Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

Protect Our Children

Jul 14 2005

Madam Speaker, Cary Ann Medlin, 8, Tennessee; Nicole Parker, 8, California; Chris Byers, 8, Arkansas; Sherrice Iverson, 7, Nevada; Amanda Brown, 7, Florida; Christina Long, 13, Connecticut; Michelle Vick, 14, Washington; Samantha Runnion, 5, California; Maryann Measles, 13, Connecticut; Polly Klaas, 12, California; Amber Hagerman, 9, Texas; Adam Walsh, 6, Florida; Megan Kanka, 7, New Jersey; JonBenet Ramsey, 6, Colorado; Sarah Lundy, 13, Florida; Danielle Van Dam, 7, California. Carlie Brucia, 11, Florida; Jessica Lunsford, 9, Florida; Dylan Groene, 9, Idaho.

Madam Speaker, unfortunately, this list of abducted and ultimately murdered children goes on and on and on. And if the sadness of their stolen lives is not enough, many of these precious young people were also brutally raped and sexually assaulted before they were murdered. Madam Speaker, these are some of their stories.

Dru Sjoden: Dru was a happy, happy child. Her cheerful personality was evident from the day she entered this world. As a child, she was dedicated to being a good student. She was active in gymnastics, swimming, track and skiing. She was artistic from a very young age, and art was her number one love. Through her creativity, her passion for art, she was always creating handmade cards and crafts for her friends and sent them to members of her family. She enjoyed the outdoors and fishing. She constantly thought of other people. She was nominated and won Homecoming Queen during her senior year at high school. She attended college at the University of North Dakota and was just as popular among her college friends as she was among her high school friends.

Madam Speaker, this is a photograph of Dru shortly before this 22-year-old University of North Dakota student was murdered. She left her job at the Columbia Mall in Grand Forks, North Dakota, at 4 p.m. on November 22, 2003, and she was never seen alive again. Her body was found in April of 2004, thrown in a ravine in Minnesota.

She was talking with her boyfriend on her cell phone when he heard her say, ``Oh, my God.'' Then her phone went dead. Chris Lang, her boyfriend, received another call from Drew's phone a few hours later, but there was only static on the other end of the line.

On December 1, 2003, although her body had yet to be found, Alfonzo Rodriguez, Jr., a registered sex offender from Minnesota who had recently completed a 23-year prison term, was charged with abducting Dru Sjoden. After Drew's body was discovered on April 17, 2004, near where Rodriguez lived, a Federal Grand Jury charged Rodriguez with kidnapping and murder.

Because the victim was transported from North Dakota to Minnesota, it was a Federal crime under the old Lindburgh baby kidnapping case. The defendant will be tried in Fargo, North Dakota, next March. Madam Speaker, the indictment alleges that the murder was done ``in an especially cruel and harmful and depraved manner, including torture and constant abuse.'' The defendant, two previous convictions in Minnesota for sexual assault and rape, once at knife point, has also another conviction after he left the penitentiary for kidnapping.

Dru was 22 when she was murdered. Dru is the same age as my youngest daughter, Kellee Lyn. You know, daughters are special to fathers, and to lose a child by any means, especially violence, is a tragedy to any family. The government in this case is seeking the death penalty against the offender, and rightfully so.

Dru Sojun, 22.

Carlie Brucia is remembered best by some of the things her grandmother said about her. ``She has been described as blond and bubbly. Carlie was affectionate, a great hugger, and when she was in New York, she loved to go to the movies with her dad, go shopping and go out for ice cream, things little kids like to do. Her favorite ice cream was mint chocolate chip. Her grandmother says, I always had that in the House for her when she visited me.

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