Heaven Watkins

Photo of Heaven Watkins, a small girl with brown skin and black hair pulled back under a silver crown. She is wearing a coral-colored dress and a sash that says "Birthday Girl". Her face is scrunched up in a wide smile.Name: Heaven Watkins.
Died: May 18, 2018.
Age at death: 11.
Cause of death: Abuse (Beating, leading to ruptured gut, head injury).
Location: Norfolk, Virginia, USA.

Details:
Born a micropreemie at 1.7 pounds, Heaven survived a brain hemorrhage and hydrocephalus and had to spend three-and-a-half months in the NICU.

Heaven had two sisters. Her favorite colors were purple and pink. She had cerebral palsy as well as autism, but she was outgoing and had fun with the neighborhood kids. She liked to play tag and to draw on the ground. One of her classmates, a girl named Claire, liked to run her fingers through Heaven’s hair.

She lived with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend, both of whom were abusive. She was once brought into the hospital with burns to her hand that required skin grafts, and her teachers were worried that she had been sexually abused; but the child abuse allegations at that time were ruled unfounded. Heaven usually wore a jacket to hide her bruises. She was put on a bread-and-water diet and made to stand against a wall for hours.

Heaven died of blunt-force trauma, having been severely beaten in the head and torso to the point that her gut ruptured. Doctors who examined her body found she had bleeding on the brain, a dozen or more healed rib fractures, and several new ones.

After Heaven was found dead, her two sisters were removed from the home and are now living with their aunt. Her neighbors held a vigil for her, releasing pink, purple, and white balloons into the sky in her honor.

References:
Heaven’s Story: Mom pleads guilty in 11-year-old daughter’s death
Couple arrested for the death of a child in Norfolk
Two more children taken from Norfolk home after 11-year-old’s death
Norfolk couple faces judge after 11-year-old dies
Medical Examiner: cause of Norfolk 11-year-old’s death was blunt force trauma
Mom, boyfriend beat slain disabled girl so severely that her stomach split open: Report
Mother, fiancé charged in death of 11-year-old autistic child, caused abdomen to split
Ocean View neighbors gather for vigil of an 11-year-old girl, Heaven
Neighborhood holds vigil for 11-year-old girl killed in Ocean View
Bond denied for man charged in Norfolk child’s death
Disabled 11-year-old girl was forced to stand for hours, beaten until she died, prosecutor says
Murdered disabled girl who had stomach beat open was forced to stand for hours on end, fed only bread & water: Prosecutor
Brian K. Payne: Learning from Heaven’s time on earth

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