Silence Proved Deadly for This Child
Winchester, KY -- A 10-year-old child found dead in her family's apartment in central Kentucky was routinely belittled
and lived in fear of upsetting her father, relatives and neighbors said.
McCaylah Watkins' bruised and lifeless body was found in her family's Winchester apartment Sunday. Her father
Patrick Watkins, 30, and his wife, Joy Watkins, were charged with first-degree criminal abuse on a child under 12. Police
said their investigation lead them to file more charges against the couple.
Family members and neighbors said the couple often cursed the girl and called her harsh names in public.
Joy Watkins' grandmother, Betty Stokley, who lives next door to the couple, said Patrick Watkins was cruel
to McCaylah, his daughter from a previous marriage. Stokley said she had seen him kick the girl in the back, knocking her
"'Caylah would dodge him and move to the side if he walked past her," Stokley said of Patrick Watkins, 30.
"She would shake and go on. She was afraid."
Winchester police Capt. Harvey Craycraft said McCaylah had "trauma injuries" on her body. Patrick Watkins
told police that the girl had fallen down some stairs, Craycraft said.
Some neighbors wondered Monday whether there was something more they should have done.
"They were awful mean to the little baby," said Nancy Bowling, 60. "She was 10 years old, she wasn't nothing
but a little baby who had no one to turn to."
Bowling said Joy Watkins often seemed hateful and rarely said anything pleasant to the girl.
"She would call her stupid and say things to her like 'shut up,"' Bowling said.
In one incident, Joy Watkins became upset with McCaylah and began yelling at her in the street in front of
Bowling's apartment. She then knocked school books out of McCaylah's hands and stormed off, Bowling said.
Officials with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services declined to comment on past or current investigations
involving the Watkinses.