Excuse me… You’re indicted

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email 

So, I was in the awkward and unenviable position today to tell a woman she’s been indicted by a grand jury in the death of a little boy. I found out around 9:10 this morning that a grand jury had indicted the owner of the Yellow Brick Road Day Care on felony child neglect. It also upgraded the charge against the owner’s son to involuntary manslaughter. (The day care is where 13 month old Andrew Johnson was accidentally left in a van for 7 hours in 84 degree weather.) 

Upon learning of the indictments, I immediately set out for the day care. I knew I was the only reporter who had a lead on this story and I quickly realized Valerot Whitlow probably did not know she was now charged with a crime. (I was right) So, I decided to call her cell. She answered and I went for it… “I’m sorry, but I have bad news for you.  Valerot but you’ve been indicted by a grand jury for felony child neglect.” Now, It’s my job to get reaction and I hated having to tell her, but I also knew I had a responsibility to find out what was going on. Valerot was shocked and quickly got off the phone to call her attorney. I found out a few hours later that she’d turned herself into Richmond Police to be processed. This is such a tough story all around. You have a darling little boy that is gone and a tragic accident. Tough day. Tough choices. We’ll be following this case closely in the courts.  



Filed under Sad Stories

4 responses to “Excuse me… You’re indicted

  1. Melissa

    She would have known if she had shown up in court. I’m not specifically following this case, and I knew her case was in court today – how could she not have been aware?

  2. B. L. Westbrook

    08/04/2009 @ 9:44a.m.

    Dear Ms. DePompa,

    I hope this doesn’t sound cold but, you’re JUST doing your job as a reporter. You’re NOT passing judgment, just getting the facts on a terrible thing. Try NEVER to sound apologetic for being the reporter you are.

  3. You handled this with class and grace, which is exactly what we have come to expect from you. There are so many people whose lives are impacted by this story – including those charged. People tend to forget: “There but for the grace of God go I”. While many times we can say, “Yeah, I’d never do that”, there are others where it could have happened to someone we know. But it’s easier to sit in judgment and criticize than to show compassion or forgiveness.

    That being said, there is still a horrible tragedy that has occurred. Nothing and no one an replace the young child who died. Nothing can erase this. But I hope justice will be done.

  4. Hey, I found your blog while searching on Google your post looks very interesting for me. I will add a backlink and bookmark your site. Keep up the good work!

    I’m Out! 🙂

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