Eappen Incident

It turns out that some documentary is being aired about the Eappen/Woodward case, I watched that trial on TV and felt that some important information had been overlooked. It turns out the Eappens have set up a foundation/charity to validate their concern about shaken baby syndrome and on the site the mother has published what she calls her “victim statement.”

The following is the victim statement Matty’s mother read to impact the court after Louise Woodward was convicted of 2nd degree murder:

“On May 24, 1996, we gave birth to a healthy baby boy. We named him Matthew, gift from God. Matthew was a beautiful baby with black, silky hair and rich
chocolate eyes. He was a real butterball. He was so content. He made his needs
known, and when they were met he was happy again, a real smiling baby.

In other words, the caregivers had no schedule and counted on the baby to alert them to its needs.

He was the object of great affection by his 2-year-old brother, Brendan, who proudly announced, “Brendan makes baby Matthew feel better,” as he gave Matty a toy, blanket or a kiss.

Brandon was two years older or almost three when their association with Louise Woodward began. While it seems out of character for a two-year old to be talking about making the “baby…feel better,” the assertion also contradicts the prior claim that Matty was healthy and happy. Why ascribe responsibilities to a three year old? Because he could not answer for himself..

And Brendan watched out for Matty’s safety. “I don’t want you to get hurt,
Matthew, because I love you.”

Really? A three year old is looking after an eight month old? Where did the concern originate? Is mother Eappen putting words into her son’s mouth?

And Brendan woke up in the morning and said, “Is baby Matthew awake?” He peered into his crib and excitedly announced, “Baby Matthew’s awake. Good morning baby Matthew. I love you.”
And I vividly remember having two boys, one on each leg in my lap. Brendan would say, “Let’s do two boys, Mom.”

Strange that the brother refers to Baby Matthew, who weighed about 27 pounds, while his parents call him Matty, rhymes with fatty.

And I loved Matty’s weight on my arms, his head on my shoulder, his soft breath tickling my neck and his gentle hand caressing my chin. And I loved to snuggle and get cozy with my two boys.

Yes, Matthew was a wighty baby, difficult for the petite Louise to haul around because, for some reason, at almost nine months he did not crawl or sit by himself. Instead, Baby Matthew seems to have spent most of the time in that wired “rocking chair” in which he is pictured and on which Brandon was reported to jump to demonstrate his affection  and  crash  the  baby’s  head  into  the  floor..

In December of ’96 I wrote to Matthew on a card that showed a mom and her kids on a sunny day in the Boston Garden near the duckling parade. Matthew was 5 months old, and I wrote, “You are really a joy, never fussy. Always sweet and easy to comfort. You could tell your personality would be laid back. You are confident your needs will be met.”

Actually, in December of ’96, Matthew was 7 months old. Why would a child that was “never fussy” be “easy to comfort?” Why write a card to an infant that cannot read or talk? Looks more like a fiction statement than a victim statement.

I wrote “how loving and protecting Brendan is, how Dad adores you and how Matty laughs a great laugh. Your wonderful calm spirit is one that melts my heart. I want you to know, Matthew, how special you are to us, even at this young age.”

The use of the second and third person here suggests some deep ambivalence. Writing a greeting card to an eight month old is sort of bizarre.

At Christmas I gave Matthew a book called “Brothers and Sisters” and inscribed it with: “You have added so much joy to our family. Dad and I cannot get enough of your smiles and giggles. You are so amusing to each other, we can feel your love as brothers is strong already. We are so lucky and so proud of you. You are my sunshine, Matthew.”