Tonight's special guest is Karen Spears Zacharias from Washington State, investigative journalist and author whose most recent work, "A Silence of Mockingbirds; The Memoir of a Murder," follows the case of young Karly Sheehan. The author recounts the community’s failures to save Karly, whose daycare teacher is the first to notice signs of abuse -- Karly’s missing hair, bruises, and change in mood -- and calls the authorities. In a sad error of shortsightedness, they target Karly’s biological father as the primary suspect. This mistake leads them to overlook Shawn Field, her mother’s live-in boyfriend, as the potential abuser. The tragedy led to what is known in the state of Oregon as “Karly's Law.” It mandates that children who exhibit suspicious physical injuries leading to a child abuse investigation must have photos of those injuries reviewed by a designated medical professional within the first 48 hours of that report. The book is not just the story of a horrible crime committed by someone who seems likely mentally unbalanced if not outright evil, but also of how the crime could have been avoided and a child saved from a brutal tortuous death.
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