A Death in White Bear Lake: The True Chronicle of an All-American Town

A Death in White Bear Lake: The True Chronicle of an All-American TownA Death in White Bear Lake: The True Chronicle of an All-American Town by Barry Siegel
Published by Ballantine Books on November 28th 2000
Pages: 544

Goodreads

"We want to talk to you about my brother who was murdered twenty-one years ago--can we come in?" The veneer of tranquility in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, began to crack the day Jerry Sherwood and her son showed up at the police station to inquire about her first-born son, Dennis--adopted by Lois and Harold Jurgens and dead before his fourth birthday. The autopsy report ruled peritonitis was the cause, but the startling photos of the boy suggested murder.
How could the Jurgens kill a small child and get away with it? Determined to find answers, detectives Ron Meehan and Greg Kindle tracked down old witnesses and rebuilt the case brick by brick until they exposed the demons that drove an adopted parent to torture and eventually murder a helpless child. Just as compelling, they investigated why so many people watched and did absolutely nothing. A vivid portrait of an all-American town that harbored a killer, A Death in White Bear Lake is also the absorbing story of two detectives who refused to give up until they had the killer cold.

Interesting book that encapsulates a national tragedy, child abuse was pretty well neglected by both the medical profession and law enforcement up until the 1960’s.  The attitude was who would do something like that and it’s really none of our business.  Once the scope of the abuse of children began to come to light both the medical profession and law enforcement stepped up to face the challenge.

What is so very sad about this book is that it is not about an isolated instance but rather it is just an example of what was going on through out the country.  Even in today’s world abuse of children continues, unabated.  The year Dennis Jurgen died, White Bear Lake became the All-American city of 1965.  The irony of this, is what makes this story so compelling.

 

While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man’s Descent Into Madness

While the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man’s Descent Into MadnessWhile the City Slept: A Love Lost to Violence and a Young Man's Descent Into Madness by Eli Sanders
Format: ebook
Published by Viking on February 2nd 2016
Pages: 336

Goodreads

A Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter’s gripping account of one young man’s path to murder—and a wake-up call for mental health care in America  On a summer night in 2009, three lives intersected in one American neighborhood. Two people newly in love—Teresa Butz and Jennifer Hopper, who spent many years trying to find themselves and who eventually found each other—and a young man on a dangerous psychological descent: Isaiah Kalebu, age twenty-three, the son of a distant, authoritarian father and a mother with a family history of mental illness. All three paths forever altered by a violent crime, all three stories a wake-up call to the system that failed to see the signs.   In this riveting, probing, compassionate account of a murder in Seattle, Eli Sanders, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his newspaper coverage of the crime, offers a deeply reported portrait in microcosm of the state of mental health care in this country—as well as an inspiring story of love and forgiveness. Culminating in Kalebu’s dangerous slide toward violence—observed by family members, police, mental health workers, lawyers, and judges, but stopped by no one—While the City Slept is the story of a crime of opportunity and of the string of missed opportunities that made it possible. It shows what can happen when a disturbed member of society repeatedly falls through the cracks, and in the tradition of The Other Wes Moore and The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace, is an indelible, human-level story, brilliantly told, with the potential to inspire social change.

Interesting book about how we treat our mentally ill citizens.  Isaiah Kalebu on a summer’s night in 2009 brutally raped two women, then murdered one of them.  Isaiah Kalebu had mental health issues and there was nothing that either family members, mental health workers, lawyers or judges could do to stop the trajectory that Kalebu was on.

We have absolutely no framework within our culture to care for these people, if a person gets so deranged that they decide to do harm to themselves or others we have no mechanisms to help them.  We continually see the effects of this.