henry’s death online. How could she not? Writing about parenting is what she does. And like many of us, she uses a keyboard and a monitor to help process her grief. She deliberately refrained from discussing sensitive aspects of the case; she wanted to believe the sheriff’s office was doing its job. Even though she kept offering up evidence no one pursued. Even though she kept offering Henry’s phone to investigators but no one was interested in viewing the incriminating messages on it.
An assistant district attorney was so annoyed at this grieving woman’s attempts to get justice for her son — justice that any citizen is entitled to, justice that drug addicted teenagers are no less entitled to than the rest of us — that she sent emails (which are in the public record) to another attorney saying that Henry “didn’t care if he died,” that Henry’s family were “really traveling down the wrong road,” that Henry “had serious mental health issues apart from his drug addiction” and that Henry wouldn’t want them to go through “this futile process.” Most shockingly, she wrote: “Someone should tell Ms. Katie to shut up. She has blogged a not-so-veiled threat after our meeting. Someone should tell her to focus on the remaining children she still has at home.”
“Shut up”? Really? This is a public servant? If an 18-year-old girl were raped at a frat party, would she also have had “serious mental health issues” (and how would one know, without interviewing the victim, anyway?) and would she also not deserve a full investigation because she went to the party and wore, well, whatever she wore, so it was her own damn fault? (Don’t answer that.)
TV pals, I am not the person to cover this story. I write for a Jewish magazine and various women’s and parenting mags; this story is neither Jewy nor suited to a monthly. Katie keeps publishing new revelations, each more horrifying than the one before — for instance, a story about the adults who harbored Henry not only selling drugs, but prostituting teenage addicts like Henry. I promise you, Katie is good at TV. There are wonderful pictures of Henry as an adorable, much loved kid and cute hippie teen. He left behind beautiful siblings who loved him very much. The upshot: This story illustrates the fact that addiction can happen to most loved and best-parented kids, and given the law’s biases and judgments surrounding addiction, sometimes it takes a mama’s drive and determination to get justice for her child.
Thinking about Henry, I couldn’t sleep last night. There but for the grace of God go any of us. I think your viewers will feel the same way. Katie’s at mamapundit (at-sign) gmail.com.