Where Was the Family?
January 19th, 2006
At the funeral for little Nixzmary Brown yesterday, the crowd of hundreds hushed when dozens of the girl’s family members entered. The press ran photos of sobbing relatives and reported on how her anguished grandmother wearily said she’d sue for custody of her daughter’s five other children.
But Juan Gonzalez takes a less sympathetic view of the uncles, cousins and other relatives who he feels must have had more contact with Nixzmary and her troubled mother and step-father than any lax case worker, cop or teacher ever did.
“Where had they all been during the months and years when this terrible outrage unfolded?” writes Gonzalez. “Where had they been when, according to police, this innocent child was repeatedly tortured and beaten by her stepfather, Cesar Rodriguez, the man now charged with her murder?”
Some family members did wonder aloud how they let it happen. “I’m sorry! I couldn’t help you! I’m sorry,” screamed Yasminda Villanueva, 22, a maternal cousin, according to Newsday. “If our family had been united, maybe this wouldn’t have happened,” cried an aunt.
That wasn’t enough for some opinion writers — or other mourners. “How could you not see it?” wondered one funeral attendee. Andrea Peyser sees the city’s rage as real, even if she thinks the family’s tears are fake.
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