Speaking for myself, I can say that when I
hear a child crying, ANY
child, I want to know why they are crying and
what can be done to fix whatever the problem is. I can't STAND to hear a child cry. Being
born premature meant that Audrina would have to stay in the
hospital for two months, fighting for life. No one could have predicted
that fighting for life, would be the life that Audrina would live until
she died. I wonder how her murderer could stand that sound her crying
while she was being abused.
Ashley was a girl who loved to party and
she wasn't about to allow a baby to interfere with that. Daniel, her
working out of town, so Ashley went to stay with her mother and while
she lived there she met and started to date a man named Richard Brandon
Lewis, who went by the name Brandon. On her My Space page, Ashley had
so many picture of her son, who she seemed to adore, yet there were
very few pictures of her daughter. She often said she didn't like being
home, being alone and that someone should help her. Actually, someone
should have helped Audrina, the daughter she clearly never wanted!
In October of 2009, Ashley Nicole Hepburn, who was 21 years old at the
time, was arrested and charged with murder by child abuse. Reports say
that the Sheriff's office was contacted at around 2:00 a.m.. on October
17, 2009 by the Self Regional Medical Center to check on a suspected
child abuse case. When Police arrived at the hospital, they spoke to
Brandon who claimed that he had checked on Audrina a few hours before
and she was fine, but when he had gone to check on Audrina at
about 1:30 a.m.. and found her laying in the corner of her crib, lying
face down and she was unresponsive. According to Daniel, he picked the
child up and she still did not respond so he called 911 and Audrina was
taken to the hospital. After speaking with Ashley, Police were told
that Audrina had been put to bed at about 10:30 p.m.., the night before
and though she seemed a little fussy, she didn't seem to be in any
trouble. Ashley went to bed and slept until Daniel woke her up to let
her know something was wrong. The arrest warrant said:
"Lt. R. Plaxico states under oath, based on information and belief,
that the defendant Ashley Hepburn did cause the death of (the victim),
a 16 month old child, by battering her, causing irreparable damage to
the brain, while committing child abuse"
Reports say that Audrina died from being shaken which is commonly
referred to as "Shaken Baby Syndrome", Audrina had brain injuries and
bruises on her body. At the time of her death, there supposedly four
adults in the home and apparently, nobody heard or saw anything. A jury
found Ashley guilty and she was sentence to 45 years in prison, but
would only have to serve 85% of that time before being considered for
parole. In reality, she served very little time because her conviction
was overturned due to lack of evidence. I think a dead child who has
visible sings of injury due to child abuse and then dies, is NOT a lack of evidence and anyone
who had a hand in letting her go has the blood of Audrina on their
In September of 2010, Richard Brandon
Lewis, who was 25 years old at the time, was charged with homicide by
child abuse and with aiding and abetting homicide by child abuse.
Brandon was convicted and sentenced to ten years with seven years
suspended, in prison and then later his conviction was overturned for
what was also called lack of evidence.
I can see why people do not take seriously the offense of child abuse,
the killing of children while abusing them, rarely is there ever
justice in the cases of the most innocent of us all.
Rita Ebel, Audrina's grandmother,
memorialized her in the best way she could. A tattoo on her arm, in
Audrina's memory, stated her name, has a butterfly and the days of her
birth and death and a cast of her hand will allow them to always
remember the way she was in life:
"She melted everybody's
heart. We had 16 short months and we were blessed to have those.
Every day I speak her
name, I tell somebody about her story, I talk about her, I wear a tattoo
on my arm to remind me
of her. It's just not fair that her life was taken the way it was. We
wonder every day what
her little voice would've sounded like, what she would've look like"
After Ashley's conviction was overturned in December of 2013 and she
was released, Rita said:
want to know who murdered my granddaughter. Until my last breath, I'll
fight. I'll fight until
last breath to get justice"
It is sad to think that in a home with four adults, NONE of them would
face any punishment when a child was brutalized to point it caused her
I will never understand how or why so often we go from this:
and end with this!
Audrina's life support was removed and
while singing "You Are My Sunshine" to her, Daniel held her during the
time it took her to pass away.
for allowing me to memorialize and honor this precious little Angel by
sending me her story.
Claire Hepburn, age 16 months, died Saturday, October 17, 2009, in the
Greenville Memorial Hospital.
was born in Tacoma, Wash. and is the daughter of Daniel Hepburn of
addition to her father, she is survived by a brother, Owen Hepburn; her
paternal grandparents, Rita Hepburn and Kenneth Ebel of Mountville; her
great-grandparents, Bernadette and John Carnes of Laurens; her aunts,
Sarah and Emily Ebel of Mountville, and Brittany Franklin and husband,
Matthew, of Cross Hill; and a cousin, Matthew Franklin, Jr. of
services will be conducted on Thursday, October 22, 2009, at 2 p.m. at
The Church of the Epiphany of Laurens with burial in the Sandy Springs
United Methodist Church Cemetery.
family will be at the home of her great grandparents, Bernadette and
John Carnes at 518 Conway Avenue in Laurens.
may be made to Laurens County DSS, P.O. Box 409, Laurens, SC 29360.
page was created on March 18, 2014
Death occurred in the state of South Carolina
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