Suffer the Little Children

Episode 45: Jaheem Harris (Part 1)

January 13, 2021

On July 8, 2017, a man in Waterloo, Iowa called 911 to report that a child in his care had drowned in the bathtub, but responding paramedics found four-year-old Jaheem Harris covered with vicious bruises in a dry bed, partially dressed in dry clothing, with no signs of water in the bathtub. The man, an ex-boyfriend of Jaheem’s mother and the father of Jaheem’s two younger sisters, admitted to police that he hit Jaheem “all the time,” and he was ultimately charged with first-degree murder. When he eventually went to trial, the jury’s decision would disgust the community. 

This is a story of a little boy who was wanted, adored, cherished, and failed by not only child protective services but also the criminal justice system -- and, many believe, by his own mother. For next week’s episode, you’ll hear my conversation with Jaheem’s paternal grandmother, Shay Caston, who raised her grandson for most of his short life, and who Jaheem called “my real Mama.”

This is part 1 of the heartbreaking story of Jaheem Harris.

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This podcast is written, hosted, edited, and produced by Laine. 

For more stories like Jaheem’s, visit Suffer the Little Children Blog.

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