There’s a strong argument to be made that threatening children with the fictional idea of Hellfire is a form of emotional abuse, as many former believers will attest to, but it gets even worse when people who don’t realize that Hell is imaginary take actions to prevent other people from going there.
It’s the threat of Hell that allegedly prompted 14-year-old Nickalas Kedrowitz of Ripley County, Indiana to kill his two younger siblings, 23-month-old Desiree McCartney and 11-month-old Nathaniel Ritz.
Indiana State Police detectives say the teen fatally smothered 23-month-old [half-sister] Desiree McCartney with a towel at their home on Maple Street in Osgood on May 1, 2017. She died in the hospital five days later. An autopsy could not determine a cause of death, but did reveal that the child suffered a prolonged period of anoxia to the brain.
Then, just 81 days after McCartney’s death, eleven-month-old [step-brother] Nathaniel Ritz died July 20. Nathaniel was rushed to a local hospital upon being found unresponsive in the same home. A doctor determined that he died of asystole, a type of cardiac arrest.
Kedrowitz was removed from his home after the first death, then placed back just before the second occurred. He was the last person seen with both children. And his motive was apparently trying to rescue them from eternal damnation.
“There were several remarks made to police officers, both detectives Miller and Tressler with the State Police, about freeing the siblings from some sort of hell,” [Ripley County Prosecutor Ric] Hertel told reporters.
The teen allegedly told another relative in January that he had broken one of the 10 Commandments, “Thou shalt not kill.” He shared that he had killed his brother and sister, according to the court affidavit.
It’s unclear if he had any mental illness. But religion permeated his thinking, no matter how warped it was to begin with. Christians may argue all the babies needed was Jesus to be saved from Hell, but some also believe you can’t go to Hell unless you had the chance to learn about Jesus and rejected Him. Aborted fetuses, miscarriages, and babies who die within a year or two of being born, then, aren’t punished for something that was out of their control.
It’s not completely irrational to understand the alleged murderer’s line of thinking: If you kill the babies now, they won’t have the chance to be doomed forever. He was doing them a favor. It’s all kinds of disturbing, but when you mix irrational beliefs with fear and guilt, don’t be surprised when bad things happen.
Prosecutors are asking the judge to try Kedrowitz as an adult. If he’s tried as a juvenile, there’s a chance he could be released by the time he’s 18.
***Update***: The mother says the boy was threatened by his father to kill the siblings. We’ll see if the judge buys that.
(Screenshot via WLWT. Thanks to Brian for the link)