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Life after a child gets murdered

a guest blog entry by Tom Yates, father of Amy Yates

My name is Tom Yates, I am the father of two daughters, Amy and Danielle. On April 26, 2004, Amy was led into the woods of the mobile home park where we lived, by a 16-year-old boy that she knew and considered to be a friend. The boy told her that he wanted her to come listen to the birds with him. After entering the woods and walking far enough so that no one could see what he was going to do, he tried to rape her, and when she screamed for help he strangled her and then dumped her body further in the woods. The events that have unfolded that day seem like they could only happen in a movie, a horror movie for my family. (Tom, pictured with Amy on the right, and Danielle, left)

April 26 was like any other Monday. Sometime around 4:20 p.m. my girls got off the school bus and walked down to the house. Both girls had homework to do but because Amy had been doing so well at school we told her that she could play first and then do her homework later. Amy's 9th birthday was just nine days away. We had bought her a pack of Hello Kitty invitations to give to her friends. After she had watched a little T.V., she wanted me to help her with the invitations so we worked on them together.  She asked me if she could go over to her friend's house to give an invitation and play. I told her that it was fine but that I was starting on dinner and she had to come home at 7 p.m. I was standing at the front door when Amy got on her bike and rode across the street to her friend's house. The girl wasn't allowed to go out and play, so Amy came back home to ask if she could go to another friend who lived just three trailers over from us. Again, I said that was fine and to be home at 7 p.m.

Then I watched as she rode her bike in between two trailers, never imagining that I would never again see my daughter alive.

At 7:05 p.m. Amy had not come home so my wife,