Balfour Not Guilty

Raelyn Balfour has been found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the death of her infant, Rob Seal writes in the Progress. The wrenching trial sought to determine whether Balfour, who forgot to leave her nine-month-old son at daycare and instead left her in the car, had committed a crime. The Iraq veteran worked at the Judge Advocate General School, which is where the incident took place.

I’m not sure that anybody wanted to see this woman in prison.

95 thoughts on “Balfour Not Guilty”

  1. I’m sorry but I don’t understand how someone can “forget” their child and leave them in the car. It’s a child. Not a purse (handbag, backpack, etc).

  2. TrvlMn
    The facts laid out before the court showed, fairly obviously, that she did forget her child. The prosecution even admitted that it was “inadvertant”… “an accident.” The question was whether she was criminally negligent, which the jury found not to be born out by the facts.

  3. God bless jurors from the People’s Republic of Charlottesville. Can you get any more liberal?

  4. Um, Waldo, a couple of things:

    Mrs. Balfour had a son, not a daughter. Unless I really misunderstood something.

    She workED at the JAG school. She says in the story that she has left and will be a stay-at-home mom.

    I have to agree that if she’d been on trial in Lynchburg or Virginia Beach, the verdict likely would’ve been different. But I’m glad that wasn’t the case. Sending this woman to jail would’ve been a waste of taxpayer dollars and hurt her family even more.

  5. This woman has suffered and will suffer forever. it would serve no purpose to put her in jail.

    Having been a crazy busy single mother myelf it boggles the mind to think you could forget your kid. But I think everyone agreed it was an accident and not done on purpose.

    Very sad case.

  6. I’m sorry but I don’t understand how someone can “forget” their child and leave them in the car. It’s a child. Not a purse (handbag, backpack, etc).

    I understand how entirely. I suspect most people can relate, which is why public sympathies lie so heavily on the side of the mother. What possible good would come of putting her in prison?

    Thanks for the corrections on sex (I really thought it was a daughter) and employment (no longer working at JAGS) — I’ve made those fixes. That’s what I get for writing this up real quick, just as I was heading out the door to go to the gym.

  7. Why charge her at all? I’ve never been on a jury such as this, so I can’t relate to it. Frankly, I can’t imagine putting her in jail for this. But what needs to be proven to convict someone of involuntary manslaughter? She left her child in the vehicle. It was hot. She knows a child could be injured or killed if left in a hot vehicle all day. Isn’t that involuntary manslaughter? Isn’t that reckless?

    *PLEASE* don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to get flamed by people standing up for the mother. No need to do that here. I do *not* think she should be in jail. All of the “she’s suffered enough” postings are right on, IMHO.

    I’m just curious about the law and how our justice system works. It just seems like, if she was charged with involuntary manslaughter, well, we know she is the reason the child is dead. So doesn’t that make her guilty?

    I think my real question is my first one. Why was she even charged? Couldn’t the prosecutor weigh the facts and determine if she should be sent to jail or not? Maybe not. But I swear sometimes people don’t get charged for some crimes, even some involving death. Maybe not crimes involving death? Maybe those have to go to trial? No, I don’t think so, I’m pretty sure I’ve heard of cases involving death that didn’t go to trial.

    So if they *could* have not charged her, this seems like a case where they *should* have not charged her. Holy crap, I can’t even begin to imagine the moment when she remembered her son was in the vehicle …

  8. I am far from being a liberal and usually take the lock them up and throw away the key attitude, but from what I have read in the media was this a complete accident. She will have to live and emotionally suffer from her mistake for the rest of her life…which will far exceed any punishment the criminal justice system could impose. Kudos to the jury for making their decision and I can only hope that her and her family can recover from this tragic accident and move forward with their lives.

  9. TrvlnMn, if you’re interested, here’s how one could forget a child is the backseat of the car.

    1. Be a normal human being with multiple demands on your time and attention, like a job, a partner, kids, a house, extended family members, etc.

    2. Have your normal sitter-drop-off routine change for some reason–maybe usually your partner drops off the child on a certain morning, but it changes for some reason (car repair, an early appointment) and the other partner has to do the drop-off.

    3. Set out for drop-off/work and while driving begin thinking about some of the gazillion things you have to do that day (like all normal people do when driving to work).

    4. Child is quiet or falls asleep in the backseat.

    5. Out of your normal routine, absorbed in thoughts about details of the coming day, autopilot takes over–you drive right past the turn to the sitter’s house, maybe. Habit drives you to work.

    6. Child is still asleep when you get to the parking lot.

    7. If you don’t put your work bag or briefcase in the backseat, you might not even think to look in the backseat when you get out of the car.

    8. You go in to work.

    It’s terrible and shocking and tragic, but it’s a very, very human mistake.

  10. The jury made the right decision. There was no intent on the mother’s part to commit a crime. Nor did she knowingly engage in reckless behavior that could put others in harm’s way(like someone who drinks and drives).
    She just had a mental lapse and a horrible accident occured.What possible justification could there be for imposing additional punishment on top of what she is already undergoing? She will have to live with this every day for the rest of her life.
    Save your outrage for the real criminals who the system lets walk sometimes.

  11. Airman: It was 66F, so hardly hot, but that’s beside the point. She didn’t mean to leave her son in the car. Perhaps the prosecuting attorney felt it was up to a jury to decide whether she really just forgot. Personally, I plan to vote against the elected commonwealth attorney (Warner D. “Dave” Chapman) for choosing to prosecute. If he had no choice, I’d like to hear why. And if he had a choice, I’d like to hear what exactly he felt the jury needed to decide.

  12. People keep asking why this was even prosecuted. Hello, anybody home? First off, any reasonable person knew this was a no-win case for the commonwealth from the very beginning. But, it’s damn good job security. With the decrease in crime (according to the coppies own statistics), can you imagine an assistant commonwealth’s attorney actually having to be laid off due to lack of work? These people would prosecute a litterbug if it meant staying busy and not having to lay anybody off. Sure, we will never see a commonwealth’s assistant attorney laid off, but there have been periods of decreased crime when it could have been done.

  13. Demopublican:

    Did it ever occur to you that maybe it was those assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys convicting bad guys that was part of the reason for the decrease in crime? Lay them off (or police officers for that matter) and guess what happens. Or did you think the crooks just decided to retire!

  14. Just to avoid any confusion, the Jackson who just posted is not the same as Jackson Landers, who comments here regularly. I know because at the minute that this comment was posted, I was sitting next to him at Mem Gym. :)

  15. Many people are sitting in jail right now for accident and things they didn’t mean, including things so terrible that they’ll feel remorse for the rest of their lives as well as things that are not so terrible. Nobody seems to flinch when those people have the book thrown at them. Why is this case any different?

  16. It was said above that to forget a child in a car is a very, very human mistake. That a normal human being with multiple demands on time and attention, like a job, a partner, kids, a house, extended family members, etc makes this crime excusable. I do feel very sorry for this Mom, but she was negligent. The jury was negligent. I raised two children alone – worked demanding hours, was sleep deprived, and often exhausted and over extended. But I never once left a child in a car. I am offended that the “I was an over extended Mom” defense won her case. Nearly all Moms these days are over extended – that’s part of the job. Mrs Balfour failed in her job, and gave Charlottesville the opportunity once again to prove that the local motto is “turn a blind eye to crime”.

  17. If she had too many things on her mind then she should have kept her legs closed and not had any kids. they should lock her in a car during a hot day and see what happens.
    stupid people need to no longer exist when they do stupid things like this. she killed her kid, she should be punished and put away.

  18. If she had too many things on her mind then she should have kept her legs closed and not had any kids.

    Congratulations: you’re the first-ever winner of the Worst Person in the World award.

  19. we live in a society of people who want to forgive stupidity. when you inflict harm on someone you need to be punished.
    so when she kills her newest arrival, i guees you all will forgive her again. Cville needs to grow a pair.

  20. Waldo and Cecil must not have kids to understand what it means from a parent view about another person harming their child.

    if this happened to one of your family members you would be singing a different tune.

    there’s NO EXCUSE for forgetting your child in a car all day.

  21. Why did Dave Chapman choose to prosecute? He knew that there were people in the community who felt she was not at fault and there were people who felt otherwise after reading about the death in the newspaper. The court historically provides the community judgment.

  22. Being a parent and a JAG family member stationed in CVille during the timeof this tragic event, I am so glad to hear about this outcome. It is my understanding that she did not normally take her son to the sitter in the mornings so this was not an every day routine. The child fell to sleep and since it wasn’t her normal routine, she didn’t realize it. Excuse, no, but I know for a fact that at the time that she did realize what had happened, she was beyond distraught.
    Also, I can recall one Christmas Eve I had to go to the store to get something. I took my daughter (3 months at the time) and a neighbor girl. When I got to the store I took the girl in with me and forgot my own daughter. It was dark outside, she had fallen asleep in the back and I didn’t even think about it. I left the car doors unlocked and anyone could have taken her. I realized I had left her in the car when we had been in the store for awhile. You have never seen a mom run so fast andI am sure that some of the employees were wondering if I had stolen something. I got back out to my car and she was still sleeping but I went straight home and din’t even consider going back into the store after what I had orginally went there to get.
    I told that story to show that as parents, we are all human. We make mistakes and some we have to live with the rest of our lives. Do you think she was celebrating this verdict? Any parent who has ever had a child in harms way will always feel it was their fault. They will live with it and many of them will wish that it was them instead of their child. Raelyn is living through her own personal hell. It is something she will always have and she will have people on both sides of view for the rest of her life. Not being a parent doesn’t deminish their views on this matter but talking to parents who have done stupid things during the journey through parenthood could really help to understand that we are all not perfect, we will make mistakes and yes, some will be life changing.

  23. Katrina, out of idle curiosity, what happened to the neighbor’s child after you realized that the baby was in the car, did you leave her in the store? Did you confide in anyone about this incident, why or wny not?

  24. Interesting questions. No, she was a pteen and ran right along with me not able to believe we had done that. As soon as I got home I told my husband and the mom because we were beyond upset. I couldn’t believe I had done that on Christmas Eve or any other day that it could have happened. Things happen ever day in everyones life. People lose track of their kids in stores (guilty), they go to the playgrounds by themselves (guilty), play in the woods (guilty) and I could go on. For all the parents who do things not realizing what could happen to their kids, it’s an eye opener. Does it change things? No not really, we still hear about kids getting hurt all the time. We hear the parents plea for help and many times we sit next to our tv’s and say “what a terrible parent. I would never allow my child to be in the situation to begin with” but we just don’t know. Life happens and I hope that Raelyn can do some good with her story. She will never view life the same way and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

  25. For me, it’s a “there but for the grace of God go I” situation. I believe another term for this attitude is “humility.” I’ve never accidentally left my child in the car, but I’ve made mistakes that could easily have had tragic consequences.

    One time, we were visiting the grandparents/in-laws in California. Since we’d flown out there, we had to strap the car seats into the gparents’ van. On our last day, as we drove to the airport, I realized that my son’s car seat was not actually seat belted in. His car seat was basically just resting on the seat. At some point, the seat belt had come unloosened. Or, maybe I had never fully snapped it into place. I thought I had done it right, but clearly I hadn’t, and I did not check the seat belt every time I put him into the car seat. We were lucky that we didn’t get into an accident at any point during the vacation, because my son could have been killed. When I realized his seat was not belted down, you better believe I started to shake. It took me hours to calm down even though we weren’t driving anymore and I had belted it in. Just thinking about what could have happened.

    I suppose there are parents out there who have NEVER gotten distracted while driving, NEVER taken their eyes off their child at the pool for 15 seconds, NEVER inadvertantly left a baby gate open when it should have been closed, NEVER left a small chokeable item down low where baby might reach it, etc. I personally find it hard to believe such perfection exists; I tend to believe instead that the vast majority of us are simply lucky that none of our everyday mistakes ever compounded to become a tragedy.

  26. Very well said. I am sure that everyone who has posted to this thread has done something stupid to endanger themselves, their children or another person. We have all been lucky, very lucky.

  27. You are some intense moms. We did everything but start the car and put it in gear when I was a kid sitting in the car in the grocery store parking lot. Kudos to you I guess!

  28. I would be interested to know how many who oppose abortion are ok with this verdict? After all, if you can’t take a life before it is a life,…..

    And as for the moms who may have forgotten children … I’m a mom with a full time job and I have never ever been so distracted as to forget where I placed my child. I’m not perfect, I’m responsible. Didn’t she even think once during the day about her child? that should have jarred her memory.

    Several years ago, in York County, Judge Smiley sent a woman to prison for 7 years because her infant died while she was asleep. (The full story: her 3 yr old killed the infant while she was asleep.) The Judge (no jury) sent her to prison for child neglect – he said she should not have been sleeping in the afternoon. Supposedly, all 3 of them were supposed to be napping, but the 3yr old awoke. Many people testified that she was a wonderful mother, but the Judge could not be swayed.

    Tough case … tough lesson. If she were black and poor and living anywhere but Charlottesville, she’d be in jail.

  29. Let me catch an attitude here for a moment and just say damn, I must be a terrible terrible mom and they should just take all of my kids away. Over-reacting? No parent is perfect….go ask your kids!!! As for race and money, did u really need to go there?

  30. This case is much bigger than a woman accidentally killing her child. It is more about how rich people vs. poor people, black people vs. white people are treated differently by our system. The lawyer who go her off is the same one that got that UVA student off (3 years) for stabbing that firefighter 50 times. Self defense my ass……

    If you have the means to hire a high priced attorney, like in this case, you have a much, much better chance of getting little to no punishment. Shame on all of us

    Here is his web site, just in case any of you get in trouble

  31. Katrina and Cecil, you make the point better than I ever could.
    So there are some people in jail who shouldnt be there? So we should lock up Ms. Balfour too?
    I think its great that she had capable legal assistance. Is someone trying to argue that because some don’t have good lawyers, then no one should?
    That York County case is a miscarriage of justice,IMO. Would hope it would be overturned on appeal.
    I would have made the same decision had I been on that jury, I believe.
    Remember about casting the first stone…

  32. she was NOT responsible, she’s guilty of child abuse and should be punished. Katrina and Cecil, you make my point of being irresponsible. in this day how could you leave your child in a car unlocked even for 1 minute. how can you not make sure the car seat is fully secure. BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR KIDS !!!!!!!!!!!

    Susan makes an excellent point about Balfour didn’t think once at all about her kid during the day.

    I have a full time job and think about what my kids do all day. i’m not perfect but i am responsible and put both my kids first.

  33. Susan, I understand why you deny that you are claiming you are perfect — you’re aware of how arrogant that sounds. But here is what you are saying: “An accident like that could never, never happen to me, because I am a responsible mother and it is impossible for me ever to make such a mistake.” Do you understand how that differs from the following statement: “I’m a responsible mother, and I do the best I can, take as many precautions as I can think of, try to be on full alert at all times, but I know I’m not perfect, and I’m just thankful that I’ve never made such a terrible mistake.” That seems to the main difference between you and me.

    Regarding poor black women: yes, I agree, if Balfour were poor and black she’d probably be in jail. To me, that does not mean that Balfour got off easy; it means too many poor people get too harshly punished. I’d rather not see the system ratchet itself down so that the worst treatment that the poorest citizens get becomes normalized.

  34. I think that most of us as parents, drivers, etc have made mistakes that have the potential to cause disaster. I have often felt sympathy for people who, through brief inattention, have caused fatal accidents. However, when adults take on the responsibility of driving or being parents, we risk consequences if our mistakes bring harm to the innocent. I don’t think justice would be served by having the woman in this case go to prison but I am not sure that escaping all legal consequences is the right outcome either. The question is not one of passing personal judgment but rather, whether only intentional wrongdoing deserves legal consequences?

  35. I was waiting for a response from WHAT????? and I finally got it. I knew from the one I had already read that it had to be coming. The last thing I will say on the subject is: Wait, those of you that believe you are the perfect parent, perfect employee, most responsible in everything that you do in your life, your time will come. I don’t wish anything bad on anyone but when someone thinks they are perfect and they put people down so easily than I just say wait. One day, your child will have real life take affect and hopefully you will have done a good enough job raising them that they don’t mess it up. Oh wait, of course they would do that right thing because they have the “perfect” mom…..

  36. i’m NOT a perfect DAD, i’m a responsible DAD for BOTH of my kids. everyday we all get in our cars with our kids we put them in danger.
    i’m pretty damn sure i’ll never leave my kid in the car to run into the store, i’ve waken my kids from sleeping in the car to take them into the store and i’ve made damn sure that their car seats are securely snapped into the belt buckle.
    i’ve also taught my kids to be responsible for their actions.

    again i’m NOT perfect but i’m sure as hell more reponsible then Balfour, Katrina and Cecil.

  37. I guess I lied, mark that against me also please. You know NOTHING about the 3 of us that you are calling out except for the fact that we have made mistakes in our life. You don’t know if we are educated, white, black, poor or wealthy. All you know is that we are able to admit that we aren’t perfect. We put our actions out there for people like you to feel better.

  38. Gail, here’s the thing for me: as I understand it, criminal negligence (or whatever the term is for what she was charged with) requires that you knew what you were doing (or reasonably could be expected to have known) could lead to death. There was an incident in either South or North Carolina last summer (after Balfour’s incident); a woman left her two kids in the car because she was due at work and had no sitter. She left them in the car and of course they died, but it was pretty clear that she KNEW she was putting them in a risky situation (she parked the car in the shade, left water for them, I think even left some of those handheld mini-fans with them). She didn’t intend to kill them, but she clearly knew darn well that this was extremely dangerous and could kill them. So that to me is clearly a case of criminal negligence; she knowingly took an action that she knew could lead to death.

    Now, when I think about the Balfour case, I don’t see it in the same light, simply because she didn’t KNOW she was leaving her child in the car — she forgot he was in there, rather than saying “I know this is a gamble, but I’m going to do it anyway.” What action did she take that I could point to and say “THERE’S where you knowingly did something that anyone would realize could lead to death”–what action? Putting him the car seat? Driving to work? Talking on her cell phone? Even that last one, an action we all condemn when we see other people doing it (I already know that Susan and WHAT??? damn well never talk on the cell phone when they’re driving their kids around, because they are responsible, a hell of a lot more responsible than anyone else on this earth), even talking on the cell phone seems like a stretch to me. Very different from, say, someone who drinks too much at a party and drives home and kills someone — you KNEW that drinking and driving could lead to someone’s death, and yet you did it anyway. Very different from someone who says “oh, I know I should use a car seat, but he screams when he’s in it so just this once I’ll run to the store with him on my lap” — you KNEW how potentially dangerous that was, and yet you did it anyway.

    So, Gail, it’s not that I think only intentional killings deserves legal consequences — it’s that I think you have to KNOW that you’re doing something potentially deadly, and for me the key is that Balfour literally didn’t know that she was doing something deadly — she did not know that she had left her child in the car.

  39. i don’t need to know you, thanks for informing the rest of us that there are still people who knowingly put their kids lives in danger by knowingly leaving their kids in the car so they can run into the store. hopefully repsonbile people like me would see you do this to your child and i would call the police and have you arrested.

    i do talk on the phone in the car, with a wireless headset. it’s being responsible.

    you realize she could be LYING and that she actually meant to leave her kid in the car all day. people like her do lie to get out of being prosecuted.

    i don’t understand why ANYONE would want to defend a person like Balfour. she killed another defenseless human and she should be punished. DUH !!!!!!

  40. If we merely use premeditation as the definition of guilty or not guilty, then by all means, the woman is innocent of any wrongdoing. But,she was negligent – I don’t care how you wrap it or spin it – she was negligent.

    I think our dialogue is no longer about this woman but about this type of crime and how it should be handled.

    Just to clarify – my kids are now in their 20’s. I raised them back in the day before cell phones were invented and before it was fashionable to be a single Mom. One of my children went to UVA – was raped on campus – and the liberal horns of the city allowed the pervert to go unpunished. The other child was at VA Tech the day of the massacre. Yes, I got them to adulthood, but the colleges they went to have left the scars on their hearts.

    So, back to the discussion –

    What is the Court’s responsibility when children are neglected? If this were the 2nd time she had left the child in the car, would reaction be different?

  41. You just stepped way over a line there. You DON’T know her. You are the type of person that must pump up your ego by trying to make everyone else look less worthy. Guess what….you ARE’T. If you are not JAG related you don’t know what the hell you are talking about. I won’t defend myself because I don’t need to. Not because I know I was wrong but because it happened 9 years ago and my child is healthy smart and living with a happy family that accepts that everyone will make a mistake at some point. A family that raises their children to know that they can come to us for ANYTHING and we will work through it. Now for Raelyn, you don’t know her and if you were related to the school in anyway you would know that she was a dedictated employee, that she normally does not take her son to the babysitter, his dad does and I could go on but nothing anyone says would do any good because all you would like to do is to continue to make yourself look good while putting everyone else down.

  42. i’m defending the defenseless child that she killed. you’re defending a killer.

    so you’re saying that JAG is also responsible for the killing by putting too much work on Balfour ? or it’s the childs dads fault because he didn’t take her to the sitters ?


    maybe you can blame the child for not getting a license and driving itself.

    Katrina— who’s fault is it that the child was left in the car, please answer this question.

  43. Not to you Susan my response was to WHAT??? because he is the one being so judgemental of anyone that sticks up for parents who admit to being human. And by the way WHAT??? it has been proven that talking on a cell even a hands free is still unsafe and many places are banning those too. So you aren’t perfect. Susan believe me I wouldn’t put you down about your children. I am a survivor also and I also had many kids down at VT that day that we were trying find. That is not the same as having my own child there at all though. Also, if this was her second offense, I think it would have been viewed difference by many. It goes to show you that you don’t always get a second chance.

  44. i think i’ve said several times that i’m not perfect but i sure am more responsible the Balfour and several people on this thread.

  45. You’ve become more ignorant that I thought you could. Waldo, this thread has gone beyond the point it was intended. And to point it out, I NEVER ONCE said it was not her fault. She is the one that got out of the car and of course a baby or child was not responsible for that. All I have stated since the beginning is that bad things happen to good people.

  46. please answer my question ???

    also, why defend her for killing her child ?

    why give her a second chance ?

    bad people need to be punished for killing another human being.

    why am i ignorant for defending defenseless people ?

    looks to me that you’re ignorant for defending a killer.

  47. WHAT???-

    Regarding your statement above:
    “i’m pretty damn sure i’ll never leave my kid in the car to run into the store,…
    again i’m NOT perfect but i’m sure as hell more reponsible then Balfour, Katrina and Cecil.”

    Go ahead and keep repeating that to yourself until the day that fate jerks the rug right out from under you. I promise you, my friend, one day you will do something so breathtakingly stupid and careless, it will blow your mind. If you are VERY lucky, it won’t end in death or injury– so maybe you’ll end up with egg on your face instead of blood on your hands. But you WILL be left shaken and completely gobsmacked, wondering how in the hell such a rational and clever fellow like yourself could have done something so incredibly dumb and potentially hazardous. Maybe it’ll involve your children, or somebody else’s children, your wife, or merely a few strangers. But if you’re a human, the chances are very good this will happen to you in your lifespan. And who knows, maybe some nice folks like Waldo, Katrina, and Cecil will be there to help you through it. So grow a heart, buddy.

    I’m sure that Raelyn Balfour never thought it possible she’d ever cause harm to her own child, accidentally or otherwise. Until the day it happened, that is.

  48. I will answer your questions and then unsubscribe to this thread because I feel it has gone off course.

    1. I have already stated that it was Raelyn’s fault for leavingher child in the vehicle. She should not have allowed herself to be distracted by her phone or anything else. The child was an inisent victim in this event and I have never said anything different. But that doesn’t mean she needed to spend her life in jail because she is already there. One that I am sure she has placed herself in. Any parent would if this had happened to them. I could do a lot worse to myself than any jail ever would when it comes to emotions.

    2. I am defending her because this wasn’t anything more than a tragic accident. Let me ask this: if a person smokes in their home (a personal choice although I don’t like it) and they fall to sleep with a lit cig and burn the house down. Their child dies, are they going to be charged. Or if a person has too many things plugged into one extension cord (maybe heaters to keep their family warm) and it has a surge and starts a fire with a child dying. Do they go to jail?

    3. I’m not giving her a second chance, she was found not guilty and that’s on the courts/jury. They gave her the 2nd chance.

    4. You are not ignorant for defending defensless people. I have children, I have been a victim of crime, I would do anything for my kids. You are ignorant because you feel that any parent who isn’t as responsible as yourself are not worthy of the children that we raise. We are not bad for admitting to be human. We learn from our mistakes and I have NEVER left my child in the vehicle since. They are older now and they hate it that I won’t. We learn though, that is the wonderful thing about being a parent, we learn from our mistakes and we teach our children to learn from theirs.

    5. I am not defending a killer. A killer would be the person who shot my best friend, his mother (both died) and myself when I was a young child. That is a killer. he intended to kill all of us. Thank goodness my parents thought me how to react in everyday life. How to react in a not perfect world. Otherwise, I might have froze instead of jumping out the window and only taking a bullet in the leg.

  49. i have a heart, not for killers.
    i would think anyone who has a heart would defend a child.

    this issue has made me even MORE aware of my surroundings and what i do with my kids.

    why do you folks want to make me look like a bad guy ?

    i’ve done nothing but defend a childs life and ask that the one who hurt her be punished like all killers.

    these other folks are behaving like she’s a saint and that she should be forgiven.

    maybe cecil and katrina can leave their kids with balfour for the weekend and hopefull get them back alive ??? bet they wouldn’t sleep the entire time.

  50. i agree, this has gone on long enough.

    have a good life and keep defending those innocent kids.

    peace to all

  51. why do you folks want to make me look like a bad guy ?
    i’ve done nothing but defend a childs life and ask that the one who hurt her be punished like all killers.

    That’s utterly untrue. You wrote: “If she had too many things on her mind then she should have kept her legs closed and not had any kids.” That’s one of the nastiest, most asinine things I’ve ever read in my life. Intelligent minds may disagree on whether this verdict was the right one. And then there’s you.

  52. That’s because the above people were trying to say she had too many things going on and not thinking she had her child with her in the car.
    They’re trying to put the blame on other people.
    If she had her life in an organized manner she would ALWAYS have her child in the front of her mind and she wouldn’t have forgotten about her.

    Like i said earlier the society we live in now is too forgiving.

    Sometimes the truth hurts and now adays most people can’t handle it.

  53. Ms Balfour bears the responsibility for her child’s accidental death, but she’s hardly what one would call a “killer.” The jury agreed.

    That’s the truth. Sorry if that hurts and you’re having difficulty handling it.

  54. Very interesting discussion. Will this ever show up in the crime statistic report? with an asterick beside the stat and an explanation….”I didn’t mean to do it”….. No wonder crime in this area is going down…..

  55. What a tragedy. You know, usually I think Dr. Laura is a self righteous bitch, but when you hear about something like this it certainly makes a case for one of her core themes…that being that one of the parents should stay at home and take care of the kids instead of shuffling them off to “Day Care”. I know that’s not always possible, but perhaps preferable.

  56. Waldo, you are so right. Some of the comments on here attacking this poor mother who has lost a child show a lack of compassion that is terrifying!
    I thought it was bad enough when people jumped on Britney Spears when those pictures of her driving with a child in her lap came out. But this is far worse.
    When I was a child we didn’t have car seats,and seat belts were uncommon. And I have ridden in the back of a few pickups in my day.
    I remember one time when I was about 12 or 13 I rode in the back of a pickup hanging onto a TV to keep it from falling over and breaking.
    I think we have gotten far too obsessed over safety and security in our society, for everyone. Demanding that life be totally risk-free is not only unrealistic. It is undesirable.
    Not advocating that people go out and deliberately do crazy, stupid things, ala “Jackass” , buts lets stop trying to shelter everyone from any possible risk from anything , and turning us all into paranoid safety freaks.
    Having risks in our lives helps to foster the virtue of Courage, without which, according to Theodore Roosevelt,none of the other virtues are of much value.

  57. Guess,it is tangential, in a way. Just reflections on some of the comments being made, and some observations coming from a different perspective, from someone whom(I suspect) is older than a lot of the people on here.
    Not that age necessarily brings superior wisdom. It does though bring a greater breadth of experience.
    I don’t remember whether I was ever left alone in a car as an infant. I do know I was left alone sometimes as a grade school age kid. And it was no big deal.

  58. Raising Children Is Without A Doubt, The Hardest Job You Will Ever Have. You Must Surrender Yourself For The Well Being Of Another Life. With It Come Great Resposnsibilty. So Every Moment, You Need To Be Completely Focused On That. It Only Takes A Few Moments Of Mental Lapse And Disaster Can Strike. Be Careful. Act Like A Bodyguard. JC

  59. I’m stunned both by the fact that there’s even a debate here and that some of the comments are so ignorantly off the mark.
    Was this woman negligent? Absolutely.
    Did she break a law? Probably.
    Let’s see… what is the worst punishment she could receive?… I got it, THE DEATH OF HER SON!
    I lost a baby at birth due to an umbilical cord knot. There is nothing I know worse than the loss of your child. I cannot imagine what it must be like knowing that my child died because of a mistake I made. Why in Hell was this pursued? What did it accomplish? What lessons did it teach?
    I believe there are those in this discussion who would pursue people who wrapped their car around a tree and killed themselves and charge their survivors with reckless driving if possible.

  60. “What???” is just a troll.

    No one is saying that Balfour isn’t responsible for the death of her child. The rest of the commenters, however, are having (or, were having) a reasonable conversation about what if any criminal penalty there should be for what happened. A lot of other commenters have added interesting dimensions to the conversation. You, sir, “What??” have done nothing but prove yourself to be a world-class jackass.

    I truly hope you get to live your entire life never doing anything that causes anyone else great harm, inadvertently. You’ll have the wonderful experience then of not only patting yourself on the back for all the rest of your days, but you’ll also die knowing that you are just the World’s Most Wonderful Human Being. In your own mind, that is. The rest of us see you a little differently. Thankfully, your atrociousness seems like the type that comes through loud and clear, so I hope if I ever do meet you in person in this small town, you’ll be similarly obnoxious enough in person so as to provide a nice warning signal right off the bat so I don’t waste one minute of my time talking to you.

    This was a terrible tragedy. Everyone feels upset and sad for the lost life of the child. No one thinks that what Balfour did was anything less than awful. We also recognize that it was an accident. It’s a horrible situation. But jail? What good does that do? At no point did you make any reasonable case for why our society – or their family – would be any better off with Balfour behind bars. Thankfully, justice is not blind. You are. I’m glad you weren’t on the jury.

    I am keeping Raelyn Balfour and her family and friends, and everyone directly affected by this tragic death, in my thoughts and prayers. I’m truly sorry for Raelyn’s loss of her child, by her own terrible mistake no less. I am so sorry for the loss of this precious young life, and I can’t even imagine what Raelyn is going through as a mother. I’ve never met her, but I feel a tremendous amount of compassion for her.

  61. I don’t know totally how things happened or anything but I had heard that the babysitter did call her to ask if everything was ok. That was the time that she realized what had happened but that was later in the day and it was too late.

  62. The bbysitter DID call her around 9am but she didn’t answer her cell phone because she didn’t recognize the phone number. Evidently the babysitter changed phone carriers and got a new number. At 4 I think she called the babysitter back. but it was too late obviously.

    I figured that would bring a guilty plea.

  63. LIZ-





  64. Oh, but What???? does do things with great potential to put other people — including his own children — in harm’s way. He drives while talking on his cell phone. He hastened to tell us that he uses the hands-free variety because, as he puts it, “that’s being responsible.”

    What??? knows or can be reasonably expected to know that the credible research on cell phone use while driving makes it clear that driving while talking on a cell phone (hands-free or not, makes no difference in the research) leaves drivers as impaired as if they are drunk. I’ll link to just one easily-Googled report (I don’t normally look at FoxNews but I’m betting What???) does.

    So, basically, What??? is choosing the convenience of talking while driving over the safety of his children and of other people on the road. I think that’s pretty reprehensible.

    What’s worse, making a terrible mistake that leads to loss of life or consciously choosing to do something that any reasonable person could be expected to know could lead to loss of life?

  65. You are absolutely right, WHAT?????? Since Mrs. Balfour was found not guilty, I’m now aware that it is perfectly okay to leave a baby in the backseat of a car. The fact that her baby suffered and died doesn’t deter me at all. I plan to have children someday, and when I do, I will certainly leave them in the backseat every time I go anywhere. If Mrs. Balfour had gone to jail, then I would have made a mental note that leaving baby in back seat of a car is a Bad Thing to Do. But since she was found not guilty, I have no qualms whatsoever now about leaving my child in the backseat to die.

    And thank you also for typing in all caps. That really helps me realize that you mean what you say.

  66. LOL Meg. I regret now that I didn’t leave my infant in the car on a daily basis instead of taking him to daycare.
    Me bad.

  67. Mock all you want, but everyone else on this blog seems to forget that the child was strapped down and left to suffer in the heat to die and the mother was set free to do it again with her next upcoming child.

    Cville is filled with dumbasses who also don’t make their kids put on the seat belts just to go down the street to the store.

    I know it was an accident, at least that’s what she’s making you believe.

    You people make me sick that you defend this woman.

  68. forget that the child was strapped down and left to suffer in the heat to die and the mother was set free to do it again with her next upcoming child.

    Do you REALLY think that she will do this again to her next child? do you REALLY think she is that stupid?
    Come ON.

  69. Nobody has forgotten that. But sending Bryce’s mom to jail is not going to reverse his suffering and death and it will cause more suffering to the rest of the family. Her husband has been in Iraq, from what I understand, and she has a teenager and appears to be expecting another baby – they all need her at home, and she has said she plans now to be a stay-at-home mom.

    And if it wasn’t an accident, she did a damn incredible acting job.

  70. If she was STUPID enough do to it once and her outside life hasn’t changed, (if she’s staying at home, who’s paying the bills, oh.. the tax payers since she’ll be in a mental state of mind that now she can’t work ?) since people are saying that she had other things on her mind to make her forget that she had a child in her back seat, then why couldn’t she forget again….

    and the Oscar nominee goes to….. wait for it, wait for it… Balfour…. clap, clap, tear, tear…

    Maybe she can open a daycare… hahahahahahaha

  71. who’s paying the bills, oh.. the tax payers since she’ll be in a mental state of mind that now she can’t work ?)

    You have definately gone over the edge now. You profess to know her financial situation?

    And you wonder why we MOCK you?

  72. Knowbody on this blog knows her any more different than I do.

    How do you know her state of mind ?

    Do you know her personally ?

  73. Wow, this is still going on. I have read and read all the posts but have just stayed out of it since my stint with WHAT??? Having been stationed in CVille with the JAG school for 4 years, I didn’t know her well enough to call her a friend. My best friend does though so I know her through my friend. Won’t go into anything there though because that will only cause more responses. Let me say that just because a mom “chooses” to stay home with their children does not mean that taxpayers will be paying her. I stay home with my kids to be able to go to school functions, to help out in their school and to pick the kids up each day. It is something that I enjoy being able to do and nobody knows Raelyn’s financial status so maybe she is able to do that too. Maybe I will be reamed by WHAT??? for taking advantage of my husband by staying home, sitting on the couch all day long watching my soaps and eating Bon Bon’s but it was our choice. I am lucky I can stay home and do this plus take care of an elderly parent that we have had to move in with us. It’s not always easy and I have continued to say that we aren’t perfect.

    WHAT??? I will give you this, you stand behind your beliefs and you havne’t waivered no matter what people have said to you. Although I don’t agree with a lot of what you have said, I do give you credit for not stepping back. Yes, it’s irritating as hell to read some of the things you have said (some has been pretty crude and rude) but we all have the right to say what we feel. I hope that you are as much of an advocate for children who have been abused in some way by someone intentionally. I won’t go into anything else about Realyn becasue you know how I feel already so the last thing that I have to say is that there are a lot of children out there that could really use an advocate willing to fight for them. Those children that live with parents every day that mistreat them in horrific ways.

  74. You can’t get closer to the point than JC has done with this. We as parents should think about our kids every 2 minutes of the day. I have 2 wonderful kids and from the time they get on the bus until I see them after school, I think about what they are doing, what class their in, who are they sitting with at lunch. I have a gruellig job, our company is downsizing, I’m thinking that I’m going to loose my job. My wife is a stay at home mom, that I’m able to financially support. AND I still always think about where my kids are.

    “Raising Children Is Without A Doubt, The Hardest Job You Will Ever Have. You Must Surrender Yourself For The Well Being Of Another Life. With It Come Great Resposnsibilty. So Every Moment, You Need To Be Completely Focused On That. It Only Takes A Few Moments Of Mental Lapse And Disaster Can Strike. Be Careful. Act Like A Bodyguard. JC”

    I don’t hate anyone on this blog, I just find it hard to believe that Balfour didn’t have 1 single thought about her child, why didn’t she answer the phone, even though she didn’t recognize the #, why didn’t she have the babysitters new number ?

    I have a brother that shook his baby to death, served his jail sentence (which to me was too short) he should be in for life. I have had no communication with him since that dreadful day.

    Anyone who hurts a child in ANY way should be punished !!!!!!!!!!!

  75. “We as parents should think about our kids every 2 minutes of the day.” That is obsessive. Perhaps this is really the reason you may be losing your job and someone else is retaining his during the downsizeing.
    “I have a brother that shook his baby to death, served his jail sentence (which to me was too short) he should be in for life. I have had no communication with him since that dreadful day.” I am sure God has.

  76. It’s obsessive to think about your kids… obviously you don’t have any.

    I’m not loosing my job because of that you dumbass. It’s called outsourcing.

  77. Waldo, has this been the hottest subject on here in a long time?

    WHAT??? Question: Do you treat people and talk to people in person as you have on here? Do you act this way towards others in front of your children if they do not react to situations as you think proper? As you know, I do have children but I also know as a parent who has left her baby in a vehicle one time, my opinion doesn’t rate very high to you. You do seem to be obsesive. My children are older now and I don’t need to be obsessive over them because I know that I have done a good job raising them to this point and they know wrong from right. We don’t have to do that 24 hrs a day to be a good parent. Our mental status would be questioned if we did. At some point, your kids will have something happen to them. No matter if you are standing over them or not. I jsut pray that they know how to react.

  78. The jury did what it wanted. Since it was probably a crime by the letter of the law, you can argue all you want with some basis. But name calling is no good. And the jury rules, thank goodness.

  79. I teach my kids what’s right and wrong and to stand and defend what they believe in. If they have a difference of opinion they are allowed to express it. I don’t force my believe down onto them in any negative way.

    When we grew up, you could leave your house door open at night, we as kids ran around the town during the evening and we NEVER had to worry about being kidnapped.

    NOWADAYS, you can’t and shouldn’t leave your kid in a car to run into the store.

    The world we grew up in is now changed and you should always be on the protective side of your child.

    I agree, the jury did what it wanted, but my opinion is different. I was on a jury a couple of years ago about a person who robbed a store at gun point. We eventually found him guilty. Other jury members only wanted to give him a couple of years in jail. I asked them that if it were there daughter who had a gun in her face, would it be any different. Without knowing that he had priors, I suggested the max. to keep the guy off the street, we settled for less. After we found out he had priors I asked the other members if they feel safer that he’ll be out earlier than what I suggested. They all said NO.


    This is my opinion and you have yours.

  80. “It’s obsessive to think about your kids…” complete the sentence “every two minutes.” This has obviously gone into a therapy session over some kind of neurosis and I’m unsubscribing. By the way, What uses “dumbass” when talking to his children or his wife? He probably is calling them that every two minutes. So loving and caring.

  81. “You may not access this page without a valid key.” Waldo, this is the message when I try to unsubscribe.

  82. WHAT??? This was the first posting from you that I read closely. Why? Because you were calm, thughtful and you explained things well. I fully agree with everything you said. I don’t see how we made it growing up with all the things that we did different. No helmets, riding in the back of trucks, not using our seat belts and I could go on. But we all did make it safely through our childhood and the way that we raise our children comes from what we learned as kids.

    Many people have different views on how this case should have came out. That is each of our own individual rights. Everyone will never fully agree otherwise there would be no need for courts.

  83. I just read the article in the Hook.
    I have 1 question …

    If her husband was at home because of only having 1 car, then why didn’t he keep the child at home ?

    Someones lying in this family.

  84. No justice for the child, our system of justice is not built on justice for the victims, that went out in the 13th century. We apply laws for the justice of *society*. That’s why the state can bring a case even if the victim does not want to press charges. A crime committed is a crime against all of us, not against an individual or clan who must be appeased.

  85. Well, I have forgot to strap my son into his infant seat, then remembered a minute or two later while already driving. And once, when my battery died in Portland in 65 degree weather (in a park, under a canopy of Douglas firs), I locked up and abandoned my sleeping son for five minutes while I ran down to a service station, and I felt very dodgy doing so.

    I’m certified moral-relativist-liberal-scum and open to a lot of things, but I don’t buy the notion that one could forget entirely that one’s child is in the car.

  86. What if it were a cop who forgot a prisoner??? What if it was a man who forgot??? Suppose it was several children??? How would you feel then?

  87. There are so m any “what if’s” that can be thrown around. A cop and prisoner scenario wouldn’t realy work because this would be an adult sitting in plain view in the backseat plus they can talk. Not that they would if they had the chance to be left alone and get away. Many kids in the backseat is about that same,you know one of them is going to say something. This was a baby that fell to sleep. Nope, not an excuse, just pointing out that some of thing what ifs just don’t work.

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