2 YEAR OLD DARISABEL BAEZ DIES AFTER BEATING BY HER MOTHER’S BOYFRIEND, AS HER MOTHER STANDS BY – CCA0010 – UPDATED 07.31.2013
2 YEAR OLD DARISABEL BAEZ BEAT TO DEATH BY HARVE JOHNSON AS MOTHER, NEIDA BAEZ, STANDS BY
Police and ambulance personnel responded to a home on a 911 call for an unresponsive 2-year-old child. What they saw when they got there, was a horrific sight of child abuse. So horrific that police and emergency personnel had a stress debriefing to deal with a helpless child being so brutally beaten. What they found was a beautiful little girl, lying on the floor lifeless, with some of the most horrific injuries one can imagine.
Darisabel Baez had been beaten for hours with a cord and video game controller by her mother’s boyfriend, screaming the entire time for her mother to help, only to have her mother ignore her cries. Why did this mother ignore the dying cries of this child, well she was afraid she would be hit too. As a mother, it would take a thousand bullets through my heart before I would let a monster like that come near my children. What kind of mother lets her child be fatally beaten just to avoid the possibility of being hit by that monster. If I was the mother of this beautiful little girl, I assure you, the police and emergency responders would by responding to a call of an unresponsive grown man, not a child.
Now we ask the same basic question we always do – what did this little girl do to deserve endless hours of torture. Well, this little girl had the nerve to wake her mother and her mother’s boyfriend up at 5:00 in the morning when she woke up. As a mother, I personally expect my children to wake me up when they get up on the odd time when I’m not already making waffles for breakfast. I have been doing things all backwards I suppose. Instead of making this baby girl breakfast, Harve Johnson ordered her to stand in the corner. When her mother, Neida Baez, and the sad excuse of a man Johnson woke up at noon, Darisabel was still standing in the corner.
This just wasn’t enough for Johnson and he was still angry at the little girl, so he ‘swatted her on the butt’ and the girl’s diaper fell apart, feces and bits of diaper soiled Darisabel’s clothing and the floor. Baez says she then cleaned up both her daughter and the mess on the floor. After she was done cleaning, she alleges that was when Johnson grabbed the little girl from her and brought her into another room. Baez says, and I quote “He was hitting her … she was crying, I told him … she didn’t deserve it. He told me to mind my business and go into the other room.” And you know what this mother, and I use that title loosely, did, well she went right back into the living room. From the living room she could actually hear the sound of the controller whip through the air and hit her daughter, who continued to cry and plead for her mother to help her. Eventually the little girl became silent, her little body just gave up. At that point Johnson put Darisabel in the bathtub to try and revive her, but she remained unresponsive. Johnson then brought Darisabel out to her mother and the two began CPR. At one point Darisabel began to cough up blood, then stopped breathing altogether. This was about the time when Baez and Johnson decided a call to 911 might be in order.
When responders arrived on the scene, Johnson was standing around casually, texting nonchalantly as though nothing was going on. One police woman recalls her shock at the sight of the baby girl and remembers performing mouth to mouth on Darisabel to breathe some life back into her. As she did so, she could taste the baby girl’s blood in her mouth. A direct quote from a first responder, “When I first saw Darisabel, it was literally like hitting me with a sledge hammer.” “Her bruises, covering her body in different states of healing, looked like camouflage on Darisabel.”
The girl was brought to the Hershey Medical Center and placed in the critical care unit where she remained in a vegetative state on life support with multiple injuries, the most dire being injuries to her brain. Darisabel’s wounds were widespread and severe, including visible bruises, marks and lacerations to her head, back and body, as well as injuries to the brain, chest, heart, liver, neck, extremities and vagina, with the amount of beating being so extensive, it was indicative of torture. She never regained any kind of consciousness and died from her injuries. No one can imagine the anguish and agony this little girl experienced in the final moments of her short life.
Even more horrific and disturbing, is that Neida Baez admitted that she knew her boyfriend had been beating her daughter for MONTHS. For months! And not once did this woman lift so much as a finger to protect her daughter. The sad truth remains, that this little girl’s death was preventable – if only her mother had kept her safe as any other mother would. Before Darisabel was pronounced dead, one first responder and his wife had decided that if Darisabel pulled through, they would foster the baby girl and adopt her, anything to keep her safe and away from the monsters that so callously beat Darisabel beyond recognition.
When Johnson went to trial, he would stuff tissues in his ears, place his fingers in his ears and lay his head down on the table, too much of a coward to even listen to what he had done, or look anyone in the eye. As first responders testified, veteran police officers were unable to hold back their tears. After hearing the case at trial, jurors took 95 minutes to decide Harve L. Johnson should die for fatally beating 2-year-old Darisabel Baez, in what they also decided was a case of torture. It was about five minutes longer than they took to convict him of first-degree murder. The six-man, six-woman jury rejected an impassioned plea by defense attorney Ari Weitzman to spare Johnson’s life, and also rejected the argument that Johnson’s own horrendous childhood should be taken into consideration when deciding his fate. Jurors unanimously agreed Johnson should die for his crime.
Police officers who initially responded to Darisabel’s home on the day she was beaten — as well as county workers and a York Hospital trauma nurse who photographed Darisabel’s injuries, crowded the courtroom for Johnson’s guilty verdict. Many returned to hear his punishment. They cried and hugged. Nurse Patti O’Brien later said that while police and emergency responders regularly witness heartbreaking tragedies, Darisabel’s case left an indelible mark on all of them.
Prosecutor Tim Barker acknowledged “it’s a very difficult thing” to ask a jury to impose the “ultimate sentence.”, “But we had to do that, because that’s what justice required,” he said. “Darisabel still died a torturous death … that’s forever a loss to society.”
Harve Johnson will sit on death row and wait for his sentence to be carried out. Unfortunately, his life will end much more humanely than his victim’s did. Instead of hours and hours of vicious beatings by a bully and a coward, Harve will just go to sleep and never wake up. No matter how hard I try, I can never talk myself into believing that’s justice. I do believe this is the best justice a civilized society can give, however, and that I can live with.
Baez plead guilty to third-degree murder for failing to intervene while Johnson was beating her daughter to death, and will only serve a sentence of 10 years.
Johnson’s official execution date is September 10, 2013.
Not surprisingly, Johnson has filed for a stay of execution in the York County Common Pleas Court. It may be years before Johnson runs out of appeals as the process is only just beginning and all avenues remain open to him at this point. Along with the request for an emergency stay of execution, a motion for a post-conviction review of his trial and death sentence has been filed. No alleged trial errors have been disclosed.
A documentary has been released by the first responders to the scene where Darisabel was beaten to death. The video breaks your heart, and will remind you of the hero’s these police officers and paramedics truly are. Please take a minute to view it below. It will change how you see child abuse.