Audrina Claire Hepburn
June 6, 2008 - October 17, 2009
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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 husband, was 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 hands.

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:

"I want to know who murdered my granddaughter. Until my last breath, I'll fight. I'll fight until
my 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 to die.

I will never understand how or why so often we go from this:

to 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.


Audrina Claire Hepburn, age 16 months, died Saturday, October 17, 2009, in the Greenville Memorial Hospital.

She was born in Tacoma, Wash. and is the daughter of Daniel Hepburn of Laurens.

In 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 Mountville.

Funeral 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.

The family will be at the home of her great grandparents, Bernadette and John Carnes at 518 Conway Avenue in Laurens.

Memorials may be made to Laurens County DSS, P.O. Box 409, Laurens, SC 29360.

Thank you Tara, for allowing me to memorialize and honor this precious little Angel by sending me her story.

This page was created on March 18, 2014
Death occurred in the state of South Carolina

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