The grandparents of the month-old baby who died in September have vowed to see justice for Jonathan. Grandmother Andrea spoke of the pain and the torment she felt as she watched her grandson dying in the Albuquerque hospital and the joy felt when he was born. “I fell in love with him immediately,” she said.
Andrea admitted she had concerns about Jonathan’s care and voiced them with officials, but could find little help under the law. Now she’s ready to fight for all the other Jonathans in the world. “If we can save just one family from the pain, just one baby, Jonathan will not have died in vain,” Andrea said.
She questioned not only the laws in New Mexico, but the laws all across the United States and how reports of child abuse are handled nationwide.
She and her husband Don quoted national statistics about 3 million cases of reported neglect/abuse per year. Of these, 1.5 million are confirmed and one-third of the confirmed cases become children who died at the hands of another. “We need to have a better system,” Andrea said.
Don agreed. “A doctor told me that they treated at least one case like Jonathan’s each week. That’s 52 cases a year in just one hospital.”
Andrea acknowledged the loss. “I know I can’t bring Jonathan back — he’s in the arms of Jesus now — but perhaps others can learn from his story.”
The grandparents were at a church retreat in Angel Fire when they found out that Jonathan had been taken to Albuquerque and was not expected to live. The family made the ultimate sacrifice, donating his kidneys and his heart to other children in need.
Don said he found it personally frustrating because he knew what was happening, but could do nothing to stop it according to law.
Andrea referred to Jonathan’s death as devastating for both herself and her husband. “Who knows how many other children have gone through mysterious deaths?”
For now, the couple prays that some good might come from his death if it means that a system that is slow to react might respond with more speed and more urgency when there are reports of suspected abuse.