Someone Please Stop Me

Please stop me from reading news reports like this from Florida:

A medical examiner found dozens of internal and external injuries on Ariana’s body. The infant had five new fractures on her ribs and more than a dozen old fractures. There was a hematoma and a cut on her spleen. Her liver was bruised, as was her jaw.

When questioned by a Polk County sheriff’s detective the day after Ariana died, Gomez-Romero said he was angry when his daughter was born because he wanted a son, reports said.

Gomez-Romero, who lives in Winter Haven, told a detective he called his daughter an “ugly girl, a prostitute and deny [sic] she was his daughter,” a Sheriff’s Office report said.

Gomez-Romero said he picked Ariana up by her hands to carry her. He said he spanked her several times out of anger because she would not stop crying.

When a detective asked Gomez-Romero what a 4-month-old could do to warrant such severe punishment, the report said he stated, “Nothing.”

“Gomez-Romero made it clear that his anger and hostility towards his daughter was due to the fact that she was a girl and he had wanted a son,” the sheriff’s report said.

Sheriff’s detectives also interviewed Ariana’s mother, Juana Rodriguez-Perez, who said Gomez-Romero would carry Ariana by her hands into the bedroom and close the door.

Shortly after, the report said, their daughter would begin to cry.

Rodriguez-Perez told the detective when she threatened to call the police on Ariana’s father, he would threaten to leave with their 2-year-old son.

Polk Dad Charged in Baby’s Death

The baby girl died Christmas Day.

Why do I read these? It doesn’t help the victim. It doesn’t help me. Is it to feed some pathetic “better than thou” insecurity in myself? Is it a voyeuristic impulse to look at a train wreck? I suppose knowing why doesn’t do much — the only way to spare myself is to simply stop reading. The world would be better served if I donated time, money, or effort to a cause that helped abused children.

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3 Comments on “Someone Please Stop Me”

  1. marta Says:

    Well, you know Winter Haven is my hometown…I’ve got to pause…okay, thousands of issues brew in my head. My dad’s 2nd wife used to keep a folder of clippings of local stories like these. She’d wave the folder in her daughter’s face (not mine, mind you) whenever we stayed out too late (too late being when the sun had not yet hit the horizon line). My dad’s current wife can take you around Polk County and point out every scene of tragic accidents and murder. One night we drove by a house with police lights and yellow tape out front and within hours she not only knew the story behind it, she learned one of her sisters knew the people involved in the father/son murder/suicide that had happened there.

    Why do we listen to these stories? Why? I’ve no idea. A there but for the grace of god go I attitude? Morbid curiosity? A real desire to connect to tragedy? I don’t know. I do know that home to me is woven with these stories–my best friend whose aunt was murdered with a poker by her husband. My classmate who was strangled and thrown off an overpass. A man who drove by our house and shot our dog. My friend whose aunt pulled a gun on him.

    Every place has violence, of course…okay, I’m going to stop now. But as a mom and as a female and as someone from Winter Haven…sigh…what do any of us say?

  2. marta Says:

    Sorry about the rambling, incomprehensible comment. A horrific story with Winter Haven thrown in does that to me.

  3. Janet Riehl Says:


    I, too, struggle with how to hold the news of the world. Compassion, true compassion, is the only answer for a story such as this one…reaching out to all concerned. It has to be difficult to read this as a new mother.

    Wanted to let you know I’m participating in Eric Maisel’s “The Van Gough Blues” blog book tour. I’m day two, and our conversation on connection is now posted. I think you’d enjoy it.

    Janet Riehl