Candace Elizabeth Newmaker
November 19, 1989 - April 18, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial

Candace Elizabeth Newmaker was born as Candace Tiara Elmore to a teenage girl and a father who was violent. In the beginning of her life, she lived in many different run down trailers in North Carolina. At the age of four years old, Candace was adopted by Jeane Newmaker, who was a 42 year single nurse. Certainly a reasonable assumption would be that life would improve for Candace and she wouldn't be sent to any more foster homes. Candace was welcomed with a warm heart and life DID improve for a little while. A pink bicycle was bought, swimming lessons, gym class lessons, riding lessons, ice skating and spending the night with friends helped Candace to feel loved. Life was good for Candace until On April 20, 2000, two people who were calling themselves "therapists" though neither of them was licensed, Connell Watkins and Julie Ponder showed up to do what is called a "rebirthing ceremony".

Candace had been called Candace because her parents had heard the name on television and her middle name, Tiara, came about because they said she was a jewel. Jeane said that Candace was not a jewel at all and that she turned into a problem by the age of ten years old. Jeane said that Candace had started a fire in her room, had hour long fits of rage and had sexually assaulted two children. Jeane told her friends that Candace had become increasingly hard to deal with having become defensive with a negative attitude and that she had pulled a floor to ceiling bookcase down to the floor breaking some of Jean's nick nacks.

Those who taught Candace didn't see what Jeane saw, they saw a well behaved little girl who was a joy to have in class. Jeane decided to put Candace on a mood stabilizing medication and then decided to try a therapy that was supposed to help children who were said to be suffering from "Reactive Attachment Disorder" or RAD. Children who are adopted are often diagnosed with this disorder. Jeane would later tell a court:

"I thought she was deteriorating before my very eyes. I was not prepared for the
level of dysfunction I saw in Candace"

Reactive Attachment Disorder is closely related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. Some of hose most likely to be diagnosed are children who have been adopted and those who have been institutionalized at some point in their life. There at least 40 centers in the United States where the specialty is treatment of RAD. Normally this disorder is treated by Psychotherapists and Social Workers. When people have this disorder, they are said to have problems forming and maintaining trusting relationships and they struggle in social situations. RAD usually appears before the age of four and symptoms include no eye contact, lying, stealing, lack of impulse control, cruelty to animals and a lack of conscience. Treatment includes intense Psychotherapy including family members and the patient as well as what is called "holding therapy" where the patient is hugged, held and cuddled by the Therapist or and family members.

Rebirthing therapy was the route that Jeane chose to go in order to "help" Candace. This procedure was invented in the 70's by Dr. Leonard Orr and is a breathing technique that usually lasts no more than 15 minutes. In the case of Candace, it lasted over 70 minutes and the outcome was her death.

On that day in April of 2000, Cornell Watkins, Julie Ponder and two assistants came to the home of Jeane and Candace with the plan of doing a rebirthing ceremony. Candace was wrapped in a blanket and surrounded by pillows, this was to represent the womb, then four adults with a combined weight of over 670 pounds, sat on her and encouraged her to "squeeze through" the blanket and be "reborn". The adults pushed on Candace while she was restrained in an attempt to recreate the feelings a baby has during contractions of the mother. Candace could not breathe at all, she screamed and told them that she was dying. Jeane stood by and did nothing to stop them or protect Candace.

This form of therapy is supposed to help the child bond with the parents the child will usually become angry and then the grip is tightened in order to show the child that though they are under the control of someone else, they are also safe. Candace was not safe and when the adults got up and the blanket came off, she was blue and no longer breathing. Someone started doing CPR on her, but she died the very next day. An autopsy revealed that she died of asphyxiation. The entire ceremony had been video taped and was used in court to show what happened to this little Angel. Jeane said:

"I knew it was proactive therapy. I thought it was her only chance"

In December of 2000, Jeane had asked a Judge to ban people from the courtroom during the playing of the tape recording of what happened to her daughter saying that it could cause a media frenzy and put her own rights to a fair trial in jeopardy by exposing potential jurors to what had happened, before her own trial. Jean even went as far as to say that it fell under the rules of patient/client privacy rights:

"Ms. Newmaker does not raise these issues in any way to thwart the Prosecution of the
Therapists allegedly responsible for Candace Newmaker's death. However, Ms. Newmaker
does not want her child and her child's memory distorted and exploited"
Craig Truman - Lawyer

Attorney Tom Kelley said:

"It's key evidence. No Colorado court is closed to trial when key evidence is being
presented. I trust that the trial will not be closed to this case either"

Judge Jane Tidball denied the request as well as a request for a change of venue for another defendant

Cornell Watkins and Julie Ponder were arrested, tried, found guilty of reckless child abuse resulting in death and sentenced to 14 to 48 years in prison. Brita St. Clare, Jack McDaniel and Jeane Newmaker were all going to stand trial at a later date. Brita St. Clare and Jack McDaniel were facing charges of reckless child abuse resulting in death and Jeane Newmaker was facing a charge of criminally negligent child abuse resulting in death.

In October of 2001 Judge Jane Tidball decided that Brita St. Clare and Jack McDaniel were only doing what their boss had asked them to do and since neither had a criminal history and both had been foster parents, she sentenced them to only ten years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service. To this I have to shake my head, they KNEW what they were doing, they helped to kill this little girl and they are walking around without jail time, what an insult to the memory of Candace.

Jeane Newmaker plead guilty to criminally negligent child abuse resulting in death and got another insulting to Candace sentence. Jeane got four years of probation and 400 hours of community service.

Julie Ponder tried to appeal her sentence in February of 2005, but her appeal was denied by the Supreme Court.

Rebirthing Therapy has since been banned in Colorado and a law was signed by Colorado Governor Bill Owens, called "Candace's Law" which would ban all Psychotherapies from using restraint to treat their patients.

I want to thank Nicole for sending me this story. I had not been aware of this kind of therapy for children. It shouldn't be called "therapy", it should be called what it is, CHILD ABUSE!

This page was created on December 5, 2014

Death occurred in the state of Colorado

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