Gwyneth Gibby, February 20, 2007
The call 911 dispatchers hate the most is, "Child not breathing."
On June 3, 2005, at about 1:45 p.m., a frantic Sarah Sheehan made that call. She had arrived at her boyfriend's house to find her daughter, 3-year-old Karly, lying limp on the floor of a bedroom. Karly's left eye was swollen shut with a large bruise. Her right eye was open and fixed. She was not breathing.
Police and paramedics tried to revive Karly for 45 minutes but failed. Doctors at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center pronounced her dead at 2:40 p.m.
Gwyneth Gibby, February 19, 2007
The week after Karly went back to the house where Sarah Sheehan lived with Shawn Field, Sarah wasn't feeling well and spent much of the week in bed.
"I was exhausted to the point where my extremities hurt," Sarah said. "It hurt to have my eyes open. Beyond sick and exhausted."
Field took care of Karly and Kaitlyn, Field's 8-year-old daughter.
Gwyneth Gibby, February 19, 2007
Could Karly Sheehan have been saved? The Department of Human Services and police had investigated the possibility of abuse months before her death, but had come to a wrong conclusion. In a sense, every adult in Karly's life failed to protect her from a monster.
But what could they have done? How could they have known? What do investigators need to intervene in a case of abuse?
Gwyneth Gibby, May 31, 2007
A public hearing will be held Monday in Salem to hear comments on what has been called “Karly’s Law” about investigating possible child abuse.
Gwyneth Gibby, April 3, 2007
SALEM - A bill inspired by the death of a Corvallis toddler got support at a hearing in the Capitol on Monday.
The House Human Services and Women's Wellness Committee heard testimony about "Karly's Law," which would close some of the gaps in current safeguards for children who are victims of abuse and neglect.
Aaron Clark, May 1, 2007
Oregon lawmakers advanced a bill Monday they said will clamp down on child abuse and neglect and make it easier for authorities to identify children victimized by adults.
Known as "Karly's Law," after a 3-year-old girl who was tortured and killed by an abusive adult, the bill would require children involved in ongoing child abuse investigations with "suspicious physical injury" to undergo a medical assessment within 48 hours by a doctor trained to identify child abuse.
Gwyneth Gibby, May 1, 2007
A bill that would help protect victims of child abuse was passed unanimously in the Oregon House of Representatives on Monday.
Gwyneth Gibby, May 25, 2007
A bill that would help protect victims of child abuse was passed unanimously Thursday in the Oregon Senate.
The bill is named "Karly's Law" for Karly Sheehan, the Corvallis 3-year-old who was beaten to death in June 2005 by her mother's boyfriend, Shawn Field. Karly was the subject of a Department of Human Services Child Welfare investigation six months before she died, but the investigation concluded she was not the victim of abuse. In November 2006, Field was found guilty of torturing and killing Karly and is serving a life sentence.
Su-Jin Yim, July 16, 2008
Child advocates laud the law, propelled by Rep. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, but say assessment centers need more resources. The Justice Department is working with counties to record the challenges and will report to the Legislature by September, Gelser says.
"While we need to address the issue of resources to respond to kids that are at risk, the solution isn't to go backward," Gelser says. "I think this data is going to demonstrate to us that we need to invest further resources in our assessment centers, first of all."