Editorials

Little girl dies, siblings held captive, no one notices

Alyssa Quate as a baby with her mother when the family lived on Lebanon Avenue in Belleville.
Alyssa Quate as a baby with her mother when the family lived on Lebanon Avenue in Belleville. Provided

In a world of sadness, there is a special hurt for a youngster whose death is not noticed for four years.

No relative knew that the little girl was gone.

No teacher, principal or truant officer investigated the disappearance of Alysha Quate.

No neighbor or best friend’s parent raised questions or an alarm.

Or if any of them did, it was not enough to find a child left for four years in a garage.

Then we learn that her teen-aged siblings were kept captive after the family moved to Las Vegas. Like their dead sister, they were missed but not missed enough for anyone to act.

They lived with limited contact with their mother, were pale from never going outside and have stunted social skills because they never socialized. Their mother was forced to prostitute herself, until one day she escaped and called police.

Las Vegas Police Lt. Raymond Spencer said the two surviving children never went to school, never were outdoors. He said neighbors should have noticed the odd behavior and called authorities. They could have spared the children from years of isolation, physical abuse, living in squalor and the coming years of recovery.

He said SWAT officers who raided the Las Vegas home were visibly shaken.

“In my 19 years of law enforcement, it was one of the cases I will never forget,” Spencer said.

See something, say something, he said.

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