Ursula Sunshine Assaid
 June 5, 1977 - September 25, 1982
Find A Grave Memorial
Ursula Sunshine Assaid was proudly name by her father to spell out USA. Ursula lived only five short years before her mother stood by and watched as her boyfriend tortured and beat Ursula until she died. The torture took place over several days and her own mother did NOTHING to stop the man from hurting her.

Susan Assaid watched as Donald McDougal forced her daughter to go a week without water, food or sleep. Ursula was forced to sit outside and not eat, drink or use the bathroom. If she had an accident, she was beaten and forced to walk around the house with her soiled clothing on her head. 

Ursula was fed sandwiches made of two pieces of bread with soap in the middle. She would be forced to march around the the house and recite the alphabet over and over. If she missed a letter or hesitated in any way, she would be beaten again. At the end of the week long torture, Ursula would be beaten to death.

After she died, her little body was stuffed into a duffle bag along with some weights and tossed into a drainage pond. Neighbors wondered where the child was and when they asked, they were told that she was with her father. People had no reason not to believe that. Eventually, the body was discovered and the horrible truth was revealed.

Donald McDougal would later talk about how he had been abused by his father who used to drive him around in the car all day and not allow him to use the bathroom.

Donald McDougal was arrested and charged with second degree murder. Susan Assaid was arrested and charged with manslaughter. Each of them was convicted and Donald was sentenced to only 34 years in prison and Susan was sentenced to 15 years, of which she would only serve five years and would then live in California.

In 1988 legislation was introduced that would specify that child abuse resulting in death, would be punishable by death. In 1992, the States Attorney, Mr. Wolfinger, became aware that Donald was about to be released due to prison overcrowding. Mr. Wolfinger and some residents of the community campaigned to and were successful in stopping him from using sentence reducing credits to get out. The rule was changed by the Department of Corrections and affected about 6,000 prisoners:

''McDougal was the poster boy"
Mr. Wolfinger said of the effort

When the possibility would come around, through parole hearings, that Donald could be released from prison the town was outraged by the fact that he could be set free. On a radio show called "The Russ & Bo Show", Russ Rollins, who admits that show is usually about beer and women, changed it up and talked about the death of Ursula. It had been 14 years since she was murdered by Donald and for several hours the show talked about it.

Taking phone calls and speaking about the torture Ursula had suffered through at the hands of Donald, Russ decided to have a moment of silence for the little girl at 8:50, the time of her death:

"Dead air on a radio program is strong"
Russ Rollins

Donald had been placed in protective custody at the Avon Park Correctional Institution after it was reported that someone had called the radio show and offered $1,000. to anyone who would kill him. The radio station as well as hosts of the show insisted there was never any such offer. Donald was released from protective custody after five days, at his own insistence. 

Arba Earl Barr was listening to the program that night, he was doing 114 years for assault and robbery. On October 1, several days after the show aired, Arba was in the prison yard with over 200 other inmates. After dinner, Arba took the steel post which was usually used in games of horseshoes and beat Donald McDougal to death  with it.

Years later, a book would be written about the case. "Death From Child Abuse . . . and No One Heard'' was written by Eve Krupinski and Dana Weikel. A couple of years later after a woman named Valerie Baumgart read the book, her concern about the child caused her to do some checking and she found that Ursula's ashes had never been claimed by anyone and they had gone unburied. Now a Sheriff's Deputy, Valerie started a campaign to get Ursula buried in the local cemetery:

''She had been abandoned in life and abandoned in death and it was like she kept haunting us. 
It was like she was saying to us, 'Don't forget' '' 
Valerie Baumgart

Arba Earl Barr was in court and the public defender said that he didn't know if the broadcast had influenced him in killing Donald. Eve Krupinski said that to blame the radio station for the death would be ridiculous:

"Russ and Bo and Dirty Jim get a little far out, but it wasn't their words or the words of the callers 
which killed that man. They were just a vehicle for airing the anger'' 
Eve Krupinski

Valerie Baumgart said that the interest in the case of Ursula had been popular long before the radio show had aired:

''This is an old case and not about talk radio. He should have been executed legally, but maybe this, what happened, was Ursula's cry to us all along.'' 

Slain Tot's Ashes Unclaimed Ursula Assaid 'Abandoned In Life And . . . In Death'
September 15, 1987

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS — The cremated remains of child-abuse victim Ursula Sunshine Assaid have been sitting for five years in a funeral home vault awaiting permission from relatives for burial.

The Baldwin-Fairchild Funeral Home is holding the remains according to state law, but a Fern Park child-abuse prevention group is pledging to raise money to give Ursula a final resting place.

Valerie Baumgart, who started Citizens Concerned for Children in May, said Monday she has begun collecting money to pay for a plot of land and marker so the child's ashes can be buried.

''It's ironic,'' Baumgart said of Ursula, who was 5 years old when her body was recovered from a retention pond in 1982. ''She was abandoned in life and has been abandoned in death.''

Ursula's mother, Susan Assaid, is serving a 15-year prison term for manslaughter for letting her boyfriend, Donald McDougall, emotionally and physically torture the child to death. McDougall was sentenced to 34 years for second-degree murder.

The child was beaten, placed in a sink of ice, made to stand for hours under a tree outside her home and forced to eat soap during two months of torture by McDougall, according to court records. After she died, her body was placed in a duffel bag, weighted and dumped into the pond.

Altamonte Springs police recovered the body after Susan Assaid told authorities in California about the abuse.

Baumgart, 25, said she became interested in the case after reading Death from Child Abuse . . . and no one heard, a book about Ursula by two Orlando writers. She said she was shocked to discover recently that the kindergartner had not been buried.

Ursula's body was cremated shortly after she was found in December, 1982, said Dr. Jorge Deju, director of the Seminole County Health Department.

Family members paid for the cremation, according to county records. Deju said he believes they were Canadian relatives, who adopted a baby of Assaid and McDougall's born after their sentencings.

Bill Honaker, vice president of Baldwin-Fairchild Funeral Home, said Monday that state law requires written permission from next-of-kin to release a body or remains. He said Ursula's ashes can be handed over only if Citizens Concerned for Children can present authorization from the father.

Honaker said he could not comment further out of respect for the privacy of the family.

Grandfather Going To Bahamas For Son's Approval To Bury Ursula
September 18, 1987

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS — The paternal grandfather of child-abuse victim Ursula Sunshine Assaid will go to the Bahamas to get his son's permission to bury the child's cremated remains, the leader of a burial drive said Thursday.

Valerie Baumgart of Citizens Concerned for Children said a funeral director who has the ashes told Raymond Assaid of Orlando there's a legal hitch blocking the burial.

The grandfather, 60, had signed a form this week to allow burial after publicity about the case brought offers of cemetery plots, headstones and money.

Assaid said he and his son, Tom, did not have the money for a burial.

''I talked to our attorney, and the release has to be signed by the next of kin,'' Bill Honaker, vice president of Baldwin-Fairchild Funeral Home, told United Press International. ''It goes in line of descent and the grandfather's not the legal next of kin.''

Baumgart said Assaid told her he hoped to find his son, who works on a lobster boat in the Bahamas, get his approval for the burial and perhaps bring him back for the ceremony.

Honaker and the Assaids could not be reached Thursday.

Baumgart said she still hoped to hold a memorial service and burial next week. She said many people concerned about Ursula and child rights have expressed interest in attending the service.

Ursula was 5 when her mother's boyfriend killed her and dumped her body into a pond in Altamonte Springs.

Susan Assaid, who was separated from her husband when the child was killed, is serving 15 years for manslaughter. Her boyfriend, Donald McDougall, is serving 34 years for second-degree murder.

Judge Gets Request To Bury Ursula
November 12, 1987

SANFORD — A child advocate has asked the Seminole Circuit Court for permission to bury the remains of abuse victim Ursula Assaid because efforts to get approval from her parents have failed.

Valerie Baumgart said she thought it would be easier to bury the child, whose ashes have been kept nearly five years at an Altamonte Springs funeral home for lack of a written release.

''We were hoping the family would come through,'' Baumgart said. ''This could be considered a form of further abuse and neglect.''

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge C. Vernon Mize Jr., but no hearing date has been set. Orlando lawyer Skip Fowler, who is representing Baumgart, said he hopes to have a decision in a week.

Baumgart started a campaign in September to bury the 5-year-old, who died after three months of torture by her mother's boyfriend.

The mother, Susan Assaid, is serving 15 years for manslaughter. Her boyfriend, Donald McDougall, was sentenced to 34 years for second-degree murder.

Baumgart said Tom Assaid, a fisherman in the Bahamas, was expected to mail permission for his child's burial. But Baldwin Fairchild Funeral Home, which is keeping the ashes, has received no letter.

Susan Assaid has told her former lawyer that she wanted nothing to do with the burial, Baumgart said.

Fowler said he is asking for a judge's ruling because the funeral home does not want to rely on a state law allowing disposal of ashes if the family does not claim them after 120 days.

If the remains are released to Baumgart, she said she plans to hold a funeral service at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Orlando, which has donated a burial plot and marker for Ursula.

Ursula's Dad Okays Burial 5 Years After Her Slaying
December 29, 1987

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS — Ursula Sunshine Assaid will be buried in a public ceremony Monday, five years and a month after her weighted body was found in a duffel bag at the bottom of an Altamonte Springs pond.

Valerie Baumgart, the Fern Park child-abuse prevention advocate who had campaigned for the burial since September, said Monday the girl's father gave permission in a letter verified by the Baldwin-Fairchild Funeral Home.

The Altamonte Springs mortuary has held the cremated remains, awaiting directions from the next of kin. Ursula's mother is serving a 15-year sentence for letting her boyfriend torture the 5-year-old to death. The girl's father reportedly had been in the Bahamas and could not be reached for comment.

Skip Fowler, the attorney representing Baumgart, said the letter from Tom Assaid, Ursula's father, relieves the funeral home of liability and makes the burial possible. Permission from only one parent is needed.

Police say Ursula suffered two months of physical and emotional abuse before dying in September 1982. Her body was found Dec. 1, 1982, after her mother, Susan Assaid, told authorities in California that she and her boyfriend, Donald McDougall, had dumped the child's body in a pond.

The mother pleaded guilty to manslaughter and later testified against McDougall. He was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to 34 years. Baumgart announced in September that she would try to bury Ursula, setting off a scramble to obtain permission. She tried, without success, to contact Tom Assaid after his father's signature proved insufficient to release the remains for burial. She then asked the Seminole Circuit Court to release the ashes.

Judge C. Vernon Mize Jr. delayed a hearing on the issue this month after learning that Susan Assaid wanted a lawyer to represent her in the matter.

On Dec. 14, a letter from Tom Assaid releasing the ashes for burial was sent to the funeral home. Jim Page, Baldwin-Fairchild's lawyer, said Monday that he verified the signature on Christmas Eve and spoke with Tom Assaid, who was visiting relatives locally. Page said Assaid was happy to have the group bury Ursula and plans to attend the service.

The funeral will begin at 4 p.m. Monday at the main chapel of the Woodlawn Memorium Funeral Home & Memorial Park on Old Winter Garden Road west of Orlando. The funeral home was among several groups and individuals that offered plots and markers when plans to bury Ursula were reported in September.

The site was chosen by Raymond Assaid, Tom's father, because other family members are buried there. Raymond Assaid said in September his son never had the money to bury the child.

Baumgart, a mother of two, was outraged when she learned that Ursula had not been buried and said Monday she was relieved that the remains finally will be buried.

She said she had feared Susan Assaid might try to block the burial.

''I don't feel Susan should have had a choice in the matter,'' Baumgart said. ''She made her choice when she dumped Ursula in a pond five years ago.'' Assaid is scheduled for a parole hearing next year.

Ursula Mourners Vow: Child Abuse Must End
January 05, 1988

Mourners vowed Monday to stop the deaths of abused children as friends and family members gathered in Orlando to inter the ashes of Ursula Sunshine Assaid.

About three dozen people attended a tearful memorial service for the 5- year-old abuse victim, who died in September 1982.

Ursula's mourners at Woodlawn Funeral Home heard emotional speeches from child-protection advocates, as well as hymns such as ''Amazing Grace.'' A photograph of the blond girl sat next to a votive candle and her ashes. The photo was surrounded by five flower arrangements.

Speakers asked the group not to dwell on the brutal circumstances of Ursula's murder but to use it as a challenge to stop child abuse.

''Because of Ursula's death, we have a crusade,'' said Dana Weikel, co- author of a book about Ursula's last six days.

''We can no longer turn our backs on children. Her death was not for naught. I hope it might spark a fire in us . . . and make us take up the crusade,'' Weikel said.

''No one knows what Ursula might have grown up to be,'' said child- protection advocate Valerie Baumgart of Fern Park. ''Perhaps the first woman president of the United States. I feel sorry for us and all the lives Ursula would have touched.''

In a poem printed in the program for the half-hour service, Baumgart also expressed the idea that the child's death was significant:

The day you died  a star fell from the sky,

Leaving an empty space  in all of our lives.

It can never be replaced  that darkened little space,

But a single ray of sunshine  fills the void you left behind.

And with that ray of hope  you will light the world.

After the service, Ursula's father, grandfather, a friend of her father and Baumgart attended a private ceremony to deposit the ashes in a niche at the Woodlawn vault.

Ursula's father, Tom Assaid, showed little emotion during the ceremony and declined to comment to reporters. He had been separated from his wife when Ursula died after two months of torture.

Susan Assaid, the child's mother, is serving a 15-year sentence for manslaughter for letting her boyfriend abuse the child. The boyfriend, Donald McDougall, is serving 34 years for second-degree murder.

The funeral service and interment were the work of Baumgart, who said she became angry after reading about Ursula's death. She learned that Ursula's ashes were still in storage at a funeral home and in September announced plans to bury them.

A book About this story: "Death From Child Abuse...And No One Heard"

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