Nobody Knew She Existed Except Her Parents And Siblings — The Case Of Nadine Lockwood

Mrs H

In the summer of 1996, the people of Washington Heights were shocked to learn that a mother had starved her baby to death under their wing. But more terrifying was her reason behind it.

Four-year-old Angel Nadine Lockwood was starved to death in a small crib while her six other siblings lived life to its fullness. Unfortunately, she was brought into this world by two evil individuals who never wanted her from the beginning and only viewed her as a "gift" from hell. Her father, Leroy Dickerson, referred to her as a "throw-away baby", whilst her mother, Carla, said she was an "it".

As if that was not heartbreaking enough, Dickerson —who had refused for her to be given up for adoption— left right before she was born and only returned when she was hanging by a thread. But, according to their eldest kids, even though he was not physically present, he knew of Nadine's suffering and didn't care.

Speaking to the police, Carla said, "I didn't love Nadine. I hated her. Because of her, my kids had to sleep in a shelter."

According to the police, Carla blamed the innocent child for Dickerson's actions. She struggled to put food on the table and constantly asked neighbors for help. However, according to them, they never knew Nadine existed and only thought she was fending for six. They helped as much as they could but never visited her home. Some claimed that they didn't even know she was pregnant that year (1991) as they had seen her multiple times, and she wasn't showing. But how she did it, nobody knows. As awkward as it seemed, it was clear Carla had successfully removed the little girl from the eyes of the people right from the beginning.

However, for the few years Nadine lived on this earth, she knew no peace, love, or joy. She spent days without food, water, and medical care. She was denied all her living rights, including going outside and playing with other kids. Her mother had put a "folded bedsheet over the back of the crib to cover the side that was not against the wall"—that way, nobody would see her face, including her.

According to her siblings, "she would peek out from behind the sheet and watch them play" as her life slowly deteriorated behind it. Just a few days before her death, she had cried from hunger and was given an old turkey and cheese sandwich, which she struggled to hold and was scolded for. "Why didn't you eat this damn sandwich," Ms. Lockwood said.

As painful as the situation was, the other kids watched and kept quiet out of fear of being put in the same position. However, the oldest ones spoke out once Nadine took her last breath.

They told authorities of how they had to lie to other relatives who knew of Nadine and say she was in the South visiting their mother or father's siblings. They also told officers that the day Nadine rested, their mother held her a cup of milk as it protruded from her nose and mouth, and her eyes stared straight ahead without moving. At that moment, they knew she was gone.

It was then that their mother called Dickerson, who then called the police after his arrival. Nadine, who was only a month away from turning her 5th birthday, looked nothing like her age. She only weighed 15 and a half pounds, and her ribs could be seen through her frame. She was missing a lot of hair, and her legs looked very thin and fragile. Underneath the crib that she was tied in were used tampons and diapers with flies buzzing everywhere.

Once neighbors saw the police outside, they came to see what was happening. One woman who knew of Nadine's existence by the name Catherine told officers that one time she visited the house, she saw the little girl eating chicken bones whilst her mother and siblings enjoyed fresh meat and rice.

She claimed she confronted Carla about it, but she told her Nadine was greedy and that she should mind her own business since the kid wasn't hers. She then claimed to have stormed out and called the child hotline, which promised her to come and check on the baby, but it was apparent no action had been taken since the kid continued to suffer.

However, once the media began to look into her case, it became apparent that the state had failed not only Nadine but the rest of the kids. Carla was a well-known drug addict within the police department and social services.

In 1989 she was arrested for giving birth to a child who tested positive for drugs but was never convicted. As if that was not a mistake enough, that was the same case with Nadine's birth a few years later, and social services only took her word that she would seek help and get clean. Sadly their carelessness ended up costing a life in the most brutal way.

Public response and sentencing

On the day of her burial, people came from around the country to pay their respect. They scolded Dickerson, who had also attended the funeral with some demanding him to leave. The angry mob called him names, with some hoping he burns in hell.

Carla was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for the brutal murder of her daughter. On the other hand, the absent father was sentenced to 25 years to life for his contribution and is eligible for parole in 2023. However, it is unclear if Carla is still serving her sentence as she had filed a lawsuit against the state department of corrections for denying her parole nine years into her sentence. Sadly that is the painful story of Nadine Lockwood. May she continue resting in peace.

Sources

https://www.nytimes.com/1997/03/08/nyregion/from-jailed-mother-s-lips-how-child-lived-and-died.htmlhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SrdZWP0ooY

This story was previously written and published by me on Medium

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