Benjamin Allen Reeve Sargent
August 27, 2007 - February 2007
Find A Grave Memorial
Born on August 27, 2007, Benjamin Allen Reeve Sargent would be a child who was not wanted by his mother and not cared about enough to be taken care of by his father or mother when he needed them the most.

How is it possible that in this day and age where unwanted children can just be given over to hospitals, there are still children out there who die at the hands of  he people God has trusted to take care of the most innocent of all people among us? What kind of evil does it take to allow a child, a five month old baby to sit in a car seat, in his crib for eight days until that child literally dies of starvation? What kind of evil does it take to allow a five month old to cry for long

periods of time and not tend to his needs?

What kind of evil does it take to feed yourself, play video games, shower and go about your day and ignore a five month old baby who needs just the basic things in life to survive? A little bit of attention to this beautiful little boy was all that was needed. Benjamin got little to nothing from his mother, who never wanted him in the first place so she never showed any signs of being a mother at all. Benjamin got nothing from his father either. Both of these people failed to give Benjamin an chance in life. If a person doesn't want a child, there are ways to prevent one from being born. Not wanting a child is not an excuse for abusing or neglecting a child. 

On February 4, 2008, in Peoria, Illinois, Rose Sargent was taking care of her five month old grandson, Benjamin Sargent. Rose dropped Benjamin off with his 

father at about 9:30 pm so that she could go to work:

"I left at 9:30 p.m. that night. I got him ready for bed, changed his diaper, put some ointment on
his bottom and gave him a bottle. He wanted to be rocked so I rocked him, gave him some more
bottle and then his dad put him into the crib without the car seat, and covered him up with a blanket.
Then I left because I had to go home and get to sleep because I work third shift."

Tracey, his "mother", I use that term lightly, was in Iowa meeting a man she met on the internet. She claimed that she was not responsible for Benjamin and that his father should have been looking out for him. Tracey claimed that before she left she had checked on Benjamin and she found him asleep so she put a bottle between him and the car seat so he could eat when he woke up.

Eight days later, on February 12, Benjamin would be found in his crib, still strapped into the car seat, wearing his snow suit, eyes open, fists clenched, sitting in his own waste in a room that was 80 degrees. James Sargent, who was 23 at the time and Tracey Hermann, who was 21 at the time, 
were both arrested. 

 “Benjamin died from starvation due to neglect from these two defendants, his parents. It’s the
worst case of child neglect we have seen since the turn of this century.”

Kevin Lyons, Peoria County State’s Attorney

James and Tracey are being held on first degree murder charges, without bond. Why should they be bonded out? Their child was neglected to death and put through total agony before he died. Benjamin, who weighed eight pounds at birth, only weighed ten pounds upon his death. Why didn't his grandmother notice that he was thin, why didn't anyone who came into  contact with his baby boy notice that something was not right?

Neighbors reacted to the death with shock and horror. Some said they were aware that things were not right in the household, they just didn't know it was as bad as it was. If they knew something was not right, whey didn't they contact anyone? Why is that SO many people have the ability to help in situations like this and they NEVER do? 

"The parents had been acting really strange for about a few days before. They were outside and 
they were walking up and down the neighborhood, the woman was standing outside with no coat,"
Dorothy Davis - Neighbor

Some say they didn't even know that a baby lived in the house and some wonder what they grandparents are thinking about all of this and how they are feeling at the loss of Benjamin:

"I think if one of my kids would be this evil, because that's what it is how, would I feel and I 
wonder how do those parents feel."
Mary Moore - Neighbor who didn't know Benjamin lived there

The grandfather of James Sargent said that he thought his grandson had truly love his son. When speaking to his grandson, he says that James was crying and he didn't know if they were tears of remorse or of self pity. The grandfather says that he is shocked by what has happened.

Rose Sargent was picking up flower arrangements left over after the funeral service for Benjamin. She said that James and Tracey had been fighting a lot, but, she thought they were taking care of the baby. She said that the two had seemed like good parents:

"I saw my son sing to him, play with him. I've seen her holding  him and playing with him."

She also spoke of that last day:

"I took him and I bought him a snowsuit and I bought him some food and some formula and 
some A&D ointment because he had  a little rash. I don't know what happened when I left. 
He was in his bed, not his car seat."

Rose spoke of a dark side she felt her adopted son had:

"He suffered from depression since he was a freshman in high school. They diagnosed him 
with ADHD and bi–polar and he has spent time at Zellar (Mental Health Center) 
when they had it."

Another neighbor said that the couple would allow trash to pile up outside of their home and they can't believe they would neglect their child as well:

"Who would do it, who would let their child just live like that"

The couple also has a three year old daughter, Natalie Grace, who has been removed from the custody of the family and is currently in foster care.

An old online post from Tracey said that she would prefer to die stating she would like her death certificate to read, "death by misadventure." Rose says that unfortunately, that is the fate her grandson met.

"I'm going to miss the smiles and laughs".
Rose Sargent

February 21, 2008 brought a court date where both of these people were facing up to 100 years. Kevin Lyons was not sure if he was going to ask for the death penalty, which would apply in this case. In Illinois the death penalty can be used as punishment for crimes committed by those over the age of 17 and crimes committed against those younger than the age of 12. Kevin Lyons would have about two months to make this decision.

The hearing lasted about 20 minutes and during that time, James sat with a blank stare on his face and Tracey said that her lawyer was in Hawaii and she would like a court appointed lawyer. Judge Glenn Collier ordered that the two be held without bond. A second court date was set to allow Kevin Lyons to present further evidence that these two people should not be let out on bond, before trial.

These two people had the nerve to plead not guilty to the charges against them. They will be in court on May 5, 2009.

Benjamin is buried in the Parkview Cemetery in Peoria County, Illinois.

UPDATES:

James Sargent found guilty of first degree murder in death of his son
April 29, 2009

James Sargent acted in a heinous and brutal way when he failed to care for his 5-month-old son last year, failing to bathe, change or feed him; actions that ultimately resulted in the boy's death, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Taking only a 10-minute break after the conclusion of the three-day trial, Peoria County Judge James Shadid found Sargent, 24, guilty of first-degree murder. Additionally, the judge rejected any notion that Sargent acted recklessly or was in over his head when he was caring for Benjamin Sargent.

Shadid held the South Peoria man's actions from Feb. 4 to Feb. 12, 2008, were "brutal and heinous . . . indicative of wanton cruelty;" legal factors which mean he faces up to 100 years when sentenced June 25. He would have to serve 100 percent of any sentence imposed with credit for time already served, about 15 months.

"If he had put his son into his car and sped down toward the mall at a high rate of speed, and crashed, that would be reckless," Shadid said. "In this case, you put (Benjamin) into a car seat and left him without care for eight days. That's not reckless."

Mother Receives 50 Years For Baby's Death
September 14, 2009

Tracy Hermann admitted in a barely audible tone Monday she made a disastrous "mistake" last year when she and her former boyfriend allowed their 5-month-old son to go without food and sit in his own waste for several days, which eventually caused his death.

Hermann, 23, of 3012 W. Proctor St. apologized to everyone in the courtroom, saying she believed that her plea to first-degree murder and subsequent sentence of 50 years would allow her son, Benjamin, to finally have "justice."

She said little during the unscheduled plea hearing, speaking mostly from a prepared statement after Peoria County Circuit Judge James Shadid had passed sentence. Hermann will have to serve 100 percent of her sentence, meaning that with about a year and a half spent awaiting trial, she will get out of prison when she's 72.

Few were in the courtroom, save the parties involved, Hermann's parents and reporters. The hearing lasted only about 25 minutes and lacked the shock and the gruesome testimony that occurred in April when the infant's father, James Sargent, was found guilty after weeklong bench trial.

He was sentenced to 100 years in prison, the maximum, for his son's death.

Death occurred in the state of Texas

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