April 6, 2010

Michigan parents on trial for chaining teen daughter to bed

Posted: 12:37 PM ET

Kalamazoo, Michigan – As a fire ripped through her Centreville home the morning of February 27, 2008, Marsha Springer could be heard muttering “What have I done?” Firefighters found Marsha’s 16-year-old daughter Calista chained to her bunk bed in her upstairs bedroom. Autopsy reports show the teenager died of smoke inhalation.

Marsha and her husband Anthony were initially charged with involuntary manslaughter and first-degree child abuse. Nearly a year after the fire, newly-elected prosecutor John McDonough upped the charges to first-degree felony murder, first-degree child abuse and torture after it was found that the abuse may have occurred over a period of several years. Murder and torture each carry a maximum life sentence in Michigan.  

The Springers are being tried 35 miles away in Kalamazoo. Stay tuned to In Session for complete coverage of Michigan v. Anthony and Marsha Springer.

- Megan Haberling, In Session Production Assistant

Filed under: Trials

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Ira Collier   April 6th, 2010 12:45 pm ET

I sure wouldnt restrain my kids to a bed to protct them. These parent's deserve the D.A.P award(Dumb ass Parents).The sound like they just didnt want to be bothered by her.

Jane Ralph   April 6th, 2010 12:46 pm ET

I don't know what Calista's "special needs" were, but under no circumstances should a human being EVER be chained to a piece of furniture. These parents should be found guilty on all counts! They have treated their daughter worse than they did their pet.

kim hill   April 6th, 2010 12:46 pm ET

The state provides around the clock help for parents of children who truly are a danger to themselves or others. There is no excuse for restraining a person in chains. Respit care workers could have provided the family with assistance in caring for her had they wanted to care for her.

karen   April 6th, 2010 12:47 pm ET

I have a special needs child ith autism and he was prone to outbursts and fits. I would get cool wash towels or take him to the bathroom and wash his face that usually calmed him down. There are support groups and therapist that could have been used. There is no excuse for the treatment of this child.

joanne   April 6th, 2010 12:47 pm ET

I had a child with adhd. It was hard, we got help, he was treated like other children. I am proud of him now. he is a hard worker. and a great part of society. You have to find help. its out there.

Vanessa   April 6th, 2010 12:49 pm ET

I dont know what this teen's special needs were, but certainly chaining her was NOT the treatment for them...surely not what the doctor ordered!!!!!

Samantha   April 6th, 2010 12:49 pm ET

Children with special needs shouldnt be chained up, they should be loved & cared for & if you cant handle your special child that God gave you. You should take them to a special needs place(like a group home) & they can take care of them like they need to be takein care of with love & dedication.

shonah   April 6th, 2010 12:52 pm ET

as a mother my children needs lots of love and caring children are my whole world and they monsters for putting a dog caller on her...shes a child not a dog..if they couldnt handle her then place her with somebody who could...

Carrie   April 6th, 2010 12:54 pm ET

The parents of this young girl should be on trial for the death penalty. There is no excuse to chain a young girl to a bed where she held prisoner in a filthy environment, not able to take care of her personal needs in any way. No matter how dangerous they might of thought she was, there are medical facilities where she could be medicated and taken care of in a human manner. It actually makes me sick to how this young lady suffered. The panic she went through with the fire just to lay there and die. The other young girl (her sister) that was aware of her suffering never mentioned it to the authorities.


Loraine Gefrich   April 6th, 2010 12:55 pm ET

Having worked with mentally challenged individuals for nearly ten years I can honestly say that if the parents of the child could not control the behaviors of their child then they should have sought out help NOT chained the child to a bed. Many parents feel it is their responsibility or duty to deal with a mentally challenged child but at some point they must concede that they are not properly trained to deal with what can be violent and uncontrollable behaviors and at that time they should seek the help of people that have the training and the patience to deal with it. My question though is ... Did the child actually have a mental disability or is it just an excuse for them?

Samantha   April 6th, 2010 12:56 pm ET

were is the proof that she even had any special needs?

Ann Marie Jandia   April 6th, 2010 1:00 pm ET

I keep hearing about a "history of abuse". If there was a documented history of abuse with this child why wasn't action taken against the parents before it was too late? Sounds like a huge parenting failure to me but also a failure of others refusal / fear to act in behalf of the victim.

V.W   April 6th, 2010 1:05 pm ET

Instead of chaining this child to the bed, the paents could have found other ways to keep her and the family safe. They could have used some kind of motion sensored device not connected to the police department for movement of Calista. If she became too much for them to handle, why not have her placed in an institution that deals specifically to these types of children

Samantha C.   April 6th, 2010 1:05 pm ET

Okay. so here are some questions... For one why would you have a Special needs child in the top of a bunk bed? chained up, like a rabid animal? The parents are at complete fault here. Having a child chained up to a bed, with heavy chains and thick zip-ties like the ones Police officers use with Adults they have subdued. This young girl had no sheets, no pillows, or a comforter for her bed, in the middle of February, in one of the coldest winters on record.

This is extreme child abuse, with the other children having all the necessary things for their beds. What happens when Calista was supposed to go the restroom? Is she supposed to defecate all over her self? She had no wiggle room, to move or escape, or even sit up it she need to cough. These acts are point blank CHILD ABUSE! I do not understand how a so called parent can treat a child like that. "Cinderella syndrome", is bull crap. These are sick and sadistic people who can treat a young child like that who has done no wrong and needs her parents to take care of her. They deserve the worse punishment and beyond for what they did you young Carlista

Theresa   April 6th, 2010 1:06 pm ET

Yes you should control children with special needs but ethically. Children with special needs need to be raised as any normal child.. They need rules, consequences and need to feel as if they are not a burden or unwanted. Chaining your child to the bed with a dog collar shows the lack of concern for the child and unwilling to take responsibility. That is unethical and abusive. There are medical grade restraints and interventions that could be used for aggressive behaviors, not a metal dog collar.

Steve S.   April 6th, 2010 1:07 pm ET

How did she get the other two kids out and not Calista ?

Daniella   April 6th, 2010 1:16 pm ET

I cannot forsee any special needs a child could have that would require chaining the child like a wild animal. If she really was a danger, there are institutions, medications, etc. that could treat such behaviors humanely. What these parents did is so sick, it is unfathomable that anyone in that household could think it was acceptable.

Eugene   April 6th, 2010 1:17 pm ET

OMG, some of these comments R obsurd, I mean, "Proof of Special needs,"? rather a person has special needs or not, no human being should be chained to any place, PERIOD!

I'm happy the DA put this in 1st degree that is exactly what they should be charged with.

Brandi   April 6th, 2010 1:18 pm ET

I feel if the parents of this child couldn't take care of her and had to resort to chaining her to her bed then they needed to seek professional help. And then if that didn't work they needed to have her institutionalized.

Renee   April 6th, 2010 1:18 pm ET

The two other sisters where already gone to school. Marsha was having her coffee and then started cleaning before she would unlock Calista to let her go to the bathroom. Marsha is a monster.

Becky M   April 6th, 2010 1:19 pm ET

I would give the child lot's of love and hugs. Find special medical help.

Deana Scott   April 6th, 2010 1:22 pm ET

I know alot of people don't realize how hard it is to control a special needs child, but if she did not have insurance, then the parents have to do the best they can with what they have. If she were in a ward at the hospital, she would have no pillow, no blanket and be in lockdown in a straight jacket, so people should not jump to conclusions. Do they know if she had warm clothing on for night time.

Nastassia D.   April 6th, 2010 1:26 pm ET

How could they treat their daughter this way? They didn't love this child, if they did they wouldn't have chained her to a bed and they sure would have tried to save her first because of her "disability". If they couldn't handle her they should have given her to someone who could handle and love her. Their parents need their butt whipped by all parents who truly love their children.

Peggy Price   April 6th, 2010 1:26 pm ET

I have a question, why would the parents need separate lawyers? To me it would seem if they had nothing to hide they would stand united together with one lawyer. Something just doesnt seem right about this case, # 1 why didnt she have covers, it was cold outside. # 2 why did they have her chained so close to the wall like that.

Lynn   April 6th, 2010 1:29 pm ET

This seems like a deliberate murder plot.
Well my guess is that she was hardly ever dressed for bed.
I bet she was put to bed without bedding or clothing.Those clothes look clean.
They wanted to kill this girl and did so..
I hope they get the BOOK thrown at em!

Robert W   April 6th, 2010 1:29 pm ET

I was in the other room, but did I hear the Prosecuting Attorney-in his opening statement- call the defendants Lunatics? If not, maybe he should have.

Lynn   April 6th, 2010 1:32 pm ET

no way is this considered a good way to protect a special needs child.
The girl should have had her own safe room.
Not chained to a bed and like some others have said:
what if the poor child had to go to the bathroom during the night?
This all looks too hokey to me..
they of course would not say they killed her they want to seem caring when they are not....

anita ekman   April 6th, 2010 1:32 pm ET

If fire was in am, and mom was up and vaccuuming, and am assuming dad got up, dressed, ate breakfast and left, and the other kids got up, dressed, ate and went to school, when is mom going to untie the victim, let her go to bathroom and have HER breakfast? Or is victim kept tied on the bed all the time? Scary thought!

Nastassia D.   April 6th, 2010 1:33 pm ET

These parents really ticked me off! There are so many women who can't have children, and these idiots could care less about their daughter. She didn't deserve this. What she deserved was loving parents, a blanket, and her freedom to move about the house disabled or not. What the heck were they thinking?! They deserve to be punished severly just for having her chained up!

Janice   April 6th, 2010 1:33 pm ET

Arguing that the fire caused the death of this child and not the parent's actions, is like saying my pointing the gun and pulling the trigger didn't cause the death, the bullet entering the body did.

Connie   April 6th, 2010 1:38 pm ET

How awful. It is hard to believe any human being would chain a child up. I would get help for her, not chain her up. I heard where they got the dog out of the house and they left that poor child to die. May god have mercy on their soul. (if they have one)

Deana Scott   April 6th, 2010 1:39 pm ET

I just left my comment, Im not just saying this to be cruel because I have see this first hand. My sister was diagnosed with multipersonality disorder and she had son during this time that was born with autism, and mutiipersonality disorder. You some times dont control them, but you also love them enough not to put them into a home or a hospital because they're are alot of bad things that happen in those places also, Yes I know of this too. So lets just not judge until you hear all the facts. This is a very sad situation all arount.

Jessica G   April 6th, 2010 1:42 pm ET

I am a parent of special needs child. I have had to physically hold my child to prevent him from harming himself and others but I would NEVER use restraints on anyone. These children need compassion and understanding not to mention therapy to help them with the things that go through their minds.

Kay   April 6th, 2010 1:43 pm ET

The really sad thing about this trial is I doubt the jury will be informed about how EXTREMELY hard it can be to get child services or doctors to listen about how hard it is to control your child. I know from experience, how hard it can be sometimes to control an autistic child. I agree that using a dog chain wasn't smart, but any other type of restraint I can think of would have had the same result

Deborah Cornine   April 6th, 2010 1:44 pm ET

I have a special needs daughter and under no circumstances would it be acceptable to chain her to anything. These parents obviously didn't want to have to deal with her and chaining her down like an animal was the easiest solution for them. Lots of parents receive disability income from these children so caring for them at home can be financially beneficial in some ways. These parents need to be chained to a jail cell for the rest of their lives. Dipicable behavior.

catsrfree   April 6th, 2010 1:48 pm ET

The parents should be placed in prison and chained up where they cannot move. Each night, someone should start a fire in their cell and allow it to burn until it reaches their mattress...then extinguished. over and over again.
This punishment should continue for 16 years.

Bill   April 6th, 2010 1:51 pm ET

If you have someone that needs special attention, that is what you do. You never restrain anyone with out close supervision and that means for a very short time while you are present. They have been very cruel to this young lady and they deserve to be charged and found guilty in this case.

Bill, Ky.

Donna   April 6th, 2010 1:54 pm ET

I'm a single mother of a special needs child and I can not accept that they would think that chaining this poor child the her bed would ever be OK. What happen to the love in this house that would have answered a lot not sure of what her disability was but if love and kindness is shown you will get the same in return.
That is what I have done with my child that has autism and adhd.

Anita   April 6th, 2010 1:55 pm ET

OMG ! I can't believe this? Regardless of all the so call 'probleoms' they say they had with this child, I gotta believe they could have had Calista in treatment or on some sort of treatment.... NOT tied to a bed. Another thing... How was it that everyone made it out and NOONE! Helped her out, knowing she was tied up?

Tanner   April 6th, 2010 1:56 pm ET

I worked in facilities for children/adults with physical/mental disabilities. So, far according to the evidence shown, the treatment of the child focuses on the bases of abuse. True, children w/mental disabilities coupled with negative behaviors should be restrained to prevent hurting themselves & others but never without 24 hrs supervision. The parents should have sent her to a facility for mentally disabled persons. So, she would have received professional aid 24/7. There is No excuse, if the Stringers could not afford professional treatment there are many non-profit facilities out there; if not in michigan, other states that would be willing to take the child in. NO EXCUSE.

Kevin IL.   April 6th, 2010 1:57 pm ET

As a dog person, I despise the use of choke collars, even on a dog. To go around a 16 year old's waist, and the apparent large size of the links, this was a VERY large choke collar. I wonder, how big was their dog? Was it a Mastiff breed? Was the choke collar bought just to restrain this child?

Cheryl   April 6th, 2010 1:57 pm ET

As a adopted parent of a "special needs child",that has ADHD & a slow learner,this case make me ill & upsets me so bad. I feel that the State of Michigan Childrens Services also has ALOT of explaining to do, This child who went to school & told teachers & others of the abuse @ this home, yet NOTHING was done. If she was such a danger to herself, what the hell was she doing on a top bunk bed? Not to mention the bed had no bed linens in the middle of winter. Where were the smoke detectors? As a mother, I would of saved my child (reguardless or not if it was my bilogical child or not), & how can you call these two parents. I call them MONSTERS who deserve to be chained to a bed with 2-3 inches of movement allowed, & set the house on fire & let them BURN IN HELL !!!

Kathy M   April 6th, 2010 1:58 pm ET

As punishment, why not chain the parents each to a bed, set a house on fire and don't rescue them. If punishments were stricter I believe a lot of the sick things that go on may be prevented. At the least we will rid the world of the losers.

Kate   April 6th, 2010 2:02 pm ET

How can people like this get defended? Why are they putting blame on a deceased "special needs" girl, and if they're found guilty and put in prison, in a cell by their self for protection. Where was the protection for this child. What's wrong with people?

Kandy   April 6th, 2010 2:03 pm ET

This poor girl never had a chance. If I was at home and my house caught fire and I knew my child was upstairs, the dog would have been the last thing on my mind. I would have raced upstairs to protect my child. This is murder in my opinion.

Maxine Boggs   April 6th, 2010 2:03 pm ET

If ther was a "history" of abuse with this girl, why was she still there?

Linda Robinson   April 6th, 2010 2:04 pm ET

I have hard nothing but special needs, that simply names every teenager I have ever meet and none of them require being tied to a bed. Children respond to what is given to them and to the loving enviroment in which it is given. At times it takes loads of time and special physicans educated in this area to teach the parents how to set this enviroment and some parents can not cope but murder is not the answer nor is caging and treatment to satisfy your needs.

Wichita, Kansas

MARIE   April 6th, 2010 2:05 pm ET

It is my understanding that the woman is the step-mother of this poor child and had been treating her badly for many years. The father is a poor excuse for a parent – he should have stepped in and protected her from the evil-stepmother. I truly wonder if the fire were accidental – and the chains, lack of cover, sheets, blankets – this stepmother knew this poor child didn't have a chance. My heart hurts for this poor child, and I pray that justice is done.

Ron Haley   April 6th, 2010 2:05 pm ET

Who says this girl was special needs besides the parents. I bet they never took her to the doctor. The stepmom did not like her so she torured her everyday while the two of them were alone.

gramrafb   April 6th, 2010 2:10 pm ET

Obviously the dog was treated better and loved more than the child. As a human being the child should come first. As a parent there is no question this child was mot even given the basic comforts. These people deserve to be treated in the same manner. Sham on them!

L Earley   April 6th, 2010 2:10 pm ET

I don't feel any decision can be assumed at this point because all of the evidence has not been covered yet. This is a very horrific scene and outcome for this young girl. I do believe she is in a much better place now and her pain and suffering is over. I also believe in our justice system and the jurors to make the correct decision once all evidence has been completed.

Debra Lavenson   April 6th, 2010 2:11 pm ET

Was DSS ever called in to investigate the abuse charges. The school would have reported that. I am horrified that this poor child suffered at the hands of these sick individuals.. What effects will this have on the surviving children. witnessing this terror....

sheri coley   April 6th, 2010 2:12 pm ET

If the parents say they tied calista to the bed at night for her safety and the fire happened at 10 in the morning why was she still tied to the bed?

Virgil Markham   April 6th, 2010 2:12 pm ET

This is a qustion about did the fire marshal.checked the vacum cleaner to see if there was any kind of flameable fluid on it. Were was the other girl when the unless they all slept in the same room why was the girl on the top bed instead of the bottom which wood have made more since.b I think this was premetteded muder!!!!

joyce d   April 6th, 2010 2:12 pm ET

The warden and his guard (parents???) the impromptu prison which
not even felony prisoners must endure . Just because they have not proven the fire was set intentionally , the stage for her death certainly seems to have been constructed in which she had no escape. I do wonder why the state did not remove her from the home completely before her death.
Life in prison is too good for them even they would not receive the treatment they inflicted on their daughter . They are cold calculating individuals how do they defend the indefencible . One can only imagine the horrors she endured and suffered before her death. The prosecutor should be commended in seeking some justice for this young girl .

sissy radic   April 6th, 2010 2:16 pm ET

These parents are responsible for this childs death. The defense says the fire caused the death, well yes, it did. They are helping make the prosecutions case, she died because she could not get out of the house. The chains prevented that! Not the fire. It is incomprehensible that people could do this to their own child.

Rena   April 6th, 2010 2:16 pm ET

Question of the day:How would you control a child with special comment: If that child was that hard to control she should of been in the special needs facility.#2 she shouldnt of been chained like a dog.Where were her protectors why did this go on why was this child abused and nothing done what about the state are they going to get what they deserve for over looking this information that was reported to them on numerous occasion.I feel the parents and the state should be put on trial for murder abuse neglect of a beautiful child that didnt ask or deserve any of this all she wanted was to be loved.

Renie Ker   April 6th, 2010 2:19 pm ET

If the reason for keeping Calista chained to the bed was because she roamed the house at night, why was Marsha using the vacuum in the morning before releasing her from her restraints?

Pam Huggins   April 6th, 2010 2:22 pm ET

I have a special needs child, and I also work with them.
NO child should ever be chained to anything!! I do not even chain my dogs.
Do we know where the childs mom is? If she is still living, why hasn't she checked on her daughter?
I think these people should get the same punishment they gave.

Carrie Eastridge   April 6th, 2010 2:24 pm ET

A child with special needs should not be restrained in any way! You protect the child by changing their environment. I have a child with autism that loves to 'escape' into the outside world. We don't lock him up because we're afraid he'll leave at night. We have deadbolts on all the doors, and I know many other parents have alarms on the doors to make sure their kids don't go outside without someone knowing. Just as with any other child, you don't lock the child protect the child by locking up knives, guns, poisons... This is not even a questionable case to me. Even though the fire may be what killed this child...the parents caused the death! If Calista could have moved, she could have gotten out of the fire. Not to mention, how did her mother save the dog and leave Calista behind!!!!! What parent would not run straight to the child?!?!?! Unreal!

Dava   April 6th, 2010 2:24 pm ET

This is so sad. I hope justice pervails in this case! When so many people can not have children – and fools like this are blessed my God with life. It is really disgusting!

Susan Maurer   April 6th, 2010 2:24 pm ET

I am a single parent of a special needs child (Apserger's and Bipolar) who was dx 10 years ago. NEVER have I even THOUGHT about chaining him! And trust me when I say, there's been WILD, STRESSFUL, DANGEROUS times!
I can't believe what some parents think much less do!
If you cannot help the child, give them to an agency that can!
Calista was treated worse than a dog (who, by the way got out of the fire!)
These two should definately be charged, no doubt

Yuliya Bryant   April 6th, 2010 2:25 pm ET

THis parents had some knowlege of what needs to be done to keep this child safe,but my attention drawn to the chains they used to restrain her in bed.Why they did not use, if it was neccessery at all, the jacket instead of dog's chain. I know that sometimes in certain facilies staff would take everything from the bed, even pillow and blanket, so the pt would not sufficate him or herself,but never heard use of dog chain as a restrain.It is absolutly wrong.

catsrfree   April 6th, 2010 2:25 pm ET

What do you mean exactly by "special needs child"..?? Has an expert witness testified that the girl had "special needs"..? or are you just taking the parents' word for it?

Lisa Love   April 6th, 2010 2:28 pm ET

Chaining a child down is no way to teach a child "problem child" or not right from wrong. It sounds like a lazy persons solution to control their child. Why was this child still chained in bed at 8:30am? This is abuse plain and simple.
_Lisa AZ

john p   April 6th, 2010 2:29 pm ET

i would have looked for help with her i know there is help out there to help with the child i know there help out there i help take care of 104 woman everyday and i felt bed that i to put side rails on her bed i just cant figure these people out i feel so bed for the child

Sheri   April 6th, 2010 2:29 pm ET

I have a special needs child myself; in no way would I ever use this sort of restraint on him for any reason what so ever! Did these people ever take this poor child to see professionals? This is horrible. There are ways to get round the clock care in the home for children and adults who qualify was this sort of thing checked into for this child?
Dog Chains and Choke Collars are not meat for Human beings CHALLENGED OR NOT.
God Bless This Poor Girl.

kathy f   April 6th, 2010 2:29 pm ET

I work with special needs children everyday and understand the challenges they can bring....however, what these parents did to their child is dispicable....there are many agenices and programs available to assist families in giving a child the proper care and treatment.....if these parents were reported to child protective services and they did nothing, I hope they are also investigated. That agency is to protect children from abuse, not turn their head. In addition in my state many families of special needs children do not seek residential/hospital care for these children because they receive SSI payments for the child which they would lose if the child does not live with them.

Cind;yb   April 6th, 2010 2:31 pm ET

It may be true she was hard to handle, but its quiet obvious the reason they did not give her to the state to take care of is "MONEY"!! This child would be a cash cow for the family paid for by the state.

Allie   April 6th, 2010 2:34 pm ET

Control a child with special needs? Wrong choice of wording.
You love them and guide them with a firm hand, if needed, but
you do not 'control' any child. I have a child with several disorders;
it was not easy, but we worked together, as a family, and made
sure his needs were met. Abuse, never entered our minds. He is
now a functional member of society, with a full time job and a new
baby. He leads as full a life as is possible for someone with his 'special' needs. There is ALWAYS a better way to deal with a child
that needs more attention than most, than abuse. That is NEVER the answer.

Michele Clark   April 6th, 2010 2:43 pm ET

Idon't know where the parents received their parenting skills, but why was the daughter chained up in the first place? If she was so uncontrollable she should have been put in a home for mentally ill children instead of being chained like a dog. If the fire was reported at 8:15 in the morning why wasn't she up out of bed? Why was she still chained to the bed and where was the father and other siblings? They said that the mother was unfit and that is why the father had custody of her, but it seems that he was worse than the mother. Other relatives should have taken the child away from the parents or either given her to the state to raise. I can't believe with all the allegations going on in that household of child abuse no one stepped in.

LaVonne Hiles   April 6th, 2010 2:45 pm ET

I just cannot believe what I am hearing on the In Session court about Calista Springer case. They are having difficulty charging parents with murder, but when they restrained her where she could not help her self, her parents took away from her any chance she ever had to save her self in an emergency situation. We never know from one min. to the next what could happen, and because of what Calista's parents did to her, her life is over too soon. If she was that bad, and that hard to handle, and people were afraid of her, she should have been put somewhere where they are trained to deal with such cases.

Kevin IL.   April 6th, 2010 2:48 pm ET

In my previous comment, I prefaced that I am a dog person. I neglected to say that I too am a parent. I am also in opposition to parents who I see with their children on leashes at the mall, and am very voisterous toward them. My point was, why did the parents posess such a large collar? I believe this is crucial evidence pointing toward torture, child cruelty, and perhaps at least, manslaughter. I certaintly hope the prosecution, or a juror, ( I love this concept), asks this question.

mary fluharty   April 6th, 2010 2:50 pm ET

I don;t think they ment to burn the house, because they would find the child chained down.

donna hollar   April 6th, 2010 2:52 pm ET

Certainly NOT chaining them to a beConsistancy the pattern must be the same as yesterday and tomorrow, as well ascalmnes-no anger outbursts from me and compassion,we all of us cannot operate beyond our capibilities. But , especially, Love and Positive reinforcement. God Bless that child's martyered soul.

maria   April 6th, 2010 2:55 pm ET

Where is her biological mother? Think these people( so called parents) are "special" needs! The gary matter is missing in both of their so called brains ( doing such a cruel thing to any living thing) let alone a child. Noticed mama moved from the window that got opened , she must have got a chill, hum?

Tanner   April 6th, 2010 2:56 pm ET

Why does the wife have a private paid lawyer & the husband has a pro bono. What is the status of their salary background?

Oswaldo   April 6th, 2010 2:59 pm ET

I Think these so-called parents should never ever in life have control of another child. Beacuse we won't know if they will do this agian with there own children esipically other family kids.

janice   April 6th, 2010 2:59 pm ET

Where did CPS play into the fault? In opening comments it was mentioned that CPS was made aware of the fact that Calista was being chained to her bed. If so, why was Calista still in that home? Afew months ago I watched the trial of the 16 year old boy in foster care that died at the hands of his foster care father. It was brought out that the boy was removed from his home for skipping school and smoking cigarettes, this child was CHAINED to a bed and remained in the home?? I think child "PROTECTIVE" services needs to get priorities in order. I am not trying to lession the parents responsibilty in any way, their treatment of Calista was horrible.

Patricia A Kelley   April 6th, 2010 2:59 pm ET

This poor little girl....I have custody of a disabled grandchild and lord knows that we luv her to death...These two people are not parent's, they are MONSTER"S !...I understood that special children like this require's more LOVE than a child without disability's...May this baby rest in peace and may the justice system give these MONSTER'S what they deserve, DEATH ALSO!

Thank You,
Mrs. Kelley

Christine   April 6th, 2010 3:04 pm ET

I'd sure love to know why the defense attorney on cross is asking the police officer if the body was moved. He's not medically qualified to determine that beyond a reasonable doubt. Not to mention (myself being medically qualified) I know for a fact that a body that's been through a fire has to be judged differently because of the temperature difference. The blood doesn't settle the same after that kind of heat!
Furthermore, the state has no business chalking this up to first degree homicide, bearing that that judgement requires proof of premeditation, and the firefighters labeled the house fire accidental. Now don't get me wrong, a girl is dead and her parents are most certainly at fault and deserve to serve "life" in prison, but lets not go above and beyond the reach of common sense because our emotions spell revenge. The Law provides for situations like these without having to overreach it's bounds for backwoods little trials.

Oswaldo   April 6th, 2010 3:04 pm ET

This parents should never have a child in their life agian beacuse we wont know if they will do it again with family's kids. So I believe this two people should go straight two jail with no parole or bail. Poor Calista she was just laying on her bed chained like a wild animal just wanting to be slaughter. These 2 people have no hearts what so ever so they should get the maxium jail sentence.

"RIP Calista you are with someone who will take care of you and love you"

Carla Link   April 6th, 2010 3:04 pm ET

Dog chains?? Dog chains are for dogs, not children. This story makes me sick. If the child had to be restrained for any reason, there are softer more flexable cloths to use for temporary restraint. It is against the law in most states that a person can only be restrained for 2 hours and then released for exersize and movement. I wonder were there any signs of skin break down on this poor childs body from constant restraint?
ALso why did the family not have an emergancy plan???

julie   April 6th, 2010 3:06 pm ET

It would appear that Marsha springer is the individual with (special needs) Sitting in court,she shows signs of imbalance. Constant blinking of her eyes,and obviously on medication,as she continues to dose off through the testimony. Or is she simply bored? If A normal person smelt electrical when they plugged An appliance in they'd UNPLUG it immediately. What happened to the fire extinguisher she claimed she tried to use? The officer said it was never found. Did that junk of METAL simply fly away? The defense attorney claimed there was no child abuse. Chaining A child to A bed (Special needs or not) IS CHILD ABUSE.

Nancy   April 6th, 2010 3:09 pm ET

How you tread and discipline a special needs child depends on what their SN are but... in any case the most important tool is unconditional Love, then a good understanding of that child"s needs, and expert outside help to monitor and assist in ongoing progress. NEVER under any circumstances would any child benefit from this abusive treatment. How sad and horrible for this little girl.. Why do people like this even have kids?

Oswaldo   April 6th, 2010 3:10 pm ET

I do not feel sorry for those killers. So for what right they should get the DEATH PENALTY beacuse a crime like this is not forgetble. So let this 2 animals rott away in the jail cell so they can realize what they have done. Even though the parents would never understand Calista Feelings during the fire, jail is the only place for these people to live a life of sorrow.

D. Ange,SC   April 6th, 2010 3:10 pm ET

Why leave smoking vaccum cleaner in room with door close by ? Why not go for daughter upstairs before fire made it impossible ? Why not hire or ask for voluntary help if child was so difficult or needy. Too many other ways to handle situation other than chaining any human being to a bed,much less a child !

Tanner   April 6th, 2010 3:10 pm ET

Dog chains is not an acceptable form of restraint. If facilities used that form of restraint for clients they would be sited for the infraction & would be closed down if it's not corrected. There are many proper/licensed restraints from companies sold on the net & also speciality stores that carry the equipment. This is evident that the parents did not see their child as human being despite the curse due to her disabilities but worst than wild animal.

kathee   April 6th, 2010 3:11 pm ET

How inhumane, there is no defense for people who do these types of things. These breeders (not parents) are evidence that even humans as some animals can prey on their young. And should be put away in a cage, tied up and left to rot. Amen

Karen S.   April 6th, 2010 3:15 pm ET

This is one of the most horrendous things I have heard in a long time. These parents have no defense for behavior like this. Even an adult shouldn't be treated this was little on a poor defenseless child. I worked at a school and saw a lot of out of control kids through the years but not one of them deserved treatment like this. I hope these parents get the book thrown at them.

Alizabeth Oliver   April 6th, 2010 3:16 pm ET

LEt me say that this is abuse for an expended period of time. When parents keep a child home from school where the child is talking about the abuse andf this gets back to the parents, the parents will continue the abuse but to a much sever degree. I wonder how disabled this child was? I was labeld as MR and isolated too. My brother and sister were treated well too. I now have a master's degree and know these parewnts kept this child home so they could continue the abuse. My brother's daughter was said to be LD and my mother kept her home for 10 years to homeschool her too. My neice finally ran away and told my mother she couldn't hurt her any more. These abusers never will stop. Prosecute these parents to the fullest extent of the law. How dare they! I'd like to chain them to the bed and not feed them or cloth them. They will have better treatment in prison than this child had!

Ken Streb in Maryland   April 6th, 2010 3:16 pm ET

It is very hard to set and watch this case or read these comments. It angers me that anybody could treat a human being special needs or not in this fashion. One question I want answered, do the parents still have custody of their other children and second does Michigan have the Death Penaltiy. These animals deserve to die in the same fashion their daughter did!!They don't deserve any rights. If the Prosecution should fail to get a conviction then he needs to hung up his job. Animals like this don't deserve to live !!!!

LouRae   April 6th, 2010 3:19 pm ET

Did someone really say "Maybe they did what they had to do because of lack of insurance"? Really? You should be ashamed to even have the ability to justify. There is no justification for what they have done. There was help out there if they really needed it. Instead they chose to play "GOD". We have no clue what anyone else goes through unless we are or have been in someone else' s shoes but these people clearly are not victims in any way. They took care of their other children just fine.

Tanner   April 6th, 2010 3:24 pm ET

Whether or not how the fire started, I think the mother used it as an excuse to be rid of a burden of a life time. So, to answer why she didn't go up stairs to save her daughter; that's way. Easier to save her own skin & the dog!

Liz M   April 6th, 2010 3:26 pm ET

If this 16 year old was so difficult to handle as alleged, by what means did they achieve restraining her in this multi-faceted choker chain/zip-tie contraption on the UPPER bunk of bunk beds? I have often tried to simply put a 3 year old that didn't want to go into his UPPER bunk. I repeat TRIED.

This child was NOT that hard to handle. Think about it.

patti   April 6th, 2010 3:28 pm ET

I'm a stepmother of a 11 yr. boy. Blind, deaf or dumb I would have died in that fire with my son.

Smithy   April 6th, 2010 3:30 pm ET

I will never believe that Calista was a "special needs" child. She attended a regular classroom in the public school system until her stepmother and father removed her. This was after she started to tell classmates and teachers about the abuse at home. CPS dropped the ball in the case and let the abuse continue. Hope the judge gives them life in prison, even though that's too good for them.

Alizabeth   April 6th, 2010 3:44 pm ET

I wonder what the teachers and administration did about this little girl's case when they suspected the abuse was occuring? I also like smithy don't think this child was a special needs child and if she was tracked as such, children abused for many years can often have lower intelligence scores and be tracked as special needs children, i want to see those Special education reports saying so and not just believe these parents. Also where are the people who are to keep track of what happens to those children who are being home schooled?

Alisha   April 6th, 2010 3:46 pm ET

There is no reason for anyone to be strapped to a bed with a DOG choke collar. Taking care of anyone (child or adult) with special needs should be consulted with a health care professional that specializes in the special needs of that person. It is beyond me why someone would use their own methods in restraining this child. Furthermore, if they were attending a support group for the visually impaired.. why not attend a support group for special needs?? Surely people would have highly disagreed with the parents form of restraint in this case!!

Robbie D   April 6th, 2010 3:48 pm ET

I am a nurse, I once worked as a nursing assistant in a mental health facilt. Never is a person restranded without being checked every 15 minutes. This mother was up doing her morning routine. THIS NEGLECTED child was dipered? The pictures looked this way. She may have been left there 24/7 for all the court knows. If this is true the step mother should have to suffer the same ordeal. There is no excuse in the world for this torture. They will answer to there abuse when they meet there maker. They should be locked in a cell on a mattress that is bare every night for the rest of there natural life, even that would be too kind.

Jane Wills   April 6th, 2010 4:09 pm ET

There are people who should be parents and then there are the Springers who should have never experienced the kiss of a baby's breath against their face.

Myrtle Fennell   April 6th, 2010 4:11 pm ET

I am the mother of 5 girls4 boys, 2 of the boys were faster childrenhich means different rule than my own. Even punishments wer different. This what I did read everything on being mental unstable. went any Mentat semenar I could fins and learned to be on top of them even I new what they were thinking before they thought. They were , fire setters , fighters you name it I had to go thought it with these last two boys. No changes, no abuse.The last one is now 18 and graduating in June. I would catch them in everything they did. I was that close upon them and there movement. Informed the school what to look out for.Never leaving them alone. sit by me, play by me where I could see. If the mother in this case could not see she was both she and the girl were in trouble from the begaining. Both being left alone ,trouble.what get me is the fack that eventhough the girl was special need she didn't set the fire and had nothing to do with it. IF she was our of control she should have never be left alone not even with the mother being her sight was off.My children had a Dr. who gave them the meds they need to come them down and if they got out of control and the meds didn't help I sat with them and restrained them with my hands and adminstered love and compassion , food, water, conversation,toys or whatever was near me to use until the meds kicked in and most of the time it worked.there were only a few time I am told by my older children they got into something I didn't see. But somebody did they were never unwatched in the house or out. I took them to the park and find a big spot and let them go until they were so tried the were ready to eat and go to bed when we got home. Trouble at school would get out of hand if the teachers didn't listen to me and went out on there own. They would learn very quickley to here me out and stay in touch and in tune with me and then and only then could we keep them safe another day.

Diane Sower   April 6th, 2010 4:19 pm ET

By all means, let's put a collar around our kid's necks and chain them to their beds, and announce to the world that we are good parents. This doesn't even pass the smell test. That girl would have thrived much better in an institution.

Diana   April 6th, 2010 4:19 pm ET

Those things that tortured this poor girl deserve the same treatment they gave to her. I volunteer to administer their therapy on them! Oh please let me get near those despicable things! I have never heard such treatment given to anyone, including special needs children, other than as acts of torture. And the entire community should be held acountable for allowing this girl to be left in that hell! May all these "people" experience hell!

Susan Watts   April 6th, 2010 4:21 pm ET

If Calista was such a danger to herself or others there should have at LEAST been someone in the home 24/7 to ensure safety. Baring that she would have been better served in a group home or other residential placement. I think this is especially true if the argument is that there were no blankets on the bed also because of safety issues.
Susan Concord, Ca.

Rhonda   April 6th, 2010 4:28 pm ET

How in the world could anyone do this to a child?? The question I have is, How did she eat, or was she even allowed to eat? These so called parents, no matter what the childs illness was, should be publicly hung!!!!!! I really have a hardtime getting my mind around such abuse!!!

Kelly   April 6th, 2010 4:36 pm ET

What I don't understand is if the parents only restrained her at night when she was in bed then why was she chained up when the fire took place?? From the looks of the pictures it appears to be daytime and the step mother was home and clearly awake so why wasn't the little girl with the step mother?
I have a child with severe mental illness and rather people believe it or not these kids are very perceptive to the way they are treated. Perhaps she was reacting to the abuse this poor girl endured for years and years.

heather   April 6th, 2010 4:44 pm ET

first i feel that you need to sate what the special needs are. and regarding the case this qustion is about why would you have other kids in the same room with the girl when they say they don't fell safe around her and did they go ask the state for help with this girl.

Kelly   April 6th, 2010 4:46 pm ET

These parents are pathetic and so are all the people coming to testify for the parents to have allowed this abuse to go on so long.
Did anyone of the people that knew this family and plan to comment that Kalista was out of control ever put abuse and the girls behavior together?? Having a mentally ill child I am certain that the abuse Kalista had to live with for so many years played an enormous part in her behavior. Shame on all of the people who will testify that this little girl was out of control and never did anything to save her from her so called "parents"

Ron   April 6th, 2010 5:14 pm ET

Robbie You are probably right, Calista was strapped to that bed 24/7 in a diaper. R.I.P. Calista.

Doug Brown   April 6th, 2010 5:15 pm ET

Before commenting on the appropriate measures are to use restraints to protect your child from harming themselves or others I would have to ask: "what type of diagnosis and behavioral problems" do they have? what is this persons mental capacity? Would this person have been able to 1. know what fire is? 2. know the dangers of a fire? 3. have the ability to know to leave a fire.
I want to know more about her disability... Does anyone know?
This is a horrifying nightmare and having a career as a CNA I have dealt with adults and children with various disabilities and have seen the need for restraints, not that anyone should make them with choke chains.
I want more info.

Kathleen   April 6th, 2010 5:16 pm ET

You control your child with all the love that GOD gave you to give.

V.W   April 6th, 2010 5:19 pm ET

I like your idea catsrfree.

Doug Brown   April 6th, 2010 5:36 pm ET

I hate the way she was restrained and would have died in the fire before I would let her lie there helpless and tortured by fire. If CPS new this was happening why didn't they act to protect this young woman?

Darlene   April 6th, 2010 5:56 pm ET

oh my word. This is the worst I have ever heard. The prisners in Gittmo are treated better than this poor child was treated. This is so sad and heartbreaking.

Karen F   April 6th, 2010 6:35 pm ET

Perhaps Calista was NOT a special needs child AT ALL, just affected by abusive parents. The father and stepmother WILL get consequences. Those consequences have already begun. I hope the consequences include the maximums provided by law against both of them, and perhaps their fellow prison mates will not take kindly towards them both, thereby increasing the penalty consequences at the hands of indignant fellow prisoners who hate abusive parents.

Aubrey H.   April 6th, 2010 6:44 pm ET

Let's play Devil's Advocate: Say the child was indeed special needs. For the sake of argument, let's say she was violent, self-mutilating and dangerous for all who cared for her. Let us further speculate that she was incurable, untreatable and destined to live her life on the outskirts of reality. How, then, were they able to send her to school until 3 years ago, take pictures of her in relaxed social situations (Christmas, playing outside etc) and manage to keep her condition private, with no one the wiser?

The facts are these: IF, and that's a big IF, she needed restraint there are legal, practical and medically sanctioned methods of restraint. IF she was uncontrollable, there are laws, institutions and agencies designed to help parents deal with mentally ill or 'special needs' children.

The defense has yet to prove a) Calista was mentally incapable of understanding simple commands or responding to behavior modification therapies. b) She was pulled from school due to behavioral issues. c) If anyone other than her parents considered he to be difficult to control.

Unless the defense can show the child was indeed 'special needs', the restraints are therefore unnecessary and become an issue of abuse, not control.

The label 'special needs' is nothing more than an excuse for these lazy parents. There are ways for new mothers to abandon their babies without repercussion, places for people who wish to be rid of their animals to leave them unharmed, and there was, without doubt, recourse for these close-minded, self-serving, ignoramus parents.

Jennifer H   April 6th, 2010 6:52 pm ET

These people should receive the same punishment they put their 16 year old daughter through and then be set on fire. Why waste taxpayers money allowing them to see another day behind bars. That's not enough punishment. Some people should never be allowed to have children!!

JGS   April 6th, 2010 7:44 pm ET

We have lost all sense of morality in this country with civility not to far behind. Would it do any good to mention the similar cases that popped up in 2009 and 2010 it just has to stop, the evil is rampant in this world of hours when will it stop??.

toni   April 6th, 2010 9:57 pm ET

this poor child lived in torture and died in torture

punish to the max the subhuman parents who don't deserve the title

ROSEY   April 6th, 2010 10:13 pm ET

This is beyond outrageous!!! I hope this 2(so called parents) get ALL they deserve!!! You can tell right off, she was abused, neglected, and starved. Even though you cant see the pictures in detail, you can kind of see she was rather small and thin for her age, which obviously means she was very malnuriged. If she did have those so called special needs she should have been placed in a hospital, where professionals could care and monitor her 24/7. WTH??? tie her like that, like a chained animal?? Its unbelievable!! Theres ALWAYS, some type of danger that could occur. Theres possible disasters, like an earthquake or such, and of course fires. What the heck?? And poor baby what if she needed to go to the restroom. was she supposed to just do it on her own bed?? And the part that brought me to tears, was when I heard the officer state that the 2 other beds had linen, blankets and pillows except hers!! It was February!!! But yet, her own 2 daughters where treated like little princesses! OMG Im soo outraged, I cant believe this people got away with this for soo long, unfortunelty til it was too late for this poor innocent child. I hope with all my heart they do get everything they deserve, here and when they meet their maker!!

tasha   April 6th, 2010 10:31 pm ET

How can the parents and the defense team say " she died because
of the house fire not because of their abuse."
She wouldn't have died if she wasn't chained to the bed, you sick
freaks. I hope you rot in prison. Most of all edure the physical and mental abuse that you have enflicted on your own child.

Kristy Howard-Clark   April 6th, 2010 11:44 pm ET

The prison guards should be allowed to chain each of these evil people to their prison cots and torture them the way that they did the child.

Shelly   April 7th, 2010 1:47 am ET

I also have a special needs child. He is now 19 but mentally he is around 12. He has explosive disorder and anger management issues, not to mention his other medical problems. He has spells where he will harm himself, he doesn't sleep well at night and sometimes wanders the house all hours of the night. NEVER,NEVER would i consider such actions. I have, and will continue to hold him and talk to him to calm him to keep him from hurting himself. Each child is different and you have to learn how to deal with each one in their own special way. My dog is chained in the back yard......NOT MY SON!!!!!!!!! love, love, love and lots of it is what these kids need. Maybe she did act out but so would any of us if we felt like we were unloved and chained to a bed everynight

Gerry Wissiak   April 7th, 2010 2:04 am ET

It is difficult to believe that anyone could think that these parents might not be guilty of one of the most heinous crimes imaginable. No matter how serious the condition of Calista might have been it would never justify tying her down with a chain on a bed with no covers or pillows, and that in the middle of winter. They could easily have contacted child care authorities to obtain advice as to how to deal with their daughter's condition. Most certainly they would never have suggested tying her to a bed with chains. Considering how cold hearted the parents acted I would not rule out the possibility that the parents treatment of their daughter caused Calista's condition in the first place. These parents should not wait to burn in hell, their hell should start on earth and right now.

Nick G   April 7th, 2010 3:42 am ET

First of all the concept of the child being special needs i am skeptical of adhd has been proven to be a waste basket diagonise a way for the school boards to drug kids in school and not put the extra effort in.

Second of all ALL Murders no matter the situation should be capital offenses, They (the state and those states that dont have capital punishment as well as provances of canada need to wake up) The system needs to be simpified with 1 singluar appeal not yrs on deathrow. The parents of this poor child should be convicted of first degree murder and face capital punishment not life inprisonment.

Third and lastly If the child was chained to a bed all the others that knew of it (noticed on court tv today the defense plans to call a ton of so called witnesses to try and valite their claims) should also be charged Why for example is it that if a law enforcement officer is shot and killed that they are able to charge and convict someone that didnt fire the gun but they (the state) can't or doesn't seem to ever charge others oh ya thats right the defense needs some witnesses to put on the stand to boster their outrageous claim(s) law abiding citizens of both the united states and canada have to really do something about the Do-gooders....

warsteiner   April 7th, 2010 8:32 am ET

If there is a problem that is so bad you need to bind someone then you need to either institutionalize them or put a location bracelet on them but never imoblize them just in case this happens.

Beejay N   April 7th, 2010 9:20 am ET

Has anyone checked the back ground of the biological parents?
Also how many previous foster homes she was in?
When you ask if she was an abused child you must look into these factors also.

jeannie   April 7th, 2010 9:25 am ET

I think that if little calista was a special needs child that needed around the clock care why didnt the parents place her somwwhere so she could be watched 24/7. That is no reason to tie a child down. I believe that the parents didnt want to be bothered with her otherwise why were the other children not done the same way. My heart goes out to calista and i know that she will not be mistreated anymore. Its just so sad to think that a human being could do a innocent child that way it makes me sick and i hope the springers get what they deserve.

Bobby Jean   April 7th, 2010 9:35 am ET

Did this child go to public school. Have you ever ridden a special needs school bus? They have leg restraints, arm restraints, a safety vest that hooks the child on both sides of the waist, at both shoulders and a crotch strap to keep the child from sliding out of the vest, and this confines the child to the seat because there are metal rings at the attachment points to secure them to the safety vest strap that is already attached to the seat. They have spit guards, bite guards and this is sometimes to protect the child from eating their own hands, fingers,etc. Check the school system and there should be a paper authorizing the school, the bus driver and everyone else on how to safely care for this child. If you watched the bus driver, teacher you would probably think they were being cruel in what they were doing but in all actuality they were doing what was best for the child's safety according to their system. Can the school use these kinds of restraints and then what do the parents do? It does look cruel sometimes in what has to be done but walk in these parents shoes first and then decide.

Doubleeekat   April 7th, 2010 10:04 am ET

Unless you are a paramecium living underneath a rock, you would know that if you have a special needs child there are many places that offer help and support for both the child and the parents. Chaining a child to a bed is barbaric in and of itself. There is no excuse for what happened to this child. Can you imagine this child's last thoughts? If the child was dangerous, perhaps the child should have been put in a facility capable of giving this child a suitable life.

Beverly Promisel   April 7th, 2010 10:11 am ET

Michigan parents
In stead of locking up their daughter why didn't they lock up the knife,razor blade and garbarge

Anne   April 7th, 2010 10:16 am ET

If Calista was a "special needs" teen and prone to wandering, why not just lock her bedroom door at night and putting bars on the windows so she can still move around freely and not hurt herself? I guess that would require actual parenting skills, which these two clearly didn't have. They should be locked up for life!

Diane   April 7th, 2010 10:25 am ET

This crime is truly outrageous!! My thought as I listen to the prosecutor which has made it quite clear that their was reported abuse and restraints used for several years and some of his witness's are social workers that knew of the restraint devices used on this young girl, my question.....WHY didn't social services remove this child from the home and put her in a safe environment as well as one that could help her with her "special needs." I believe the system failed this young girl as well as her parents!! If social services knew of the restraints, it must of been fine to continue using them if these parents were not charged with abuse or torture in earlier years.

Judi W   April 7th, 2010 10:25 am ET

Animals have more rights than children.

Kay   April 7th, 2010 10:27 am ET

I wonder if the defense team's claim that Calista had "special needs" has any truth to it. Perhaps Calista's only recourse to combat the abuse perpetrated by her "parents" was to act out...or to try to escape. Fight or flight is a natural fear response.

Amour   April 7th, 2010 10:35 am ET

Since I have been reviewing this case I have not heard of any such reports where the Springers had previously done anything close to abuse, however, this case is very new to me so there could just as well be some history of abuse here. If that is the case and Calista had shown signs of previous abuse and Child Protection was aware of said instances they are just as at fault for this death as the Springers.
Throughout this case I have heard that Calista Springer was a "special needs" child and required a special setting because she was at risk of hurting others as well as herself. This doesn't mean she can't be placed in a setting where other non special needs children are it simply means she will need a little more attention buy i digress.
The fact still remains that the Springers had no previous knowledge or training in proper restaints for handling a child with "special needs" and this is very evident throughout the hearing. I believe they were very negligent in their parenting skills and I personally feel any parent that cared for their child what do what ever they could to become educated in what it takes to restain their child or get the help he/she needed to get this issue under control. The way Calista was tied up and chained like an animal shows definite abuse and torture at that particular time and there is no telling how deep this abuse or torture had been prior to her death.
A child has died at the hands of her own parents and they should be charged accordingly.

dano   April 7th, 2010 10:44 am ET

I think these are special needs parents, they needs to be locked up for life. Two really cruel people.

cindy r   April 7th, 2010 10:45 am ET

im so glad the judge let the evidence be used. this is murder as in case of fire the girl had no way out. let the parents be inprisoned as the girl was.

Kevin IL.   April 7th, 2010 10:47 am ET

Question of the day;
This child was still chained to her bed at 8:30AM while the mother was vacuuming. Plus, ther were no comforts, no sheets, blankets, or pillow.
I don't think it's a far stretch to believe Calista was intended to be in restraints ALL DAY, not unlike children being locked in a closet for long periods by abusive parents.
Kevin, IL.

Zappardino, Robert   April 7th, 2010 10:50 am ET

It maybe hard to prove premeditation in this case with 12 juriors, but this is an case of abuse, and the state should seek the max. the piont of criminal prosecution is to see justice done. Nail them for this INNOCENT CHILD OF YOUR STATE. REMEMBER YOU ARE CRYING OUT FOR HER.

PHYLLIS   April 7th, 2010 10:50 am ET

Calista nor would anyone else deserve this. Where is her mother ? Where are other realtives ? School teachers, siblings ? There's no question this child was abused !!! Did they even try to get her out ? What kind of father leaves his child to burn to death? I sure hope they get burned !!! s they

Stacey   April 7th, 2010 10:50 am ET

I am appalled of the fact that these parents chained their child...i have a friend with a special needs child that is violent towards herself but Mom has NEVER chained her....what are these people thinking?????

Shirley   April 7th, 2010 10:52 am ET

There is no way that a child whether disturbed or not....u don't restrain a child with a chain without doctor consent or even medical advice. ..period case closed!!!!!

Zappardino, Robert   April 7th, 2010 11:05 am ET

It may be hard to prove premeditation with 12 jurors, but this is a case of abuse and torture seek the max on those. Remember; Vincent Bugliosi , closing argument this child is crying out from her grave. Answer her!

Jenifer   April 7th, 2010 11:06 am ET

This reminds me of the movie An American Crime: The Gertude Baniszewski story where she tortures that teen girl Sylvia Likens, chains her in the basement and then she eventually dies, and she wasn't even her child, but she was the only one treated like this. Disgusting

Brianne   April 7th, 2010 11:07 am ET

The wrong people are breeding. Seriously!! What has this world come to?!

sandy folsom   April 7th, 2010 11:12 am ET

my question is,why did they pull her out of school?sounds to me likew they had something to hide.did they chain her to a chair at school? no i don't think so.sounds like abuse here to far as suing the human services,don't you worry they have it all wrapped up,when push comes to shove.we had a case here in maine where a mother duct taped a 5 year old,to a high chair.she was a social worker and the biological mother wanted to sue,but was told that she could not sue them.but i think it should be allowed to,if there is justifiable cause as was iun this case.human services broke their own rules,when they let this worker have this 5 year old &her sister stay in her home,when it was not suppose to be.that's the problem with the system,they think they can do what they want and they get away with it. sandy

Marci R   April 7th, 2010 11:16 am ET

The parents claim they chained Calista to protect her from herself yet they overlooked fire safety? Poor child.

Wanda   April 7th, 2010 11:19 am ET

Hi: This case makes me furious one I am a single parent of a 17 year old born with Downe's Syndrome at birth my daughter is midly retarted I have had my daughter's in various programs and she has done well and is still doing well in school no it is not easy but I have help from family my foster mom who has since passed away was a blessing I can no longer work I do not isolate my daughter no not everyone needs to know she is handicapped yes it is hard but there is help and I now listening to how that smoke did her my God.

They are awful I presume mom did not work did dad to me she was chained to this bed 24/7 home schooled right what were her special needs that would help if we knew my daughter has a mild case of downe'syndrome she died a horrible death a fire now everything comes out mom and dad now what you got to say and they say her face got burned the worse oh my God.

She was undrweight school no because they would of known things were not right in the home I worked as a cna and patients are turned more then she was did they have family that could of helped well I am just furious a lot of the comments have explained some of the things that could be done and special ed I have IEP 'S okay which is a plan o
stating what will be done the following school year I have attended these meetings but due to transportion they have the meeting send the plan home and I look over her teacher has a notebook that he writes in every day and I write back my daughter has a one on one aid in school I work with others to okay insurance my daughter's insurance pays for her services I have each and every one of her IEP

Rich   April 7th, 2010 11:25 am ET

Chaining a troubled child down is not the solution. If her behavior was that bad she should've been placed in the care of professionals and removed from the home. The fact that the parents didn't take into consideration that she wouldn't be able to get out of the home in case of emergency in my book constitutes criminal negligence.

Susana Corpuz   April 7th, 2010 11:26 am ET

There was no doubt that this poor child sufferred years of abuse. Being a nurse all my life, I cannot comprehend how another human being much more your parents can do this astrocity to a child.
They could have asked for help or give her away. I treated my dogs and loved them much more than this so called parents.

toni   April 7th, 2010 11:26 am ET

did they find out if any food was in this child's stomach at the autopsy?
if so, when was the last time she ate, and what was it?

Sue Schneider   April 7th, 2010 11:29 am ET

This is the most horrendous thing I have ever heard of chaining and torturing a beautiful child. I do not care what her special needs were she was a human being. These parents were plain sadistic and enjoyed it, because they kept doing it. There was another daughter in the house how in the world did she survive seeing this treatment of her sister for so long. The torture part comes from the continued restraining of this girl and the lack of any love being shown to her. No food or maybe water and medicine being given to her to make her sleep. My god I hope they put these people away for what they did to their daughter. This is just horrible to know that this has happened.

A   April 7th, 2010 11:32 am ET

I was born with mental disibility and faught it all my life. I've seen Doctors of all types, and only started to get rid of it after 18 years of medical treatment. (I'm 20) Asside from family done research I have personaly researched Mental health. I am currently in the prossess of admission to a Psychology Degree.

So far I have seen seficiant evidence of child abuse, and improper medical treatment.

If a child is truly so out of control, Medications, Non-volintary Hospital Stays, and proper MEDICAL GRADE, restraints could be used.
If you are restraining somone you are obligated to protect them as they cannot move.
At this point I would say that Involentery mansluater is the min. Guilt of the parents.
The only variable is if the fire was intentional.

Proper medical restraints are padded and NOT chains. If the parents could not get that right (weather by finance or otherwise) they should have put the child in the care of someone who could. There is also standard Hospital SOP of removing the restaints in intervuls and testing if they are still nessicary.

Melanie   April 7th, 2010 11:34 am ET

It is so clear that these parents are guilty. This child is being treated like an animal rather than a human. If they were really concerned about this child's special needs then they should have gotten her help. It is really disgusting that any parent could treat their child this way, being a mother myself.

DeAnn   April 7th, 2010 11:48 am ET

There is no reason what so ever to chain a child to a bed ..with a dog chain at that !! What a horrible way to die !! I say they do the samething to her parents..That should be thier sentence !!

Jenn M.   April 7th, 2010 11:50 am ET

As the parent of of special needs child myself the thought of restraints has crossed my mind at times when my son would wake up at night all the time but I have never restrained my child because though we think it why would someone actually act on it. Plus she was chained during the day clearly this is abuse. If she required restraints most of the time this child should be in a hospital to get the care and safe environment she needed.

Beverly   April 7th, 2010 11:54 am ET

Why didn't child services help get the state to come in and help with someone to stay at night with Calista.I have a special need son and i have someone to help me with him.Thank God For That.I think mom and dad were in a bad spot and noone helped that night with Calista.
Beverly,Rockford ill.

heidimichele   April 7th, 2010 11:54 am ET

I am a Paramedic and know all too well how smoke inhalation and heat affect the body. There have been questions about how much this little girl would have suffered. Let me tell you; she suffered and she was terrified. The heat would have caused her airway to swell shut and she would have felt like she was suffocating. Add to that the heat (imagine what it feels like to put your hand in a 500 degree oven) and her knowing that she was trapped to the bed, her terror must have been to great to bear. I only hope for her sake that the Benadryl she had in her system kept her blissfully unconscious in those last moments, so that she didn't suffer as greatly as I am afraid she did. These so called parents deserve more than life in prison, they deserve the death penalty.

Yuliya Bryant   April 7th, 2010 12:00 pm ET

I did not hear where are the other two girls were? Where was the husband? May be police does not look into the right direction? Sometimes parents would cover for their children. I do not want to say that investigation turned wrong, but is this possible that other girls involved into this horrible situation.What happened to this girl is looking to me more than just parents tired of her.She lived with them for 16 years.

A. Stewart, RN   April 7th, 2010 12:05 pm ET

Ryan, I am outraged & hurt that this child suffered in this way. I am a RN in Michigan & I think what these so called Parent's did to this child is just not humane. These people should be locked up until their death's, just like Calista was. If these so called "Parent's" were not able to care for a special need's child, there are many agencies in Michigan that could, with safety. This situation is crazy!. I know that everyone is deserving of a defense, but come on, this is Abuse, Neglect & Torture at it's best.

Jo Travis   April 7th, 2010 12:09 pm ET

This is a no-brainer. What part of "SHE WAS CHAINED TO THE BED" does ANYONE not understand?

Niki R   April 7th, 2010 12:17 pm ET

If this child was supposedly given that huge dose of Benadryl for bedtime, why is the dose so large in the AM. I think the mother dosed her in the morning so she would sleep all day and she wouldn't have to deal with her. I am absolutely shaken to think of the terror and pain this child felt as she died. I have 4 adopted special needs children, yes it is the most difficult thing I have ever done, but I would never treat them this way.

Debbie   April 7th, 2010 12:18 pm ET

I think the delay in notification of fire dept.(finally by a neighbor) was so stepmom could wait for Calista to die first, then rush herself out of the house,and I think stepmom had intended to unchain Calista so it wouldn't look suspicious,but sirens kept her from doing that . Those parents didn't want that poor girl and saw to it she was no longer going to be a member of that family. I'd like to know if they had life insurance on her! Karma will get them!

Tim   April 7th, 2010 12:27 pm ET

The defense maintains that Calista was restrained for the benefit of her own safety overnight. This fire occurred much later in the morning, long after everyone in the house was up and readied for their day, and had left for school and work, or was busy with their household chores.

That Calista was still restrained to her bed well into the morning clearly indicates that this was not due to her own safety during the night, but that she was considered a nuisance and was chained up, even during the day, to keep her out of the way and from being a bother.

Connie   April 7th, 2010 12:29 pm ET

Where this people getting assistance from the state for Claista? Why didn't the other children report this, or the neighbors. This poor soul was abused to the MAX. That poor child never knew a pleasant day in her 16 years. God has her now and she is very loved. My heart just breaks every time I listen to the Medical conditions of what was done to her. May God have mercy and the final judgement on those awful people.

Susan   April 7th, 2010 12:29 pm ET

When are states going to stop adopting out children that cannot maintain in a home environment?
I also adopted a "special needs" child and unless you live with that child 24/7 you have no idea the dangers of them living in your home and the extent that you go to protect everyone in the household.

It is tragic that this young lady has died. Social service agencies many times just send the children back to the home, because there is nothing that they can do.

char   April 7th, 2010 12:30 pm ET

There is ABSOLUTELY no reason to have a child chained to anything.
These people need to go to jailed and chained to their quarters.

Patti   April 7th, 2010 12:35 pm ET

The fact that there was 2X the normal dose of benadryl in the child's system shows that she was either re-drugged in the AM, or was given an exceptionally high dose the night before, depending on the half-life (the rate of metabolism) of benadryl.

Penny   April 7th, 2010 12:36 pm ET

These 2 people really fall in the dumb category. If you are having problems with a child to the point that you can no longer control them, you seek help. If the people responsible for helping them, didn't do what they could to help these people, shame on them. At the same time, you DO NOT CHAIN YOUR HUMAN CHILD TO A BED! Or a chair, or a cage. If Calista was that much of a danger to herself or others why wasn"t she committed to a mental health facility. Regardless of the childs illness these parents deserve life in prison for their callous disregard for human life.

Paulette   April 7th, 2010 12:37 pm ET

I think that what these parents did to this young girl was more than abuse and I don't know how they could live with themselves. Children are a gift from God. How would they like to be chained to their bed? That child's death was horrible. I think what these parents did was the worst kind of abuse and why didn't child protected service get involved and removed this child and other children from the home.

anita   April 7th, 2010 12:39 pm ET

I have a daughter like Calista. She is currently in an out of state facility because my state did not have any place that could help. We lived in fear every day, horrible fear for both herself and for us. When children don't sleep, it is impossible to keep them safe. When meds don't HELP them sleep, and the doctors have reached the limits of their knowledge, without incredible tenacity and an excellent health care plan, there are few options. While I never chained my child up, I also haven't had a full night's sleep since she was born in 1995.......until we found this center and she was accepted

By the way, for those ignorant people who believe that there is help...there is precious little. Not enough money and not enough places and too many children on this spectrum. Home care helps, but the rules for respite vary from state to state and are mostly limited to cases of retardation. Children on this spectrum are not retarded, they don't qualify for most programs. Our society is not equipped for the large numbers of children on the autism spectrum at this point, and children who are intelligent, learning disabled, and autistic don't qualify for much extra help.

Robert Carmody, Reno   April 7th, 2010 12:41 pm ET

the defense attorney is arguing that the fire killed the girl, not the parents

regardless if a child dies from strangulation caused by restraint or by a fire- it amounts to the same thing; if you tie someone up and leave them defenseless you pay the piper- the Springers deserve no sympathy

roy   April 7th, 2010 12:42 pm ET

If the parentsa had good insurance we would not be here, also if in a mental hosp, you don,t think they dont chain people down ,what if there was a fire would they get charged with murder!

Susan   April 7th, 2010 12:49 pm ET

Thank you for your post Anita. People Do NOT understand the lack of services!
My adopted son has been incarcerated for 9 years (since age 13) because of his violence. I did everything except chain him down. That was not an option that I would consider, but after his attempt to stab me, he had to go to a state ran facility where he did stab someone!

AGAIN,,,,some children should not be eligible for adoption.

Jeremy Wight   April 7th, 2010 12:50 pm ET

The defense tried to emphasize the relation between the emergency staff "restraining" Calista's mother for her safety and Calista's mother restraining Calista for her safety

Carmen   April 7th, 2010 12:53 pm ET

Not only the parents murdered the girl but everybody that knew including siblings, Children protective services,etc,etc, They should be chained at all times, Also clearly she was kept dirty and drugged, They are all monsters the ones that condone this treatment.

Doris   April 7th, 2010 12:53 pm ET

This case sickens me. I am outraged that parents can justify for one second chaining a child to a bed, let alone restrained so tightly that she was unable to even move. There is no reason or behavior that warrants treating a child like this, which is worse than a dog. A dog on a chain at least has a lead to move around and go to the bathroom. Shame on the other sisters, family members, or anyone else who attempts to justify this type of torture on any child, special needs or not. There is no excuse for this!

I applaud the district attorney for going after them on murder, child abuse, and torture. Good for him. There is no doubt, had that girl not been chained down she could have closed the door, opened a window, called out for help, or jumped out the window. Because of the parent's conduct, specifically the step-mother, she died and had to chance of survival. They should be held accountable.

Additionally, I'm not convinced that this fire was not deliberately set. No extinguisher was found, though the step-mother claimed she tried to use it. It appears she waited a short time before calling for help. Additionally, she has been lying about incidents related to this situation and can be "playing" how upset she was about "her baby." I don't know any loving parent, who cannot even provide a pillow, sheets, or blanket in the dead of winter to a child who is unable to cover herself. And, any mother would do anything to save the life of "her baby." I find this appears to be well thought out on the parent or parent's behalf.

May the jury find them guilty and dispense justice in this case. Also, I hope that any agency involved in this case that failed in its duties is also made accountable in some way. Any people who were aware of this child's abuse and did nothing, should be sickened by their lack of courage and compassion to help another in need.

My heart is sad at the thought of this child enduring this day after day. What a horrible way to live. No human being deserves this kind of treatment, let alone a child.

Teri Ford Thomas   April 7th, 2010 12:58 pm ET

Okay, if women are considered to have bad hygeine, in Feb with snow on the ground, because they dont shave their armpits or legs, then there are a lot of scum bags in the world, trust me. WOW !

V.W   April 7th, 2010 1:00 pm ET

Like you Shelly, I have twin sons at 19 functioning at about 12. Both have same diagnosis within the mental illness category. When they have fits of anger and rage, they actually try to hurt each other. I have many support groups working with me including family. They have been institutionalized several times in their lives for their mental illnesses and to be stabilized. To have twins with the same condition, you still treat them according to their individual needs. That is what I did. I also have two dogs that are house trained. I have never chained them up nor will I ever "chain" my children. You love them, care for them. and most of all, you keep them safe. When you make children/animals feel safe, secure and loved, they will return the favor. Oh, by the way, they are my adopted children.

Donald   April 7th, 2010 1:00 pm ET

Are you sure she was'nt refering to the DOG when she said her baby was in there? As a Firefighter and fire investigator, I can tell you that most often all pet owners refer to thier pet a thier BABY and I have had many over my 27 plus years meet me upon arriving/responding on a fire scene and ask me to get thier baby or to save thier baby. ( THE DOG OR CAT)

doris galvan   April 7th, 2010 1:00 pm ET

i think these parents needs the same thing done to them. that will be real justice in this world. because they act like they are bored in the court room. i just hope they get what they deserve. i have 4kids and i would not hurt them for anything i this world.

Teri Ford Thomas   April 7th, 2010 1:04 pm ET

I think I know why she did not have any blankets or sheets on the bed. I believe that she would use the bathroom in the bed. I mean how could she go to the toilet?

John   April 7th, 2010 1:04 pm ET

I'm sorry, but I think if she was REALLY concerned about her then she would have tried to get in before the paramedics arrived! I think it was the trooper that said she was on the other side of the fence while others were throwing snow to help put the fire out. So it seems like she just put on a show because before the paramedics arrived they was nobody to stop her from going back into the house, besides if she was that concerned, why didn't she try to go upstairs to get her. I have five children and if my house was on fire, then NOTHING on this planet that would keep me from getting them out FIRST! Both parents need to be chained and bound in the same manner, in the same bed and set the house on fire again, let them feel the pain they put that poor girl through.

Teri Ford Thomas   April 7th, 2010 1:06 pm ET

Chains are just unjustified when there are kids involved and not animals. Personally I would never even chain an animal due to the fact that if another animal attacked while chained, the same devistating outcome would arise.

Carol McPheeters   April 7th, 2010 1:07 pm ET

Even if Calista was a special needs child, she was obviously abused or at the very least, neglected. A child that needs to be restrained, is not adquately care for medically. I cannot believe that any child needing physically restraints needs medical treatment. I was a nurse in pediatrics also and if that child needed restraining, she should have seen a psychologist or physician. I have a special needs son as well and would never think of This is definately abuse and resulted in the death of this child.

Penny   April 7th, 2010 1:08 pm ET

If this child went to school, and the school reported these parents to childrens services, why did they not find any evidence to support that she was abused? Did anyone even go to the home? I still haven't heard what disabilities this child supposedly had, but in any case you don't chain a child to a bed! Was she being fed? Why didn't the other sisters report this conduct? How did these people become her parents? If they didn't have any medical insurance why didn't they seek the help of the school counselor who may have been able to point them in the right direction? I have come to the conclusion that these parents just didn't want to be bothered, and they chained her up without another thought. They deserve the death penalty. Too bad they can't get it. They are pure evil.

yola karp   April 7th, 2010 1:10 pm ET

Some things may be explained away but, having lived in that area of mich for over nine years, what possible defense could there be for this girl not havin at least a blanket at this time of the year?

Teri Ford Thomas   April 7th, 2010 1:11 pm ET

In that big old house, I cannot believe that there were no areas that the parents could make a safe room. This is just another child the system failed. I they were not able to care for her why didnt the social services take her out of the situation?

barb   April 7th, 2010 1:11 pm ET

there is no doubt that this "step mother" is an evil person who had plenty of time to get this poor tortured child, calista, out of that home before the fire got out of control. but let that child die on purpose. she seemed more concerned about her dog than Calista...and now pretends to be blind...this evil woman should go to prison the rest of her life...first she tortured the child, then let her die after drugging her.

Jenni Lynn   April 7th, 2010 1:13 pm ET

Its not very endearing to lie to a paramedic about your family pet being a seeing eye dog when your benedryl druged adopted daughter is lying dead in her bed chained to her bed.

jesse   April 7th, 2010 1:13 pm ET

Thit is horrible, but if these parents have a snowballs chance in the fiery inferno they need to go on the stand and try to explain the terrible thing they have done...........

stormy   April 7th, 2010 1:13 pm ET

You wouldn't treat a dog this way these people are pure evil and need to go to prison for life and be treated, as they treated that poor child

Miranda Anthony   April 7th, 2010 1:13 pm ET

Of course she was! That is sick what the parents did to her! A shock collar around the waist? Chained down? Who could think twice about that being abuse?? Also condoms in a waste basket with zip ties, I think everybody knows what was going on in there.. I hope the parents go to prison for life, without execution or a chance of getting let go.

John   April 7th, 2010 1:14 pm ET

If you were to bound and chain an animal in this manner it would animal abuse, so why under any reason would this be considered proper care. It they had to go to this extent to “protect” her, then they should have had her institutionalized so she could be cared for. These MONSTERS NEED TO FRY, God Bless Calista's soul

Karen Noffsinger   April 7th, 2010 1:16 pm ET

The poor little girl died a horrible death. I hope this state has the death penalty. If there is a question of abuse, they should consider the last time she had the opportunity to eat. I consider it to be about 16 hours at the least. Also, did no one hear her screams? Also, the mother is supposed to be partially blind, then she had the advantage, because even if the house was filled with smoke, she would be able to tell where the child was located, and be able to help her out. Also, was the child still able to be mobile on her own, or had she been confined so long that her muscles had lost their ability to hold herself up? Also, did they check on here during the night to take her to the bathroom?
The so called father is chewing his cud, at least that is what it looks like, and the only thing that they (parents) cared about is theirselves.


Kathie   April 7th, 2010 1:16 pm ET

Officer said he found the used zip ties in the trash in the girls room, he said he also found condoms in with them in the trash. Why would condoms be in the girls trash can. What is going on here?

D.J.   April 7th, 2010 1:17 pm ET

First, if this child suffered from developmental disabilities, was there not a caseworker assigned to her? Also, what role did her school play in her care? Seems to me, if she EVER spoke of abusive behavior at home, the school bares some responsibility here as well.
Once the parents started keeping her home from school, did the school not investigate?

toni   April 7th, 2010 1:18 pm ET

even if this stepmother was a evil person, if she did not want Calista to die, why was she not scratching and crawling (as a human being) to get to the child before the fire got her, if she did not want her to die, to me that is murder. Conviction of murder is also necessary.

Kimberly   April 7th, 2010 1:18 pm ET

I feel like her parents knew what was going on. Everyone can not see about a child with special need. I know I couldn't. I wouldn't have killed my child though. It's more options on what you can do. I believe the parents was so tired of her and having to do everything for her. They had to find something to do with her but they didn't want to give her up so they killed her. They chained her to the bed so she couldn't try to escape when she saw the fire or even when they beat her. You know they don't care about her if they was beating and starving her. Excuse this but they should route in hell. Someone need to get an cord and beat them until they get tired of beating them. This is a sad situation.

Julie Anderson   April 7th, 2010 1:20 pm ET

I don't believe these " parents" ever had any intention of caring for this child. Their other children should be taken away. I am a parent, and if my child had issues staying in bed I'd move thier room to the same floor as mine or even move the child to MY room, to protect them.
Motion detectors are a good option as well. I am shocked that others never reported what they saw as far as abuse. The way I see it, the witnesses to the abuse are just as guilty of sid abuse.
And why was she still chained to her bed @ 8:30 in the morning, when the other children were in school? Didn't Calista attend school?

Sass   April 7th, 2010 1:21 pm ET

The investigating Police Officer just testified he found zip ties and condoms in the master bedroom in the waste basket. Was Calista checked for any sexual abuse? I find it very disturbing to hear that condoms were found with the zip ties used to restrain this child.

Sass Neumann, Ontario, Canada

Doris   April 7th, 2010 1:21 pm ET

The sad thing is that these parents are entitled to a defense. They have the right to be represented, the right to fight for their freedom and not be imprisoned. We will have to sit and listen to a bunch of people say how horrible this child was, all in an effort to justify this cruel and unusual punishment and that this was done to Calista out of love. That will be objectionable and reprehensible.

Calista did not have any rights apparently and was unable to get anyone to hear her, or fight for her rights to live a life free of abuse and torture and live like the other sisters...happy, regular children. How sad. I know everyone has the right to a defense, but I sure would not want to be a defense attorney in this case. Well, in fact, I could not represent them. I can find no reason to defend anyone treating a child like this.

Virginia   April 7th, 2010 1:21 pm ET

Both of these animals need to get the death penalty. They clearly abused this child. They probably treated her worse than the dog the mother call her seeing eye dog. How could she smile or think it funny to waste the emt"s time bringing the dog to her while that little girl was dyihng. Did you notice the bed the child was chained to–no sheets. How could a vaccum (sp) cause a fire like that?? That doesn"t make any sense.

Sibylle Peoria AZ   April 7th, 2010 1:22 pm ET

What about these condoms in the parents' trash. I do have questions about that. This ought to be investigate.

Malissa   April 7th, 2010 1:22 pm ET

I wonder what the other kids in the house have to say. Why are they not brought in for some testimony. I am sure they would know the facts to this case. No matter what "condition" a child has, there is no reason that they should be treated like Calista. These parents need to be punished for what they have done. I couldn't imagine the horror that these firefighters and medical personnel went thru that day when they found this child, chained like an animal.

jaclyn   April 7th, 2010 1:23 pm ET

They say that the mother was trying to get back into the house when the firefighters hadn't came out yet. Why did she get out of the house when she knew her daughter was chained to the bed. Special needs children who are "harmful" to themselves do not need to be chained to the bed. How about getting the child real help with a doctor to try to control them. All children at some point get up in the middle of the night and get into things. This is a kid thing.

natasha adams   April 7th, 2010 1:24 pm ET

does anyone know if the they looked to see if the girl was sexually assulted?? didnt they find condoms with the zip ties??

jeri ovalle   April 7th, 2010 1:25 pm ET

The prosecution needs to prove intent for a first degree murder conviction. I am surprised that they would even attempt this since there are no arson charges pending against these parents. So far, all the first responders have testified that the mother was upset, and verbal about her daughter being inside. Her injuries seem to show that she tried to put the fire out. She had to be held down when she felt that the fire dept were not getting to her daughter fast enough.
One thing that stands out to me as a mom is what she called her daughter. Not Calista, but my baby. My baby is still in there. Take pliers and get my baby. It speaks volumes to me about the mothers feelings toward her daughter.

Lana Russo   April 7th, 2010 1:26 pm ET

Even if she was a Mentally Challenged teenager , you do not use chains and plastic ties to keep her from harming herself !!! If that was the case, and you had to go to that extreme then she should of been a ward of the state and then placed in some kind of Behavioral Facility ! Where were her Doctors or Family ? Nobody check on her ?

dave   April 7th, 2010 1:26 pm ET

these two so-called parents make me sick to my stomach!!! with all the government programs all the states have no one should have any excuse with what they did . these defense attorneys make me equally sick defending them . they defend them to make themselves look better in the spot light of the high profile case. there is no defense for this crime . if those 2 think dealing with a handicapped child is rough then let them defend themselves in court and deal with a jury of their piers.... not that would be hard

Joanne   April 7th, 2010 1:27 pm ET

Did the autopsy reveal whether or not Calista had been sexually abused?

Virginia   April 7th, 2010 1:27 pm ET

Not only did they kill that child, they are probably are planning to collect a life insurance claim as well as insurance for property damage. Someone needs to see what kind of life insurance was purchased for this poor child.

desiree   April 7th, 2010 1:27 pm ET

I dont care who you are, but if you are a mother who cares and loves your child/children, you are going to do all you can to save your child. In this case I find it fishy that the parents first of all had their child chained like that to her bed, regardless of her disabilities.... NOBODY should be treated like that!! When the house was on fire and the parents were aware, they should have thought about the girl first and got the pliers, which I'm sure they were well aware they were in the tool box and the location!! Besides, once again NOBODY should be tied down like that!! This story just has so many beliefs on why this insane mother and step father would plan this horrific murder. I feel so sorry for this child; however, she is now in a better place, and God knows this poor child probably endured much more pain and suffering threw her life! I can only imagine what these evil people have done to her even before this tragic murder!!!

anna   April 7th, 2010 1:29 pm ET

I have not seen this case from the begining but from what I have seen so far I feel that there is something wrong with these parents and not the victim. If the child had special needs, (which I doubt) they should have taken her to the doctor or to a mental facility. You dont tie the child up on furniture. If this child had special needs, she should have been receiveing special care not tortured. Also, if they say their child was ill, she should have been the first one taken out of the house due to her lack of ability and illness. I would think that at least one of the parents would run to save that child. Something is not right about these parents. I do think that Calista was abused. I think that a loving parents would find ways to help treat the childs problem rather than use harsh chains to hold her down. I wonder how long that was going on. I am a parent myself and I am horrified and angered by such people.

jaclyn   April 7th, 2010 1:30 pm ET

why would the mother tie the daughter up in the first place? yeah it does say alot about the feelings towards the daughter

Shelley   April 7th, 2010 1:32 pm ET

If Calista's mother was so concerned about her being rescued from the fire, then why didnt she tell the firemen that she was restrained so they would know what to expect when they found her??? The one fireman testified he couldnt understand why she wouldnt move when he pulled on her. The mother NEVER offered that information!

Merri   April 7th, 2010 1:32 pm ET

I am a step mother of 2 teenage boys whoom I love verry mouch. I just hope the prosicuters put those pathetic excuse of parent away for life. Ive been watching IN SESSION for a long time now and when i seen this case I just thanked God i was not there at the cort room close to those pathetic peacess of garbage. But I wish I was there to save Calista from the garbage, chains and everything els. I think this is stupid and I hope the Springers get done to them what they did to Calista and then some. I hope they rot and die a slow painfull death just like Calista had to . Calista :Atlest you wonte be herting any more.

Doris   April 7th, 2010 1:32 pm ET

Jeri, the intent could be to get rid of a daughter, who according to them, was difficult and causing a lot of problems. Anyone can "put on" an emotional outburst. The mothers of the toddlers who have been killed by their own mother's hands, put on quite a show for the first responders as well as for the public, all the while knowing they killed their own children. She could have fought back the fire some to add to her testimony. She also said that she attempted to pull the pin on the extinguisher, yet no extinguisher was found. She also said that there was nothing available to loosen the restraints; pliers were in the same room as the vacuum cleaner. The rug appeared to burn longer than facts justify from the time of the call to the time of the response. I don't buy what Marsha is saying.

Evelyn Blackburn   April 7th, 2010 1:34 pm ET

Would the fire-extinguisher burn completely up, if it were right at "ground zero" of the fire, so to speak. They said the temperature would have been around 400 degrees F. The vacuum cleaner had burned up, leaving only some evidence of where it had been.

Pamela Hamm   April 7th, 2010 1:34 pm ET

Was this young lady abused??/ ABSOLUTELY ,
She may have been disabled, but there IS help for children that have all types of problems. If parents cannot take care of them , then they should have the proper help, that may be able to give her a chance at some sort of Normal life. I say give the parents exactly what they gave the child!

Linda King   April 7th, 2010 1:34 pm ET

Why was this child labeled a special needs child? I have never heard of chaining a child to a bed under any circumstances. Why was she at home, drugged and still tied to the bed at that time of the morning?Why would she have that much benadryl at that time of day? Why was she not allowed sheets, covers, a pillow? Nothing about this sounds right to me. Did the father know how his daughter was being treated? I've seen with my own eyes how a step-parent acts one way with the child in front of the parent, but behind there back there cruel to the child. How did the fire start?
I just pray the girl never woke up.

wendie   April 7th, 2010 1:37 pm ET

If they really thought that she had a mental illness they should have had her in a home. So if she was kept locked up like this from a young age I would have to say yes she was abused possible sexually abused. I think instead of putting her parents in jail that they need to go through the same thing she went through chain them to a bed a start a fire around them and see if they survive. but dont do it fast make it slow and painful.

julia scholl   April 7th, 2010 1:37 pm ET

I heard that there were condoms in the waste basket where the ties were found. Do you think she was being raped and tied up because she was starting to talk about the abuse she was geting in the home.

Kim Charles   April 7th, 2010 1:37 pm ET

I sure didn't need to see a trial to determine that the parents are guilty. Since when in this day and age do we chain up special needs children to keep them from hurting themselves? Are you serious? If the child was a danger to the family and herself why didn't they just put her in a special needs facility? My God she was 91 lbs., and hair all over. I think there was more abuse in that family then what is actually coming out. Let's put the other kids on the stand!! I also think that when child protection negleted to do something about the reports of abuse they to should be held accountable to.

Kim Charles

Nancy   April 7th, 2010 1:38 pm ET

The School said there were no signs of behavioral problems. They said she was timid but never aggressive or hurt anyone. They had good things to say about this poor young lady. So this "Special Needs" song and dance is just that. The parents are blaming this poor dead girl because she can't say they are lying. OMG what this young lady went through before death took over. Knowing there was no one to come rescue her. Her last thoughts were probably "Why?" I can only pray that she went unconcious before she died. May God scoop her up in his arms and for the first time may she feel love and protection.

Sammie   April 7th, 2010 1:40 pm ET

The number of zip ties in the parents trash can along with condoms, I wonder if DNA tests on those would have uncovered sexual abuse of Calista? I think this is just the top layer, things may be worse than anyone could imagine.

Cheryl, CT   April 7th, 2010 1:40 pm ET

Any child who is restrained by their caregivers is being abused. There is no reason to physically restrain a child no matter what their issues. If restraints were that necessary the child would be under the care of a hospital. The fact that the local Department of Children and Families ignored the reports that this child was treated badly is appalling! These are the poor kids they fall through the crack. If anyone see's a child in distress it is there duty to get help for that child. Do not stop until someone listens. I know from personal experience that no one listened when I was a child and I am a full advocate for all children.

Judith Felker   April 7th, 2010 1:43 pm ET

In reference to the testimony of the EMT. I have a feeling that when Mrs. Springer was in anguish and calling out that her "baby" was in there! She was talking about her dog.

Annabelle   April 7th, 2010 1:45 pm ET

No way! Is that defendent (father) seriously nodding off? The camera panned over to him and his eyes were heavy and then closed.

Seriously!?!?!?!?! He must WANT to go to prison!

Linda   April 7th, 2010 1:46 pm ET

It would be interesting to me to know if, regarding the dog that Marsha Springer lied about to get int to ambulance with her: Had she ever referred to the dog as "My Baby"? Maybe the dog is who she was afraid was still in the burning house.

Tanner   April 7th, 2010 1:46 pm ET

Accord to the recent evidence. Yes, I feel that Calista was abused in the past. Even thought she may have mental disabilities, children tend to start acting out when things change after the onset of sexual or physical abuse. Many persons with disabilities tend to have specific routines that when changed suddenly, usually acting out & behavior problems results.
This doesn't excuse the parents to treat the child as if she was an animal.
I don't believe the parents ever sought out professional mental help for the child. No Mental professional would suggest demeaning restraints such a dog collar to control the child. No mental professional would allowed the child to be restrained to a bed unsupervised.

John   April 7th, 2010 1:47 pm ET

RE: jeri ovalle,

I'm sorry, but she only showed that concern when first responders were there, but before they showed up, she was standing outside on the other side of the fence while others were throwing snow in the house to try to put the fire out. Giving the layout of the house, she had to pass the stairs on her way out, the fire wasn't and couldn't have been that involved at that point if it had just started, if she was that concerned she should have went up there to get her and if they couldn't get out, then stay in the room, bust out a window and close the door. That poor child wasn't even giving the chance to survive being chained down and her hands being strapped, a fact that she knew and done nothing about. They deserves a one way ticket to hell.

A caring parent????? What are you watching and hearing????? that child didn't even had a sheet, covers or pillow or anything on her bed, the other two children did. She just didn't want to be bothered with her or her problems. They need to be put to death, end the trial and put them down

Melinda   April 7th, 2010 1:47 pm ET

No child should endure that much abuse. I don't believe it was for protection, the parents didn't want to deal with her. Its sad when people reproduce a child they don't want to take care of. It seems Calista endured years of abuse.

Dorothy   April 7th, 2010 1:48 pm ET

These 2 need to both go to jail . throw away the key! No matter how disturbed this girl was , her treatment was totally unacceptable. Maybe she was disturbed because of her abuse. Mommy dearest sent hubby off to work her other children to school and she was cleaning?????? what about breakfast and the so called home schooling?? NO ..all they did was medicate her and put her on ignore. The medication was likely just to keep her quiet. If the daughter was ever out she was probably afraid to even speak. GUILTY as hell !!!!!!!

Doris Patterson   April 7th, 2010 1:49 pm ET

I was blessed to have had a daughter wthout special needs. Surely, had she had special needs; I am certain that her daily care would have been more important than cleaning.

Terri   April 7th, 2010 1:50 pm ET

My 15 year old daughter and I are watching this intently. My 15 yro, even at her young age, is appalled at how these so called parents treated their daughter. My understanding of the relationships is that the mother is biological and the father is not, which would explain WHY the other two children were treated differently than Calista. They were HIS children and Calista was just in the way. The condoms found in the master bedroom? Hmmmm, I don't know of too many married couples using condoms, so why were they used and with whom were they used with? It appears to me that there is a lot of information that is missing in this case. What were the so called "Special Needs?" If Calista reported the abuse to the school system, why didn't they(the school) take the steps needed to get the state involved. It seems that this child has been failed by her "parents" and the system, horribly!

John   April 7th, 2010 1:51 pm ET

She had not been sexually abused, to answer some of the questiion out there. At least they didn't do that, but they both need to be put 6 feet under

Linda G Ontario Canada   April 7th, 2010 1:56 pm ET

Calista was abused, tortured and neglected without a doubt. The chains were so tight that they left indentations in her young skin. A bed without any bedding at all. If these monster parents she had could not handle her, they should have had her taken care of by people that could. She obviously was not protected by being chained to her bed (prison), it killed her while her wicked stepmother was on another floor of the house. These people need to be in prison the rest of their pathetic lives so that they don't abuse any other children. Calista, angel, rest in peace. You are in a much better place now.

Maria Hernandez   April 7th, 2010 1:57 pm ET

There are no excuses to chain a child to bed, if a child has behavioral problems there are good doctors and treatments. I am very sorry that this kind of thnigs are happening to children that are in need of love and understanding.

Kim   April 7th, 2010 1:58 pm ET

How can any parent treat a child the way these parents did ? If she had special needs as they said she did why didn't they appy for help if they couldn't afford it. There is no reason for the way this child was treated. he had no pillow ,sheets or blanket on the bed she was chained to. Calista was aan abused child who was chained to her bed starved. How can anyone treateds their child in such away that when the house burned down, she was unable to escape from her bed and as a result of that she died. not even the firefighters could do anything to save her life because they were unaware that she was chained to the bed making it impossible for them to recue her. Why didn't child protective services come in and take this child from the home ? Why were the other children treated better than Calista ? There is no excuse for the death of this child. These parents deserve to be procecuted to the highest extent of the law.

Connie   April 7th, 2010 1:59 pm ET

I can not believe what I am hearing!! I don't believe there was anything wrong with that poor girl. She was ABUSE this is true. She was a 16 year old. She would have been a normal teen if not for the CRUEL and INHUMAN treatment. The mother looks and acts like she is the one with problems. My heart goes out to the POOR Child for the years of horrible treatment.

Dee   April 7th, 2010 1:59 pm ET

Hi, I would like to know if anyone tried to test the condoms. That would show at least sexual abuse of this poor child. Dee

dana   April 7th, 2010 2:00 pm ET

I trea my dogs better than they did this girl. I work with special needs people everyday and there is no excuse for ho they treated her. They didnt bother to try to get help with the behavior.

suzzanne   April 7th, 2010 2:00 pm ET

I object to this whole thing!!!! What parent in this world would try to put a fire out first instead of getting everyone out of the house that was in the house. A first started from the vaccum would take a while to consume Calista's room. That ignorant woman got her dog out but not a HUMAN BEING?????? I would get my family out first and then call 911 and then see if I could do something about the fire!!!! Screw the house and its contents!!! You can buy more crap but you cant get back a child!!!!

yvette esquivel   April 7th, 2010 2:01 pm ET

Does anyone think that maybe Marsha Springer was running back into the house to try to free Calista from her restraints in order for their heinous crimes on the poor child not to come to light?

Bernice Peoples   April 7th, 2010 2:01 pm ET

There is no reason on earth to treat a human being like these folks treated this child. She's dead now and can't speak for herself. The parents got caught by virtue of the fire and now they want people to think that the child had issues so severe that they had to treat her this way. They both (parents) should be put back into this same house, chained to the bed and the house allowed to burn down around them.

R. Rowe   April 7th, 2010 2:01 pm ET

I want to know why she was chained on the top bunk instead of the lower and had she always been chained to the top bunk? If it was a matter of restraint then the bottom bunk should have served the purpose.

James T. Grimes   April 7th, 2010 2:01 pm ET

These two low life sub human's should get a sentence of "Death without the possibility of Appeal."

Jack Bennett   April 7th, 2010 2:02 pm ET

Did I hear the fire investigator correctly?

He testified that there were a dozen zip ties in a trash can in the room. He was asked if anything else was in the trash can. Did I misunderstand that he said "condoms"?

anita   April 7th, 2010 2:02 pm ET

We don't know, nor will we ever know, what exactly happened. We DO know that the parents were either abusive OR they were uneducated OR they were so desparate that they did what most of us would not do when they chained her to the bed.

We also know that the state flat out failed in its assistance to this family, whether it was failure to detect abuse, or failure to provide care the family desperately needed.

The best memorial to Calista is not outrage, but rather quiet resolve from each of us to help see that nothing like this happens again in any family that we know.

jennifer   April 7th, 2010 2:02 pm ET

The letter they keep reading from is it something Calista wrote?

Debbie Gelabert   April 7th, 2010 2:03 pm ET

It seems that if Calista was really a special needs child, that her needs would have been noticed in school. School officials would have noticed and made a referral if for no other reason, they would have probably made a referral for the emotional behavior that would have been present. Where is the documentation on the special needs, where is the evidence? If she was special is this something that could have been brought on by the treatment? Also, where is the biological mom in all of this and the grandparents?

Sharon   April 7th, 2010 2:03 pm ET

This is so sad God bless them with a child and they sadden the world with pain, but its ok because she is safe now with God and one day they will try to go thru those golden gates and then they will meet the almighty God . He will send them on thier way thru the gates of hell so they can fill the pain they did to there child.

Linda   April 7th, 2010 2:04 pm ET

I have been watching this trial and something to think about is the so called "Mother" frantic about the "BABY" I really dont think she was referring to Calista. I think her worry was for her dog her "BABY". Once the neighbor reassured her it would be looked after she calmed. I believe they held that child captive in unbearable conditions. I hold the "father more responsible she was His little girl she deserved better from her Father! In cases like this i have to believe that some higher being exists and just removed her from her "HELL".Rest well little girl lost rest well!!!
Linda {Canada}

Valerie   April 7th, 2010 2:04 pm ET

sounds to me like the so called special needs comments where made to lesson their guilty aspects of the cirmes! No one is lacking these days in information to help with what ever your needs are! their is no excuses for this. they need to rot in jail throw away the key! and never be allowed around civel humans again.

Don Spillman   April 7th, 2010 2:04 pm ET

I want to know more about the condoms in the waste basket in her room.....

karen sweatman   April 7th, 2010 2:04 pm ET

Obviously the victim Calista Springer was abused over a long period of time. It's torture to be strapped to a bed and not be able to move. Her mothers' "concern" in the ambulance was for herself. She knew her daughters condition would be discovered and she would have to answer to authorities. It was not concern for Calista.

zana jones   April 7th, 2010 2:04 pm ET

there is no excuse for the way the parents treated this young lady. it really blows my mind that the mother was able to get the dog out of the house but did not think to try and save her daughter. the way this poor child was treated is enough to send these parents to prison for life. because she was restained to the bed is reason enough for the mother to be on trial for murder.

Shirley   April 7th, 2010 2:06 pm ET

8:30 a. m.
Husband and other kids getting ready for work and school- Making breakfast and morning coffee. Then husband and kids leave. Why was Calista not eating breakfast with the family whether she was going to school or not. They supposedly chain her at night for protection but yet she is still chained at 8:30 in the morning. When did she get up and go to the bathroom after sleeping the night and when did she get breakfast and dressed? I don't know about anyone else but there was no way I could vaccume that early in the morning, maybe getting dishes cleared from breakfast but not vaccuming.
I would like to know if any doctor ever diagnosed Calista with any mental disorders of any kind as they claim.

alex carabajal   April 7th, 2010 2:06 pm ET

i think it was wrong for the parents to do that honestly who would do that to there own child and i dont know why people are sticking up for them saying that calista was a bad kid all she needed was help and some one to help her out but did they do that for her no they didnt i really do hope they both get life in prison cause no kid or any one needs to go through the pain that calista went through that just shows how some people are * R.I.P calista *

suzzanne   April 7th, 2010 2:06 pm ET

Oh and she was chained to the bed at 8:30 in the morning! WTF???? What if she needed to go to the bathroom...oh well, just let her pee on the bed and lie there wet and cold in the MIDDLE of WINTER!!! This makes me SICK!!!!

jill   April 7th, 2010 2:07 pm ET

I believe the parents need to be punished because thats not their job to chain any child to a bed because the child ran away. I was young and ran away before and i was never tortured that way. That makes every parent sick to their stomach.The question is: what type of parent would do that to a young beautiful child?. They look like they dont care at all about their daughter.

Maria B. Adrian   April 7th, 2010 2:07 pm ET

This poor girl couldread and write so I know she could communicate and if you can communicate with a child there is no excuse to tie a child up.The chain was embeded in her skin from long term amounts of being chained up as if it was becoming a part of her body.I want to cry just thinking of her daily life not even being able to get relief from the abuse by being able to attend school and have friends.They couldn't have at least fed her a meal the day before she died.I don't even believe the fire is an accident.The mother had time to find a dog but not to go upstairs first thing to save her stepdaughter.They are guilty for years of abuse and I pray for justice for Calista.

Katrina   April 7th, 2010 2:07 pm ET

Where were the local officials at when the abuse and neglect of this child was occuring? The child, after reportedly telling school officials of abuse in the home, was allowed to be withdrawn from school with no follow up from the school officials?

The death of this child is incomprehensible and society needs to be aware of the dangers that are ever present to our children and take appropriate action to ensure that situations like this aren't just swept under the carpet and other children don't die at the hands of their "caregivers".

Deana   April 7th, 2010 2:07 pm ET

Im just questioning the stability of the entire family, because maybe they just did not have the good sense enough to take care of children of any age no matter how healthy or unhealthy. Did any of the other children have problems, because I think they all seem a little out there. Just curious!

jared   April 7th, 2010 2:08 pm ET

you have to be blind to say they didn't do it. im not anyone involved with murders an stuff but this is clear they did it. where's the tears an them crying cause getting accused of such a thing but yet they sit there like they dont care they are clearly guilty of chaining her up an letting her die. the two accused should be tied up an burnt like that

Ruth   April 7th, 2010 2:08 pm ET

I think the parents of this little girl should get a dose of their own medicine they have mistreated this child from what I have gathered from what they said all her life it is so sad and I think they should pay dear for all the abuse the girl has suffered. If they didn't want her they should have given her to somebody that wanted her and not just make her suffer. I feel so sorry for her she probably thought she had no friiends in the whole world. I am so sorry for her.

Tanner   April 7th, 2010 2:09 pm ET

According to the half-brother's responses, it looks there's a history of abuse in the family. According to the half-brother's flash back of being locked in his room when he were young.

Richard A Goris   April 7th, 2010 2:11 pm ET

Question. Where was the trash can found with zip ties and condoms found? In in the girls room, then why were there condoms in the trash can?

Theresa   April 7th, 2010 2:12 pm ET

This is a national disgrace. If this child was such a problem where were 'child protective services?' I am the mother of a child that has/had a learning disability. It has been a struggle with behaviour. She's now 28 years old and has developed into a remarkable adult. She is still slightly delayed but with love, disicipline, love and acceptance she's done exceptionally well. This couple should be done the same, chained to a bed and 'fried until dead!' There's no excuse for this horrible event. The family is in a state of denial for the most of it.


amelia   April 7th, 2010 2:13 pm ET

There isn't a doctor in this world that would tell you to chain your child up because of any condition you claim your child has. That screams abuse all by itself.

Linda   April 7th, 2010 2:16 pm ET

it seems strange to me that only the "FAMILY found the child troublesome" ...Teachers and friends that knew her till she stopped attending school had no complaints or trouble with for the sisters the one that testified that she knew her sister was a hazard to her and her family ...what 13 year old girl talks that way ...a hazard sheesh ...coached much!!!

Tanner   April 7th, 2010 2:16 pm ET

According to the half-brother & sister in-law, Calista seemed normal & just really shy not what the parents say about her. Not someone to be chained to the bed. Like I said before the parent's didn't see Calista as a human being but lower than a dog. Excuse me, not lower than a dog even lower than the dog.

Cheryl   April 7th, 2010 2:19 pm ET

This case absolutely disgusts me. I can't believe that a set of parents would treat a child they say they love like that. How could you restrain a child in a bed, especially with dog choker chains. That poor girl !! I am very familiar with developmental issues, and even if they were having issues with her, and were trying to protect her (which I doubt) there are other ways of handling this situation. Lets be real. No one deserves to be restrained in that way. I hope by the end of this case there will be justice for Calista.

David Rodrick   April 7th, 2010 2:19 pm ET

This is a very tragic moment to happen to a child. If the parents are found not gilty it will make other parents think they have the right to tie there children to the bed.

michelle   April 7th, 2010 2:20 pm ET

there is no doubt in my mind that this poor child was abused. with all the testimony that has been presented throughout the trial, how can somebody not see how she was mistreated.. why did no one do more to help this poor child.... in my opinion, the death of the teen could of been saved, if it wasn't premeditated.... its such a shame that people can take in a child and abuse, torture, and killing them....

Brenda   April 7th, 2010 2:21 pm ET

The "mother" (that term is used loosely here) was legally blind and homeschooling? How can one who is blind be able to review required text books and homework by the child?

DJ   April 7th, 2010 2:23 pm ET

These parents are monsters. I wouldn't even call them parents! These are the kind of people that should not have children at all! Not only should they go to jail for life, their children should be seized from them at once! Poor girl. Cinderella syndrome indeed. I can not even fathom how these monsters were capable of such a horrendous crime.

Tanner   April 7th, 2010 2:27 pm ET

According to the Half-brother & Sister in-law's testimony shows a disturbing Hierarchy in the Stringer Family:
1. Parents
2. Siblings
3. Relatives
4. Friends
5. Social associates
6. The Dog
7. The Home
8. The Car
9. Personal Family possessions
10. Calista.

Beejay N   April 7th, 2010 2:27 pm ET

Now that other family members are testifying it is clear this poor girl
was abused all her life.Even the other childen picking on her,normal parents would put a stop to it. Thank goodness she is in a better place
and did not have go thru all the pain of living with the burns.The burn
rehab would of been awful.
Question: One of the jury members ask about the size of the clothing she had on.Why didnt someone in the court room check the tags in the clothes?

DJ   April 7th, 2010 2:32 pm ET

I can not even fathom how these monsters were capable of such a horrendous crime.

Ruth   April 7th, 2010 2:32 pm ET

I am a mother and I have been aggrivated with them when they did something but I have never been mad enough at then to tie them up and when I thought one of them was sick I would take them to the dr. in fact the dr. told me I took them to the dr. to much but like I told him I would rather take them than wait and then the dr. say if you had brought them yesterday there might have been something I could have done. Even the kids would get aggrivated with me for taking them so much but they lived to be grown and now they can see what I meant by taking them. But I loved them and I wanted them taken care of and I just wish this little specials needs child had somebody that had cared for her and taken her and had the dr. check her out but I have not heard any thing about takilng her to a dr. I don't think they even had a family dr. I think they should pay with their life or at least tie them up like a animal and see how they like that and don't give them any thing to cover up with either so they will be cold to and from what they said about the weather it had to be cold in that old house.....I woulld rather my kids be warm than me but they tell me now that I made them lead to much of a sheltered life and I am glad I tried and I am not ashamed of taking care of them.

ANN FLA   April 7th, 2010 2:32 pm ET

I have a child that needs 24 hour care under no way would I have my child tie down i take care of childern that needs this kind of care i would never tie a child down and yes this child was abused and should have been taken away before this happen the state should have been around after she was taken out of school i think the parents should get the max the law allowed

Richard A Goris   April 7th, 2010 2:35 pm ET

Only an oppinion, but whoever brought her the dog might have told her that daughter had expired and therefore calmed her down. Job well done on Mom's part. HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN ? No souls and no concience. Very sad if they get away with this

Billi   April 7th, 2010 2:36 pm ET

My question regarding EMT testimony : I would like to know if her "baby" that she was referring to was her daughter or her dog.

Terena Johnson   April 7th, 2010 2:37 pm ET

I think Calista was severly abused! I would be interested in knowing when and who gave the diagnosis of eating strange things, if she were younger it would be because they starved her. Children of a young age will eat almost anything when hungry. I feel that Calista fell through the cracks as so many other abused children do.

Nicky Snellgrove   April 7th, 2010 2:39 pm ET

This child was so horrific tramatized that she felt she couldn't ask anyone for help thinking of what worse consequinces she might receive if she did. No one can imagine what this innocent child has truely been through as all the abuse won't come out in court.

tammy   April 7th, 2010 2:39 pm ET

iam a mother of 5 children two of my boys are disabled handicaps not once would i ever treat my children different from the others i love them all the same these parents need to be sentence to death the same way they did this little girl a lest god has her now and protecting her she will never be torture again

Evelyn Jonas   April 7th, 2010 2:43 pm ET

Child Abuse???

More like torture!!!! I could not be a juror. As soon as I heard chained to the bed, my blood was boiling!!!

Peary Brown   April 7th, 2010 2:43 pm ET

I'm not sure where the murder charge comes from. When I think of that charge I think of intent, which just doesn't fit. Manslaughter for sure and child abuse, but torture and murder just doesn't seem accurate.

Terri   April 7th, 2010 2:50 pm ET

My earlier assumption about parentage was just answered by the sister-in-law. The scenario would still be the same. Calista was not Marsha's biological daughter. I wish I had seen this case from the beginning. There is STILL so much missing information and many questions that may not ever be answered. It is still a shame that this teenagers life has ended and for what? If the parents are found guilty, I believe that they should suffer the same fate as their daughter!

R. Rowe   April 7th, 2010 2:50 pm ET

Regards to my previous comment. No matter what, the child did not deserve to be chained period!!!!!!!! Use what excuse they may, there is help if child actually did have special needs.

Kristy   April 7th, 2010 2:53 pm ET

A child is a gift from God!! There are so many people that cannot have children and would love nothing more than to have a child. There is no sense in an innocent child being treated this way!! Some people do not deserve to have children. If the parents could not handle Calista there are many places that she could have been loved and cared for properly. Both parents deserve the death penalty!! They should be put do death in the same way that they killed there daughter! That would be justice!!

Ty Earls   April 7th, 2010 2:53 pm ET

No parent in their right mind would treat their own child in such a manner without some mental issues they are suffering. No child should be chained to a bed or anything anywhere at anytime. The parents need to sent away for life. Child abuse is more than bruises and broken bones. While physical abuse might be the most visible sign, other types of abuse, such as emotional abuse or child neglect, also leave deep, long lasting scars. These parents are sick and need to put away and given mental treatment because they obviously are not in the right frame of mind.

Tanner   April 7th, 2010 2:57 pm ET

I want know did Calista need to be restrained when she stayed at her Aunt's house when she was taken way due to possible abuse by her parents? Did she have to restrained when she was attending school when she was going to school. Did she have to be restrained when other people visited the house?

Luis Casas   April 7th, 2010 2:58 pm ET

Well, i believe that parents should never tie up thier children, this parents should be put on jail for life for doin something like that.

Judy   April 7th, 2010 3:00 pm ET

Watching this today brought me to tears. I was tied to a bed with a dog collar. My foot was encased in a dog collar and tied to the bed. The reason given "So I would not kick the covers off" I was mentally, emotionally and physically abused by my step-father and in turn by my mother who never stopped it. Today at age 69 I still carry the pain, Watching this made me realize I was abused. I always excused their behavior as I deserved it somehow. Years of therapy have helped but damage was lasting. I think I have forgiven them but the pain is still there. Will it ever go away? At least I survived. If we had a fire I probably wouldn't have gotten out

ginny   April 7th, 2010 3:00 pm ET

Is Calesita an ESE student. What is her eligibility? It sounds like she may have had a disability that may explain the parents behavior. Or they are just mean people.

CroneCarol   April 7th, 2010 3:03 pm ET

Did the Sherrifs who received the complaint pass it on to Children's Protective Services?
If so, did they investigate?
Such a sad case, that I hate to hear the Cinderella reference - didn't that story have a happy ending?

Frantzso Joseph   April 7th, 2010 3:05 pm ET

I'm 17 coming from school seeing this. No matter what her special needs were she is still human living and breathing not a animal with rabies there is NO REASON to do this to some one never the less your own child. These parents If u can even call these animals that need to put in jail for life or put to death for depriving this innocent girl from the joy we call life.

Kristy   April 7th, 2010 3:06 pm ET

Furthermore.... I do not believe that Calista was a danger to herself or others I believe she may have been different from her sisters. I would guess that if anyone was treated as an animal they would start acting out to get some type of attention be it good or bad. Neither here nor their what the parents did is inexcusable and unforgivable!!

Howard Johnson   April 7th, 2010 3:07 pm ET

This poor little girl wasn't only abused she was tortured and these parents deserve everything the law can give them. Special needs children means exactly what it says they need special attention and ropes and chains isn't part of their needs.

Anne Weaver   April 7th, 2010 3:08 pm ET

What were the special needs? And, where is the proof that she had special needs. The other 2 daughters were treated "normally" given they KNEW how their sister was treated. I believe the step-mother didn't want Calista – and the so called father didn't have the cajones to stand up to her. They should go to hell and leave today!

Theresa Fogelman   April 7th, 2010 3:10 pm ET

Why don't these parents qualify for the death penalty. The state needs to set an example. For the other springer girls that it's not ok to mistreat and abuse people. These parents should go to prison for life with no parole. The parents could have put colista in a group home so she could be cared for.

John Johnson   April 7th, 2010 3:11 pm ET

Hello all,

Without taking any blame away from the parents, answer me this. Did social or economic conditions perpetuate neglect in this case and other cases of this kind? It is frightened me to consider, if this was a matter of neglect invoving this child, that this child was not removed from this environment. Does poverty play a role? Does economics affect the ability to provide proper care? Please let me know what you think as I respect all.

John Johnson
San Diego, CA

val donahue   April 7th, 2010 3:14 pm ET

I cannot imagine for any reason a human being helplessly chained to there bed and abused daily.
Where is the love and compassion for their own child?
Are they the one's that are evil? I think so.
Animals are not treated as badly. Where is their heart and soul?

Julia   April 7th, 2010 3:17 pm ET

Just the fact that she was so underweight at age 16 and that her waist was small enough to be restrained by a DOG COLLAR shows neglect in itself. It's obvious to me that Calista was horribly abused in many ways but I have yet to hear one mention her tiny body which I will bet is a result of malnutrition and being restrained for consecutive hours per day....if not all day and all night. I hope I am wrong.

Tanner   April 7th, 2010 3:18 pm ET

This Story is worst than the original Cinderella Story. Cinderella's Father was her biological father & her step-sisters was not. At least her Father loved Cinderella. Calista's biological father treated her like she wasn't even a blood relative. How so sad to treat your biological daughter like a second class citizen. It's not her fault that she's not perfect. The Father should blame himself after all, it's all in GENES!

William L. Thompson   April 7th, 2010 3:22 pm ET

If someone notify the state whay going on. Why they step in give her protection. I think the state drop the ball.

debbie huddleston   April 7th, 2010 3:30 pm ET

most people treat their animals better than that. there is no excuse to chain your child to her bed. and if you did wouldn"t you have the heart to get her out of the house first when there is a fire. i think the parents if you can call them parents should hang for it. if the child was that bad they should have gotten help for her not kill her.

Stacey   April 7th, 2010 3:34 pm ET

If Calista was so bad, why didn't the parents have her in the appropriate facility that could care for her and her "special needs"?

If the Springers are not convicted, it will be a travesty of justice!

Alicia   April 7th, 2010 3:52 pm ET

These "parents" are crazy! Who in their right mind would ever chain up a child!!??? regardless of what he or she may have done or may do in the future. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior! Shame on anyone who thinks the behavior is justified!!! I'm not sure where the information came from that this child is a special needs child but even if that is the case, that is not an excuse to chain her to a bed!!! EVER!! I hope they get the MAX punishment!

Bruce Deitch   April 7th, 2010 3:52 pm ET

This definately a case if child abuse. The parents might have thougth they were doing the right thing to protect their daughter with out malice, but the child was not only chained to the bed but what is to me more telling of abuse was that this special needs child was unkempt compared to her siblings who were attending school. Why did the parents not get jhelp from there local social services. The child was kept isolated wirhout cojntact with other children. they could of at the very least had the child go to a special needs program with other children dujring tthe day and see a counselor to at least get professuinal advice for the best way to take care of her,

Jen   April 7th, 2010 3:54 pm ET

I live in Michigan and am horrified by the way that these parents have treated there daughter. I have watched the last 2 days of this hearing and I have many questions that are not being asked of the witness'. First of all can there be a determination of how long the fire was going before the 911 call was made? Why did the mother not call 911? Why was the child still chained to her bed at the time of the fire? If they didn't have control of the child why not turn her over to someone who could? Am also curious how a vacuum with all of our technology be the source of the fire? Especially if it was unplugged. Why did the mother take the dog instead of trying to get the child out?

Cynthia   April 7th, 2010 3:57 pm ET

Was Marsha Springer really so desperate to save Calista or was she simply desperate to remove the chain before it was seen by anyone outside the family?

Michelle J.   April 7th, 2010 4:00 pm ET

I have questions about the benadryl in the child's system. How long does it take benadryl to metabolize after it's been administered? I wonder when she was given that medication and at the time it was given could the amount have been even more that twice the regular dose?

Jack   April 7th, 2010 4:01 pm ET

Niasin is found in daily foods, but i do know that kids that know their going to have a drug test the next day can take several niasin pills to pass. This is a painful experience the body aches, skin feels like it is burning off, i hear it comes with terrifying nightmares as well so benedryll /asprin is used to help sleep. What if they were trying to clear her of drugs? Im sure she was mentally, physically, and emotionaly abused. The fire put an end to all the pain im sure she had endured, from what the evidence has shown these people are sick. It doesnt matter if they started the fire or not they let her burn.

Patty   April 7th, 2010 4:15 pm ET

Did the autopsy report when the teen last ate? Also was there any evidence of sexual abuse? Wicked stepmoms aren't found just in fairy tales.

John Johnson   April 7th, 2010 4:18 pm ET

I do not believe the condition of the body at the time of death can be used to show previous abuse; however, the evidence does suggest neglect at the time of death. Other evidence is neccessary to support that neglect was on-going. This will allow the defence to open discussions on social factors that may have contributed to the neglect.

John Johnson
San Diego, CA

carol kesling   April 7th, 2010 4:20 pm ET

@ cynthia, my questionn exactly !!!!! the only blessing for this young girl is she isin heaven and out of their hands. if they are guilty please,please send them away for the rest of their lives.. this is no way to treat ANY child... god bless you calista you are in gods hands now, and will be loved like you should have been !!!!

karina   April 7th, 2010 4:21 pm ET

I think that thats child abuse to chain their daughter because her condition,thats no way to take care of her.They should give her parents death penalty,they dont deserve to live,to torture the poor little girl that way they dont deserve to be parents,they should take the other kids away from them.

Rhonda   April 7th, 2010 4:21 pm ET

Well I have been watching all day, when the Paramedic was on the stand and she advised that Marsha(the so-called Mother) was wanting to go back in to get her "baby"... I believe that she in fact was not concerned about Calista, she was worried about her DOG !!!!!!!

Kelly C.   April 7th, 2010 4:23 pm ET

So many unanswered questions: Other than the vague statements that Calista wandered about the house at night and got into things, were her "Special Needs" ever identified or disclosed? Were they diagnosed by a professional? Was she being treated for them? Were the parents advised to restrain Calista?

If a child is so uncontrollable that it is necessary to risk her life in this manner, wouldn't she have qualified for in-patient care at a facility where she would have been properly treated and cared for? Benedryl and dog chains are a poor substitute for medication and treatment.

Elora   April 7th, 2010 4:26 pm ET

My opinion is they should be in jail, If the child was never chained she would have lived. It is the parents fault for the girls death. Maybe when the mom was crying for her baby it was all a show, or she felt bad for having her daughter tied. If there daughter was a problem child like they say an had mental problems, why didnt they get her better help then abusing here an chaining her up? Just because a child eats paint chips doesnt mean there mental. Their guilty all the way....

Theresa   April 7th, 2010 4:30 pm ET

Here's the thing that totally sickens me: These parents will probably be in protective custody and not subject to the tortures from other prisoners. In prison for life getting fed, exercise, pillows, blankets and all the 'luxuries' that poor Calista didn't have at the time of her death....
This case makes me want to vomit!
Theresa, Ontario, Canada

Stephanie W.   April 7th, 2010 4:37 pm ET

I don't understand why he had to be chained to the bed. She only weighed 91 lbs. Hopw ridiculous. They are guilty of child abuse! Ihope they both get lift in prison

susanm   April 7th, 2010 4:48 pm ET

A recent cell mate of Marsha's stated in a letter that she felt a little bad about leaving the house with the dog while Calista was screaming and criing.

Tammie   April 7th, 2010 5:00 pm ET

When you have children with these sorts of special needs, you do what you need to do to keep them safe. This mean locking up dangerous object, evaluating furnishings for potential for harm, etc. It does not mean locking them up or tying them to their bed. This girl was treated worse than a prisoner of war let alone like a beloved child. It is stressful to have a child with these issues, I have two. Sometimes it means they need hospitalization. It also mean educating yourselves and family members.

karla aispuro   April 7th, 2010 5:53 pm ET

Crazy parents. They should have taken her to a psych ward or someplace where trained people know how to treat children with "mental disabilities" as they claim. They obviously weren't qualified or even trained to know how to treat a daughter.

Richard   April 7th, 2010 6:04 pm ET

What kind of sick parents would put a dog chain on there daughter and treated her like a dog in the back yeard and leave her in the house while its on fire and then dont call the fire department a passer by called the fire department
i just hope the parents rot in prison and in hell to.

Paul   April 7th, 2010 6:06 pm ET

I wonder if the autopsy on Calista revealed any brain disorders which may have been a cause of her behavior problems. I don't recall the forensic examiner referring to her brain. Was it tested?

Butch   April 7th, 2010 6:13 pm ET

I don't know how anyone could treat a child like that. Chaining anyone to anything, young or old or anyone with special needs, is in my opinion a crime that is deserving of at least life in prison. From what I've heard in court I have come to the opinion that Calista did NOT have special needs except for a couple of parents that would treat her like a child should be treated...with love, not hate...with kindness, not cruelty...I could go on and on but I'm sure you get the picture.

Alizabeth   April 7th, 2010 6:21 pm ET

I missed the part about the number of zip ties and the condums in the trash with the ties. Did it ever come up whose dna was on them and if it was the dad's and the daufghters couldn't he now be tried for statitory rape of a minor. I would sue the heck out of the child protective services with a civil suit for sure for the neglance of this girl. i am glad Springers brother and sister inlaw testified against them both. They suspected the abuse in 1997 and took the girls to spend the night at their house. I wonder if they were told to chain calista at night at their house too?

Alizabeth   April 7th, 2010 6:23 pm ET

I also would like to know what she weighed at the autopsy. She looked pretty thin to me.

Lisa   April 7th, 2010 6:33 pm ET

They are sick parents!!! what kind of human being do such thing to their own children,but thats ok they will get it back tripple times when they go to prison....)

Ron   April 7th, 2010 7:17 pm ET

When Calista was in school she complained about being abused so the stepmom took her out of school and then she could abuse her all day and she had no one to complain to. No doctor has said she was special needs, that was there excuse to torure her.

robert   April 7th, 2010 7:21 pm ET

i have been watching this trial and thats sad what they did to that girl.and they abused her and torchered her and yes they need the death pentalty.and if the jurors cant see that they killed her then they need to step down and not judge this trial.chaining that girl to a bed to where she was left to under standing the mother got her dog and left the house and didnt get her girl.if they couldnt take care of her they should have put her some where that she could be took care of thats the bottom line.and if these people dont get life or death then that tells others they can do it and get away with yes they killed the girl it wasnt no accdent and anyone should know that.............robert

R. Rowe   April 7th, 2010 7:44 pm ET

I dont think she had any intentions of saving the child. The fire was set to kill the child. Once again, why would a child of special needs be chained to the TOP BUNK BED? It is bull crap. What was wrong with the neighbors? teachers? police department? children services? They should have kept filing complaints until something was done for this child. I think more then just the so called parents are guilty of neglect. I noticed my neighbors' child had not been around for a week outside playing, and on occassion I had heard the step mother scream and slap her in the face (2yr old child) and I called the police. The step mother told the police she was with her grandmother, and they wanted the address, name and etc of the grandmother and checked it out. What happened in this case. Why did no one follow up? Especially when she was taken out of school and the other 2 children still going to school. HELL-O!!!!! what is wrong with this picture?

R. Rowe   April 7th, 2010 7:46 pm ET

I still want to know why she was chained to the TOP BUNK BED?

Nia Rodriguez   April 7th, 2010 7:48 pm ET

I, if being a member of the jury, would convict on the felony child abuse charge for the obvious reasons.But considering what I've seen, I could not convict on the first degree murder charges.I just don't see that they intentially tied her to her bed in hopes of a fire starting and it killing her.There's just no evidence of that.I think they should have stuck with the manslaughter charge.

lorraine   April 7th, 2010 8:13 pm ET

Did I here write the policeman said he went in the house the next day and said he found zip ties that where cut and put in the waste basket along with condoms. Was that basket in the room she was chained to the bed?

James   April 7th, 2010 8:24 pm ET

I don't know how any parent or a total stranger could do what they did. IF the fire started from the vacuum cleaner when she saw smoke then WHY didn't she go upstairs THEN and remove the girl? She knew she was chained to her bed and did nothing. These people are not sick – they are mean in the worse sense. They need to be put in jail and chained to a bed and the jailer needs to post all the pictures they have WHERE SHE WAS TORCHED, BURNED AND DIED. So they can be reminded every second they are awake of the pain this child went through.
Are the other children too young to testify?

Watch your show daily and enjoy it. Welcome back – God Bless.

anonimous   April 7th, 2010 9:31 pm ET

There's parents are sick! Whaatttt kind of human being would ever do this to their child? How can you even live with yourself knowing you did this to your child!!! I mean come on now!! chaining a child to a bed... dog chains.........? What weirdos? And i wonder about that did it really get started... hmmm. Lots of things to think about. SICKKKKKKKK is all i can think about this!!!!!

Pam   April 7th, 2010 9:32 pm ET

I think this case is heartbreaking. However I believe all those people who keep saying they should have "put her in a hospital" or somewhere equivalent should do some research first. GOOD homes or hospitals for disabled or handicapped people are in short supply. Due to continual cut backs hundreds of these places are closed every year. I am not in agreement with "chaining" the girl to the bed. But I am also in the rare situation to understand that there is a feeling of helplessness that comes from watching someone you love hurt themselves. As for the "Cinderella Syndrome" please remember that sometimes children with emotional or mental issues will NOT sit still for many grooming procedures. And they will more often than not go through more clothes than other kids their age. Mostly because of dirt or possibly pulling and tearing them. So it is common to have them wear hand me downs or donated clothes. Her death was a tragedy... but murder? That might be a stretch.


jessica   April 8th, 2010 2:19 am ET

during the hearing the emt said that marsha kept asking for her baby!!! i think it was all for show..i think they didnt want her anymore and found that the fire was the easiest......and i always agree that calista was treated like cinderella in a way.....she had nothing, no blankets, pillow, sheets, baths or showers, unlike her other two step sisters, they lived a great life.....the in session is calling it cinderella sydnrome......and i agree.....and one more thing...if marsha is legally blind why would you leave a "special needs child" with her?

Rodman   April 8th, 2010 4:47 am ET

I dunno about this one. I heard the defending Lawyer talk today about how the parents had taken their daughter to several psychologists and numerous other places to try to get help only to be turned down. Kind of sounds like another case of the state falling dong on the job just like they do on mental health issues. In any event it sounds like he has some good arguements and some good witnesses coming up when it is the defenses turn.

sandy folsom   April 8th, 2010 8:45 am ET

there is no excuse,for inhumane behavior like this.sounds like this16 yr.old was a bright,young lady.she did not deserve to be treated this way at all.i have been watching this on tv and take a look at the parents.they are 23 bottles short of a full case.why did they pull her out of school?they obviously were guilty of abuse ,and they could control better,by keeping her chained up in her bed.i can,t imagine what that poor girl endured.marsha could have gone upstairs and saved her if she really wanted too.makes you wonder,did she start the fire?i just hope justice is found for the 16 yr.old.i know it will not bring her back,but i think they the parents,should get life in prison,with no parole.let them suffer,like they did to their daughter.she did not have a chance.

faye pelzer   April 8th, 2010 9:13 am ET

These parents are not showing any emotions at all. If Calista was such a special need/problem child put her in a home. This is so sad. I believe the fire was set intentionally.

sandy folsom   April 8th, 2010 9:23 am ET

i do not believe calista was a special needs child.if anything marsha&anthony are 23 bottles short of a full one deserves the treatment that they gave calista.she appeared to be a very bright child and smart.i think they ought to put them marsha&anthony in the same cell with casey anthony.they are pathalogical liars and its every one elses fault,but theirs.marsha could have saved calista,but she didn't.where was the fire exstingusher,was not found?so how did the fire start?good question. sandy maine

judy in Florida   April 8th, 2010 9:45 am ET

I think it's great that the jury can question the witnesses because I believe most times there are a lot of unanswered questions in the minds of the jurors when they go into that deliberation room. I know when I watch these trials there a sometimes questions that I have that are never answered. Also, it appears to me that there was no sheet on the bed where Calista was lying. What do you think?

BK   April 8th, 2010 9:46 am ET

If only it were possible to make people take a test and get a license to reproduce.

Pam Phlippeau   April 8th, 2010 9:53 am ET

Why was a special needs child able to be home schooled by a legaly blind stepmother?

C White   April 8th, 2010 10:02 am ET

I have been watching all week and was wondering if cause of fire has been revelled or did i miss that part! What was the cause of fire?? Thank you Chuck

Chris   April 8th, 2010 10:03 am ET

When Calista came to my house in 2006 with my younger sister.. she was "running away" she told us that she was being tied down at night. We saw the marks on her body and it seemed like chunks of hair were torn off her head. She was literaly was going to make her a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich but she said peanut-butter gave her gas and if she were to pass gas she was punished. When Calista didnt come home right away they came looking for her... the principal knew she was with my sister and HE came to pick her up...followed by the police. My mom hurried and put crackers and an apple in her bag. Mom called CPS and the police.. We knew then something bad was going to happen to her we just didnt know they would cause her death.

janice williams   April 8th, 2010 10:10 am ET

if marsha is leagally blind how was she home schooling calista ? also i have a speacial needs child and I dont chain her to the bed to get a peace of mind . janice,west virginia

Sandy   April 8th, 2010 10:19 am ET

I wanted to know if there was any life insurance on her? And I was wondering why she was still in her cloths and not in her PJ'S? Was she all ready up and then chained up again?

linda lee   April 8th, 2010 10:20 am ET

I can't get passed the ties and condoms found in the trash at the Springer home. Ties and condoms sounds like bondage to me and I pray this child was not used in a sick sexual game.

Jill McMahon   April 8th, 2010 10:24 am ET

/I think I heard that Child Protective Services had information regarding Calista being Chained to the bed in 2003. Did she get pujjed out of school necause of abuse complaints she made to school officials? If this is true, why was she not taken out of that house? Don't you have to tuen in tests and wratever else uf you home dchool your children in Michagin? You do in Iowa! Ther is respite care, and other help for special needs kids, were any agencies used ? If not was she special needs or Cinderella?

Maureen, Lowel, MA   April 8th, 2010 10:30 am ET

Vinnie, is it really possible for. Blind parent to appropriately and successfully home-school Calista? Also is there proof that the family went through the proper channels to home-school?

Mom of 7   April 8th, 2010 10:32 am ET

This is a tragedy for everyone involved. As a parent who had the awful experience of waking to find a disturbed child standing over a sibling with a fork hovering inches from his eyes, I do well understand the frustration behind trying to keep a child in bed. However, there are correct ways to do so, it only costs money. Someone dropped the ball, and didn't help these people.

The solution is a net bed, which most of you would find offensive looking, as it looks much like a cage..or upside down playpen and is used every day in rehab and nursing homes throughout the US.

One thing I found rather interesting is she had no evidence or history of injuries such as bruising and/or broken bones..even marks from habitual restraint use (the chain marks appear to be temperature related in my opinion)

Jenni Lynn   April 8th, 2010 10:34 am ET

This home schooling of Calista intrest me. I would be intrested to know about that. I mean if a person is home schooled it has to be monitored by the state, right?... there are standardized tests, lesson plans to follow, etc. I would like to know who was monitoring Calista in her home schooling, If she was being tested regularly. Or, if her home schooling is a sham and her parents said she was being home schooled and she was receiving no schooling just being chained up 24/7.

julie   April 8th, 2010 10:34 am ET

my granddaughter was diagnosed with peca. she ate ice all the time. her blood count went down to "5". she was placed on a high dose of iron. she is fine now. she does have to continue taking iron. if any of my relatives was eating non-nuitrtional things, i believe i would take her to a dr. and find out the problem. my granddaughter slept a lot and had no energy.

i wonder how many hrs. a day calista was chained to her bed?? she might have been saved if the school system had looked into her reported abuse. i don't blae her for wanting or trying to run away, what a life, being chained to a bed, that was just plan torture.

julie   April 8th, 2010 10:37 am ET

what was calista's special needs"???.

tom   April 8th, 2010 10:40 am ET

if this child was such of a issue she should have been in a instutution.not chained tyo a bed

Rita   April 8th, 2010 10:41 am ET

I live in Michigan, I feel that Marsha Springer is the only one being blamed in that courtroom. I feel, before anyone judges this woman, we should get all of the facts from both sides. I have also notice that Marsha Springer is unable to see herself. Lets ask how could this mother put the chain on this child since she could not see.
I want to hear both sides before I judge these parents. Most of all this Unable to see mother.

julie   April 8th, 2010 10:46 am ET

i believe i would have thought about my child, which was chained to a bed, if i smelled smoke or even thought there was a fire. calista is who needed help getting out of the house. the mother surely had time to unchain her.

Sarah   April 8th, 2010 10:47 am ET

thanks Cynthia my thoughts exactly,the step wanted back in the house before anyone found Calista in chains. The letter Calista wrote, who was this too? Are the teachers she had before she was removed from school going to testify? How was this step home schooling if she was blind?

Penny   April 8th, 2010 10:51 am ET

This fire may have been an accident, causing this poor child to die, but at the very least they should be charged with involuntary manslaughter because if that girl would not have been chained, she could have been saved. This is a case of supreme parental neglect, negligence, abuse, torture fits because this child was physically restrained to her bed on purpose to prevent her from being able to move about freely. She died a torturous, horrific death at the hands of her mother because her mother didn't bother to go and unchain her. I think the fire was the mothers out. She made a decision in a split second, to be rid of the Calista problem. Anthony Springer is just as guilty because he KNEW what was happening and went along with it. Case Closed.

cj stroupe   April 8th, 2010 10:51 am ET

if calista had so many behavior problems how could she be so well behaved around others and in school these two parents was the problem when i think of the torture that child went through can you imagine being chained not being able to hardly move what about bathroom needs what if she was thirsty just human needs everyone has they need to be punished to the fullest read the letters of calista about her grave she understood all to well she was definetly murdered just very slowly by tortured negelect i only hope the jury is there for calista

Judy   April 8th, 2010 11:18 am ET

What with this doctor ? Didn't he know he was coming to court for this case . Where is his notes.

angela haggerty   April 8th, 2010 11:42 am ET

What i dont get is why ???? the "Dr. " would all the sudden stop treatment with clista after all the testings and conversations and session with her and her family .... Who told him they didnt need his treatment or she didnt need his treatment rather ... Was it the parents or the doctor that decided it would be best to stop her treatment ?? And if it wasnt the doctor who decided then why no question on his end as to why they decided to discontinue her treament

Melissa   April 8th, 2010 11:54 am ET

Don't know if I missed it, but where and who is the birth mother of Calista?

laura   April 8th, 2010 12:00 pm ET

I was wondering where the biological mother is and if she knew what was going on in the household. Nobody has the right to restain a child in a home like an animal. If the situation was to that point, the child sould be put in protective custody for her own safety

Jane Dirt   April 8th, 2010 12:02 pm ET

Michigan Child Killers, another case of people adopting for the money! These so called parents were in it for the money. They get extra money if the child has a disability.
This isn’t the first case of the adopters doing it for the money, the kid may have been smarter then those adults.
When you cage an animal or a child they can’t develop. I am sure they will get off and be hailed as heroes here in Michigan.
They take the kid from the parent because the parent is poor and give the kid to these abusers as foster parents and then allow them to adopt the victim.

angela haggerty   April 8th, 2010 12:04 pm ET

Fact of matter is that they admitted to chaining her to the bed and pulling her out of school for her and everyone elses safety , but they are still allowed a fare trail where is the justice in that for everyone involved espeacially poor clista whos life was lost due to curel unruling punishment dealt by the hands of animals known to the world as her so called parents thats crap they should put to death and it should be broadcast on tv for all to see them go through the pain and suffering clista went through i'm sorry baby girl i hope you are happy where ever you are now....

A   April 8th, 2010 12:09 pm ET

I noticed that the Psychologist for the victem (at age 6) said some things that I think I could ellaborate on. (Conceptualy, based on 20 years experiance and personal research)

When a Mental Health profesional actualy uses strong termonalogy, that is a red flag to bring attention from others. Otherwise they speek more gently. (To reduce stress)

It is only posible to diagnoss based on patint info provided to the Dr. Asside from visual and virble ques it is possible to hide info from a Dr. These ques could be word usage and body or facial mannurisem.

It sounds like the Victem was a People Pleaser type. When Someone is subjected to a threatoning enviroment, they may adopt this as a Defence.
It's the same basic concept to Stockholmes Syndrom and Domestic Violence victoms.

Also, some times being more open to strangers is a cry for help, do to the ones you know becoming a threat, or inable to help.

Anna Rogers   April 8th, 2010 12:22 pm ET

Up to the currrent person on the stand, the doctor, he has not tested her since she was 6, really 4 or 3. Again at 9, when she was 6 or 7. He does not remember all of the tests, except what is written down.

Maybe the mother was trying to vacumn the downstairs and just didn't have time to get her up. Seems the vacumn was broken and it was an accident.

stewart   April 8th, 2010 12:29 pm ET

this trial really blows my mind .how can any one chain a child to the bed.and the parents defence...well ,lame is all i can say.and to beat all the mother made sure she got her dog out of the house before it burned down....

Tracy from Georgia   April 8th, 2010 12:30 pm ET

What does it matter how "special" she was? I have a special needs son who is 20 years old and test at a 10 year level, but I would NEVER, EVER chain or restain my child in any way!! I wouldn't treat my dog the way they treated their daughter. If they did not have the patience or ability to care for thier daughter, why didn't the seek help? They should be put away for LIFE!!!!

Vickie Couturier   April 8th, 2010 12:35 pm ET

As a former Nurse,when we (hospital)had patients that were restrained ,we were required to check an document that they were physically checked every 15 Minutes! Never would a Physican tell someone at home to tie a person to a bed with a chain!NEVER

R.H.   April 8th, 2010 12:35 pm ET

If your 8 years old and being abused, won't that delay your developement and the way you act? Being tied up in the basement all day by yourself, what would that do to a kid?. Then later being chained to a bed.

Karen E Stoneburner   April 8th, 2010 12:39 pm ET

I have seen no testimony, nor do I think I will ever see any testimony, that justifies chaining any human being, let alone a child, to a bed or tethering her to a pole like an animal. An animal would be protected by the various animal protection groups. Where are/were the agencies that should have been protecting this poor child?

Roxann   April 8th, 2010 12:41 pm ET

I have a child with PDD and I sure as HELL would never dream of chaining him to his bed. I Love my child and treat him with the utmost dignity and respect that he deserves. These parents make my blood boil. why didnt they just put her up for adoption?

A   April 8th, 2010 12:41 pm ET

The Victem having a "High Pain Tollerance" in body and mind could be due to being accustom to harm or stress.

It's the same concept as Being "Hardened on the Street", PTSD, and Solders, Emergency, and Medical workers becoming desencitised, etc.

A 6 year old haveing this is Suspishous to me.

Law is also diferent from Psychology. Punishment level has a peak that is legal. If the legal way will not work in one aria, the Parents should look into other forms of disipline.

Beth S.   April 8th, 2010 12:42 pm ET

It sounds to me she was suffering from Post Traumatic Disorder symptoms and behaviors due to severe and repetitive abuse that does indeed also effect the brain physically as well psychologically. Due to the psychological and physiological damage, this would make sense why she cannot concentrate or focus enough to do well on the IQ test,as it would also be reason for her acting out and having mentally ill behaviors. The fact they continued to lock her up and pin her down would only cause her conditions to become worse over time due to the fact she is being retraumatized over and over again.

Hank & Julie H.   April 8th, 2010 12:47 pm ET

Going back to the zip ties and finding only 14 of them, we would think that there would have been more of them. We have 8 kids and on the average they go to the bathroom 9+ times a day! The zip ties don't add up! if the child was being cared for the way the springers say she was there should have been alot of zip ties found in the room. And how come the mattress was not tested for urine and soils? You can't tell me this child really cared for properly, and last what did this child do all day while being chained up?

rusty   April 8th, 2010 12:48 pm ET

i would love to know how a blind Stepmother can teach a child at home and i have heard twice about zip ties around Cilista writs. is that ture

Paula DiLuzio   April 8th, 2010 12:52 pm ET

Both of these parents should be found guilty of all charges against them!! I understand the difficulties of having a special needs child having one of my own. However if these parents couldnt handle the difficulties of this child then they should have sought out appropriate placement for her! what they did was horrible reguardless of ANY difficult circumstances!!! They should be chained to a bed and allowed to suffer and die the way this young girl did! I cant imagine how this poor girl suffered!!!

Hank & Julie H.   April 8th, 2010 12:56 pm ET

We would like to know how come there was only 14 zip ties found in a basket? This tells us that this child did was not able to go the bathroom like she should have there should have been alot of zip ties found in her room. Did there investagation include testing the mattress for urine and soils? Last what did this child do all day while being chained to her bed?

Chris   April 8th, 2010 12:57 pm ET

She was such a sweet but sad little girl...all she wanted was some attention. It makes me sick to my stomach that CPS did nothing...they gave the Springers two days notice before they came to check things out...and the lady that came to "investigate" was a friend to Marsha...WHAT DOES THAT TELL YOU!!

Cheryl, CT   April 8th, 2010 1:06 pm ET

I just read a post on here that says.."maybe it was an accident"....Chaining a child to a bed is not an accident. That is a deliberate attempt to control a child without having to deal wtih the child. Was the fire an accident, possibly. That does not dismiss the fact the the child was chained to a bed!!! Drugged!!! Beat en!!! Starved!!! Puleeeeeze...if a child was that needy she should have been in a safe environment. I blame the DCF or other social service agency for this as well. If they got a report they should have investaged it fully. I have a child with the same issues....we do have to keep an eye on him nearly every minute...but never ever is he locked up or physcially locked down. That is just cruel. These children are ill. They neeed our love and support. There is NO reason on earth for a parent to do this to a child no matter what the circumstance. It sounds to me like they did not want to bother with her at all and that they have brainwashed their other children in thinking this behavior was 'ok'. All the children of these two people should be in the care of other adults and they should be put into immediate therapy to get over the brainwashing.

Trish   April 8th, 2010 1:06 pm ET

I have to ask if Callista's supposed "emotional problems" were the result of being mistreated. I think the stepmom's attempt to go back to the house wasn't because the mom wanted to save her – I think the mom had time to realize what trouble she'd be in if the child died.

The guest psychiatrist on Vinnie Politan's 4/8/10 show said special needs kids' hygeine can suffer if it's hard to get the kid out the door – but that's no excuse for dressing a teen girl in old, out-of-style clothes while her sisters were dressed fashionably. Sending her to school in obviously inferior clothes is like marking her with a bullseye, insuring the girl remains isolated, lessening the likelihood she'll tell anyone what they do to her. Being isolated at school, and treated differently from her sisters at home is devestating, and would not help a child with PDD.

I can see why this poor girl would try to leave this house in the night, it's only human to want to get away from people who treat you this way.

Zee Breidenbaugh   April 8th, 2010 1:08 pm ET

I am a licensed psychologist and I must say that the psychologist (Jeffrey Kaylor) who is testifying today has, absolutely, the worse memory of any psychologist I have ever known. He doesn't remember saying, "This is a child from hell." Come on. You don't talk that way about your clients (Calista Springer) and, if you did, it would be special enough to recall the statement.

Chris Rene   April 8th, 2010 1:09 pm ET

Maybe all the "problems" Calista had were caused by the many years of neglect.

Qubilah Asson-20yrs old   April 8th, 2010 1:10 pm ET

how can you judge a child at a young tender age,all children is on aware of danger an does the most hilarious things all the locked down treatment etc....did not called for but i blame 3 people for Calister's death...(1)the psychologist made a terrible mistake by telling the mother the child suffer with so many disorders that may had cause the mother to react a little more than it is.....and now trying to cover up his performance-he should be charge for wrong analysis of Calister Springer.....(2)The step mother also went to far with the strapping of the child towards the bed and not allowing her to be a herself but she coulda groom Calister to be aware of her environment and the world.......Instead she became the one who got the mental disorder help cause her killing her alive with torture and death that could be a mistake....she should be charge with second degree murder...(3)the father who not only tag along with it but did not stepped up with the role of being a man and a father.....he should be charge with third degree murder......

Richard A Goris   April 8th, 2010 1:27 pm ET

Linda Lee. I am in total agreement with you. I have the same question and wish it would be asked. SOME ONE SHOULD ASK THAT QUESTION

Sheri   April 8th, 2010 1:28 pm ET

You know there is ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE for the way this poor girl was treated by these people AT ALL... There are always alternative ways to get help with and get help for a child who has special needs. This child did not deserve to be treated like she was treated no matter the outcome of this case. The parents deserve to have the book thrown at them.

Florida Beth   April 8th, 2010 1:38 pm ET

If you're treated like an animal, then you will become programmed to believe you are an animal if that is all you know. All the horrific abuse these evil parents did to her was NOT by accident.

Connie   April 8th, 2010 1:42 pm ET

If this child was home-schooled, who was teaching her? The mother is suppose to be legally blind and the father works, and the child is being restrained in a bunk bed. When does she get any schooling. This is such a disgusting thing, and those witness seen to be short on lint for brains.

Alizabeth   April 8th, 2010 1:42 pm ET

I have IQ scores in the Mentally retarded range and The normal range. When with mother mr range due to abuse. I now have a master's degree. I was tested with the abuser in the room and scored in the mr range. When abuser was not there scored in normal range. THis child was in terror of this woman. So so so sad for this little girl. This was a crime on so so so many levels!

debbie w   April 8th, 2010 1:46 pm ET

I am motified by this trial the other children should be taken from this home. They should not be taught that this is acceptable behavior. Onething i do know they would not want me on this jury, this trial has guilty guilty guilty all over it.

vicki   April 8th, 2010 1:50 pm ET

I totally agree with Dr. Kaiser's assessment of care for Calista. Unfortunately, these parents were not capable or willing enough to work with a special needs child. My heart breaks for Calista. Her parents should be dealt some consequence, even if it's community service working with special needs kids.

Trish   April 8th, 2010 1:50 pm ET

This case is evidence of the danger of home schooling – it reduces the number of people who might discover that a child is being viciously abused. Limiting the number of nonabusive adults the child contacts can convince the child she deserves what hapens to her or that all the world will always treat her this way.

If Claista was so hard to control, wouldn't sending her to school for some hours each day be a respite for the "poor, overworked, visually impaired" mother? Keeping Calista nearby meant she could freely abuse the child while reducing the chances of being caught for the viscious things she did to this poor girl.

Obviously, the opportunity to abuse Calista was more attractive to the stepmom than was getting a rest from the allegedly difficult job of controlling Calista.

Sue M. Chapman   April 8th, 2010 2:03 pm ET

If that psychiatrist saw that child sporadically over a period of a few years, he had to have seen her deteriorate. If he didn't notice, despite having limited first hand knowlege, he should lose his license/ and or be prosecuted. If he did not like what he was seeing, his alarm system should have forced him to notify child services.

Karen E Stoneburner   April 8th, 2010 2:03 pm ET

Any word of abuse from Calistra & she is taken from school & home-schooled. If relatives or friends show concern for her well-being, they are no longer allowed contact with her. Why weren't these alerts that something was wrong at this house!

Lillian Treadaway   April 8th, 2010 2:04 pm ET

The Dr. testifying today 4/8 seems to have a memory problem. He said he hadn't worked in 4 years, so that is probably the reason. I think he did the best he could.

Butch   April 8th, 2010 2:08 pm ET

Dr. Jeffrey Kaylor testified that Calista was lagging behind mentally, socially and intelligence scores. No wonder, being home schooled by a legally blind person (her step-mother) and not allowed to interact with other children, other than her two step-sisters.

Diane from WI   April 8th, 2010 2:10 pm ET

Guilty of Murder? You bet. If this poor, poor little girl had not been chained to her bed she could have escaped. Also how can someone that has an eyesight problem be qualified to home school any child? As I watch this trial I have the mixed feelings of anger and sorrow close to tears.

Linda   April 8th, 2010 2:14 pm ET

Even though the stepmom is blind it was not a hindrance to Her surely she knew her way around that house ...she knew that child was chained to the bed...why didnt she pick up the fire extinguisher beside the fireplace and put the vaccuum fire OUT? why not drag the vaccuum outside ssave everyone .i believe she has in her sad life only loved that dog ,Ilove my dogs too but i swear they would be on their own if i had a child anywhere in the house let alone chained to the bed..

Maggie Reilley   April 8th, 2010 2:17 pm ET

As A Mother of twin boys (age 11), both diagnosed on the Autism spectrum, I am so sickened by this trial. These people are sick, no "parent" of any child has the right to treat any child or loved one like they di to Kallista. They were offered respite, home security, ect. They CHOSE to hurt there daughter by torture. I have had many nights awake holding one of my sons to keep him safe from running or hurting himself and no sleep. I would never restrain him with inappropriate restraint. I choose to love my sons, and stay up nights with them. They had choices. Agencies did not fail, parents did! Chains!, my God.! Why No School. sounds like covering up abuse was easier with less people in Kallista's life.

Abbey   April 8th, 2010 2:18 pm ET

I'll I can say is this case sickened me.. Those parents should go up for murder... how sick ..

Robin C.   April 8th, 2010 2:18 pm ET

I have a child (11) with Moderate Autism, i also have two teenage daughters. Things got rough from time to time; but never have I felt the need to chain my child to the bed or confine him. Confinement is the absolute WORSE thing you can do. Granted the mom was legally blind, probably felt she was at her wits' end...okay, why add to that by homeschooling her? where was this poor child's father? I am not blind, but I was a soldier for 8 of those 11 years. I was stressed, depressed, frustrated,deployed, angry, and confused and felt that I was at my wits' end lots of times. My child had PICA. He was diagnosed with Autism at age 1 1/2. I took him to therapists and doctors.
But it is the parents' responsibility to properly care for a special needs child once you are given the tools to do so. There are support groups, special education programs, lots of resources out there to help parents, and I am sure if she could start/organize a support group for the blind, she could have gotten some help for her daughter.

I taught my son not to eat things other than food, I read to him, taught him basic daily living skills. This is what a parent, especially a mom is supposed to do. She had choices and options...and she CHOSE to abuse and neglect her daughter.

Amanda   April 8th, 2010 2:21 pm ET

If the mother cared at all she would have tried to get her out. If it was my child I would have died trying.(First of all my child would not have been chained up in the first place)

Joy   April 8th, 2010 2:28 pm ET

These evil parents orchestrated the environment surrounding this poor child in order to have reason to continue their abusive behavior while at the same time keeping her away from outsiders as much as possible.

Maggie Reilley   April 8th, 2010 2:34 pm ET

As A proud Mom of Twin 11 year old boys on Autism Sprectrum, I am disgusted by these 2 people that call themselves "Calistas parents! " They Chose to Abuse there Daughter, they had every oppurtunity for help with Calista, from County, School, DHS and State officials and staff. They Chose to care for her with abuse instead of educatating themselves and educating there daughter. Children with Autism can wonder and sometimes have no understanding of safety. Safety needs to be provided For THEM! Fire safety..instead of Chains! Calista never had a chance with these two, they avoided School for her to keep her clear of Adults that would have protected her!

Gwen Crank   April 8th, 2010 2:38 pm ET

You know I have a 18 year old Down Syndrom, Autistic son, whom has had several behavior problems. We struggled for many years and even at the worst I never locked him up or chained him to his bed. He was very destructive and had a behavior of pulling hair and taking you down in a second. He had sleeping problems and there was many nights that I was up all night. We delt with it. It wasnt always easy and at times it scared me, hurt me, and angered me but he was always my son and never would I have detained him like that. Loving him was easy making him happy seamed to be the hard part. He is now living in his own apartment with round the clock care but he is happy and is growing into the you man I knew he could be.
Letting him go was the hardest thing in the world I had to do. Sometimes the hardest things are the best things. They took the easy way out. And for that they lost a special gift they was given.

shea jones   April 8th, 2010 2:39 pm ET

Why after all the medical attention claimed to be seeked,Why didn't they or hadn't there been anything at all done about this situation? What happen to the parnets going threw somekind of training to deal with a child that carrys the disorder that this child was carrying. It's plain to see that there had to be more going on then what was said.What caring parnets would even attempt to handle this type of situation in that matter? There is alot of help out here to seek for all types of disordered children. What happen to a medical body horst that is suggested or even provided for this type of disorders if trained or know how to be properly used.

sid   April 8th, 2010 2:57 pm ET

i cant believe this even went to a trial, im so disgusted with the actions of these two "i refuse to refure to them as parents" they are animals who should be tried ol school-an eye for an eye.
there the ones who need to be chained and tourchered they should be facing the death penalty! she was an innocent child who deserved a chance at a happy life with loving parents.

James   April 8th, 2010 3:01 pm ET

Were any of the visits scheduled or spontaneous?
The Dr. that saw her about once a year – he must have a problem – some things he remember very well and others 'he can't recall.' Also contradicting himself. He made so sense on anything he said.
I am glad that the juries are being allow to ask questions.... you can tell by their questions that they are really listening to every question that is being asked by the lawyers.
These parents had every opportunity to put her in a home that would give her love and care and I know she would understand that.
I babysat with a child such as the Springer's child and she was NEVER chained to her bed or anything like that. They gave her love and care – Her parents are dead and a brother takes care of her now – the parents thought she would die at an early age, but she is 72 years old.

God Bless each of you – y'all are interesting news people.....

Joy J   April 8th, 2010 3:04 pm ET

I wanted to know how the mother that is reportedly blind was able to homeschool her daughter. What did the school dept ask of her as far as her ability and or materials needed to allow her to home school her daughter. Did the mother do the home schooling or someone else? If this has been addressed please let me know. Just needed to know

Mary   April 8th, 2010 3:10 pm ET

I am not sure what Calista's special needs were, however, viewing photo's of her it appears that she suffered from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, has that been mentioned? It is a disorder that causes brain damage and the type of behavior problems that may have warrented social service involvement. Clearly, lead poisening was not the only contributing factor to her behavior problems. Her parents did not know how to cope with her special needs, and social service agencies failed to address the urgency and severity of the problems facing the Springer family. What a travisty!

mary wicker   April 8th, 2010 3:11 pm ET

I would like to know where the biological mother is of this girl and why the father had custody?

Barb in Las Vegas   April 8th, 2010 3:15 pm ET

Since when does blind mean stupid, cruel, heartless and inhumane? No, it doesn't, hang these 'parent' (term used lightly) and give them the death sentence that they dished out to her. As a mother, no matter what, I would have given my life for my child. This one didn't especially knowing her child could not escape. Only the lord can forgive them. The parents didn't love her, want her or care for her. I don't care what the attorneys will say, nothing will overcome the unimaginable cruelty this poor little girl went through. Death to them both.

Richard Vandall   April 8th, 2010 3:26 pm ET

Today there was a comment about Calista being tide in a basement. That shows the abuse it self, in older houses with dirt floor you have a lot of factors in that. Lead in the dirt, Rayon Gases, and very thin air. You tell me, Is that abuse alone?

MIchelle   April 8th, 2010 3:33 pm ET

Thank you Zee for commenting on Jeffrey Kaylor. I am a psychologist and so embarrassed by this man's lack of professionalism and ethics. Just so people know when Dr. Kaylor wrote "she is dangerous" there are suppose to be examples backing up this statement. There were so many more examples of poor writing but I want people to know this is report is not okay and not the norm of the services you will receive if you seek help. He said he had a technician perform the tests so I wonder if the tech or if he really wrote the report bc it was NOT up to quality standards. Sorry you saw a very bad representative in our field.
One more point, how was the step-mother going to home school this sweet child if she was legally blind?

Sigrid, SW Virginia   April 8th, 2010 3:35 pm ET

I did not write down his name but the law enforcement officer who first secured the initial scene after the fire, testified that in a wastebasket in the room he found the cut ties, which were introduced in evidence, AND condoms. What were condoms doing in that child's room? There was no reaction and no attention at all paid to that part of the officer's testimony. During the 16 years of Calista's life, was she ever examined for sexual abuse??

shirley   April 8th, 2010 3:41 pm ET

look at the mother& father sitting court they are not normal they have special need as well ,that why some people do not need to be parents,this was one the books

Danielle   April 8th, 2010 3:49 pm ET

Studies show that Child abuse can also change a developing child's brain significantly. Children who are abused can also be underdeveloped mental and physically. Behavior problems can also be a sign of abuse. Abused children can appear to be very needy therefore setting the stage for further victimization or abuse from others.

bill   April 8th, 2010 3:53 pm ET

did the parents get any SSI from the government for chalita, and did they have a life insurance policy on her. seems strange that the house burned down and everyone got out except that poor innocent child.those parents should be held accountable to the fullest extend of the law for murder

Tina Clonce   April 8th, 2010 4:02 pm ET

Child Abuse in this case for sure! This poor sweet child.I can't believe all the organizations didn't help this poor child.

Trish   April 8th, 2010 4:18 pm ET

The psychiatrist who testified 4/8 said that diagnosing children is difficult because they are still changing. Perhaps it's because psychiatrists not only examine the child, but swallow the parents' claims as if these things were observed by the doctor – like the claim that she didn't respond to pain or punishment. Just because these two said it doesn't mean it's true – it might just be the thing they tell themselves to justify their torture of a helpless child, or throw suspicion off themselves.

In 3rd grade, my teacher saw I didn't have lunches or money, & was losing weight. My parents claimed a boy in class stole my money & threatened the school for not protecting me. They put me in a Catholic school – telling the nuns I needed to be broken of "pathological lying" about parental abuse.

That school sent me to a psychologist. He said what I told him was private. I didn't believe him & only talked about Star Trek. He called my dad, said I was obsessed with Kirk as a "father figure" showing a problem with my father. My dad hung up the phone, said, "You're not blaming your problems on me!" and beat me up. This confirmed my distrust of the psychologist.

The child in such a situation is at severe disadvantage. The parents are the paying customers, there are two of them, they are adults – easier for an adult doctor to relate to. The child may have been trained to be less social or communicative. The parents warp the kid's world, limit what she experiences & knows, & if she reveals things they don't want known, she can be punished at their leisure. Plus, the famous secrecy of patient/doctor conversations doesn't seem to apply when the patient is a kid.

justamom   April 8th, 2010 5:56 pm ET

I have two children who have been diagnosed of autism. My oldest daughter who is know 11 first had the diagnoses of pddnos until it was upgraded to autism. She would run off and also would become violant. She would also eat unusual things including her own poop. The school even at one point when she was in first grade called the police on her for trying to hit a teacher. For several years I lived with a deadbolt keyed lock on the front door of my apartment to keep my daughter from getting out. She had no awareness of safty and because i lived by a bussy street i had to do this for her protection. I put the bolt on the door after she ran out in the street one day. So I do feel for these parents even though i would never have gone as far as chaining any of my children.. There is alot that people are not hearing in this trial relating to autism spectrum disorders that might help someone understand what place these parents could have been in. First because these children look normal people in the public always have something to say about there public behaviors so me personal as a parent I don't bring my children to public places and there are many parents like me who feel the stigma. Many of these children are non verbal and have violant outbursts because they can not communicate. Many of these children have sensory issues and don't feel things the same way... spanking is not an option for disaplain because they don't feel it like you or I, I can't tell you how many times unknowing people have said that's the answer. The sheets not being on the bed doesn't spell abuse I put my childrens sheets on there bed three times today. They don't like the feel of them and one doesnt even like the feel of clothes. These parents did something awful that resulted in there daughter dying but i just don't believe that they where intending to abuse her i believe them when they say that they where trying to keep her safe but then i have been on the other side of an autism melt down. It is clear to me that these parents didn't have the proper supports the doctor didn't even explain what the autism spectrum is. i know that people who have not been touched by this disorder have a hard time understanding it. This case has made me ask if I didn't have my sight and senses what would I do to protect my children???? I think that things are being twisted to make these parents look really bad.. No one is saying that they asked for help because all of those agencyies would not have ben involved had they not asked for help. Although they made the wrong choice in the way that they restrained there daughter the danger that she could have faced not being restrained might have been greater, I don't think that they for saw a fire burning up there home.

Gina Buxton   April 8th, 2010 6:50 pm ET

First place, the key word here is Stepmother. They have not said what was wrong with this child. She was abused and mistreated because she was not her child. Remember what her brother said, the other girls would be picking on her and the "mother" would blame it on Calista. Open and shut case, the stepmother was abusing this child simply because who she was. The "dad" just as guilty for allowing this to happen. Prison is to good for them. I hope they both get what they so deserve.When was the last time she had something to eat? , it had to be a long time. The medical examier said no food found in her stomach.

Rhonda   April 8th, 2010 6:55 pm ET

If my house was on fire I would get my kid out before I got myself and the dog. There is no way I would have left that house without my kid. That makes me suspicious, did she start the vaccuum on fire? Was she trying to kill her?

patty   April 8th, 2010 7:02 pm ET

this is so sick, they put that poor child strapped in the basement in 1999, does anyone think these sickos, had a change of heart ,No Way, they have been doing this one way or another for years, also I'm 5 foot 1 inch when I weighed 90 lbs people thought I was dying. the girl was barely fed. also there is a story of alittle girl that was eating Lead paints chips off her porch, Why ? because they said that lead paint when dry tastes sweet like candy. poor Calista was eating paint beause she was starving. but "Dad" sits there with his huge belly. and that little girl is in the ground, Horriable!!!!!

aida   April 8th, 2010 7:15 pm ET

This case is terrible disturbing. Not only she was tortured since they got her, but the so called psychiatrist is unbelievable. He had no clue on Calysta's diagnosis and followed what her criminal parents told him. He should never practice or he should be sued. As far as Pamela Wingard, from Wraparound, that woman reminds me of the movies Saw and Hostel. These two "experts" have no children and they consider physical punishment as a mean of discipline. Calysta never had a chance to survive and unfortunately God took to long to take her. She suffered years and years of hunger, pain and suffering. My stomach was killing me listening to these people. I thought West Virginia had the most ignorant and mentally slow people and now I realized that Michigan follows right after. How can these people get a college degree when they have such low iq? The parents look evil and they smile when they hear their accomplishments, Probably they fed lead to the child, but in order to have lead poisoning damage, it must be consumed in great amounts, not by chewing toys or paint. Calysta was normal, but her stepmother and father are mentally disturbed. Did anyone ever check them? Itis so obvious that they set the fire and let her die. No parent will run out with the dog and leave a child in chains. The prosecutor is too young and not assertive. The judge is asking the questions, and the jurors ask the most ridiculous and irrelevant questions,

Brenda in Ohio   April 8th, 2010 7:45 pm ET

I am a mother of a 15 yr old child with autism and other delays and I like what Gwen had to say. Its not easy, you lose sleep at night, you take one day at a time...but you do the best you can to make them happy. Punishment does not work with these kids, you have to praise the good and minimize the bad as best you can, I try to change things and get my daughters mind off of what she is doing wrong, and present her with something else to do and Im sure others do the same thing because we learned over years to do that, never thought about restaining your own child so they cant move! That involves time and patience and watching them constantly. It sounds to me like this family did not want to take care of this child right, but they also didn't want to give her up because they would have to give up the government check. I do believe there are not as much options out there as people think. there are more for adults than for children with special needs.

Brenda in Ohio   April 8th, 2010 8:03 pm ET

I also want to know the circumstances when the sweeper caught fire until the mother was outside because it seems like this is more than a case of neglect and lack of care for this child. She has a lot of explaining to do as far as I'm concerned about why she was outside and not with that child. I am sure, special needs or not, there are a lot of parents that agree with me in saying I would have either been found with her, or she would have been outside with me. It will all come out as things get further along. And I don't think she is going to have a convincing answer.

Pam   April 8th, 2010 11:10 pm ET

I think you missed something. Or at least a couple somethings.
1. The condoms and ties were NOT found in the child's room they were found in the parent's room.
2. The medical examiner did check for signs of sexual abuse and found NONE.
I hope that answers your concerns.


R. Rowe   April 9th, 2010 1:50 am ET

Ok, Michigan does not have any rules on governing home schooling. All the school had to do was notate in the child's records, "removed for home schooling" and that was it! No tests, NOTHING!!!! I hope someone follows up on this and initiates control on Home Schooling. BTW, when a diploma is issued, the state does not even verify. So all you parents out there that do not care about your childs education, Home School and then request a diploma for them when they turn 18! At least they may be able get employment instead of being on government assistance.
The jest of it all is: The step mother did not want the child, she belonged to another woman, whom her husband had slept with. She was a daily reminder to Marsha, the other 2 children were theirs. The fire was set intentionally and it was meant to kill Callista, and she would use her blindness as an excuse as to why she was handicapped, with smoke in the house and cldnt see, that is why she didnt rescue Callista. I think they both should be chained to a top bunk bed for a month, and then set the house on fire and let them die like Callista did! THERE JUSTICE IS SERVED!! WHO AGREES WITH ME?

R. Rowe   April 9th, 2010 1:59 am ET

I do not believe the child had special needs. Marsha and probably Anthony as well poisioned the child with lead to use it as an excuse to cover the abuse. That abuse started at a very young age. Come on people read between the lines. The only special need the child had was to be rescued from these morons. The child put objects or non edible items in her mouth, because she was hungry. To bad they can not recover any of her drawings. OMG this makes me sick, her friend is paying for her attorney and he has been appointed an attorney by the state. So the state is paying for this process. OH HELL QUIT WASTEING MONEY AND CHAIN THEM TO THE DAM BUNK BED AND SET THE HOUSE ON FIRE.

elvia   April 9th, 2010 3:01 am ET

wheres is her real mother? no wonder that lady was evil to calista.......they both deserve.. life in prison...... or death..

paula   April 9th, 2010 9:51 am ET

I know my view will probably be unpopular...but I have some experience with a "special" child, and I can only speak for step daughter had some very bizzare behavior and she has changed my views a great deal....before her I could have never believed much less said with any conviction what I am about to say...this child when she was 9 held a knife to my throat, was practicing how to lynch my toddler son, would run outside naked if she was left alone for a minute, she would sit on the couch or a chair and void on it, she would remove food out of the refrigerator and leave it to spoil, she was hit us and curse us, I thought all this child needed was a stable environment and love and she would be fine...I was so wrong, we got her a psychritist, tried to get her into long term missouri it is very difficult to get a child into long term care....and expensive if you have to pay it all out of pocket, around 200 dollars a day was the cheapest we found, it takes a few years and alot of documentation from a psychritist...we had to lock her in her room at night and we had a baby moniter we turned on it there and put up high on the wall...then we would lock the rest of the family in the other bedroom to get a little sleep...respite respite help is available at least for a few years...she would come back from short term facilities with restraint marks on her and at one time we actually told we had to come and pick her up now from the psychriactric facility because they could not handle her! And this is just the tip of what i an recall...she is now 19, her dad and I are divorced.

j   April 9th, 2010 10:15 am ET

These parents are sick! Im sure whatever condition this child had they caused it. there is no exscuse for what they did to her! And isit sickens me that the defense is saying the fire killed her not the parents. How did the fire start anyway?

jack stevens   April 9th, 2010 10:46 am ET

These parents chained their daughter to the bed. CHAINED AND ZIP TIED, no matter what the issues that there are it is ultimately their lack of responsiblity as parents that caused this childs death.

Ashley   April 9th, 2010 11:09 am ET

As an 18 year old even I seem more informed about this case than Jennifer Bonjean, maybe if she spent half the time paying attention to the case at hand rather than putting on all that orange makeup, then maybe she could have a better understanding of what is going on here. How could someone say that these two "parents" should not be considered murderers... they new EXACTLY what they were doing to the innocent girl when they left her tied to a bed by a dog "choke chain." If she was such a "problem child" then she should have been institutionalized, not tortured throughout her entire life. There is nothing this harmless girl could have possibly done to deserve the cruel and unusual punishment that Calista endured for so long.

flossy   April 9th, 2010 11:14 am ET

Calista called Marsha "step mother".Which she was not. I wonder why she would do that??

Jay   April 9th, 2010 11:17 am ET

Where's the argument?
A preciuos little girl died. She should have been removed after getting lead poisoning. I don't even use chocker collars on my dogs.

The Springers should rot in jail.

David R. Carpenter   April 9th, 2010 11:31 am ET

A (biological) parent should be refused parental rights if they neither support the child emotionally, economicaly,socially envirornmentaly, or if the parent is abusive, or mentally or physically incapable to properly care for the child.

V.W   April 9th, 2010 11:36 am ET

I have read some of the comments about these people not having any kind of help with this child. After listening to some of the testimonies today, there was a lot of help for them from the beginning. I feel like once these agencies got suspicious of some sort of abuse, these so called "loving parents" would pull out of the programs.

I believe they pulled her out of school because she was beginning to talk about her treatment at home.

And, OMG, how in the world can a blind person home school a child? Why wouldn't the school system keep check on Calista to see if she is getting the proper education according to the gidelines of being home schooled

From what I have heard thus far, these people ( evil step-mom in particular) wanted Calista around for her own selfish reasons. This could be about control and probably more about the money.

The Springer adults have more mental issues than this poor innocent child.

R.I.P. Calista.

Sandy Houck   April 9th, 2010 11:55 am ET

This is so traggic so many people knew about the abuse and everyone turned a blind eye.
I can not beleive that people were aware that this poor girl was being tied to a pole in a dark & dingy basement and did nothing about it.

Even family members took her to thier homes just to report abuse and nothing was done .
It amazes me that Calista was left in this torture chamber .

The state failed this poor girl in the worse way,so many people yelled fire on behalf of Calista it's a shame it took a real fire to kill her to get anyones attention to the abuse that was well documented.

And now everyone that failed this poor girl has to look at themselves and i hope they have nightmares when they go to bed at night (unchained )
All the people that knew of this abuse and did nothing are as guilty as the animals that called themselve parents.
I hope she was knocked out from being drugged and did not know she was about to die in a fire.


Ken, Maryland   April 9th, 2010 12:01 pm ET

Its about time !!! The Prosecution has finally gotten a witness on the stand that has really tied these defendants to any kind off long term abuse. The case worker admitted that they were aware of abuse. But, why would any State Agency allow anyone to restrain a child with chains. I think the defense is going to push the blame to the State. Why wasnt the child removed from that enviorment.
Im sorry folks, I feel like the Prosecutors Office didnt have their " ducks" in order for this case. I still have a bad feeling that somehow these animals are going to get away with this . There are to many questions that are not being asked. I am noy a lawyer but it just seems to me that the Prosecutor is not asking pointed enough questions. He starts to , witnesses seem to be able to skirt hard questions. If this comes down to the defense being able to get away with this then something has got to be done with our Protective Service Agencies nation wide. Im tired of the State getting involved with problem families and for one reason or another the State " drops the ball" or they let it "slip throught the cracks". I dont want to hear " we dont have funding ". That is b.s. and everybody knows it. Our children are what makes up tommorrow. This abuse of our children has to stop. Its time to start holding everyone responsible for over seeing these case workers accountable. If nessessary clean house and start over with personal that are going to take responsibility for our children.

Eugene Alexander   April 9th, 2010 12:08 pm ET

The latest testimony in this case is incredible & very disturbing. The authorities knew for years that this child was being severley mistreated.Yet there was no attempt was made to remove Calista from this situation.The latest CPS worker said their main concern was "to keep the family together"?? Doesnt the C mean child & shouldnt that be their 1st priority? Also-it was known that Calista was being chained to her bed & was "accepted" as protecting her?? There a buch of lazy slobs who should all be fired & possibly prosecuted. At least now Calista is in a far better place where there in no pain-and she is getting the love she deserved but never got on this earth. RIP Calista.

Sandra Williamson   April 9th, 2010 12:10 pm ET

There are too many avenue's of help these days. It is NEVER ok to chain a child or anyone else. Besides jail, these parents ought to be chained to their beds and given little food themselves. They need to be treated in ALL the ways they mistreated this special child. I also blame Social Servgices for dropping the ball and not following thru to protect this child from her evil parents.

laura day   April 9th, 2010 12:14 pm ET

If a child NEEDS to be chained to a bed....It does not...via medicaid/mediare there are around-the-clock sitters avaible..that is, if they cared enough to sign her up for it and follow through

Linda   April 9th, 2010 12:15 pm ET

It is apparent to me that EVERYONE dropped the ball on this poor child.

Leona Palermo   April 9th, 2010 12:22 pm ET

It seems to methat this child should have been taken away from this family years ago. It sounds like the agency did not do enough to protect this poor child.If they knew what was going on why wasn,t she helped?

Stephanie - Worcester MA   April 9th, 2010 12:24 pm ET

The Department of Child Protective Services interviewed the family when Calista was in school and alleged abuse (She was removed from school after that by her parents).
How could the DCPS worker not even check Calista's room and further close the case. Calista told her she was being chained to a bed every night. Shame on that worker. The parents will go to jail and get what they deserve, child abuse is not looked highly upon within prison walls, but the DCPS gets off again for FAILING to PROTECT A CHILD FROM TORTURE and ABUSE that eventually led to her death.

Brandy   April 9th, 2010 12:30 pm ET

This case disturbs me on so many levels. First, chaining any human being is cruel and abusive no matter the youth's level of functioning, it amazes me that the Michigan DHS department does not restrict this form of discipline.

I fail to believe that this youth was a threat and harm 24/7. There are other immediate/physical restraining techniques that can be used when a youth becomes a TRUE harm to themselves or others; it is wrong to restrain to prevent possible harms that have not occurred yet.

I am further amazed at how many "child service" workers was aware of it. This goes to show the continuous break down in the child welfare system. How can so many people be alerted to the same reports of abuse and yet the only result is to file reports. No further actions were taken to protect this innocent young girl. If the laws don't provide a remedy and there are so many "regulations" that must be complied with by agency workers before actions are taken, then the courts have alot of work to do so that these cases don't come to such a tragic result. More proactive and aggressive policies to protect these youth who are under the care of the state need to be put into place.

Kathy Lindsey   April 9th, 2010 12:34 pm ET

I was wondering if the warning about if a fire broke out in the house could be disasterous had any barring on whether the fire was intentionally set? Maybe that gave them the idea of how to get out of a tough situation. How very sad for all the children. Kathy Lindsey

V.W   April 9th, 2010 12:47 pm ET

If all of these agencies, programs, and the school knew or had concerns about Calista's care, why in the devil wouldn't they have removed her. Had she been an animal like they treated her, animal control and the courts would have had the animal removed and the perps thrown in jail.

Where is the value of human life in this case?

Daniela   April 9th, 2010 12:52 pm ET

This child was not restrained because of special needs or endangerment. As others have posted, there are numerous support systems for parents with children who require special needs.

She was chained to the bed because it's torture; it's humiliation; it's abuse, and that's what her parents meant it to be.

nicole hunt   April 9th, 2010 12:53 pm ET

did anyone that visited the home (case workers, etc..) ever go up to her room to actually see how the room was? did they ever see the chain that was used on her? and did they ever question her alone? i think they were to blame as well as the parents for her death!!
nicole ,texas

Ken, Maryland   April 9th, 2010 12:55 pm ET

I am tired of screaming at my tv. My blood pressure is sky rocketing over these Case workers. Now the Supervisor Mrs. Bare says " yes , the buck stops with me " and "yes, that I was responsibile person for closing this case " . I THINK THE STATE CASE WORKERS SHOULD ASO BE HELD RESPONSIBLE. Did you notice that the case worker and supervisor, and the phyciatrist are all retired.
Why didnt the Jury ask any questions of this Witness????

Phyllis   April 9th, 2010 1:00 pm ET

I'm a retired R.N. who worked in the Nursing Home Setting, and by law we couldn"t restraint any of our Residents ever, even siderails are considered restraints, and why this social service agency would even consider allowing this restraint to be used without even checking to see what was being done at this house.....I think everyone in this sad case is responsible......Why is this always looked at after the sad case ends like this......Why is social service always seem to be so afraid to take these kids out of the home........

Connie   April 9th, 2010 1:16 pm ET

The State (DCPS) definitly dropped the ball. They could have removed Calista from that home. I know it is not their fault she is dead but, they sure were at fault for not giving Calista more attention. I know for a fact that DCPS does not follow up, they only go to the home a listen to the parents complain about the (bad) child and believe what they want to. I see no protection what so ever. Calista had tried time and time again to reach out for someone to help her. I blame everyone for this AWFUL thing. The dog got more love and protection. God have mercy.

Cheryl, CT   April 9th, 2010 1:22 pm ET

Holly is talking about exactly what is happening in our family. I firmly believe that our child is on the Autism spectrum, specificaly Aspbergers. No one is listening...he has ever single symptom yet no one will give us a firm diagnosis. It's very upsettting. would be great to hear from you on how to advocate for my son. He's almost 14 but is really more emotionally and developmentally disabled and is really more like a 6 year old. We need more help then anyone is providing for us, including our state.

Rod H fron MD   April 9th, 2010 1:23 pm ET

Glad to see Holly Robinson Peete highlight Autism and lets people know that our children are here and need adequate care it is here and need the proper care to create a positive outcome by the graCE OF GOD!

Trish   April 9th, 2010 1:44 pm ET

I think the parents only had these mental health professionals involved in their lives to use as evidence to convince Calista that there was something wrong with her. Also, when the school wanted to mainstream her, they wanted to keep her in special ed – again, this suggests that, in private, they could be telling Calista, "You're such a bad, stupid girl, we need professionals to help you. You're so stupid you need to be in slow classes." [When my parents sent me to a psychologist as a child, they told me that it was because I was so bad & stupid that "normal" parents couldn't handle my problems].

I wonder, too, if they could have drugged her before any sort of intelligence tests, to reduce her scores. If they gave her enough decongestants that the medical examiner said she could have been unconscious when she died, it's not impossible that they'd drug her in other situations when it suited their evil purposes.

Cynthia Weiand   April 9th, 2010 2:00 pm ET

Health Care Institutions use restraints every day. They are usually "soft" restraints such as Vests and Soft tie downs. Why weren't these used with Calista? Many "acceptable" and effective forms of restraints are and were available. These parents should be convicted of abuse and neglegence at the VERY least! Anyone aware of this being done to Calista should be charged as well.

Kathryn Collins   April 9th, 2010 2:01 pm ET

The picture of Marsha and Calista looks like Marsha is pinching Calista's arm to hold her in place. When most people put an arm around someone else the fingers ane closer together.

Cheryl   April 9th, 2010 2:16 pm ET

Sometimes children who don't get the affection and positive attention they need act out for any kind of attention at all. In my opinion, Callista was crying out for the hugs and cuddles she needed. This case is very disturbing to me and my heart just breaks for the way this girl was mistreated. I hope the Springers get what is coming to them.

Trish   April 9th, 2010 2:19 pm ET

Some people have asked whether murder, not manslaughter, applies here.

First, these people were warned that restraining this child alone was dangerous, and they continued to do it. Second, even if the fire was an accident, there is a strong possibility that stepmom, who had time to get the dog out of the house, and didn't attempt to get her "baby" out until she was conveniently in an ambulance, saw an opportunity to get rid of Calista by doing nothing once the fire started. As old Nancy Grace used to say, "Intent can be formed in an instant."

The father left the child in the care of this woman whose idea of discipline was screaming and hitting and tying a child up in a room alone loaded with drugs, depraved indifference.

joan ziegler   April 9th, 2010 2:22 pm ET

I don't understand how people can be so quick to judge these parents. what they did was wrong but as a grandparent to a child with "special needs" I can tell you, you don't know whawt you are talking about. My granddaughter can fool anyone into believing she is a saint! she lies,steals,is sexually aggressive to small children and continually threatens to kill her mom and little sister. All sharp items have been removed from the house but this doesn't stop her. she is extremely intelligent. when she is in the house one parent has to stay with her AT ALL TIMES. I could go on for hours but let me just say, we have begged repeatedly for long term help from the state but as to date they refuse to keep her long term. all they want to do is short term, and with that each time we go she has a new doctor/therapist for her to con. please be careful what you say about parents–at least until you have walked in their shoes!!!

Beejay N   April 9th, 2010 2:29 pm ET

Does anyone besides myself feel that the reporter dropped the ball when speaking with this child's biological mother?
As for her biological mother,she was out in left field also.If someone had tryed to take my son when I was 21yrs old,you better believe I would of gone to police,attorney,and anyother service that would of got the child back.For this mother to say she was young and didnt know what to do is bull! Calsita didnt have a chance with the 2mothers she was given.They were both fruit cakes.

Cynthia Weiand   April 9th, 2010 2:33 pm ET

Acceptable and Effective restraints are used every day in Health Care Institutions. "Soft Vests with ties for hands and feet if neccessary. These were available, and the parents should be charged with neglect and abuse at the very least.Common sense would tell anyone decent human being that a "chain" was not the answer. If nothing else, this child should have been taken from them or the parents should have admitted they couldn't handle Calista and placed her in a safer environment. Perhaps not guilty of outright Murder but still responsible for her death.

kathy herrmann   April 9th, 2010 3:05 pm ET

i believe Calista may have had problems but i also believe they stemed from the abusive parents. my aunt raised 3 children and she was totally blind from age 15. one of them was "slower" then the others but none were abused or treated differently then the .my heart bleeds for Calista.

Judy   April 9th, 2010 3:08 pm ET

These two "parents" killed Calista by chaining her up. They should have been found guilty of murder!! I hope they rot in jail.

lori littlefield   April 9th, 2010 3:49 pm ET

i just watched some of this trial on tv...OMG i have a child on the spectrum who im having probs with but NO WAY would i ever do something as stupid as this! if they dont go to jail for life or get the death penalty there is definately something wrong!!!!!

Trish   April 9th, 2010 4:07 pm ET

One of the child protection workers testified that after being freed from the bed by her father to use the bathroom in the mornings, Calista would return to the bed and CHAIN HERSELF BACK UP. This sounds like an extremely compliant child, strongly undercutting the claim that they needed chains to control her.

Letting her chain herself back up also demonstrates the exact kind of trust in Calista that they could not have had if she needed to be immobilized for "her own safety".

barbara   April 9th, 2010 4:32 pm ET

There seems to be no sadness on the faces of the parent and the step-parent. I feel Calista was not loved/wanted by the stepmom (which is typical a lot of time) and the father did not have enough guts to stand up to his wife. He is a sorry excuse for a parent and she should be sent up forever. The 2 siblings should be taken away from that witch. Hopefully the sibs will realize the inappropriateness of treatment of Calista.

Rose   April 9th, 2010 4:53 pm ET

Calista was 13 months old when she started living jointly with father and stepmother. Was Calista left in a room alone to eat Lead chips?
It takes alot of chips to get high levels of lead poison. Calista was abuse in all forms expect sexual, from an early childhood. It first starts off as neglect then abuse. If the Springers had not rec special care for Calista and how to handle her needs, one could understand. We have heard social worker to health provider sent in to educate and help.(not police) social workers have a case load of 200+ time is limited with each child. The springers were out to overdose this child using medication and restraint. Not using the education on how to work with Calista. and continue to use the restrain, has now put them in this position.
The Springer's Pet dog had more freedom than Calista had, was shown more concern for, and weight more than Calista. and was feed more.

If Calista was such a danager, to herself and other household members, why were the Springs girls sleeping in the same room?

To restrain any person, you must have a medical license approval. some patients do need to be restrain, but not with chains and not to a bed or a chair unless you have approval or in a hospital setting.

hannah jean   April 9th, 2010 6:35 pm ET

neglect and abuse was apparent from the beginning, since only Colista had led poisoning.. the step mom cant blame her sight on that since she was able to keep her own 2 kids from eating paint chips.. and now it sounds like they kidnapped her to begin with since the biological mother couldn't read or write and didn't know her parental rites.. there's some thing very wrong from day one with this hole thing.. iv worked w special needs and Never saw any thing like this kind of abuse!

Rita   April 9th, 2010 10:54 pm ET

These two creatures (I can't even bring myself to call them parents) make me sick to my stomache! Calista was clinging onto anyone that she could just to feel loved. If a person is warned numerous times not to keep this child chained, for one, in case a fire breaks out and you do not adhere to those warnings then in my opinion it is murder! If they were too selfish and lazy to take care of one of God's most precious gifts then give the child up for adoption or turn them over to the state. If they would have done this in the first place...Calista would still be alive today. God rest her soul.

kay   April 9th, 2010 11:41 pm ET

I have watched some of this trial and have to say I've never heard of such evil and hatred toward a child for such a prolonged period of time. Sounds like Calista had simple needs rather than "special needs". Anyone forced to endure torture is bound to end up with "special needs" . She was clearly failed by everyone around her. There was simply no excuse for her cruelty shown to her by Marsha and that dumb excuse for a father. These "parents" deserve no mercy or understanding for what they did. I can only hope they get long prison terms and that their other children are taken away from them permanently. I would like to see the day when people must be licensed to become parents. Clearly, it is not a job for everyone.

Oliver   April 10th, 2010 12:03 am ET

This case is so sad. I think the Dad couldn't be bothered and the Mom was overwhelmed. It was so horrible when they talked about how the Dad would go in and untie her in the morning so she could use the bathroom, and then Calista would put a new zip tie back on when she went back to bed. This was normal for her. Also, they were not feeding her if she weighed only 91 lbs.
The Michigan authorities dropped the ball by not AT LEAST telling the parents to stop chaining the Calista up. Maybe they didn't want to alienate them further, but it was a stupid mistake on many people's parts.
Calista deserved better, and suffered a lot of pain in her short life. I get sick to my stomach when I think about her her parents.
Thank you to In Session for putting this case on the air and honoring this little girl by showing her story to the world.

Sigrid, SW Virginia   April 10th, 2010 2:11 am ET

Pam in Wisconsin, I appreciate your correction. Even in hindsight, the child now being mercifully released from her sad life, I am thankful that at least she was spared sexual abuse. New revelations about Calista not being taken off the chains to use the bathroom, forcing her to soil herself and then being punished for being "bad", paint yet another horrifying picture. All this is so so sad.

Gail Snail   April 10th, 2010 8:24 am ET

I am so disgusted by this case. Poor Calista could not escape the fire. How dare her parents treat her this way. The parents will soon be in cages, as they deserve.

Rest In Peace, Calista. There will be justice for you.

carol   April 10th, 2010 10:47 am ET

My child is now in his thirities. He has a disability, but I never chained him to a bed. This was abuse. I hope they rot in their jail cells. I know that it is not easy, but they should have gotten help or given her over to the county so that they could have provided for her.

yazmeen barker   April 10th, 2010 11:17 am ET

that was crule to kill an inocent girl when she is just 16. crule, I would never do tha to my kid ever ever in this world ever. how would it fell to have killed your kid you would have guilt and regret to kill someone so nice but it was crule

Charlie   April 10th, 2010 2:37 pm ET

I am raising my grandchild who is now a teenager. He has adhd...he is on medication for this, he also has trouble sleeping at night but I have medication to relax him so that he can fall asleep.. why was this not done for this child? The parents did not want to be bothered I would assume.

Lori   April 10th, 2010 8:43 pm ET

People need to start listening to the children and do everything in their power to make sure something isnt truely going on..a complete investigation in every aspect of the word!!!!!! What was wrong with everyone through this time..when she went to school with bad hygene and the other two didnt. when the clothes she was in were not good..but the other girls clothes were..when she wrote the letter of going closer to the grave there in the prison??? omg.. it makes me want to become someone that goes in and investigates these things.. all of this went through so many makes me sick to my stomach !!! When parents that spent time with Calista turned the abuse in over 3 times each to social services and still NOTHING? I think everyone that let it go through and forgot this little girl should pay with the parents for their neglect for this poor child! Cant even imagine how it must have felt to her..a home where the people there are the ones she is suppose to feel the safest with are against her..when she goes to school and practically tells everyone except the janitor that she is in prison..getting closer to her one stepped on any toes.. now.. everyone is in their nice comfy homes .. happy..while she suffered for how long??? I hope they are happy with themselves that they didnt get involved!!! Geesh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

susan   April 10th, 2010 10:13 pm ET

They wouldn't feed this child. she has to find food from somewhere.
etc garbage, paint chips. They wouldn't allow her to fix her plate.
They'er just tring to find something wrong with the child. Nothing
justifies her being burned alive,

Tina M   April 12th, 2010 4:35 am ET

I am raising grandchild with ADHD, but in no way I would ever ever think of chaining him to anything. That is so uncalled for to do a child this way. Furthermore, blindness is no acuse, they both shoud be found Quilty of Murder.

Tina M   April 12th, 2010 4:51 am ET

"Oh, a few more things, why aren't there any pictures of Calista being older?, they'er just her younger pictures showing. Thus, all the Drs. that have been involved with Calista at a younger age and not in her teen age years, why is that? Surely, she still needed to be helped by Social Workers or other Drs. I don't think Calista was bad as they said she was, everyone said so far that she was colm and quite, this is not an ADHD personality

Judy   April 12th, 2010 5:53 am ET

A letter in the Kalamazoo Sunday paper asked for sympathy for "poor" Marsha and Anthony.....saying how they have suffered enough, having to drive to court every day in their old, broken-down Taurus, how they did their best as parents to Calista. I thought I would throw up! They got tons of help from services driving Marsha all over, providing them with the alarms they chose not to use. They have already cost the state of Michigan too much!!! I pray they will be put away for life for what they have done and not done.

chloe   April 12th, 2010 10:02 am ET

This is horrifying! What about the benedryl that they found in Calista's system at autopsy? Not only was she chained to the bed, but she was also drugged! I hope they put these "parents" away for a long, long time. This innocent girl had a life of misery by the hands of her "parents"! Rest in Peace, Calista!

Teresa   April 12th, 2010 10:28 am ET

I am in the sometimes challenging situation of also being a "stepmother." Bottom line, I was aware that my husband had children when we got married, and when I married him I accepted his children as my children. Of course, their are always issues when you merge into an existing family; however, it remains a parents responsibility to protect their children. Who knows who the main aggressor was here; however, if it initially was the stepmom, then shame on the father for following suite. He loved his child first or at least should have, and if it became a question of choosing, his loyalty should have remained with Calista. He could always find another woman- but could not replace his flesh and blood. To me, he is even more responsible here than the stepmother since Calista was his child. These people took Calista's freedom from her and ultimately her life and in turn should have their freedom and their lives taken from them.

judy in Florida   April 12th, 2010 10:34 am ET

I have yet to hear any testimony in this case to make me believe that this child had a behavior problem that was severe enough to cause her parents to go to the extremes that they did to restrain her.

John   April 12th, 2010 11:07 am ET

I have been a Paramedic Firefighter for 40 years (ret) and we had to have a physician order to restrain some on on the ambulance and in the hospital they needed a physicians order to restrain someone, why, restraints are DANGEROUS. It takes their ability to get out of FIRES away from them. Was their a pair of wire cutters close enought to cut the ties in case of emergency? Was their a plan for FIRE. This is where the parrents were in fault...

Linda   April 12th, 2010 11:08 am ET

Most hospitals no longer use any form of restraints on patients because they cause more damage and sometimes death, most hospitals now use sitters to be with patients 24/7, this is a more positive approach for agitated patients.
I think these child protective agencies and the courts are responsible for a lot of children's deaths. The courts and agencies sometimes disregard all the warnings that these children are in danger. These agencies use the excuse that they are over worked, but they fail to realize that these children's lives are in danger. The agencies and the courts start scrambling when these children end up dead and then you have cases such as this. How sad.

Samm   April 12th, 2010 11:24 am ET

I can't believe that the State Child Services didn't step in I had the state ask for proof that my son was special needs and I had BOX on BOX of medical records the State does this as a routine check when kids start school where I live . Where's there anything that shows she was special needs .
Children need LOVE and Happiness from the people who they count on the most = they're Mom's and Dad's . The home is supposed to be a SAFE and happy place that no matter what happens out side of the home they can come home and know they are Loved and SAFE !
How can they sit there threw this Trial and look so blank it's beyond me ! These 2 people are the most vile kind of people right next to child molesters .

D Davis   April 12th, 2010 11:51 am ET

Calista seems to have had very good coping skills; she was subjected to mental as well as physical abuse and yet she still seems to been happy and affectionate when away from her parents. If she displayed any bad behaavior, it would have been because of her treatment by her family.

The worst part of all of this is that I am certain they knew that what they were doing was wrong, but they had tacit approval by the child protective services, so they continued. No one seemed to really be an advocate for this child!

I say give them a dose of their own medicine, once in prison they will know what it is like to be tortured and bullied by people bigger and meaner!!!!

Tim Billheimer   April 12th, 2010 12:01 pm ET

This case is easy to resolve...put the so-called parents away for life! Let them be harassed and beat on daily in the joint for the rest of their lives!
Also, the county, state, and CPS of Michigan should be sued on behalf of Calista! Some of the money put in a trust for Calista's siblings and the rest put into a fund, a program named in honor of Calista for any other children that suffer the problems that she suffered from! The scumbag parents and the state of Michigan are obviously responsible for the pain, neglect, and death that happened to Calista, period!!

Phyllis   April 12th, 2010 12:10 pm ET

I would like to know where are the other two girls living at this time... at home with the Springers...Are they in danger of abuse since the death Calista.....I sure don't trust the parents

mike   April 12th, 2010 12:43 pm ET

this case is simple def. sit down u dont have a leg to stand on. The kid was 16 not 2 they were holding her there lock up for a reason not,becuse she had learning issuse,several ppl said she appeared norm behavior besides 2nd 3rd grade norm from kids. I also find it wierd that when more ,and more ppl found out what was going on in the house (school officals) that she was pulled from school to home school. They deff also said that they had just started chaining here to the bed just several weeks before the fire but,every person that has been asked was knowing of the chaining since she was in 2nd grade alot of things are not adding up for these parents make me belive that there is a much sicking side to this story that the parents is or is trying to cover/hide. This story is said i blame parents fully even if cps was contacted the parents more than likely covered it up in time .....for instance isnt like when cps showed at there home im sure they didnt have her chained up right then while they were inspecting.

Gloria Wright   April 12th, 2010 12:44 pm ET

I dont care what the child was.As far as being Special Needs or not.She did not deserve to be tied down to the bed.She did not deserve to be treated any differently then any one eles.She is and was a gift from god.The Springers should be found guilty...It just tears my heart out.If it wasnt for this fire and her death.She still will be induring this abuse to this day.Now the lord has her and she isnt being tied down to any bed.She free.It just burns a hole in my heart.We have to have a lisence to have and animal,go fishing.But any fool can have a baby.

mike   April 12th, 2010 12:52 pm ET

from watching i dont think the deff could prove a point if they had one for the simple fact 8 people had to explain to them what a iep was ........and the still dont get it ....and countinue to ask

Jennifer Combs   April 12th, 2010 1:48 pm ET

I lived in Michigan and this is the second case I've seen where the child was adopted and then abused by the adoptive parent(s), the children were in turn killed by the acts of the parents. The child welfare system in Michigan needs to be fixed, in both cases Child Welfare was notified of the abuse and nothing was done, they worry about the children that don't have major issues at home and sweep the important cases under the rug.

Trish   April 12th, 2010 2:05 pm ET

Here's something I think every child protective worker, school counselor & child therapist should know when dealing with a Cinderella & her abusive family: Attention given to that child from outside adults can be very dangerous for that child. The parents get very angry watching someone be nice to the kid they've chosen to demonize and blame the kid for somehow attracting the attention. After the outside adults are out-of-earshot, the kid pays for that attention. Remember the story when the professional took Calista to Burger King & stepmom snatched away her paper crown? That was preventing Calista from having a tangible reminder that an adult could be nice to her.

The longer the amount of time that an outside adult pays attention to the kid, the worse things get for her when the outsider isn't around.

So. if you're a professional & come across a case like this, either hurry up & get the evidence needed to take the kid away from these monsters, or withdraw. But be aware, the longer you do things that look affectionate or attentive to the can create more danger for that kid.

Trish   April 12th, 2010 3:55 pm ET

The defense attorneys asking about Calista taking things in classrooms does nothing to support the claim that Calista was such a danger to herself & others that she had to be immobilized.

A kid hungry enough to eat fromt he trash can also be hungry enough to eat erasers.

And perhaps her taking pencils & a barette from classmates has something to do with the fact that she had no toys – social workers from when she was 6 documented that they'd never seen her possess any toys.

Everything that is used to label Calista as troubled, PDD, or misbehaving is the result of things these people did to her. Her actions were the response of a normal child to horrific abuse from extremely heartless people.

patty   April 12th, 2010 4:06 pm ET

can anyone answer this for, are those sickos in custody, during this trial, or out on bond? also if I was on the jury, I don't need to hear one more word from anybody GUILTY of every charge. can a jury stop a trial right now if the all agree, and say we have reached a verdict,? or do they have to still sit there? lock them up already, I can't stand to look at them another second!! also have you noticed the "blind" stepmom, has no trouble reading what her husband is writing down, the writing pad is on his lap, she's sitting straight up, he points something out and she nods, I would have known these people were weidos after talking to them for 30 seconds.!! and I'm a food server, so much for that college degree.

Rosalie & Shelly   April 12th, 2010 5:32 pm ET

I think the idea of the jury allowed to ask questions is the best idea in years in the court system. The jurors pay more attention and do not get bored.

The punishment for the Stringers should be EXECUTED!! BY "OLD SPARKY"!!!!

Cynthia Stavish   April 12th, 2010 5:48 pm ET

I have two children with autism and would never consider restraining either of them. There are many interventions that can calm these children, mine respond to weighted blankets. I am wondering what education these people had received in dealing with Calista. After listening to the testimonies of a number of people who knew Calista, it does not sound as if she had a behavioral problem that prompted any type of restraint. What taking things that didn't belong to her and lying.....please. It is my opinion that these parents need to be put in prison for the rest of their God given days!!!!!!!!

I was also listening to the testimony of the social worker who knew the abuse was taking place and did nothing! Shame on you!!!!! Where I come from social workers are mandated reporters, is this not the case in Michigan? Nonetheless, this social worker needs to face charges as well. She could have prevented the senseless abuse, torture, and death of an innocent young girl.

Finally, this couple has other children who apparently said nothing. I guess I have to wonder what kind of monsters these kids are going to become. One thing is sure, I hope they decide not to become parents or God help their offspring!

Sandie   April 12th, 2010 7:19 pm ET

After listening to part of the testimony from the teachers, the only thing I can see that was wrong with this child is that she was starved for attention, love and yes food, From the looks of the step mom and the father they could have put less on their plates and from what I could tell from the step sister she sure didn't get treated or not feed like Calista. But thank God and not the people that were to protect her she is in a far better place now!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rest Peacefully Little Angel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

taylor   April 12th, 2010 9:27 pm ET

it make me sick that parents would do this to their own child adoptive or not if the girl had issued you still shouldnt chain her no matter how many time you try to help her she is a gift they threw her away like garbage they will burn in hell and do anyone who think it was ok for them to chain her they will burn in hell and if any of you agree with the chainning then i feel sorry for your kids if you have any and god will strike you down i know how she must of felt i was never chain but was hurt im in a good home now im just telling you my feeling im sorry to cnn if you dont find my words appropriate but that how i feel im 15 so sorry

andrea   April 12th, 2010 9:34 pm ET

This child was crying out for help for what appears to be many years. Everyone claims to have reported it yet nothing was ever done. The moment they took her out of school, family services should have kept closer eyes on that family knowing there may be abuse. This is absolutey crazy if her father and stepmother didnt want to be bothered with her they should have sent her to be with her biological mother, or grandparents. Also maybe she didnt have a real disability, maybee she acted out for attention to be brought to her home life. she must have been so alone my heart truley goes out to her. I hope they give her alleged parents the death penalty, no child should ever be treated that inhumanely

Tyrone Blackwell   April 13th, 2010 9:43 am ET

Reminds me of the story of the child that was chained to the radiator in NY by her father. The father thought of it as punishment, but the jury thought otherwise. Now media is saying that Calista Springer was abused! We don't even have statements from the parents. The only reason why this is even becoming news is because the 16yo died still chained to the bunk bed. I am not approving this action, but in the near future, if you even think of disciplining your child, you will find yourself in jail!

Brenda   April 13th, 2010 9:48 am ET

I truly believe Marsha treated Calista so harsh because MARSHA cannot see. Since Marsha has such bad vision, how is she suppose to teach Calista or anyone else how to read or do homework? So Marsha's strategy is to tell everyone that Calista has problems. I believe Marsha started feeding Calista the lead paint chips at an early age to promote Calista's physical and emotional problems. I cannot help but notice that most of the time that Marsha is in court, she is sitting very close to her husband and/or holding his hand or stroking his arm. MARSHA seems to require a great deal of physical contact and yet she could not/would not share a hug with Calista. I am so glad I will not meet our maker standing in her shoes.

Kay   April 13th, 2010 10:27 am ET

Ive been stuck to the tv during this trial because I feel CPS and the Sheriff Dept. dropped the ball on this. So much for serve and protect Calista was abused for years and multiple teachers and parents of Calistas friends made the calls and no one came thru for the girl. Now the parents will be in prison and her sisters are they damaged goods? These girls are products of those monsters and they think what was done to their sister was ok? Hopefully the Springers will spend the rest of their lives in MDOC and maybe just maybe CPS and the local police will not drop the ball on other children that are being savagely abused. This is a tragedy that should of been prevented. All of the teachers tried to do their jobs but all the calls fell on DEAF ears. Rest In Peace Little Angel may these devils pay their dues for the life they took over the 16 years of abuse. I

Kevin IL.   April 13th, 2010 10:29 am ET

Ask Vinny;
In yesterday's testimonies, teachers testified that Calista always wore turtle neck, long sleeve sweaters and long pants even in mid-summer. One teacher even blurted out that Calista stated her father had kicked her, though it was dismissed as hearsay.
This raises a question. Is it possible the parents dressed Calista in long sleeve turtle-necks and long pants to hide bruising from physical abuse?

michael   April 13th, 2010 10:32 am ET

i will always follow up on anything my kids tell me so many bad adults in the world today we have to take charge and follow the leads of our kids and this has to be the worst i'm so sorry for her our heart goes out to her from a wonderfull parent please people dont ever discard what ur kids are telling you please kids are our future

sandy folsom   April 13th, 2010 10:34 am ET

this child was crying out for help,and no one was listening.calista was a young lady,who probably also had female issues,which her mother did not take pride in cleanliness for her daughter.marsha&anthony should get life and also the social workers should be investigated,because they knew there was abuse & mental abuse going on.i have been watching this &i can't believe these people are parents.calista was telling the truth about her home life& i believe her story to be the whole truth. sandy augusta,maine

rena   April 13th, 2010 10:56 am ET

it takes a certain kind of person to work with and take care of special needs children. I have been working with special needs children for over 10 years and have never seen a reason to chain up a child, let alone restrain one to this extreme. I think thet are heartless people who deserve life and to be restrained down with chains so they can see how this child felt!

Nann   April 13th, 2010 10:57 am ET

My brother was according to doctors one of the worse cases of Down Syndrome ever. He died (I and my brothers and sisters are very sad to say) at the age of 37, (doctors said he would not live over night when born). He was never able to feed himself, wore a diaper his whole life, could not talk right (we understood him, others could not). Needed to be assisted to walk, he was very, very much a special needs child. His strength was that of a strong man, and yes at times he did have outbursts of temper. Brought on by loud yelling or if there were fighting or crying. This upset him very, very much, he was like a 1 to 2 year old and could of caused his self harm or others... But my parents never, NEVER LOCKED HIM IN A ROOM OR CHAINED HIM TO A BED... (and yes he could do stairs, and open doors on his own) But he was always with my Mom or one of us and shown much, MUCH LOVE and that is why he never hurt his self or any of us.
It is just a Cinderella story, they have tortured and murdered Calista and for one reason only she was the STEPDAUGTHER, the only good in this is Calista will finally be and know love as she is in Heaven. Those two I won't call them parents (maybe of a dog and I would not wish them on a dog), sure won't be going to Heaven.

Frances Flores-Rodriguez   April 13th, 2010 11:09 am ET

Why Calista's birth Mom didn't want to court to get her daugther back?

Nikki in California   April 13th, 2010 11:51 am ET

Once upon a time, a very wise man spoke those words, "Never, never, be afraid to do what is right, especially if the well being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way." ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

nita   April 13th, 2010 11:54 am ET

Wow! This trial has just boggled my mind. There were just so many red flags out there for several years and little was done to alleviate the suffering of this child by CPS.

I must say I am impressed by the Michigan teachers and other school related workers such guidance counselors, health workers, and paraprofessionals who reached out to Calista. It warmed my heart to see these educators smile when they recalled moments of interactions with this student. This one response from them let me know this was an engaging and likable child. I think the school personnel at her schools are to be commended.

I taught for thirty-five(35) years and I have seen situations such as this. We as educators were mandated to report our suspicions of abuse of students. However, this could be problematic for the teacher because we had to go through the principal. I worked for a principal who would have said she didn't believe it. Her reasonings would have been as follows: 1) two(2) parents at home
2) looks middle-class
3) father is businessman/stay at home
4) right address/historic home
5) conferences and all IEP Meetings
are attended
6) "Oh, but Calista is special."

This proves we cannot judge a book by looking as its cover.

One last point–Could these long sleeved turtlenecks be covering marks of abuse?

sylvia serui   April 13th, 2010 11:58 am ET

I believe it is an absolute travesty that the jury found the parents not guilty of either first or second degree murder. I don't know what the jury was thinking, but it was murder in my opinion. When the parents are sentenced for torture and child abuse,hopefully they will receive the maximum penalty allowed by law– -life in prison for both of them for what they did!!

Ashley, Illinois   April 13th, 2010 12:00 pm ET

Why didn't anyone take Calista to the hospital when they saw the bruises??? It would provide documentation and no authority figure could just assume she was lying!

patricia mehegan   April 13th, 2010 12:05 pm ET

This is so heartbreaking. These two people did not deserve this

Carolanne Johnson   April 13th, 2010 12:23 pm ET

I am 64 years old and as a child I was abused. I tried to have adults
at schools and Churches help me, but I too was called a liar. I can see right through this case. Just look at those parents and you can see that
they are more then guilty.

The poor child cried for help, and there were some that tried....
but, it all fell through the cracks.

God bless that poor baby girl.

She is now in the arms of the dear Lord.

Jan Armes   April 13th, 2010 12:25 pm ET

There is plenty of blame to go around for Calista's death, but in the end Marsha and Anthony Stringer should face all of the consequences for their brutal and cruel treatment of an innocent child who didn.t deserve to suffer as Calista did.
RIP Calista. I am sorry the world and people who surrounded you in your time here were so cruel to you.

susan   April 13th, 2010 12:29 pm ET

I can't believe what I am hearing during this trial. How can parents treat their daughter like a dog, that's is what it was like,. chained to a bed witha choke coller. I had tears in my eyes listening to some of the testimony and also what calista had to say about her life at that house. I think her parents should get life in prison, because the death penalty would be an easy way out, they wont have to suffer in prison.

sevangel   April 13th, 2010 12:30 pm ET

Teen statements show always be checked out. This is a prime situation of not checking. Aren't the any relatives that could have taken the children before they were sent to the Foster Care system from Hell. I know from expiences.

Danielle V.   April 13th, 2010 12:35 pm ET

i have been sitting here watching this trial for the two MONSTER parents, whom killed their daughter by chaining her down and not retrieving her during a house could they?? and child protective turned their backs.....where is the justice for this young girl?? she warned people of what was happeneing yet no one did anything....Calista was crying out for help why did everyone turn thier backs on the child?? so what if she suffered from pdd but is it proven she suffered from it or was it a made up mental illness made up by her murderous parents? i guess only god knows the truth. they should recieve the highest punishment allowable by law because we know they will get a higher punishment once they go to see our maker!

Danielle V.   April 13th, 2010 12:40 pm ET

what that poor girl was going through was completely torture and child abuse....the signs are all there....where was help when this poor girl needed it?? why did it have to end in her losing her life before anyone chose to do anything to speak out for her?

Pam   April 13th, 2010 12:49 pm ET

The defense should just throw in the towel & take their punshment. Nothing so far has proved to me that Calista wasnt abused, mentally or phyiscally.

V.W   April 13th, 2010 12:53 pm ET

This case is worse than "Mommy Dearest". My heart aches to hear about how Calista lived at home. It is so so horrible that there were many referals made to CPS and absolutely nonething was done. Now that this has gone to trial, I wonder how all these people that had turned their heads on this child's horrible conditions feel?

Was there any changes made in the Michigan laws to make sure children are protected from abusive situations?

As I look at these two sitting there listening to all the positive things about Calista, I wonder what is going through their minds. Do they really believe that they were doing no wrong in their treatment of Calista?

It is so hard for me to understand how a system that is in place to protect our most vulnerable group of people failed so horribly.

Julie   April 13th, 2010 12:56 pm ET

I am so surprised that these lawyers for the parents did not push for a plea deal! Good Lord... the prosecutors are making this case look like a slam dunk, the defense has an almost impossible task of justifying the parents actions! My heart goes out to Calista. I cannot imagine having to live the way she did. Clearly the parents neglected and murdered her! Throw the parents in prison and throw away the key. Perhaps the prison wardens should do to them what they did to Calista. Chain them to the bed at night, don't feed them and don't let them shower.. Oh wait.. the offenders have more rights than the victims. Sad.. very sad. Calista is in a better place now.. she can run around in heaven free as a bird like she wanted to while she was alive.

Danielle V.   April 13th, 2010 1:06 pm ET

the parents are all about blaming her and her pdd but what mental disorders do they suffer from because they have to be pretty sick mentally to torture this poor girl. calista could be close to graduating and she could be getting ready to get out on her own. i feel they chained her down so that she couldnt run away during the night. i think that was all a part of their sadistic treatment of this poor little girl. i personally have a special needs child and i would never do the atrocities that they did to their daughter to my own special needs child. these parents deserve to rot in jail chained to their beds!!!

Molly hayes   April 13th, 2010 1:10 pm ET

Who deemed this child special needs? The parents or the school. It seems that she suffered a long time at what were supposed to be caring parents. All the times this child spoke up and no one tryed to help her. How long before people start stepping up trying to profit from this child's demise.

Beth   April 13th, 2010 1:18 pm ET

We should always, ALWAYS, believe what our children tell us until we can prove or disprove it. Problem child or not, she deserved to be treated as the other children in the house were. If there were problems with night wanderings, there are ways to deal with that without chains or disrupting the sleep of the other children. If her parents were so concerned, they should have taken her to doctor after doctor until someone helped them. It seems to me that they took the easy way and just chained her up. To such a sad end... The death of a child, anyone's child, is a tragedy and we all suffer that loss.

V. BETHEA   April 13th, 2010 1:24 pm ET

i personally think her parents are really sorry excuses for parents. they should never be released

Pam W   April 13th, 2010 1:26 pm ET

OBJECTION: The first two classmates were asked a question about Calista that they answered with saying that Calista had told them about something and the judge had the statement thrown out because he said you cannot tell us anything that came from here say. If Calista told them, then it is not here say. I forgot the question with the first girl but with the second girl it was about the yard sale and Clasita could not make eye contact with anyone without getting into trouble. Please review the tape of today's testimony on the first two girls. Thank you.

raymond jones 3rd   April 13th, 2010 1:37 pm ET

well as a father,i feel that a young man,or a young woman comes to you and tell you that there is somthing going on and tell you sonrthing,as a father or mother you want to check it out right away,even if its not true, because you never know know,untill you check it out,but as a father,myself i check thing out to see if it is true, god bless that young lady.

mark   April 13th, 2010 1:41 pm ET

I have been watching all these family members of this little girl, her teachers and now some of her friends/classmates from school testify. All or some have said they contacted social services. I am outraged and saddened that NO ONE helped her. What were these social workers looking at? Did they even investigate the home to verify that this little girl had chains on her bed? I would also like to see what there accountability will be for their fatal mistake. Her obvious cry for help through others,fell on deaf ears. Very Sad!!!

Jarrell   April 13th, 2010 1:45 pm ET

Can anyone tell my why is the defense attorney asking all of the witnessesss if they remember calista's clothes improving during christmas. Does he he not realize that all witnessess are sayin the same thing.She wore the same thing all year.

Bobbi Lyons   April 13th, 2010 1:58 pm ET

I am disgusted at the way teachers, the principle the counselers, and Cps handled or should I say didn"t handle this obvious torture and abuse of this poor innocent girl. I think her step sisters should be sitting with their mother and step father because they did nothing to protect this poor child. I also hope they will never be able to have children because if they think this was normal or ok to do to a child, they may repeat the abuse. Lock them all up and chain them to their beds. She cried for help and nobody listened, I wish I had heard her cries because I would have made sure she was taken away from these monsters, all four of them.

Carla J   April 13th, 2010 2:02 pm ET

There is a "Cinderella syndrome" going on with a 2nd grader in our school but at least she appears clean and somewhat fed however stepmom (or Grandma who she really) is says she has a eating disorder and she is limited to what she can eat. The 2nd grader might weigh 50lbs. Also it is said she is "tied in her bed as well" My question is: like in the springer case where authorities and others have been told of this problem and "what happened?" Did any one step up to help her? I'm afraid this cold happen to the 2nd grader in our school because it takes so much proof to even check in into a case. A good samaritan word is no longer valid.

Trish   April 13th, 2010 2:10 pm ET

This is not a case about a "special needs" child. This is not about misguided punishments for acts of malicious misbehavior. Calista was a normal child reacting to brtual adults whom she could not escape.

What might have looked weird to people who didn't know the back story – her poor hygeine, nasty clothes, missing hair, taking food from the trash & stealing tiny items like pens & erasers, were all CAUSED by the horrible things the Springers DID to her – tying her up; denying her food, appropriate clothes & toys from an early age; drugging her [so much Benadryl was in her system at death the coroner said she may not have been conscious to suffer her own death]. Not to mention leaving her immobilized for many hours per day to the point where she couldn't escape a fire.

If these people's conviction makes you afraid that you might be punished for how you "discipline" your child, maybe you are violating the law, and, should reconsider what you are doing to your children, and the potential consequences. Although this trial shows how easy it is to get away with such vicious behavior for a long time, and how difficult it is to prove that parents have done horrible thing to a child, there are other consequences. My parents beat me, made psych appointments to try to convince me I was crazy, sent me to school in decades-old clothes [while my sisters had new things] and beat me with weapons for offenses such as doing poorly on a math test. I haven't spoken to them for 21 years.

roy   April 13th, 2010 2:13 pm ET

What is the mother wearing in the picture of her! It is hard to afford the clothes that kids wear, every one cant buy them,the mom dressed her, like herself!

Diane   April 13th, 2010 2:21 pm ET

They ought to allow to the hear say because she is no longer here to speak for herself. What Calista's Stepmother did to her was wrong and cruel and shouldn't have happened. CPS should have took the situation more seriously and removed Calista befpre it was too late, they ought to be held accountable also along with the parents.Prayers be with the natural mother and grandmother for their loss. No mother should have to endure the pain of losing a child.

Diane   April 13th, 2010 2:21 pm ET

They ought to allow to the hear say because she is no longer here to speak for herself. What Calista's Stepmother did to her was wrong and cruel and shouldn't have happened. CPS should have took the situation more seriously and removed Calista before it was too late, they ought to be held accountable also along with the parents.Prayers be with the natural mother and grandmother for their loss. No mother should have to endure the pain of losing a child.

roy   April 13th, 2010 2:26 pm ET

What is the mother wearing in the picture of her! It is hard to afford the clothes that kids wear, every one cant buy them,the mom dressed her, like herself! Have any of you ever seen in a mental hospital, they tie people to beds everynight! If the place was to burn would they be charged with murder,I believe the most they would be charged is manslaughter!These people should be charged the same.

Molly hayes   April 13th, 2010 2:32 pm ET

People should be held accountable for their actions. I thought teachers were trained to recognize abuse. I believe these parents should be locked up, and throw away the keys. The justice systems seems to be lacking here in the united states.

Jackie Campbell   April 13th, 2010 2:49 pm ET

She was special and in need of clothing, love, food and water. Those are the only things from what I see that this special child needed. They made her that way and tried to convince everyone that she was disabled, another illness the parents gave her with what was abuse they tried to turn into something else to cover up what they were really up to, neglecting her without meeting her daily needs that were special because rarely were those needs ever met. the abuse they inflicted on her, that was easily seen thru her silence, her hunger and NEED for a bath, a human touch. Those were the needs of this special little girl that was disabled with abuse by the legally hell bound step mother who thought the world was just as blind as she was and stupid to because it did not work and they knew thats why they took her out of school everyone knew what they were up to.

Trish   April 13th, 2010 3:46 pm ET

The stepmom's dowdy clothes & turtle necks at court could easily be a costume to make her look oblivious to fashion & undercut testimony about the awful way she dressed her step daughter. People often dress differently at court – blond bombsehlls accused of killing husbands appear in brown hair and high collars, men often cut long hair, etc.

To see if Calista was dressed to make her miserable, look at how she was dressed in comparison to her step siblings – the same unfashionable, totally-covering, smelly clothes for days on end, while her sisters were dressed in different fashionable clothes each day.

Forcing a kid to dress in ways obviously different from peers is one of the meanest things that can be done to a child. Wearing weird, old or smelly clothes makes it a lot harder for that kid to have any friends. It's a means of isolating the child, which can also be used to support the parents' claim that she wasn't a good enough girl, "Look!, Nobody likes you."

Trish   April 13th, 2010 4:39 pm ET

I think that there were two motives for removing Calista from school – 1. parents fear of reprucussions for what they'd done to her, 2. seeing that some people were nice to her and did things for Calista's enjoyment, the parents wanted to prevent any further pleasure for Calista.

Elliot   April 13th, 2010 4:55 pm ET

Ever since i started watching this trial about Calista Springer it touched me, i strongly feel this poor girl suffered a lifetime of abuse at the hands of her parents and should be heald accountable for the death of their child !!! Calista will be missed very much.

DEBBIE   April 13th, 2010 9:58 pm ET

Why didn't someone take picturesof Calista's body? If Family Services was doing their job, they would have met with Calista individually prior to talking to her parents. She could have been put in temporary foster care while the investigation of the parents and home was conducted! This is horrific! Why weren't the letters Calista wrote to her friend taken to the Sheriff Department sooner. I have worked in with the courts, probation and parole and family services for 20 years. It is difficult to believe that with all the hot line calls to Family Services that no one was the wiser? No one questioned the parents further!!!!!!!!!!!!! It sounds like Marsha hated Calista because she was Tony's child from another woman. My heart is breaking for this child. I hope they are chained up to their beds since they are surely fight risks! They should receive LIFE! Where is their remorse????????

Phyllis Ohio   April 14th, 2010 9:39 am ET

Marsha sure could have done more to save her daughter....Get her up and dressed and fed before going about her daily tasks like sweeping the floor......

Indhira   April 14th, 2010 10:06 am ET

The parent are monsters... there is no excuse for chaining a child to a bed, regardless of how "special" they thought she was. It's obvious by the testimony of friends and teachers that she was only "special" to her inquisitors. It's terribly sad to think about all that she went through, and then to aggravate everything, the horrifying end she met. The parents should be in jail for the rest of their lives. No child should ever have to suffer what that poor girl suffered.

Debi   April 14th, 2010 11:19 am ET

I can relate to Calista having been a survivor of extreme abuse myself and believe she was NOT what the parents say she was. Her vocabulary in the letters shows she was not stupid. When a child is abused it's very hard for them to concentrate and taking her out of school probably caused her to be somewhat combative and absolutely depressed. She probably suffered more from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and that didn't happen over night! Think about never leaving your home or having friends to confide in or laughing. These people deserve the death penalty. Absolutely sickens me!!!!!

Paulette   April 14th, 2010 11:29 am ET

This is clearly child abuse no matter how you look at it. There is absolutely no reason to tie a child to the bed under any circumstances. The only reason for her stealing pencils or gum from out of the trash can is because she wasn't getting enough food at home or supplies for school. Also, if Marsha was the one who always unchained her in the morning with needle nose pliers, why was that not the first thing she did when the fire started instead of running outside herself?

D.West   April 14th, 2010 12:15 pm ET

why are they (the springers)not in jail? they should be chained up in JAIL!!! Marsha springer is a MONSTER!! she hated Calista, why did she not give her to someone else?

Kevin IL.   April 14th, 2010 12:21 pm ET

I object to the prosecution not emphasizing the length of the dog choke collar compared to the size of the dog. I believe the choker was bought solely for Calista. If the collar doesn't fit, (the dog), the jury must not acquit!

Also, isn't it curious the lack of family, friends, and supporters seated behind the Springers?

Kim   April 14th, 2010 12:40 pm ET

After listening to the witnesses for the procecution I believe that Calista was a very abused child. It wasn't hars to see that she was crying out for help. Teachers read her journal and turned it over to the guiddence councelor. Calista did not appear to be a troubled child in school. I belived that Marsha didn't want her and she did everything in her power to shut this child out of the family and out of her life. Could have Marsha Springer save her daughter? Yes. She knew the layout of the house. She could have gone up the steps and untied her from the bed.
Marsha Spinger denied this child of food, clothing, and general hygene. Calista's friend and their mothers told of what she had to wear everyday in every season. The teachers and students got together and made a party for her giving her shampoo and tooth brushes and hair ties. If she stoled things in school I belive that she was in need of these things and she was crying out for attention and love.

Patty Farden   April 14th, 2010 12:57 pm ET

I have worked with special needs children assisting teachers and on the playground. I have also raised two children, my oldest is a step child. I never ever treated him badly, and loved him as I loved my own child. This woman did not want this child, and it sickens me that the state did not help this child and the father participated in this ugly abuse. I also cannot believe that any child ever deserves abuse. Children do not ask to be born, we bring them into this world and they all deserve love and protection.They have no defense and this child was an innocent victim.

V.W   April 14th, 2010 1:37 pm ET

Bobbie Lyons, Bobbie Lyons!!! I totally agree with you. These sisters are as much in fault as the parents. I think the cycle of abuse for these two girls are already in place. They have watched this go on for years. It has probably been instilled in them that this is how you treat a child that does not act or do normal things children do. These two girls will need to be deprogrammed by way of intense therapy before they even think about having children.

mo   April 14th, 2010 1:46 pm ET

Obviously Marsha didnt think of this child as her daughter! A mother instinctively loves and protects her child. Calista was abused by these vile parents. These two should be chained and caged, unfortunately they will be fed and treated better in prison, then their treatment of Calista.May God have mercy on their souls!

patty   April 14th, 2010 1:47 pm ET

if you have a child that you think and i underline think needs to be restrained put them in a facility that can give them the love and the restrait they need legaly. not chain them to a bed with no pillow or even a sheet to keep her warm . and about cps i think someone should look into them they had a responiblity and didn't do anything when they could have .you love your children not torture them.

Rose   April 14th, 2010 1:50 pm ET

This case is sooooo sad. Calista had an empty life. only in school could she be happy. This poor child had no birthday parties, no new clothes, no new shoes. was allowed to have any personal items of her own. and worse yet she was allowed to eat what she wanted.

You can say this for the Springers they set the stage real good for this kind of abuse, so it would not ever be question. NO ONE EVER TOOK THIS CHILD WORD.
I hope the Springer get what is coming to them and anyone else who drop the ball.

Rose, Texas

Sue Haffey   April 14th, 2010 1:57 pm ET

I am getting sicker by the minute. These people are EVIL. I think the reason she wanted her step daughter in the home was so they didn't have to pay child support to her mother. I wonder why the grandmother didn't go to the police?? If a friend of mine wrote to me and showed me chain marks I would tell someone even at a young age. Especially nowadays. The school tried to help her with hygiene and her stealing. But they did her a dis-service by not being proactive with demanding child protective services take her out of the home. If you (the school) had to buy her soap and give her a shower at school then put back on her dirty clothes to go home that is abuse to me. Especially since her two sisters were dressed cleanly. I hope they rot in jail!!!

Cheryl   April 14th, 2010 1:59 pm ET

Isn't it interesting. The testimony today really shows what liars the Springer's are. Detective Scott testified that Marsha said they had only been restraining Calista for a couple of days. Now let's go back a couple of days to the testimony of one of the firemen who said that they had found 14 cut and used ties in a basket in the parent's room. What a boost for the prosecution. The use of 14 ties definitely proves that they have been restraining her a lot longer than a couple of days.

patty   April 14th, 2010 2:20 pm ET

How on earth can these guys defend these people? pure Greed, they were not forced to take Springers case, it's a paycheck, and the scary part is that these defense guys are old, they must have wifes, children, grandchildren, friends, and to think that their own family, did not say please don't defend these people . tells me birds of a feather flock together.SCARY. If my father or grandfather took this case I would disown them for life. there are hundreds of comments of people saying what happen to this girl is heartbreaking and sick, the defense guys are the devils avocate .

Diane   April 14th, 2010 2:32 pm ET

Am watching the first defense witness, the child psychologist Carter on the topic of development disability, cause and effect.
She started out saying she was a qualified "trial" expert in quite a number of counties, which seems to indicate that she has testified in quite a number of cases.
Now, I've seen several monthly trade journals for the legal profession and they all had lots and lots of ads of professionals offering their services as trial experts in various areas. (I recall hearing one attorney reference an advertising expert as a known "Paladin", which the attorney explained to me was defined as a "Have Diploma, Will Travel" (for post-baby-boomers – that referenced an old TV show, "Have Gun, Will Travel").
I'm wondering, based on the number of counties in which she has testified, how much of her current income is from testifying & legal consulting, versus actually treating children!
(I'm remembering how the tobacco companies seemed to have no difficulty in getting large numbers of Ph.D.'s and M.D.'s to testify at trails on their behalf for decades.)

Texas Parent   April 14th, 2010 2:38 pm ET

The psychologist stated that children with PDD-NOS were neglected while infants. I've never heard this before. I take offense to this statement. This girl may have been neglected, I don't know. But even if she was I don't think neglect of a child could cause autism. What century did this lady get her degree ?

Texas Parent   April 14th, 2010 2:43 pm ET

Did CPS ever talk to Calista ?

patty   April 14th, 2010 3:00 pm ET

I just had to post again, they are showing the clip of Marsha Springer wipeing her eyes like she is crying, she's not crying, my eye doctor friend just told me that. she just caught wiping away eyedrops, people that have "bad sight" tend to get dry eye. Tony "dad" sits there rolling his mouth around Why? beacause he is chewing gum without any teeth. I say give him all the gum he wants, it makes him look like the nut case he his.

Richard   April 14th, 2010 3:04 pm ET

What a horrible NIGHTMARE this child endoured and within sight of a lot of different agency's. This "mother" and "father" should not be identified as such. How often this occures not to this extent but to some degree in our nation. Multiple parents and blended families often open the door to abuse. My course of action after these PROTECTIVE SERVICES failures would have been getting pastors and churches involved as well as the press. Of course this would probably opened the door of lawsuites as well as deflamation counter suits.

becky hagerman   April 14th, 2010 3:38 pm ET

yes, the mother should have done more. in the first place sitting down to have coffee for 45 minutes while she was chained up and vacuuming before she unchained her. her mind was never on calista. anthony and marsha were trying to keep calista quiet, they have made her quiet forever. so, we cannot personally, hear from her exactly what happened. they got rid of the ultimate witness

sandra jones   April 14th, 2010 3:52 pm ET

I have so many questions, but, I will address one. On the morning of the fire, how is it explained that the household is moving along, girls off to school, husband off to work, etc. Yet the mother is doing housework and having coffee but has yet to go check on the child chained down. (To unchain her, let her go to the bathroom feed her, etc.)

pam   April 14th, 2010 3:57 pm ET

My heart goes out to this child - what a horrific fate - she didn't stand a chance at anything; but, once again, CPS didn't do a thorough job; they sure can prey and make the lives nightmares of the innocent though. I've seen it and then they pay no attention to something has horrible as this. CPS needs to be under investigation as well, also tried for the same thing. Poor girl, I hope the parents get the maximum.

Trish   April 14th, 2010 4:08 pm ET

Dr. Carter testified for the defense that a child with improper attachment can't recognise who is and is not a dangerous person. I think the evidence from Calista's own hand shows she knew who was dangerous to her – the Springers.

Also, Carter's "science" is decades out-of-date. The idea that mother's lack of affection, communication or touch creates autism has been thoroughly discredited by numerous actual scientific studies.

Janet.. NY   April 14th, 2010 9:53 pm ET

those two monsters sitting in the court room are NOT parents,he maybe the sperm donor Not a father and the Mrs. she is just a devil!
Real parents would Never hurt their children in anyway..
I want to know ..were there any other family members around the family besides the other daughter? If so why didnt anyone do anything?Why didnt CPS do anything? I agree CPS should be under investigation as well they allowed this poor little girl who was tring to cry out for help be abused then killed.Shame on them...
I hope that those you so called "parents" rot in hell. I hope someone in prison treats them the way they treated that sweet little girl..

Oliver Hinson   April 14th, 2010 10:49 pm ET

In response to Carla regarding the 2nd grade child. Please try to get help for that child. It goes against logical thinking to believe that child has an eating disorder. That seems very young to me, and I suspect a lot of other people, too.
Also, I found a photo on the web of Calista with her 2 sisters, which was dated 2006. When you see her next to the other girls, she is very thin, an unhealthy thin.
I hope and pray that the Springers get their just deserts. I had to stop watching the trial because it made me so very sad. But I plan to watch tomorrow and Friday, which I believe is the sentencing.

April Holt   April 14th, 2010 10:50 pm ET

To the person that made the comment that if she was in hospitalization she would have no sheets and in a jacket. That might be true but it would be under medical supervision and I am sure they do not use chain dog collars. As far as they might not insurance well I don't buy that, they could have got medicaid. I work for an attorney and we handle social security and she could have easily gotten on SSI if she was diagnsoed with PDD and along with that you get medicaid. This is just a way out for the parents. I am a mother of four and I would die in a fire trying to save my kids before I left any of them behind. It breaks my heart how parents are doing there kids these days.

Lorraine Vasquez   April 14th, 2010 11:00 pm ET

I'm so upset that this even happened! It saddens me to think of a girl being chained down to her bed as if she were a mutant! Not even prisoners get chained down to their beds. The parents should get life without parole. CPS should get reprimanded as well. I'm a step parent as well and I also raise my step daughter. In my eyes she is my child and to love your husband you must accept his children or never be together. I could never see myself doing that to any human being! Those parents will suffer forever for what they did everyday of their lives.

Sher   April 14th, 2010 11:54 pm ET

I am a grandmother from Iowa watching this trial and I can't forget the smile of this sad little girl and her horrible life. I am sure she suffered more abuse from this monster that we will ever know. I hope when she gets to prison other inmates find out what she has done, and all it would take is for the guards to turn their backs. Do to her everything she did to Calista. Her so called father, sperm donor is worse. Did he take her words without question or did fear her and didn't have the balls to stand up to her. Her children were afraid to help Calista because they were afraid to be in the same place with her. Calista wasn't a "special needs child," she was a special child in need of love and someone to save her from her hell. We will never know for sure, but the evil one started the fire and killed this child. I hate to hear this case referred to as Cinderella. Callista did not live happily everafter.
She is finally free. Shame on all those who had the power to save her and did nothing. Thank you Michigan for remembering this sweet child, she may save more children than she ever thought possible.
Callista, we won't forget you.

Callie   April 15th, 2010 12:08 am ET

This is so damn sad. I bet this baby never felt like anyone ever really cared or loved her. Bless her heart. As far as I'm concerned the defense is only proving the prosecution's case.

nik111   April 15th, 2010 5:27 am ET

if a child gets into knives, how about locking the knives away rather than putting dog chains on the child?
Everyone failed this beautiful girl, who would have flourished in a loving family environment. Anyone who knew the level of abuse of the child, should be on trial.
I hope these 2 get life.

Mom of 7   April 15th, 2010 9:03 am ET

I asked Vinnie if the dad was on meds on Day 1.He appears to be 'tongue or pill rolling', which is often a sign of medication for mental illness. Or did he have his teeth pulled?

Amanda   April 15th, 2010 9:49 am ET

Did anyone love this child? How old are her sisters? Are they so sheltered from reality they really believe what happened to their sister was OK? Who is going to teach them that it is WRONG!!!

Phyllis Ohio   April 15th, 2010 10:09 am ET

I would like to know if there is any time social services can be held responsible in court for dropping someone like the Springers from there services, as the Social Worker admitted she made a mistake by dropping them and this just gives someone like the Springers to go forward with the Abuse they sure did to this poor child.....May she rest in PEACE

Rita A Wisniewski   April 15th, 2010 11:10 am ET

Did these parents really not think of what could happen to their child in the event of a fire?

darlene   April 15th, 2010 12:20 pm ET

This witness is just proving her torture and abuse to be put in a bedroom with nothing but a matress on the floor, what is wrong with this pix, maybe she was bored scrathing on the wall pulling apart bedding, what else was a 5 or 6 year old to play with these parents made her who she was. not a dissorder. this p.a is not qulifyed to treat this girl maybe a cold or give shots family practice, this defense is a joke are they paying for this lawyer LOL LOL they are trying to defend these so called parents , not happening you can tell the jury believe in the abuse and torture from ther question wich are great by the way.

Linda Schneider   April 15th, 2010 12:47 pm ET

This poor child should have been appointed a Guardian Ad Litem ! This is a child's right! This could have saved her life. If more people in the community would get involved it could save many more children. The state is overwhelmed with cases and Guardian's volunteer their time and services. This helps the state with their case loads and protects the children but never enough.

darlene   April 15th, 2010 1:00 pm ET

OMG........ What is gone to happen hearing what vinnies guest just said about its not only the parents, this def. is gone to say they tried but got let down not r fought and get off and then become so so rich because ther state let them down please if this happens i wont ever get this case out if my head, i hope they see trew there lies please pray

Dana Virginia   April 15th, 2010 1:03 pm ET

These are sadistic self serving sociopaths. It is they who are disturbed, not this poor little girl. If this child was SO disturbed why did the school accept her, why was she in regular classes, why didn't anyone else notice this so-called "disturbed" behavior. Was it only "disturbed" whne she SLEPT ?! THEY set her up for humiliation and ridicule; unkempt, unwashed, same clothes. it was another form of their sadistic pleasure and control. Even down to the see through back pack, another form of control and humiliation on their part. You can always open a backpack to see what's inside it dosen't have to be "see through". Maybe she was stealing because she was hungary and ashamed. Throw the book at these two liars and murderers.

Doreen   April 15th, 2010 1:56 pm ET

The more I watch this trial, the more I am sickened. This poor child was subjected to every torture imaginable. It is heartbreaking. Marsha and Anthony Springer deserve to rot in hell forever.

Connie   April 15th, 2010 2:18 pm ET

That girl Courtney is a bald face lair. She was well rehersed. That soft voice is fake. I hope the proscuetor rips her a new one. She lied about the clothes, and I believe she help to torture Calista.

Cookie Jones   April 15th, 2010 2:19 pm ET

Why did she swallow the peice of hard candy whole when her step mother came into the room? Maybe because she would be punished for eating it??
These two so called parents are the scum of the earth and having their own two daughters lie to defend them is sickening.
Was her steeling due to her being denied food ?? I hope that they are convicted and fry for what they did to this child.
Their two daughters will grow up someday and realize what was done to Calista. SAD SAD case.

Rose   April 15th, 2010 2:21 pm ET

I have a 16 yr old niece that I have custody of that has ADHD and other emotional issues due to neglect and abuse. The last county that she was in was St. Joseph County. Thank God that she was able to contact me and I was able to remove her from that county and her placement. Children with special needs need to be cared for in a way that nurtures their own special way of learning. These parents were not capable of caring for Calista, They abused her and tortured her. The other children seem to be brain-washed to believe the parents. Another form of child abuse? I will be supporting Calista's Law as a resident of the State of Michigan!

le   April 15th, 2010 2:35 pm ET

Courtney her sister doesn not seem very remorseful for her sisters situation. Courtney seems programed with the defense and down right hateful to the prosecuter.

Courtney said Callista use to take gum out of ashtray at the first of the testimony. Later she said there was not issue with gum in a different request from defense. She also couldn't remember stating that her sister had been chained up but she sure could remember everything the defense attorney asked.

Courtney seemed programmed by the defense and was not a good witness. I sure hope the jurors could see the bias in her statements.

William   April 15th, 2010 5:09 pm ET

I dont usually get caught up on TV trials but this one is so heartbreaking.All these Children need to be removed from their Parents custody.
I have a Daighter who is learning disabled and hard to deal with at times,but I would never think of chaining her up,there was help out there but no one took the steps to help Calista.The Parents need to be held accountable and also Child protection services.

MARK ALLEN   April 15th, 2010 5:13 pm ET

So, this far in the case we find that Calista Springer could ride a bike well, and didn't care for her parents...SO THEY CHAINED HER TO THE BED and BURNED HER. Or they treated her like a normal growing teen, and CHAINED HER TO THE BED and BURNED HER. I like the parents lawyers though...HAHAHAHA...did she ware a back pack...did she ever try to run away....hahahah....I would fire these clowns in 2 seconds...if they don't they are gonna' BURN.

Trish   April 15th, 2010 5:19 pm ET

Here's how you can tell step sister Courtney is lying – she says punishment in the Springer household was "time outs" & "sometimes grounding" and the girls all received the same punishments. I never heard any testimony of Calista being time outed or grounded, just chained, forbidden to eat, having hair pulled out and getting yanked from school.

Interesting, Courtney says Calista would get up in the night & supposedly "steal" food [I would think a family member taking food from the kitchen of their own house isn't "stealing]. And Courtney says Calista's blankets were removed because she would kick them off the bed. That is so far from doing damage it isn't even funny. Sadly, Courtney seems to believe Calista deserved everything the parents did to her.

As for ripping her pillow, or chewing ont he wood of the bed – it reminds me of "The Yellow Wallpaper", about a 19th century woman kept locked in a bedroom for her health with nothing to do or read.

The most ridiculous thing today was the physician's assistant who defended locking a child who tested positive for lead in a room whose paint contained lead. How could a parent supervise the child & prevent paint-chip-eating if there's a locked door between child & parent?

Oh, and Marsha's being "blind" or "legally blind". My sister is legally blind, and with glasses she could see, read and got a license to drive a car. It sounds like Marsha was playing up a perfectly normal case of poor eyesight as if it were a disability.

MARK ALLEN   April 15th, 2010 5:33 pm ET

The sister just told the tale...they had to move that weekend, she said Callista was only chained to the bed for two days, then goes on to say the alarm broke a couple days before. They were never planning on taking Callista with them when they moved...that is why the defense attorney's coached her on how to deal with the enemy?

MARK ALLEN   April 15th, 2010 5:40 pm ET

Lorraine wrote..."Did I here write the policeman said he went in the house the next day and said he found zip ties that where cut and put in the waste basket along with condoms. Was that basket in the room she was chained to the bed?" Did they find condoms in Collista's bedroom trash can with the zip ties.???? I have to know if this is true or false...I don't know how I missed this....Can someone please confirm this. Thanks millions...

Trish   April 15th, 2010 6:19 pm ET

Here's one that almost made me laugh – when the detective in charge of the case testified to the lack of home schooling materials, the defense attorney points out that they are paper and can burn.

Yeah, that evil vacuum cleaner used all the home school books & papers and Calista's nice clothes & bedding for kindling, creating a situation the Springers could never have foreseen [even with specific warnings that someone chained to the bed can't escape fire]...

DA   April 16th, 2010 3:28 am ET

I have a grandson that is the type of kid with PDD that has outbursts. I promise you if a child is prone to this in all the years she was in public school and in public this little girl would of had a meltdown at least once for omeone other then the parents to see. Or the sitter. I have seen this boy go to a cousoler and have hs mom tell the guy that my Grandson is just a little shit. Then the pro comes at him like he is just a bad mean kid and my grandson then will on purpose show a fit. Could this be what the babysitter saw and the mother saw? A child acting out because someone treated them poorly? There is a big difference in his melt downs and his inablilty at the age of even 5 to allow anyone to treat him so badly. THe Mother verbally and physically abuses him. It has cost my life much hell. We have had many sints with Childrens protecttion agencys and even in house care. But until I got envolved and the whole truth came out about his home life there was no help for him. Thank GOD for our local school system and the trained team of special needs care providers as well a s the state run PEP programs for children like this. Oh, I have been kicked, hair pulled, punched in the face, scratched , spit on etc etc. I have NEVER even thought to chain this poor child to anything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

DA   April 16th, 2010 3:34 am ET

I feel the parents of these girls have brain washed the younger ones into believeing that everything they did to their sister was the right thing to do. And tainted their opinions of her to be less then they should be. Try give the kid a piece of gum once in a while or something she may like and maybe she wouldn't get it out of the trash!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This case is eating me alive!!! TO think that the parents can sleep at night and rationalize this to themselves. That Step Mom don't give a rats patootie and that Dad doesn't deserve the title!

DA   April 16th, 2010 3:47 am ET

The CPS lady needs to be fired. Lady......How would you like it if someone was in charge of making sure your son in Iraq came home safe and well had to many personal things on their mind to do their job? I understand your personal issues, but when it hinders your ability to save a childs life or condem it to a slow and painfull death , well I think it's time to step away don't you?

Richard   April 16th, 2010 9:01 am ET

I too agree the sisters were programed for the testimoney they gave. I also think their programing began as infants in their regard for Callistta. These defense so called character witnesses should also be made to see they contributed to the attitudes of the SO CALLED PARENTS and not rebuked their treetment of that poor child. MURDER ONE IN THE FIRST DEGREE......

Connie   April 16th, 2010 10:35 am ET

I an not believe Marsha's sister. For the first time Marsha was wiping her eyes. For God sakes. That woman is lying. She is making Calista out to being a monster. Calista knew that no one in her family wanted her or loved and of COURSE she is going to act out. My kids must be slow or have a mental disease. They would put things in their mouth, and distroy things, PEOPLE that is just being a KID. My Great Grandbaby came to visit, and, she would try to put everthing in her mouth. You have to watch children they are learning. The aunt has not said one good thing about Calista, the Grandmother said Calista was an Angel.

patty   April 16th, 2010 10:37 am ET

Marsha's sister is just as sick as she is, last week they spend a couple days talking about a Snickers Bar Calista could not have as a treat. but just now the sicko sister said they when Marsha would give the DOG a treat or rawhide chew, Calista would try to take it from the dog. OOPS. she just proved the dog was treated better then Calista.

Nicole   April 16th, 2010 10:46 am ET

Yesterday, I was listening to Courtney Springer's testimony, and I caught something very suspicous. I don't remember the question she was asked, but I think they were talking about the fact that Calista did not have a blanket on her bed but anyway, Courtney was saying that since they were moving in two days, and she added that they were moving into a basement, not a whole house, everything was being packed. My concern is that they probably planned the fire to collect some insurance money and killed Calista. Now, would'nt that qualify for first-degree murder?

Thank you, Love your show.

Brenda Widell   April 16th, 2010 11:34 am ET

I Brenda Have a child diagnosed with PDD, ADHD, Behavioral Problems and Compulsive disorders I have been challenged by my daughter for many years she is now 16 years of age and has totally destroyed my home, tried burning my home down, knocks me around, runs away, gotten into drugs and alcohol steals, and the list goes on and on. I have NEVER and would NEVER chain my daughter down to her bed. She is watched very closely it,s called jumping constantly, and consistency .She gets drug and alcohol therapy, counseling, and receives help any where she can receive it. You are running steady but you get them the help where ever you can for them. And it doesn't always work but at least I can say I get her the help where ever I can for my daughter. I as her mother am severely depressed, have anxiety and epilepsy and it is not easy to raise a child like this but I do It! I Lock up our pills, I lock up our knives in a fire safe lock box and I lock my Bedroom so my daughter has no access to what ever she can harm herself with!!!! I feel if Calista would not have been chained to that damn bed she would not have burned a slow painful death like she did. And knowing she was chained to her bed why did the parents not grab her intermediately instead of letting her burn. I am very, very, disgusted and feel these parents need to be put away for life and suffer as much as Calista had to.

Bernice Peoples   April 16th, 2010 1:17 pm ET

I object: To the folks vilifying Calista and those who are obviously lying about the child who can't speak for herself.

Alicia   April 16th, 2010 1:53 pm ET

Mark Allen.... you are so right. They were moving and never planning on taking Calista with them. When I was 18 I lived in a multi-family building on the second floor. At 3:30pm on a sunday afternoon my house was set on fire by my landlord! WHY? because the building was to foreclose in one week. I noticed the fire and when I ran downstairs to tell my landlord (she lived on the first floor) I opened her door and screamed there is a fire upstairs (3rd floor was vacant) and she raised a beer that was in her hand to me and asked me if i wanted a drink! I could of killed her. I was in the heavy smoke for just 5 minutes and it left me with a bloody nose for a month. I couldn't breather the slightest breath without it painfully hurting. I was 10 feet from the fire itself and it was so hot. I couldn't believe what was going on. I was screaming for help so loud that the neighbors called it in as a domestic. It took 7 minutes for my floor to burn down. My landlord's apartment suffered smoke and water damage. That was it. I lost everything and so did one other family across the way. My cat caught on fire on his ears and belly but I put it out and to this day he is scarred and missing skin on the tips of his ears. My other cat had smoke inhalation and threw up soot for weeks. It took me a week to wash the soot out of my hair. I actually have photos I found of the fire 8 years later. It was one of the worst experiences in my life.

Jeana Stewart   April 16th, 2010 1:57 pm ET

Several witnesses have testified that Calista wore blue jeans and turtleneck sweaters to school every day. I find it curious that Marsha Springer wears turtleneck sweaters every day to court . Calista's sister Courtney Springer and her aunt, Barbara Sawyer also wore turtleneck sweaters when they testified.

I know Michigan weather is cold in March when this trial took place but I am wondering if this was planned to make a point that it is not so unusual to wear turtlenecks. I just find their wardrobe choice suspect.

Holly   April 16th, 2010 1:57 pm ET

This just blows my mind how could someone do that to there child. bad behavior is no excuse for how they treated her. No one deserves that. They make Calista out to be some horrible lil girl. An CHAiNiNG her to the bed is just unexceptable. The Parents Anothany n Marsha are sick they need to stay behind bars. As for Calista's sisters they just as bad as the parents. This just makes me so MAD.If i was in Her shoes I would have acted out to. My niece is ADHD an there are ways to handle a child an there behavior than to chain them to the bed.. Calista Parents are what i would call F'n Stupid..

Thelma   April 16th, 2010 2:31 pm ET

Not only did Courtney wear a turtleneck but her Mother and Aunt, I think it was all planned. Thelma

Diane Sullivan   April 16th, 2010 2:43 pm ET

One thing I know for sure, if my child died in a burning house, my dead body would be next to his. There is no power on earth or in Heaven that would keep me from helping my child.

Micki Rowlette   April 16th, 2010 2:46 pm ET

I object to the fact that Calista is being blamed for her own death. It is not relevant to me that she had behavior problems. You DO NOT chain a child to her bed under any circumstances. It is clear that the defense is using her behavior as a justification for her murder. It is ludicrous to think that Calista was only chained for two days (which is two days too many). The crime scene photos clearly show chain marks on her body, which is evidence to me of long-term confinement. As for the witnesses for the defense, they are actually assisting the prosecution. The more they vilify and demean Calista, the more the jury will see through this line of defense. The defense witnesses showed their true character when they would not answer the question “what would you have said or done had you known Calista was being chained to her bed”? Most of us would be appalled and intervene by calling the proper authorities. Hopefully, the jury will see through them and find them guilty and they will spend a long time in prison. But, let’s not forget the two remaining girls. They will need help and support through this or they may become the same type of mother in the future.

Rest in peace Calista. May you find love in a better place than the hell you lived on earth.

A   April 16th, 2010 2:52 pm ET

I find it odd that the sister to the vicem iwas on stand in the turtleneck. I didn't notice at first though.

It seems that th defence is trying to show the girls all alike as oposed to diferent in how they were treated.

If the victem was only in bland clothing and the sewing lady was finding nice things sent to her, it sounds like the reason she never had to sew the other girls thuings was do to the victem being blamed for it all. It could be that the parent(s) was playing a syphathy card to get the work done and bad mouth the victem. It's "two birds with one stone."

The Psy Doctor who never met the victem can only testify to conditions in general not the victem herself. It's just the defence grasping for straws.

Switch Blades are normaly Illegal in the first place. What Adult leaves a Combat specific weapon in the reach of a child?

People have the right to self defence and to bare arms but Children have no busness having accsess to such a weapon. A folding knife is a tool. I switch blade is a weapon. Offence or Defence depends on the user. A child cannot distiguish between proper and improper use of such a thing. This is why a Responceible Adult sould lock weapons up when a child is present.

Charge the Couple with the Switch blade with Child Endangerment.

I've been around weapons all my life but that couple was reckless. The right to self defence and the right to bare arms dose not mean that a child should be able to reach a 4-6" blade. People are responcible for a weapons use not the inadimit weapon. An adult should take responcibility for there weapons when a child is preasent.
I was traind on small folding knifes (3" or so) at around 9 years old and still cut myself accedently all the time while carving.

Weapons don't hurt people. People hurt people.

Trish   April 16th, 2010 3:06 pm ET

Question for "Aunt Barbara" – You saw Calista throw herself on the floor, walk into door frames and punch on the other kids. Did you ever see any of the other kids punch on each other or on Calista?

Trish   April 16th, 2010 3:49 pm ET

Vinnie & the prosecutor commenting on the witness who said the Springers were like the Waltons & couldn't remember the epsiode where the Waltons chained a child to the bed.

It was during the episode where Spock had a goatee and the Federation got the resources they needed by blowing up the populations that owned what the Federation needed, and the Waltons were chaining each other up -NOT

Brittney   April 16th, 2010 5:40 pm ET

This is easily one of the most disgusting and horrific cases I've seen in a while. These people are absolutely monstrous. The idea of being restrained to the point you can't move and suddenly a fire breaks's just the most terrifying things I could imagine. Your children are more important than anything else in this world. This poor little girl was purposely ignored. If my baby were in a fire, a thousand firemen couldn't hold me back from making my way to them. These people didn't even try.

I hope they get the book thrown at them. Hard.

cindi   April 16th, 2010 5:40 pm ET

I have a 25 year old daughter that has had a lot of mental problems since she was 12 years old. I would never ever think of chaining her to a bed or abusing her. She got help by hospitals, doctors and is now on medication that controls her so for these parents to do what they did they deserve to be in prison for life. I'm for the death penalty but not in this case. I want them to suffer each day and night with what they did to this poor child that needed love and help.

Jeana Stewart   April 16th, 2010 5:44 pm ET

I am bewildered at the lack of emotion from Calista's sister and aunt when they testified. They could not even muster one fake tear for the loss of that precious child. Even one of Calista's classmates who had not seen her in several years could not hold back her tears. I have been following the trial since day one and have shed tears for Calista every day and I don't even know her.

I am wondering how "damaged" Courtney and Heather are after watching Calista being abused and tortured by their parents all those years. God help them.

autism/pdd mom   April 16th, 2010 5:52 pm ET

Earlier it was said that this sweet little girl was hurting herself. With my son I noticed quite quickly when he has been mistreated he becomes angry and self injurous. His abuse was in the public school system. Home schooled he does great. If Calista was hurting herself She was under incredible stress and since it was clearly noted at school why wasn't it addressed further. They never should have stopped investigating after they pulled her from school. Also I have a close friend that gets quite a bit of income having adopted a 'special needs' child.above and beyond SSI. Is this an issue for keeping this child they are not equipped to handle?

Kim   April 16th, 2010 7:18 pm ET

Are the Children and Families services being investigated for this? They knew what was going on and did nothing to help a little girl who was crying out for help. This poor girl was not loved by anyone in her family and was grasping at anyone she could get what she was not getting at home. If the parents couldn't handle Calista, they should have concidered a facility that specialized in this field and NOT CHAIN HER TO A BED. What these parents need is to go through what Calista went through, from birth to her tragic death, fire and all and weighing 97lbs. That's just my opinion.


Laurie   April 16th, 2010 9:39 pm ET

I have a Step-Daughter with ADD/ADHD and she can be a big hand full. A lot of the same problems they say they had with Calista, Stealing, Lying, Having a fit when she doesn't get her way. Never once not even for a second did I ever think to restrain her in any way. If she was in her room on our second floor or any child for that matter, and a fire broke out – I would have died trying to save her. I don't understand. Someone needs to have Mrs. Springer explain it to us all.

Ruth   April 17th, 2010 12:44 am ET

I think these people should get the death penalty because the murdered this 16 year; old girl and they should get the death penalty I have watched this trial as long as it was on so please let me know what happens to them. But I do think it was murder on their part that is usually what happens to a step child and I feel so sorry for her so please let me know what happens. And push for the death penalty for both of the adults and the other kids in the home were mean to her to little Calsta did not have a chance. and the parents were the only ones that had trouble with her even the school said she was a good student just the evil step mother.I wish there was something I could do about it I would push it till they put them to death, just like the little girl. Thanks again,

teresa   April 17th, 2010 9:48 am ET

They are guilty! They could have saved her. They chose not to. I hope they get the book thrown at them. Where was child pertection? Again another child abused and killed. They are far from being like the Waltons family and her sister is lying too.

Bob   April 17th, 2010 1:51 pm ET

I think the prosecutor is in danger of losing some of the jury by continually harping on the "dog chain" issue. It's almost to the point where the "dog chain" itself is more of an issue than the fact that Calista was "restrained" or "tied" to the bed and COULD NOT ESCAPE! Restraining her with a "silk or velvet rope" would make it no less abominable... she still could not escape the bed to save her own life!

Barbara Miller   April 17th, 2010 7:04 pm ET

I think the stepmother some how set the fire just to get rid of Calista. I think someone should do to the parents what they did to this child. I think it is wrong that the defense keeps putting on witnesses that keeps putting this special needs child down if what the parents says are true about if she had special needs and I think that the CPS should be punished also.

Jeanette C   April 19th, 2010 8:34 am ET

Calista just did not have a chance living with her family. Marsha knew that Calista was chained to her bed when the fire began and I still wonder if she set the fire herself to get rid of Calista. Making a statement of "What have I done" is the truth here and Marsha knew what she had done to kill Calista she just did not expect to think out loud. Marsh just did not want to move Calista to her new location so she decided to get rid of the problem. Some may say there is no way of really knowing what was in Marsha mind but her actions of saving a dog instead of Calista just confirms that Marsha is a murderer. Marsh should be found guilty of first degree murder and Calista'a father should be found guilty of child abuse and torture.
Not giving Calista the love and care she needed caused Calista to constantly be frustrated in her home. Sure Calista needed more attention than most children but so what many child need special attention. As a mother of a disabled now adult son and I must say when you have a child with special needs one must give of themselves quite a lot but if the situation becomes so difficult then there are various programs available to get help. Both parents of Calista are intelligent individuals who could ask for help. There is no doubt in my mind why Calista died.

paulette   April 19th, 2010 9:54 am ET

SO SO SAD!!! these people[because a parent] woule never do something like this to any of there children. I SAY the DEATH PENALTY
is still to good for them.tie them to a bad and set the house on fire and leave them.

paulette   April 19th, 2010 10:03 am ET

and were was .D.H.S ? why arent they on trial after all the reports made some one didnt do there job![again] !!!!!!! teachers reported abuse as well as other people. and still the girl was left there for more torure.and thank god for the new prosecutor for chargeing them with what was the truth,.

Nancy   April 19th, 2010 11:51 am ET

How sad it is that Calista reached out and not one person was able to stop her "parents" from the abuse. As I watch the trial unfold..I get the sense that not only WAS she abused she was not loved by her family. No person can accurately diagnose her "special needs", unless they see that in fact she WAS the victim of continued abuse. It's hard to blame (k)courtney for her cold testimony..when you think she had the same abusive parents as Calista had. When the other children observed how the Springers treated Calista with such hate and distain, they HAD to be affected by it. Clearly, the other 2 children should NEVER be allowed to have contact with these so-called parents!.

ann Lickteig   April 19th, 2010 12:56 pm ET

Having watched every day of this trial I think everyone who was called to interveen inbehalf of this child should be fired and the ones retired stripped of their pensions. Michigan need to do some house cleaning with reference to these people.

Daniella   April 19th, 2010 1:34 pm ET

I have been so moved by this case. I am outraged at the apparent indifference of some of the people involved in this family's life. I am outraged at the failure to act by the Department of Child Protective Services and all other authorities aware of the situation within the home. I am outraged at the cold demeanor and lack of any feeling portrayed by the sister. I am outraged at the behavior of these parents most of all. I cannot get over it. How can something like this happen? What kind of a place is this? What kind of people are these? I am astounded that there is a place within the country I live that can turn their back on a child who cried out for help. I am so disgusted that this poor child was basically allowed to live her life like this and met her demise in such a way. It is an unspeakable tragedy. Something like this should not have happened. Something like this should never be allowed to happen again, to any anyone.

Daniella   April 19th, 2010 2:01 pm ET

From what I have heard throughout this trial, it was not this poor child but anyone and everyone who perpetrated, condoned, and ignored the behaviors and actions described who truly suffer from mental health issues.

amanda herrera   April 19th, 2010 3:20 pm ET

They should be held resonable for what happend to her. Forget the dog they should've gonna back and saved her. i say they should give them the death senctence. how can a father sit there and not do a damn thing to help his daughter. that right there show's that he didn't show her love or try to protect her from anything. and that so called stepmom. i mean look how she is acting when thay are in the court room. and the stepmom's sister say's they treater clasita like an angel. ha that's a big lie. if they say they weren't abuse her why take her out of school and the other two girl's in school. come michigan ding ding abuse. and dhs where were they when claista told the school she was getting abused at her house. teacher's and her friend's tried to help her but the state was to late and look what happened to her. my vote is to claista's dad her stepmom the death senctence.

Elisa   April 19th, 2010 3:37 pm ET

I can't beleive what I am hearing. Those people shouldn't even be labeled as parents. By finding condoms in her room was she also being sexually abused? Maybe that is what she was reacting to. You can't help but believe this also may have been happening with monsters like them. They are at fault. If we are not allowed to spank our children because it is a form of abuse, what makes it right to restrain a child with chains that were tight enough to leave markings on her body. Those two monsters deserve the worst!!!!!!!!!!

Hope   April 20th, 2010 10:14 am ET

If your vacuum cleaner caught on fire why in the world wouldn't you simply take/throw it outside? Unless it was all a set up to get rid of Calista, before you were to move into another house? It's the perfect case, Wouldn't it be? None of your belongings of any value would be in the house....I'm so sure that it was an accident! NOT!!! These people need to be put away forever!!!!! This is beyond disgusting!

Cathey   April 20th, 2010 10:59 am ET

If the fire was in the morning and Marsha was up vacumming, why was Calista still chained to bed. What time was she allowed to get up and go to the bathroom and stretch etc. Or was she chained all day long and only allowed up when it was convient for the parents. As this was a Wednesday, was the other girls already at school? And if so again, why was she still tied up in bed?

Cathey   April 20th, 2010 11:58 am ET

In regards to the cereal and flour being dumped on the floor; how do they know she did it. Could it not had been one of the other girls. Sister rilvary is very high. Could not one of the other girls had done it just to see Calista get in trouble, after hearing for so long how she is alway getting into things. Also, if she was getting enough to eat why did she only weight 97 lbs. If she ate fast, could it not be because she was afraid she wasn't going to get food later, as it has already been stated that she has gone without food. How can they prove that it was Calista doing all this if they were in bed asleep and not one of the other girls. Maybe the other girls are the trouble makers not Calista. As well did Marsha's feelings change towards Calista after she had her own kids.

toni   April 20th, 2010 1:34 pm ET

if this so called father knew Calista was mentally handicapped from PICA, why stop her medicine, why try to treat her like the other girls and punish her the same way as if Calista could understand the behavior expected by any normal child?

if she was a special needs child, she sure did not get special treatment in her short life here on earth. she sure got special torture throughout. her not understanding and eating disorders are a result of her special condition, why should she have been tortured and killed for this. these people are not excused in any way. they did know what was wrong, and did more harm than humanly possible. the doctor who said he was not suprised Calista was not pregnant yet? pull his license to practice. what a joke. she was clinging on to anybody she could for that special love and understanding she never got from that family. poor child. she is now in a much better place. God rest her soul

Tom   April 20th, 2010 1:58 pm ET

Do you all understand what you are looking at. Parents don't believe they do anything wrong. I know what that girl went though because I was tie to my bed, lock in my room for days, coffee cups broken over my head, push though a sliding glass back doors, for beaking an egg from the niebors house. If you say something they will say you must be miss understanding what went on. the girl got of easy , she doesn't have to live the rest of her life in, why was that done to me. You will never get a good answer. The best one I got was "You must have miss understood what was going on". Like I say There will be another after Calista, just like there was another after me. One good thing at least Calista is free, and I am sure happy.

Andra, ILL   April 20th, 2010 4:16 pm ET

Children who are being abused don't tell other people they are being abused if it's not true.. children lie to get out of trouble not to get into trouble!! There are thousands of people out there kids or adults who have special needs.. we in AMERICA have thousands of facilities to get help w those who have special needs.. IF Calista was such a special needs child WHY IN THE WORLD would you not get her help or take her to the apporipate place to get help for her issue or you as a parent be calling places w/ the issues you are having w/ her to see what help you can get to assist Calista in working our the problem. NO ONE should EVER be chained down like a dog EVER!!! and if you have listened to the dad discribe what they all did to Calista to get her to stay in bad OMG it's horrible who would think that what they did was EVER OK!! It makes me sick...

Trish   April 20th, 2010 4:57 pm ET

Wait a minute – After, Anthony finds Calista standing in the bedroom with a kinfie in a way that he wants the audience to see as menacing, he put her in the bedroom with her sisters? Her younger sisters?

And the biz about dragging the bed so she could get to Heather's bottle of water. That doesn't sound like a threat to anyone, and my first question is, why not give the kid some water? No, you find more restrictive ways of restraining her.

And she's so "mentally disabled" she coudl figure her way out of every restraint Anthony could think of? All these restraints were about breaking Calista.

Bob   April 20th, 2010 6:07 pm ET

The so-called expert in body language that gave her opinion on Insession must have been looking at a different case. Tony Springer testified that Calista was the only 16 year old in town that could not ride a bicycle, and that he had tried several times to teach her. The "expert" remarked that "of course she couldn't ride a bicycle because she was always kept in chains".

It's amazing how may bloggers believe everything the prosecutor and the prosecution witnesses say, they take it as gospel. And on the other hand the seem to think that everything that comes from the defense and their witnesses is a complete lie.

babs   April 21st, 2010 10:06 am ET

Why doesn't mr. springer have anything nice to say about Calista? He was concerned about his blind wife, but could he not see that she didn't give two bits about Calista? If she is so blind, why is she trusted to care for this child? Watching the mom makes me sick. The father is a self centered boar. People like that should not be caring for any living thing. Calista didn't show affection to them because she hated them. woulnd't you? I just prey they go to prison for a long time.

Daniella   April 21st, 2010 10:29 am ET

Am I the only one who, in listening this defendant speak, suffers the feeling of becoming physically ill? It brings to mind the thought that there are some people in this world who should simply not be allowed to procreate. Can this man come off as any more loathsome? And I find it very convenient that the decision to home school Callista came about the school year after the one in which Callista was voicing the fact that she was suffering abuse at home. What a coincidence, no?

flossy   April 21st, 2010 10:31 am ET

I don't know what the Springers are doing, blaming Calista for what they did to her. The things the father has been saying, has NO revelance. She was a teenager. Kids sometimes take things. Nothing he has said, would lead me to believe she was bad. How different this family sound, about their beloved sister and daughter, then the families of children who have died. they are usually saints after they die. Thid family has not said a good thing about this poor girl. The sister must have gone through hell having to be in the room with Calista, while she was chained. I wonder what they would say to ech other? We won't get to know that untill after they remove her from tis evil pair.She would be afraid to say anything, because she knew what would be in store for her, having seen it first hand. Why would a child hug these fiends, when they were doing such horrible things to her. I hope they get the death penalty.

flossy   April 21st, 2010 10:36 am ET

this man is making me sick.I can hardly watch this, but I have to just to know it is real. We just have to remember,[which is'nt hard] that Calista was the victim here, not the man and woman who call them selves parents. Totally sickning.

Niki R   April 21st, 2010 10:43 am ET

As I watch testimony by Calista's father, I see an angry parent who disliked his daughter and was disappointed and embarrased by her disability. It is apparent that the entire family felt this way as Calista's sister and her aunt had the same demeanor during their testimony. There seemed to be no compassion for her disability and the effect it had on Calista's life. No one in her family seemed to see the world through her eyes, only through the problems she caused in their lives. No wonder this child felt she had no allies in her own home. No wonder she tried so desperately to have something for herself, as evidenced by her taking the things that didn't belong to her, her family wasn't a family, they were her keepers and they treated her with distaste and disdain. My heart breaks for her horrible life.

flossy   April 21st, 2010 10:50 am ET

sorry so many posts But I would like to know why Callista called her adopted mother, her STEPMOTHER, if she loved her so much. She probably sat next to her mother, because that is where she was tiold to sit. I wish I was on that jury, I have so many questions.

Pittman   April 21st, 2010 11:06 am ET

If Calista was so dangerous, why wasn't she successful in any of her violent acts as her father has testified? For instence, her father stated she tried to drink gasoline, she stood over them with a knife, she put all sorts of stuff in her mouth yet there's no mention of choking or throat and mouth laceration of any kind. He also said shes eaten spoiled food out of the garbage. If she's putting, so many items in her mouth why hasnt she ever had her stomach pumped. If they couldnt handle her why didnt they give her to someone who could take care of and love her? Lastly, if Calista was such a problem child she should have hospital, school, and police reports long as the Brooklyn Bridge.

flossy   April 21st, 2010 11:22 am ET

In the videos I see a little girl out of the loop, as they are opening presents. I see no one, saying a word to her, sitting by her, or even looking at her. She was truly the Cinderella in that family. As far as the kating goes, the father did help her, but i NEVER SAW mARSHA EVEN LOOK HER WAY. She was not a happy child, and it looked like she knew her place and stayed in it.Sometimes the only way a child can get attention is by acting up. Calista even tried that, she also tried to get the attention of her teacher. The father called her a liar, he would not stand up for her. I can hardly wait to see what the wicked stepmother says.

flossy   April 21st, 2010 12:22 pm ET

Why did'nt marsha try to make Calista, a part of the family, by having her help and making her feel like she was needed. Why would Calista say , you will be sorry ,if I win . what did he do to be sorry for?? This did not make sense. why could the father not remember any thing good about Calista, like winning a spelling bee, but nit pucked everything any teen would do. Who did calista try to harm, that made her parents chain her??

Daniella   April 21st, 2010 12:23 pm ET

Is it me, or is this prosecutor a bit, shall I say, incompetent? Not cross examining the defendant? And I caught quite a few instances where he could have questioned some statements made by at least two of the defendants' witnesses that could have shown that Callista wasn't what the defense is trying to make her out to be. Very surprised that this man is in the position he is in. Too many mistakes and missed opportunities in trying this case.

Trish   April 21st, 2010 12:56 pm ET

Here's why I find it hard to believe things the defense witnesses say:

1. they immediately conclude anything wrong was done by Calista – John's knife going missing must mean Calista took it & opened it [I think the switchblade hit the floor button-down & sproinged across the room] The broken syringes – the dog didn't do it, but Marsha Courtney or Heather could have [to make Calista look bad]

2. If they were only chaining Calista to the bed 2-3 days, how come child services documented a claim of chaining Calista to the bed in 2004? How come Calista claimed to be chained 2 years before the 2-3 days before the fire?

3. Antrhony was invloved in her whole infancy, yet she fell behind in her vaccinations?

4. If she got access to gasoline, any kid in the neighborhood could have – this is Anthony's fault, not Calista's.

5. Springers make much of minor problems like they're tragedies. "Legally Blind" means 20/200 or worse – but with glasses, legally blind people can drive.

Trish   April 21st, 2010 1:03 pm ET

One more reason I don't believe the defense witnesses – especially Anthony. Anything that goes wrong is ALWYS & ONLY Calista's fault. There's never an instance of anyone speaking for the defense who says Anthony & Marsha could have done X better, or maybe Y wasn't such a good idea.

Debbie   April 21st, 2010 1:35 pm ET

Do you think if Calista threatened her father with a knife it could be because she was tired of the abuse.
Also he said he would feed Calista 3 to 4 bottles of baby food and she would want more. Well, I have 4 sons, 3 of them were 8lbs. or more and they never ate that much. I don`t believe him.

julia   April 21st, 2010 6:13 pm ET

The home movies of Calista and family,only showed proof,that she was ignored and tossed to the side while the other siblings were cuddled and interacted with. In previous testimony Anthony Springer claimed Calista was sleeping on A mattress on the floor in their bedroom,and he awoke to her standing in front of their bed with a knife. When asked how old she was at the time, he said she was around 4 or 5 years old. In today's testimony he said she was 8 or 9 years old?? Which is it? If its the later, she would have been BACK in her own room as guest had left and she had her own room back! Thats the problem with lying. Once you start,you have to follow up with another to cover your last lie !!

Melissa   April 21st, 2010 7:09 pm ET

My question is where was everyone? Didn't the school see there was a problem at home? How about the neighbors their friends and family? What about the doctors? Couldn't they have given her medicine to help with her problems? Maybe make her a little easier to handle? What about counselling to help the child and parents? Why didn't the parents seek help instead of letting it get out of hand? Didn't they know there are resources available?
There may be other parents are out there with the same problems, doing the same thing. Answers to these questions will help us help them.

Brandy In Michigan   April 22nd, 2010 1:49 pm ET

This is the most craziest thing I have ever heard of??? Michigan has many, many options for parents with problem teens, all they had to do was call the police if she was in danger of hurting herself and they would have admitted her to a hospital ward where she could have been monitored.... and the hospital ONLY has the right to restrain as they have the means to do so properly AND they have the proper procedure's in place for any fire or emergency to save the patients lives! This is ABSOLUTELY the parents fault for taking the law into there own hands and should be found guilty not only because this was wrong but also to show others that just because there is no underlined rule against chaining your children up it is WRONG!!!!

Daniella   April 22nd, 2010 1:49 pm ET

Although critical of the prosecutor's failure to cross-examine the defendant, I think he has done a fine job in his closing arguments. Very passionate. Strong.

Daniella   April 22nd, 2010 1:52 pm ET

Very suspicious fire. Would not be at all surprised if this fire was intentionally set by Marsha Springer. Wonder if the fire was thoroughly and properly investigated.

Trish   April 22nd, 2010 2:43 pm ET

The only person who said Anthony loved Calista was his defense attorney. How telling is that?

The observations of the people Anthony's attorney mention are irrelevant. He didn't chain her in front of them.

Niki R   April 22nd, 2010 4:11 pm ET

Vinnie interviewed someone today about the fire investigation who said the cause of the fire was 'undetermined' and that there was no reason for the Springers to burn their house since it was uninsured and in foreclosure. It seems to me, that the payoff for burning the house for Marsha Springer was that Calista would be gone and out of her life. Calista was the constant irritation. You could tell it in all their faces and attitudes when they talked about her.
This is the only explanation for why she didn't even try to save her......she saved the dog instead of the child because she liked the dog.

russell hibbs   April 22nd, 2010 11:32 pm ET

Collier April 6th, 2010 12:45 pm ET

I sure wouldnt restrain my kids to a bed to protct them. These parent's deserve the D.A.P award(Dumb ass Parents).The sound like they just didnt want to be bothered by her.

no, they deserve the( burn in hell award ) i think its high time people had to apply for a license to have kids.its coming, and the sooner the better.

Kari   April 23rd, 2010 1:36 am ET

This is one of the most discusting cruel child abuse cases I have ever heard of. YEARS of ungoing torture.

1) One of the above commenters had mentioned the our government provides around the clock care for persons who are in danger of themselves and that is absolutely correct.

2) The Springers were collecting a very healthy amount of money for the care of Calista as in the state of Michigan with Calilstas supposed disablilities she would be intitled. I'm betting that is the reason they even kept this poor child. She was their bread and butter.

3) Calista is or was entitled to complete medical care at the expense of the state of Michigan and/or our government so their was no excuse not to have her cared for.

Her parents are errogant and filfthy scum and I hope they rot in hell. Just like like made their little girl live a life of hell for all these years.

The attorney who represented the Springers is a discusting pig who was willing to sell his soul by representing these two pieces of crap and trying to make the child look like the bad guy.

I hope they get to feel some suffering here on earth! Now. Just like little Calista..

Daniella   April 23rd, 2010 12:16 pm ET

Good, Anthony Springer, keep talking, you pathetic, sick monster, keep digging your grave. My God, his mother must be sitting there, thinking, did I really give birth to this sociopath? Now, let's lock him and his wife up and through away the key.

Pat   April 23rd, 2010 1:24 pm ET

If the two sisters were in school at the time of the fire and Calista was still chained then she hadn't yet gotten to go to the bathroom nor gotten to eat breakfast yet. No one cared.

If she were being home schooled and the father went to work at 6:30 but didn't come home until 7:00 PM then how did the mother who was blind read anything to her or check her answers?

If Calista was so challanged then how is it she was in regular class and passed to 6th grade?

I truly believe this child was treated this way because for what problems she did have she was unable to keep it to her self. Children with challanged problems often speak out in truths. Like when she admitted to lieing and steeling things. She was telling people of her abuse and now she is gone. She didn't even get to go to the bathroom or eat but her sisters did.

Daniella   April 23rd, 2010 1:46 pm ET

Callista's Grandmother's statement at the sentencing hearing was so moving, so heart-felt. It brought tears to my eyes. God bless her.

Kim   April 23rd, 2010 4:24 pm ET

I was so moved by what Calista's grandmother. Her statement to the court for Calista waS BEAUTIFUL. Tony seemed like he really didn't get it. Everyone was to blame but him. I couldn't believe what he was saying about Calista. She is gone now two years and he still didn't have a kind thing to say about her. I don't know how he can call his self a father. Maybe some day the other two girls will see that he is pure evil.

I am torn alittle bit about the jusry not finding them guilty of murder in the first degree or second degree murder. I thought they would find them guilty of at least second degree murder I feel that the DA gave them enough evidence to convict them of second degree murder. I am happy that they got a lot of time to think about it. I doubt they will ever miss Calista, but I know that she is in peace in Heaven.

I think about the fact that this young lady will never graduate from school, go to a prom. She will never get married and have children of her own. Her life was hell on earth. I pray that she will have peace forever more.

Vickie   April 23rd, 2010 11:02 pm ET

I live in Nebraska when the court case get my attention. I can not believe that a parent or parents can do what they are being charged with. They should not have to go throw a trial. They are guilty. It does not matter what kind of problem the child has. There is help out there if you take the time to look. The parents should get the same punchesment they gave that little girl. I do have kids and yes they can make you mad but not to that extinct. I feel heart breaks for that little girl.

patrice lynn kibble   April 25th, 2010 6:45 pm ET

Where is the school records?There should be a record of school behavior for her unless there is something the district is hiding.CPS doesnt want another problem the hospitals give them back to let the parents deal with it on their own.District keep handing the children around -passes the buck.Mental health encorages children to do things on their own and the kids take that as they can go anywhere and do anything.Parent is always responsible even if they have tried to get help for 2 years or more.Running away is not considered a offence .

SK   May 11th, 2010 2:46 pm ET

This trial is so horrific that one can hardly watch, except to pray that a just verdic will be rendered for this poor child. This is such a tragic case where so many failed just one little child. Who is asking us for help and we are ignoring? Don't let it happen in your neighborhood or school

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