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Henderson child homicide brings deeper questions

Posted at 5:35 PM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-19 18:43:44-04

HENDERSON (KTNV) — What could lead a parent to abuse to the point of killing their own child? The question is being raised after a Henderson man was arrested, accused of killing his 5-year-old son Wednesday. A child abuse prevention group says the pandemic and tough economic times have created many stresses for parents.

Elizabeth Costello’s two young sons mean the world to her. She says the pandemic has her spending more time with them at home.

“I’ve enjoyed that because it has brought us closer as a family,” she said.

She acknowledges other families may be going through issues like financial stress which could result in shorter tempers from parents.

“It could be stressful, and it could bring out the worst in people that you hope would never happen," Costello said.

That’s what Henderson Police believe 33-year-old Gerald Oglesby did to his 5-year-old son. Police say he beat his son as a form of discipline, resulting in his death. Oglesby had just been granted custody of his son a year before.

RELATED: Report: Father waited 13 minutes to call 911 after 5-year-old son stopped breathing

Olive Crest, an organization that works to end child abuse and neglect says the pandemic has put some parents in a corner.

“The number one source of abuse and neglect is isolation, so really being able to surround families with community and realizing there are alternatives, those are things we can impart on all parents, no matter the age. It’s never too late to ask for help,” said Jimmy Monoghan, Olive Crest executive director.

Costello agrees and says parents have a specific responsibility with their kids.

“Kids are tough, and they will try you and you just hope that someone’s heart or brain would never go to that extreme,” she said.

Resources available for parents struggling with child care

"I've heard so many people joke about, 'I wish these kids came with a manual that told you what to do."

Jenny Fay with Olive Crest says parenting can be hard, especially during tough times over the past two years with the pandemic. She says for struggling parents, especially those going through separation or divorce, there are resources available. Fay says a good one to turn to is the website LovetoKnow.com's family section, which helps people connect to support groups. It's especially important for single parents.

"Sometimes just sharing and seeing a head nod on the screen of someone who understands how difficult it is, but also be able to exchange ideas, like 'I tried this, and this was helpful,'” she said.

Parents who are separated are required to attend mandatory "COPE" classes, where they are trained to help provide a good environment for their child. Fay says unfortunately cases involving suspected child abuse leading to death are not uncommon. Fay says many parents don't wake up intending to hurt their kids.

"I think they're waking up and doing the best they can with a lot of stressors and triggers in their life,” she said.

She says ultimately parents in need have gathered the courage to ask for help if they feel overwhelmed with childcare.

"Nobody can do life all on their own. There's not an expectation that we would, and help is available — whether that's your support system or online,” she said.

Oglesby is expected to be in Henderson court this coming Monday at 9 a.m.