Edward "Eddie" John Stecker
April 11, 1964 - February 28, 1967
Find A Grave Memorial

At the age of four, Charles J Stecker Jr. held his brother Eddie, who was almost three years old, in his arms, as he died. Charles Jr. and Eddie were in foster care in the home of Lillian Bedford and a short 13 days after arriving, Eddie was dead. Having been taken away from their biological parents, three siblings who had been abused were placed in a foster care and the system would fail Eddie in a big way.

Eddie's death is reported as being the first death of a child who was in foster care. Lillian Bedford was never
prosecuted for what she did to Eddie and even had another child die in her care just 10 months before the Stecker boys were placed in her care. Records say that Lillian was sent to a mental hospital by order of Judge Stanley M. Greenberg, though this has not been confirmed due to patient confidentiality.

Eddie's biological mother was named Marie Stecker, she had married a man named Charles J Stecker Sr who was a cook in the Coast Guard. At the age of 21, she gave birth to their fist child, Charles, then to Eddie and the last child was a girl named Donna. Marie would turn out to be a mother who abused her children and the Department Of Human Services became involved after several visits to the hospital. Years later Marie would say that the reports were false and that she was tricked by Charles Sr. into signing papers giving up custody of her son. Marie insisted that she had not abused her son and that a fracture to his skull happened when he fell. Marie would admit to abuse, though she claimed she was not the only one who had taken part, that Charles had also neglected the children.

The three children were placed into a temporary foster home and on February 15, 1967, Charles and Eddie were taken from that home and placed in the care of Donald and Lillian Bedford. Donald was 45 years old at that time and Lillian was 42 years old. Donald and Lillian had been married for 13 years and did not have any biological children. Their home presented well with toys and a place for the boys to sleep and the couple would be paid $48 a week to care for the brothers.

As an adult, Charles would state that when Donald was home with the family, everything was fine, however, when the children were alone with her, Lillian would change into a different person who scared them. When the boys would cry around her, she would hit them. Lillian would do things to scare the boys on purpose, such as hiding behind things and grabbing their ankles and yelling that she was the boogeyman. Charles told of their heads being held under water, being beaten with sticks, taking scalding hot baths and says that Lillian was an evil person.

Just 13 days after moving into the home of the Bedford's, Eddie was beaten to death and Charles was suffering
from a broken arm. The medical examiner at that time was Dr. Joseph Spelman and he reported that there were
bruises on Eddie's body that were consistent with a child who had been physically abused even before he was
given the beating that ended his life, possibly even for days before he died.

Lillian told police that Eddie had fallen out of his crib. Charles told the police that his new mommy had hit his little brother and Lillian was arrested for involuntary manslaughter and assault. Donald seemed to miss his wife and stated he loved his wife and they had wanted children of their own:

"Believe it or not, she's a damned fine woman and I wish you could have seen how wonderful 
she was with the kids. She had a nursery school class at our church and the things she did 
with the children were just terrific"
Donald Bedford

Donald, though he was angry with Lillian for what she had done, stuck by her side and hired a lawyer for her. Donald hired A Charles Peruto Sr who was, at that time, reported to be a great lawyer. The Welfare Commissioner at that time was Randolf E. Wise and he was reported to say that Eddie's death was the first of it's kind in the history of the foster care program.

Even before what happened to Eddie and Charles, the couple was given a foster child by the name of Brent "Chuck" Garcia in April of 1966. Brent died while in the care of the couple and was found to have severe bruising on his scalp. Unfortunately, the cause of his death was not determined and Lillian was able to get away with saying he had fallen off of a rocking horse. Since the Medical Examiner could not prove that the child had been abused, a letter went to the Welfare Department saying that the Bedford's were cleared to be remain as foster parents and ten months later, Charles and Eddie were living with them. Eddie's biological father would be the one to tell Charles that his brother Eddie, had died.

Charles and Donna were then moved to another foster home. Charles would be moved around to other places
and eventually would return to the home of his biological mother who would abuse him physically and verbally. Marie denies these accusations to this day. When Charles turned 19, he joined the Coast Guard, married twice and had one child.

Charles is actively trying to figure out what happened to his brother.

My Brother

One of us lays here in peace now
The other one stands here in pain
And I know your battles have ended
But my worries just under way
One I can't fight
My brother, I miss you tonight

One of us lays here sleeping
The other one is dying for sleep
I only wish we could trade places
Then it would be you on you knees
I can't make this right
My brother, I miss you tonight

And tomorrow
And forever
Until I fall to your right
My brother
I miss you tonight

I can't make this right
My brother, I miss you tonight
And tomorrow
And forever
Until I fall to your right
My brother
I miss you tonight

One of our bodies is resting
The other one tends in despair
And I've looked to the clouds
For some answers
And cried while the Earth
Holds you there
Six feet from light
My brother
I miss you tonight
My brother
I miss you tonight
My brother
I miss you tonight
My brother
I miss you
This life

Written and sung by:
Chuck Defontes for Eddie
Listen to this beautiful, heartbreaking song, here: My Brother
Facebook Page

In reading further, I have discovered that Charlie's sister, Donna, has chosen not to join him in his journey to
remember, honor and find out the facts behind Eddie's death. I do not condemn her for that decision, we each have to live our way and walk our own path.

I do want to say that I am proud of the way Charlie is going about what he is doing. Choosing the path he has and honoring Eddie this way is a wonderful thing in my opinion. It can't be an easy road, Charlie is following his heart and I know Eddie would also be proud of him!

Below, Charles visits the grave of Eddie who is buried along side of his grandfather and grandmother.

Please take a moment to visit this page and possibly buy this book that was written by:
Jim Hofmann, O.R. Rutledge and Charles J. Stecker.

"Three forgotten boys who were abused and then murdered - Eddie Stecker,
The Boy in the Box and Lattie McGee, are memorialized in this work about love,
friendship and child abuse awareness"

Lattie McGee and Doctor Gotfriend

Return To Eddie's Story
UPDATE: December 27, 2014 - Read Eddie's Story As Told By His Brother Charles

Please visit the links below to see what Eddie's brother is doing for child abuse:

The International Child Abuse Prevention Task Force
Facebook Memorial
Chahlie's Angels

Death occurred in the state of Pennsylvania

If you do not like what you see printed on this page, please see my DISCLAIMER statement. THANK YOU!

For information about how to report child abuse, please click the link below and you will be taken to a page that has an alphabetical, state by state listing of how to report child abuse for which state you are looking for and for some other countries.

Visit my child abuse quilt to see other places about preventing child abuse.

This page will open up in a new window so you won't lose your place while
visiting the Angels on my site.

Call this number to report child abuse ANY WHERE in the United States!
1-800-4-A-Child  1-800-422-4453

Child Abuse Intro
Child Abuse Links 1
It Is A Human Life

7 Steps To Prevention
Child Abuse Links 2
Child Abuse Poetry
Child Abuse Songs
Report Abuse
Child Abuse Links 3
Child Abuse Quilt