TWIN FATALITIES© (Cont'd)
"I put them there," she whimpered.
"Why, Lila? Why did you do that?" he asked gently.
"I . . . I didn't know what else to do," she sputtered.
"What do you mean?"
"On . . . on . . . Friday night I started cramping and bleeding."
"Did you go to the hospital?"
"No, I couldn't tell anyone I was pregnant."
"This poor kid had these babies alone in her apartment?" Shelly silently envisioned. "I can't imagine how horrible that was for her! What was she so afraid of that would cause her to endure this?"
"Why not?" Charles probed further.
"My father is a minister, and . . . and . . . if he knew I had loved a man, he would have beaten me again . . . like when he found me kissing Bobby," she gasped. "So I couldn't tell. I was still trying to decide what to do, but I thought I had time."
"No wonder she never let anyone know about her personal life. Her father must have been a monster to cause her such fear," Shelly imagined.
"What do you mean?" Charles asked further.
"You know, like go off to one of those homes. I was saving my vacation up so I could."
"That's true," Shelly reflected, "she hasn't taken a day all year."
"Then no one would know. I never saw a doctor, so I didn't even know there would be two," Lila weeped. "But the babies . . . they just came early. I wasn't expecting them. I never even heard them cry . . . ." She sobbed uncontrollably and repeated hysterically, "I never even heard them cry."
"So what were you going to do with your babies?" Charles asked next.
"I hadn't figured it out. I haven't been able to look at them since I put them in the trunk."
"I can't believe this," Shelly's mind flashed to earlier this morning. "She just walked into my office this morning asking for more work–she had time to take on a new project. My God, how is this woman even functioning?"
"Would you like to see a doctor now to make sure you're okay?"
"Yes," she responded.
"I'm sure this has been very difficult for you. How about seeing another doctor to help you cope with this emotionally?" he urged.
"I suppose," she uttered quietly.
"And your parents, would you like us to call them?"
"No!" she said emphatically.
"Okay, we'll respect that, Lila."
"First we're going to send you to the company Medical Department to get Dr. Janson's opinion on whether you need medication or hospitalization. Then he'll select a doctor to talk with you to help you through this problem. Does that sound okay to you?"
"Shelly, would you escort Lila to Medical and wait for her?"
"Sure," Shelly said, still shocked by what she had just learned but feeling overwhelming compassion for Lila.
When they left, Charles turned to Detective Bradford and asked, "Do you think we have any real intentional foul play here?"
"Probably not," he responded, "but we'll have to conduct an autopsy to determine the real cause of death and the age of the infants. I think Lila's going to need to be institutionalized to help her through the emotional trauma. She clearly gets no comfort from her folks."
"Are you going to charge her?"
"Not yet, not until I have the autopsy report."
"Can we keep this quiet so that if the autopsy report clears her, she doesn't have to experience further pain and humiliation?"
"Well, there are some other legal issues, but I'll do my best."
Detective Bradford honored his word. The autopsy report cleared Lila of intentionally causing her infants' deaths and not a word was leaked to the press. The doctors determined that Lila was undergoing severe emotional and psychological problems and required hospitalization to improve her mental health. Physically, she was fine and required no care other than preventive antibiotics.
Lila never returned to the company, but the company fully covered all her medical and hospital expenses until she was released.
This is truly a tragic case–for the premature babies who never had a chance, for Lila herself, and for the woman and man in the company who handled the situation. The horror of the situation obviously concerns the first two, but it's important to note here that this was most certainly a gut-wrenching experience for the two company representatives. They clearly did everything that caring human beings in a business environment would be expected to do. It was appropriate and generous for the company to take care of Lila's medical expenses. We also applaud the human resources manager for keeping Lila's privacy and dignity in mind by asking the police not to confront her in the presence of her co-workers and by talking with her as kindly as possible.
The detective also showed his humanity and professionalism when he treated the "suspect" with compassion and didn't rush into some Dirty Harry interrogation and arrest. The actions of the people around Lila don't make the tragedy any less awful, but they do make one believe in the benefit of treating people with respect and trying to help rather than finger the blame without knowing the facts.
Employers are expert in their own business. However, they are not expert in handling situations of this type. Thus, it was prudent for the company to call for assistance from the appropriate agency–in this case, the local police.
Excerpted from Outrageous Conduct: Bizarre Behavior at Work©