Ruth "Karly" Sheehan
January 4, 2002 - June 3, 2005
A Grave Memorial
At 1:57 p.m. on June 3, 2005, a call
came into the 911 dispatch. A woman who could not talk at first would
soon tell the 911 dispatch that her baby was dead, that woman was Sarah
Sheehan and that baby was her three year old daughter, Karly. In the
trauma center, doctors and nurses did all
they could for this precious little Angel, for almost an hour. At 2:41
p.m. that same day, little Karly was pronounced
A timeline would show that when her father, David Sheehan had dropped
her off on May, 30th, Karly was okay other than the fact that she was
not happy about being left at the home of Shawn Field, where her mother
had been staying quite a bit. Shawn Field, who was 35 at the time,
would end up on trial for aggravated murder in the death of Karly and
would be facing the death penalty if convicted.
In court, Deputy District Attorney Joan Demarest stated that Shawn had
hit Karly and then blamed it on her father,
David, so that Sarah could gain full custody of Karly and start
receiving money for child support. Joan Demarest
said that Shawn thought he could live off of the child support payments:
"For Shawn Field, the
most important thing is Shawn Field"
Clark Willes, the Defense Attorney immediately went after the
credibility of Sarah claiming she had given many
different accounts of where the bruises on Karly's body had come
from and that she had even blamed David until
Shawn had been arrested and then she changed her story and began to say
it was Shawn. Clark Willes said that
his client was not guilty of what he was accused of doing.
On June 1, Sarah decided to go play golf and that is when Joan Demarest
says the beating started for Karly. Sarah went to work the next day and
she hung out with some friends and
the beating of Karly continued with Shawn using a wooden spoon to hit
her. At the scene were two broken
spoons and on one end of each was the DNA and fingerprint of Shawn and
on the other end was Karly's DNA and
her hair. Shawn was said to have taken pictures of Karly's bruises and
intended to use them against David by
saying that David had inflicted the wounds. What ended up happening was
the pictures proved that at 1:21 p.m., when
the pictures were taken, Karly did not have any fatal wounds. A picture
of Karly was shown in court, she was
happy in the picture which was taken about nine months before her
mother met Shawn Field:
was Karly Sheehan"
Another picture was shown in court, this one of Karly with bruises and
eye swollen eye, taken nine months later. A tape of the 911 call was
played in court and Sarah could be heard:
"Karla, Karla, Karla,
are you here? Karla, you gotta come back, Please,
please come back"
Text messages between Sarah and Shawn were shown to the jury and those
messages were in total conflict with what Sarah had told police. Sarah
had apparently lied to her boss and
told him she could not come in for a shift she was due to work because
she had to take her daughter to the doctor.
At that point, Karly had been beaten and Sarah did not take her to the
doctor. Sarah told police that she
clocked out at 11 pm and records showed that was a lie, she had clocked
out at 7:00 p.m. then stayed at the bar to
hang out with her friends.
Shawn claims that he was concerned about the bruising on Karly and that
he decided to take the pictures out of
concern for Karly. His concern for the child is supposedly what lead
to the the pictures, according to his lawyer:
don't know who wouldn't take a child like this to the hospital"
death brought some other questions. A baby sitter had called DHS the
previous year to report that Karly was losing her hair and that she
said her daddy had been hitting her. A
daycare worker claimed that Karly told her that he dad had been hitting
her all the time and that he hit her on
her head. The worker asked if it was daddy David and Karly supposedly
had always seemed okay with Karly and both of her parents until one day
Karly, who usually had long, curly, blonde hair, showed up with a very
short haircut to which her
mother said that she had braided her hair and in the night it had
become matted and she'd had to cut it. Over
time, Karly started to lose hair and show up with bald spots on her
scalp. Karly would spend hours each day sleeping
at day care and wasn't asking for her mother as much, however, she was
asking about her daddy all the time
and supposedly even told the day care worker that she needed to tell
her daddy to stop hitting her.
Site creators note: This sounds to me like
someone is feeding this child what to say. Considering this child is
less than three years old,
the idea that she would tell someone to talk to her daddy and tell him
to stop hitting her just seems
"out there" to me.
day care worker called CPS and during the call the worker heard the
child asking when her daddy was going
to pick her up. When the worker told Karly that her mommy would be
there to pick her up, Karly started to cry and
said that she wanted her daddy. Sarah picked Karly up that night.
following day, Karly was crying for her daddy again and slept a lot
during the day. The worker talked to CPS
again and told them that there was a doctors appointment scheduled for
that day and the CPS worker made
plans to meet them there. Karly's doctor since birth had been Shanika
"She was a great little
girl. She had a great personality, mischievous, she liked to crawl
the exam area and mess with medical supplies"
doctor noticed that Karly was not acting like herself that day. Karly
was clingy and had a bruise on her cheek
as well as loss of hair and discoloration which could have been a
bruise. During the visit, the doctor noticed that
Karly was staying very close to her dad:
"When she was not
occupying herself, Karly sought the attention and contact of her
mentioned to the doctor that he thought someone was pulling out his
daughters hair and he didn't think she
was doing it to herself. Sarah blamed Karly's mood on the fact that she
and David had just separated and she had moved in with her boyfriend,
Shawn Field, though she thought the
relationship between her daughter and her boyfriend was a good one.
asked if Karly was ever alone with
Shawn, Sarah lied and said no. The doctor tried to talk to Karly alone
and it didn't work, Karly was upset,
crying and asking for her daddy. During a meeting with several agencies
dealing with child abuse as well as law
enforcement, it was decided that the doctor should try to talk to Karly
again, this time in a better setting, the doctor
had brought up a concern she had:
"When Karly has
talked about her dad hitting her, (the day care worker) wonders if it
father or the boyfriend she is talking about"
had told the day care worker that Shawn spanked her at times and that
she didn't know who took care of Karly while the mother worked at
night. Blood tests came back normal
and since that ruled out any medical reason for the hair loss, they now
knew that someone was pulling out
Karly's hair and they needed to find out who was doing it. David and
Sarah came to the decision that Karly would
only spend one night at week at the home of Shawn. A criminal records
check on Shawn found that he had
pushed his first wife and threatened to have someone kill her, though
no charges were filed.
interview with Shawn's daughter was conducted and detectives were told
that punishment was being sent to
the corner, though at times they were spanked, she also said she never
saw anyone pull Karly's hair. Shawn was told about the visit and when
asked if he would answer some
questions, he agreed. Shawn was told that Karly said her daddy hit her
in her head, back and nose and he said
that she had told him her daddy had hit her and had pointed to those
exact spots. Shawn claimed that he had seen
Karly pull out her own hair and tell herself that she was bad. Shawn
said that he sometimes felt Sarah sent
Karly to the corner too often, though he did not think she was abusing
the child and while he thought David was
strict, he didn't feel it was excessive.
day care worker reported that Karly was doing much better since she had
been spending more time with her
father and less with Shawn. However, on December 6, David dropped Karly
off and then met with people at the DHS office where he was told he was
being investigated for child abuse:
flat out told me, that was a very sobering thing to hear"
was told that Karly had been saying he was hitting her and he said he
had no idea why she would be saying that. When asked if he thought
was abusing Karly, David
said no and he also said he had no reason to believe that Shawn was
abusing Karly. David volunteered to
take a lie detector test and he was given one, though not until June of
2005. The results left detectives unable
to figure out if David had been abusing Karly or not:
"They were on the fence
between unfounded and indeterminate. They said
"We cannot tell if you
are doing it"
met with them the next day and told them that David was a great dad and
that she doesn't think he was hitting Karly, she also said she didn't
think Shawn had been abusing
November of 2006, Shawn Wesley Field was sentenced by Judge Janet
Holcomb, to more than 46 years for the torturing and killing Karly:
"In my almost 20 years
in criminal justice, this is one of the worst cases of brutality I
ever seen. Mr. Field, this is a very sober moment for our community.
the last blow you dealt a blow to the entire community"
members commented after the sentencing:
"I think it sends a
strong message to this community that we're not going to tolerate
scum bags like Shawn Fields"
"None of the evidence
that we have been privy to or anything that we have heard in the court
room, can ever convince us that YOU are the one who take a child's life"
parents believe him to be innocent.