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We Miss You...

Rhonda was my first child. A beautiful baby girl, born on August 15, 1970. She had a head full of black hair and blue eyes.

I was only 16 years old when I gave birth to Rhonda, and she was my pride and joy. Rhonda was a bubbly, happy child growing up. Not much brought her down. She loved children and her family, especially her little brother Gary, whom she was very protective over. She had many friends in school and all who knew her loved her and knew she was special.

But on the night of January 25, 1983 at the age of 12 years old my precious Rhonda's life was taken. "A parent's nightmare."

I was in the hospital awaiting surgery when her step-dad came and told me Rhonda was missing. I told him to go to the police and make a police report.

The following morning the police came to my hospital room and told me my precious Rhonda was gone. No one who has never lost a child could even imagine the pain and hurt I felt at this time. I was left with a void inside me that I knew would never be filled.

The police said they didn't think she had been molested, because she was fully dressed with coat and leg warmers also. Snow on the ground, I thought, "God how long was my baby in the snow?" I thought of anything to relieve my hurt and pain I was feeling. The only thing at that time that was helping me was knowing the police said she had not been molested.

But that relief didn't last long. The autopsy report showed my precious Rhonda had been violated in every way possible. And now the hunt was on for the killer. But little known to me was the horror that was going to come a few months later that would change my life forever.

After a few months of investigation Rhonda's step-dad was arrested for her murder. It was like a nightmare. I said, "Dear God, NO, this just could not be". The man I had loved and married had taken one of the most precious things in my life away from me, my Rhonda.

The court proceedings were hard to go through, but by the grace of God and my family and friends, I made it through.

Her killer was convicted in July 1983 and given the death penalty. And yes, he wants to live...fighting death every step of the way. But had my Rhonda had a chance she would have said, "Please I'm only 12 years old, I want to live too. I don't want to die." But she wasn't given that chance. She wasn't given 17 years to put up a fight for her life. She died of strangulation and a blow to her head.

It's been a rough road for me and my family. I felt as though I was the only person in the world to lose a child. But now I realize many, many children's lives are taken each year by people who they know and trust.

As I finish this with tears for my child, and in closing, I would like to say, I'm not making this a death penalty issue. It is strictly an awareness and remembrance page for our murdered children. I hope you will send for your yellow ribbon in remembrance of all our murdered children across this cruel world. God bless each and everyone that visits this site. If you have any questions please email me, Judy Bennett.

UPDATE: Danny Joe Bradley was executed on February 12, 2009.

Rhonda's First School Picture
Rhonda's first school picture.
Rhonda's Last School Picture
Rhonda's last school picture.

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