Julia let the officers come in, a man and a woman. The man, officer Harvey seemed kind and gentle, but the woman, Officer Bradshaw, seemed stern and stoic. She didn’t smile at all and her face had a rigid expression not that she was mad but very serious.
Officer Harvey said, “Mrs. Andrews we’d like to ask you just a few questions if that’s all right.”
“Okay,” said Julia hesitantly.
“First, let me say, that I know this is a tragic time and I am terribly sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you” said Laurie as she started to weep.
“Where were you when Julia was in front yard playing, “asked Officer Bradshaw.
“Where was I?” said Laurie. “I…..I don’t know. I was in the house.”
“You were in the house,” said Bradshaw. “Where were you in the house?”
“I….I…. think I was lying on the couch watching TV,” said Laurie.
“Lying on the couch?” said Bradshaw. “It was 10 o’clock in the morning wasn’t it?” She sounded accusatory to Laurie as if she was doing something wrong.
“I wasn’t feeling well, “ said Laurie as if she were a child having to explain herself to her mother afraid she was going to get scolded and told again that she was worthless, lazy, and disappointment as a daughter.
“What was the problem?” asked Bradshaw who hated this kind of interrogation when the suspect was lying, denying, unwilling to tell the truth and articulate the facts. Bradshaw tried not to be judgmental but she was no fool and could smell trouble at 1,000 yards.
“I wasn’t feeling well,” Laurie said again.
“Were you sleeping?” Bradshaw asked.
“No…no…of course not,” said Laurie. “How could I be sleeping when Julia was up and playing. I had to watch her.”
“Did you know she was outside in the front yard?” asked Bradshaw.
“Yes,” Laurie said, “of course I did. She liked to play outside. It was a beautiful day.”
Officer Harvey spoke up, “Mrs. Andrews, you say you were not feeling well. Were you taking medication of any sort?”
“Yes…..I take pain medication for my back and sometimes I have migraines,” said Laurie.
“Can I ask you what you took yesterday when the accident happened?, asked Harvey.
“Well I had taken some vicodin and tramadol,” said Laurie.
“How much had you taken?” asked Harvey.
“Well, my usual dose and then a little extra, the tramadol, because the pain was so bad,” said Laurie.
“Are you taking more than the doctor prescribes?” asked Bradshaw.
“No…no” said Laurie. “I only take what the doctor prescribes unless the pain is really bad or doesn’t go away. Then I take a little more because I really need it.”
“Mrs. Andrews,” said Officer Bradshaw, “we are placing you under arrest for endangering the welfare of a child, and possessing illicit drugs. Will you come with us, please?”
Laurie started screaming and wailing. The two officers, one on each arm put her in handcuffs behind her back as they led her from the house to the police car in the drive way.
“God in heaven, help me,” Officer Heather Bradshaw said to herself in a little prayer because some days her job was almost more than she could bear. Having to arrest a mother who had just lost her child seemed cruel and inhumane, but Mrs. Andrews appeared to have a serious drug problem with prescription pills just as her ex-husband, Steve, had told them. While Julia’s death was not directly caused by Laurie’s addiction, the lack of supervision certainly was a contributing factor. Heather knew when she took the job as a police officer that she would have her nose in the asshole of humanity all the time. That was the job. No one calls a cop on a good day, only on a bad day. As a police officer she knew she would have to see humanity at its worse every working day of her career. She knew that. That’s what she had signed up for. And yet, it was only her faith and reliance on God’s will that got her through the worst of what she saw and had to deal with. It was her faith, and her constant praying for guidance that gave her the strength and courage to deal with what she was asked to deal with. Heather couldn’t explain it, and she felt strongly no one would really understand, not even her fellow officers, but she felt deep down in her soul that her life was one big, constant prayer.