Aubrey Owen gave up one baby for adoption and left another dead in a Dumpster. This year, she celebrates Mother's Day in prison with the third.

Girl in Trouble 

Aubrey Owen gave up one baby for adoption and left another dead in a Dumpster. This year, she celebrates Mother's Day in prison with the third.

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Wall leaves the room, but the camera keeps rolling. Owen sobs uncontrollably, moaning and talking to herself. She puts her head against the wall then rocks back and forth, putting her hand over her heart and wailing.

When Wall returns, the tears stop instantly. Owen wipes her eyes, then speaks in a monotone. She wants to make one thing clear: Although she didn't ask for help, she wanted that baby but was afraid that Izabella would come out dead because of the fall the week before.

Owen explains that she couldn't confide in her parents, after an adolescence during which she believed that she constantly let her mother down.

"I didn't know how to be like, 'Mom, I think I'm going to have a baby but I don't think it's alive,'" Owen says. "So I just went into the bathroom and closed the door."

On an unseasonably warm evening in early April, three toddlers next door wave to Rebecca Owen over her backyard fence as a chorus of barking dogs rises in the neighborhood.

Across the street, two kids are jumping on a trampoline, shrieking in delight. Another family is playing badminton in its well-manicured backyard. A basketball hoop is cemented to a driveway a few houses down, where a little boy and his dad tug a trash barrel to the curb.

Rebecca Owen waves back at the children next door with a forced smile. Aubrey was about their age when Rebecca and Jay Owen (a traffic manager for Cartwright International Van Lines, a Grandview trucking company) moved their daughter and her older brother from the Waldo neighborhood to Olathe.

Before the move, Rebecca recalls, Aubrey loved to ride her bike down the hill by their old home near 85th Street and Wornall.

"She had scabs on top of scabs," Rebecca says. "Every time she would ride her bike down this hill, she'd hit this patch of gravel and wipe out. But she kept doing it, over and over and over again, loving it. The rush of going down was worth the risk that maybe next time she wouldn't wipe out."

Sprawled on the gravel, Aubrey would call out for her mother. Rebecca would run down the hill and scoop her daughter into her arms.

The memory sounds idyllic, but the Owen family wanted out of Waldo. Seeking a slower pace and better schools, they moved to Olathe when Aubrey was in sixth grade, a bubbly 12-year-old.

The transition was difficult for her. The schools were more demanding, so her grades started to slip. And she had a hard time relating to the cliquey circles in the suburbs.

One exception was Nina Wiglesworth. The two were inseparable. When the boys and girls started making out at social gatherings, Aubrey and Nina would steal away to a corner of the room and laugh at the absurdity of getting caught up in such serious things.

But when Aubrey was 13, she started dating a popular basketball player and fell in love. It was around that time, Rebecca says, that she lost touch with her daughter. Aubrey began to rebel and started hanging out with a bad crowd. "One of them has killed themselves — drugs, alcohol, you name it," Rebecca says of Aubrey's friends. Rebecca says they always bickered, and Aubrey never listened or did as she was told.

One Friday during her eighth-grade year at Frontier Trail Junior High, Aubrey stayed home sick from school. By early afternoon, she had miraculously recovered, so she went to school for the last hour of classes and told her mom that she was going to a sleepover at a girlfriend's house. Rebecca told her she couldn't, but Aubrey did it anyway.

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