Alabama authorities are concerned about a spike in abuse homicides of children. In the 12 months ending last Sept. 30, the state counted four cases of fatal abusive head trauma, reports the Montgomery Advertiser. Since Oct. 1, there have been four more such homicides, meaning there have been as many in the past six months as there were in the preceding year. There were just two cases of abusive head trauma leading to death the year before that.
The numbers are a cause for concern, but it too soon to say definitively that they indicate a trend, officials said. Some believe the economy could be to blame for the spike. Richard Burleson, director of the Alabama Child Death Review System, said, “I’m aware that there is a very real concern nationwide that cases of abuse and neglect have increased with the downturn in the economy.” Most recently in Montgomery, 1-year-old Lia Hall was killed by blunt force trauma to the head. Her stepfather, Geoffrey Mendenall, has been charged with capital murder.