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Murder of a handicapped child

Murder of a handicapped child

Posted: Thursday, June 18, 2009 8:01 pm
By: By Don Harold Lawrence

In his novel, “One Door Away From Heaven,” Dean Koontz describes the plight of Lukipelia, an abused child with a physical deformity: “Luki was born with a malformed pelvis, a right femur shorter than the left, and some bone fusion in the right foot” (p. 106). 
Lukipelia’s 9-year-old sister, Leilani, tells the neighbors, Geneva and Mickey, that her mother, Sensimilla’s, live-in boyfriend, Dr. Doom, had killed Lukipelia.
Leilani goes on to describe how Dr. Doom and Semsimilla had destroyed all of the photographs of Lukipelia, even the ones Leilani had hidden: “They destroyed all the pictures of him. I hid two snapshots of Luki; but they found them. Now the only place I can see his face is in my mind. But I take time every day to concentrate on his face, on remembering it, keeping the details sharp, especially his smile. I’m never going to let his face fade away. I’m never going to forget the way he looked. He can’t have been here 10 years and suffered like he did, and then just be gone as if he never lived. Someone’s got to remember” (p. 117).
Leilani also suffered from a physical handicap. Her left hand and left leg were deformed.
Since Sinsemilla had given birth to the children at home, there was no hospital record of their birth, no birth certificates that recorded when and where they were born.
Leilani told her neighbor, Mickey Bellsong, about how Sinsemilla had been institutionalized and treated for drug addiction and mental illness.
Leilani’s father abandoned her and her mother when she was 3 years old. She refers to her current stepfather, Preston Claudius Maddoc, as a “pseudo-father,” “murderer” and “selfish pig” (p. 36). She says, “Sometimes at dinner, he likes to talk about people he’s killed” (p. 42).
Maddoc had been a university professor with a doctorate in philosophy. He declared himself a “bioethicist” accepting a position with an Ivy League university, teaching ethics to future doctors. He had committed 11 murders. 
When Mickey asked Leilani where and when Lukepila disappeared, she said, “Montanna, the day before his tenth birthday. I remember Lukipela walking to the SUV, clomping along with his built-up leg. As they drove away, Luki looked back at me. I think he waved” (p. 108).
Don Harold Lawrence is coordinator of SUNRISE, which is sponsored by Shackelford Corporation. He may be contacted by mail at 145 Abernathy Drive, Adamsville, TN 38310-3001 or by telephone or fax at (731) 632-4483. His Web address is
Published in The Messenger 6.18.09

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