Karina had been looking forward to Christmas. In November, she had reunited with her 6-year-old daughter, who had been staying with Karina’s sister after Karina was evicted. That month, the family celebrated Karina’s younger daughter’s first birthday — complete with her first teetering steps.
Karina moved in with her father and, trying to save for her own apartment, had been working two full-time restaurant jobs, often going straight from one to another. Although she was an enrolled member of the Shawnee, she was too far from the tribal area to utilize their assistance.
Instead, she relied on her boyfriend to care for her 1-year-old. Although he was not the father of either child, Karina had no reason to distrust him. She had seen him with his sister’s children, with whom he spent every weekend, and, she told Truthout, “he was good with kids.” Karina called regularly to check on them. He always told her that everything was fine.