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Dad visits baby’s grave every day, regrets not reporting mom to cops

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- A grieving father is now sharing his side of the story, three days after police arrested his ex-girlfriend in the death of their baby.

“I came two or three days after we buried her and I’ve been coming ever since,” said Lonnie Anders as he stood beside his daughter’s grave covered in crosses, flowers and teddy bears.

Betsy Atkison was just six months old when she died on January 31. Prosecutors say pneumonia, severe malnutrition and neglect are to blame. They have since charged her mother, DeShelle Atkison, in her death with abuse or neglect of a child resulting in death and endangering the welfare of a child.

Anders did not live at the same home, but visited Betsy regularly and said he had noticed his baby's health was deteriorating. She was thin and wheezing.

“I just started crying because that’s how bad she was,” he recalled.

Anders said he begged Atkison to take their daughter to the hospital, but, “She kept saying ‘That baby’s fine. That baby’s fine,’” he said.

FOX 4 asked him why he didn’t take action by calling the police or an ambulance. Anders told us he’s not listed on Betsy`s birth certificate, so he was worried Atkison would have him arrested for taking the child without her consent.

“I wish I would've taken a kidnapping charge,” he said. “It eats at me every day.”

Overwhelmed with regret, Anders is left only with memories of little Betsy, as he wonders who she could’ve grown to become, if only given the chance.

“Just seeing little kids play and just thinking of her, wondering what she was going to be like at that age, it just kills me,” he said.

Atkison made her first court appearance Monday, she’s due in court again on June 4.

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64 comments

    • Connie Maggio

      DFS is a JOKE! Our children have NO voice! I am a grandmother and I know through experience! I pray for my grandbabies and just waiting for that call because that is how it

  • melissa

    Why are you blaming the Dad? He knows what he should have done and he will live with it the rest of his life. How many times have you wished you had done something differently?

    • Ben

      There have been many times that I wished I had done something differently but never did a baby die because of my decisions. Whether or not to take a malnourished and wheezing baby to the hospital is not the kind of decision that requires a lot of intelligence.

    • crazygirl1981

      It looks bad on his behalf regardless. He very well could’ve called authorities period. Just because he’s not on the birth cert. doesn’t mean he can’t make a concerned phone call to DFS or law enforcement. He didn’t even try. He deserves to live with this forever.

      • puddingpop

        maybe you people that are judgeing should take a step back and look at yourselves. everyone makes mistakes and im sure you people should think about what you put on her your commenting on this when you don’t even know the whole situation so maybe just maybe you should think about your selves.

  • ap

    My uncles past is not to blame for this. You clearly see the man pooring his heart. He is and want on crack. My uncles past doesn’t make him a monster. Expecially to his daughter. He was scared he would never see her again he wasn’t legally named the father. You people need to think about what your saying its the whole reason the news covered his side of the story just because that side of betseys family were sick doesn’t mean we were. This was his only child he loved her so much. The last day he seen her sick was the last day the mother aloud him to visit. He’s filled with regret and what if s he doesn’t need your empathy or opinions

    • barb nichols

      God gives second chances. Do not be intimidated by negative comments from people who are unfairly judging. With the information you had you did the best that you could.

  • ap

    Isn’t and wasn’t on crack* he is a good loving man just because you can look him up on casenet doesn’t mean shit people change and even on his worst day he was a good uncle and still is.

  • Alex Kirk

    Okay ppl he already has to live w this the rest of his life. This is my cousins uncle and they are all going through enough right now. He shouldn’t be charged and didn’t for a reason……its the moms fault. NOT HIS. Everyone makes mistakes. Not one person on this is freaking perfect. The baby was in the mothers care. Along w how many more children. He is grieving enough without u all putting him down. R. I. P. Baby girl. And for the dad brush off the the haters.

  • Lothario

    After reviewing some of the comments in this thread, it is quite clear that we should also be mourning the loss of grammar, punctuation, and overall intelligence. Rest in peace, English language.

    No one has even mentioned this young woman’s other four children, I hope they are okay as well. Betsy is in a better place, now.

  • ap

    Wow you people sure have missed the whole point. Your the adults that are the worst part of society. The ones pointing fingers saying who should suffer. Making opinions of people you don’t know over the Internet. I’m sure your all making great parents yourselves. “White trash” or not we are a grieving family.

  • Athena

    I am not from MO I am from KS and I know the laws change for each state. My point being that him taking the child with the parent (the mother) consent is kidnapping. He would of went to jail. The laws now are you are guilty until you prove you are innocent. By taking the child he would of land himself in jail no doubt about that. That being said. You people should not be judging someone because of what you hear or found on the internet. Regardless he was the father but had no legal rights. It happens all the time. Girls have babies to get on welfare or for someone to pay child support so they have money. Seen it happen to many times.

    This family is grieving for Betsy. They have that right. People who do not know have not been in this situation should not judging. God is the only person that should be judging. What do you think he thinks of all your comments (disrespect, hatefulness, name calling).

    My opinion which you all probably could careless about is this. You need to mind our business and quit being so disrespectful to someone you do not know. Maybe for once in your life try to be in someone else shoes. Until you have been put in a situation-you claim I would do this or that-but until the moment it happens you cannot know how you react. Each person reacts differently.

    To the family-I am sorry for your loss. Prayer for you and your family.

    • Ben

      Athena: Stop making excuses for these idiots. A child died because they were high on drugs and didn’t have enough brain cells to realize the child needed a doctor. I guarantee, if I saw my child sick and dying, I would not think, “I am not on the birth certificate so I might get in trouble if I take the child to a doctor.” The parents were probably more concerned about child neglect, drugs in their system and buying more drugs. P.S. ap: Don’t do anymore drugs. It causes severe brain damage and you are on the verge of it being to late.

    • lonnie anders

      For the ones with brain n a heart thank u for all ur comments for though of that r dum to know to even have kids u need to get out of in frount of the web to c what real life s all about n the ones that keep bringing up drugs r the on them n msd cause u ain’t man woman enough to get off of it mad at everyone eals csuse ur to dum to stop

      • Ben

        WTH are you trying to say? You need to get off the computer and go to school. Your comment just confirmed to us all that you are not very bright; and thus, we should take anything you say with a grain of salt.

  • Athena

    Zeus you are right Dorothy was from KS. But that has nothing to do with this and I am not a MYTH. Athena did not come from Greece. Know what you are talking about before you post something stupid.

    Ben-Do you know this man? If so when was the last time you saw him? I think we before you starting saying what you would do you need to know the laws. I have a BA in Paralegal and this man would of been arrest if he took the child without the mother’s permission even if it was to the doctor. I have been in a simpler situation with one of my sons. So know what you are talking about before you speak please.

    • Lothario

      Athena, he wouldn’t have been arrested for calling DFS or 911. An individual can most definitely call DFS anonymously without repercussion. Your “BA in Paralegal” probably covered some area of family law and how to deal with similar situations.

    • Zeus

      *Sound of Thunder*
      You really shouldn’t talk to your father like that, or you may lose your position as favorite child – you know that Persephone and Ares have long coveted that distinction.

  • Reneé

    I feel so sorry for the families involved. Everyone except the mother and anyone who knew how sick this baby was. Those 4 other kids are now in state custody, their sister died, and mother is in jail, and they probably have no idea who their fathers are. Stop bashing on these people and just pray for those other babies. Drugs may have been involved, but unless you know the family, you don’t know. Don’t make assumptions if you don’t have the facts. Quit being rude. You have no idea how this father may feel. Or anyone else in the family.

      • Reneé

        I actually know the family too, and according to the mothers cousin, she was on drugs. Not sure how well you actually know them…..

  • Athena

    Renee-as I said earlier I am not from MO. I am from KS and it is SRS here. So please do not try to make me feel stupid because it did not work. If you had read the earlier post you would of known I was not from MO so now you look stupid.

  • JR

    You know what people he is not to blame for this you know he was just not trying to get himself into trouble and he was a wonderful father . You guys just need to leave him alone. I love him and the baby they were my family

    • Ben

      So you are suggesting that he made the right decision to allow the baby to die rather than risk getting in trouble. Apparently, he was too high to figure out how to rescue the child without breaking the law. He had many options but acted on none. Now he plays the victim.

      • jr

        I think you need to step back. people make misstakes they are not perfect and as for you one day u will make a mistake and look back on this a say wow i need to take a look in the mirror

  • tolatenow

    The bottom line to all of this is a baby died a slow agonizing death due to her mother’s neglect and her father’s inaction. I would go as far to say that even many other people made a choice not to do anything for this precious angel. What she went through should never be endured by any human being much less an innocent child that rely’s completely on the adult’s actions or inactions. I tend to believe that maybe the day has come that we should not just sit around and feel sorry and try to be understanding of these types of adults. Maybe they would think a little more about their actions or inactions if they were chatised and held accountable by the general public. I as an adult and another human being walking this earth DO think he should be more than ashamed of his inaction. Excuses and inaction didn’t save this precious angel 1 second from the he!! and torture she went through. While that poor baby layed there, he made the choice to do nothing. He ate, he interacted with others, and probably slept comfortably while she layed there suffering. He talked to others about it and even they made the choice to do nothing. Don’t ask for my sympathy and understanding for your day late and dollar short grief! My sympathy goes to this precious angel and her siblings. Not holding adults accountable and making excuses for them got this baby and the adults around her where they are today. I refuse to call them parents, neither of them meet the definition and do not deserve the honor.

  • Sara

    He didn’t need to TAKE the baby anywhere. A simple 911 call would have sufficed. My son was home from the hospital 2 days and had difficulty breathing so I IMMEDIATELY took him to the hospital. Three weeks later he had another issue, I IMMEDIATELY took him to the doctor. I’m not rich. I was on Medicaid but that did not stop me from taking care of my son. His dad is involved and through a glitch, he’s not on the birth certificate which is something I need to take care of, but I can GUARANTEE, if my son was sick and I refused to get him medical attention, he would do whatever is necessary to get his son medical attention. I don’t feel a bit bad for this dad. I am sure he had access to a phone and even my 6 year old niece knows how to dial 911. It’s very sad and I couldn’t imagine life without my son but if I chose not to get him help, I would have to live with the knowledge that I had a part in his death, even if its just from inaction.

    • lonnie anders

      Shows how smart u r she did not live with me n she was a mother of five I thought she new what she was doing it was my first. N I did not no my baby was sick enough to die n I bet if u told ur kids dad u would have him put n jail if u came around I bet he. Would of done the sameu need to worry about ur kid enstead of someone ealses as u no u all sean my past who would they beleave the mom r me the cops would of never beleavied me

      • Ben

        lonnie anders: You poor uneducated fool. Ignorance doesn’t have to be forever. Put down the crack pipe and get yourself into some type of educational program. You desperately need it. Even though your parents obviously let you down and didn’t raise you properly, you still have a chance to improve your life and possibly be a role model for the kids; although, we shouldn’t hold our breath waiting. You have issues.

      • Sara

        My son’s dad would laugh at me if he wanted medical attention for my son and I said I would call the cops on him. He would then take it upon himself to call the police to make sure our son got the attention he needed. And if I lived in the filth that was described, he would then take me to court to gain custody. Again, I’m not wealthy, but it doesn’t take a lot of money to make sure my son is clean, happy and healthy. And as far as this not being my business, you made it everyone’s business when you went on tv asking for sympathy! I never comment but this really got to me.

  • Athena

    Thank you for the information:

    Kansas DCF (Department for Children and Families) link to
    Kansas CPS (Child Protective Services):
    http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/PPS/Pages/ChildProtectiveServices.aspx
    Kansas SRS (Social Rehabilitation Services) = Food Stamps/Cash Assistance/Medical/Child Care/Energy A Assistance (LIEAP)

    Kansas DCF is part of SRS. When you report abuse you call SRS and they investigate. Things might have changed in the last couple of years because they closed some office. So my bad.

    I usually do not comment on things like this but I felt that someone needed to stop all the bad talk. An innocent child died that the important thing. People seen and heard and no one helped. These people will have to deal with their own inaction. It is not up to us (people) to judge these people. God is the one to judge. I believe everything happens for a reason even if we do not understand the reason. Prayers for all.

  • jamie

    My heart goes out to this family. It is so sad. I lost my daughter almost two months ago. She was eleven months old. I took her to the doctor, because I knew something was wrong. She was breathing funny and crying a lot. So anyways I did take her, the doctor said she only had an ear infection and sent us home; saying nothing else was wrong. That night my daughter passed away, I found her in the morning. There was an investigation and she had pnemonia in both of her lungs and was dehidrated, because she couldn’t drink her bottle very well. I am so mad at myself, because the doctor told me she was fine and I knew she wasn’t and i didn’t take her anywhere else. I miss my daughter and knows what this family is going through.
    All I’m saying is my situation was different, but I did everything I could. I love an miss my daughter everyday. Even though I took her to a doctor, she still dies. It is a shame that the father didn’t do anything though. So sorry for the loss of the baby. She is in a better place; RIP sweetheart.

  • PJS

    Ben,

    I wonder if you realize that all the vile hate you are spewing on this man and his family is actually showing what kind of person YOU are. Just because someone wasn’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth, does not make them trash. Whatever that man’s circumstances are, none of us here know completely from a few-minutes-long news segment. His issues are his own–it is his own cross to bear, not yours. It is his child, it is his pain. You just sound, to me, to be an arrogant and narcissistic person. Unless you have lost a child you cannot know what that does to you. One of our greatest strengths is to be able to offer compassion–most important not to those whom you deem “deserving” of it, but instead simply to those who need it. All I can suggest is, something our mothers all told us when we were young. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. -OR- the ever popular: “Kindness is free, so sprinkle that shit everywhere!”

  • Who knows the truth

    The truth is he was too busy running around chasing the biggest dope hoe around. Miss Angel Marie. But they didn’t mention that did they. He must have got high n forgot…

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  • Elle Vee Legionne

    DFS, the police, none of them care about the words of non-custodials when it comes to allegations of abuse against the other parent whether they are true or false. Personal experience speaking. My heart goes out to the baby; and Dad, just try to do better each day than the day before, one day at a time. I am sorry for your loss. Try to brush off the nastiness, it’s not going to do you any good or better you to deal with hate. I think perhaps when it’s a child we all feel a bit enraged, if of course we are decent human beings.