Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What do you know - I was right!

A few of you asked me to keep you updated about the little girl that I blogged about the other day, the one who is being charged with suffocating her 1-year-old son. Dianne Williamson, a local columnist, wrote this column about it last Thursday, and I had to share it with you. I realized that I was right to wonder what kind of life the little girl (she just turned 17) has had - not that I was surprised.

The article can be found online here, but here is a re-print of it:

The Worcester teen accused of suffocating her infant son may be many things — a high school student, daughter of a neglectful mother, loving girlfriend, an overwhelmed young parent who committed a despicable act.

But the one thing she never had a chance to be was a child.

Nga Truong was just 8 years old in 2000 when she was placed in charge of an infant and another younger sibling in the family apartment on Penn Avenue while her mother was out of town. Such a scenario was not unusual. By all accounts, Nga served as mother to her siblings from a young age — feeding them, baby-sitting, changing diapers — while their real mother struggled with mental illness.

On this day, though, Nov. 23, 2000, Nga ran to an upstairs apartment with the 3-month-old infant in her arms, saying she had found him blue and unresponsive in his crib. Little Hien Tuan Truong was rushed to the hospital and later declared dead. The death certificate on file with the Worcester city clerk lists the cause as sudden infant death syndrome.

The circumstances are disturbingly similar to the events of Sunday morning, when police responded to a frantic 911 call and found Nga’s year-old son blue and unresponsive. The now 17-year-old mother initially told police she had found little Khyle in his crib. Later, she tearfully confessed that she had suffocated him with a teddy bear, according to police.

“There’s no evidence to suggest that Nga had anything to do with the death of her brother, but it’s certainly something we have to look at,” said Worcester Detective Capt. Edward McGinn Jr. “It could be a tragic coincidence, but let’s face it — we have to look at it.”

As police continue to investigate the death of an infant, details about the mother charged with murder are emerging. A petite and quiet young woman, Nga shared a crowded apartment near Webster Square with her mother, her mother’s four children by three different fathers, her own child and her boyfriend, who was not the baby’s father. Nga became pregnant at 15. At one point during her pregnancy she ran away from home and was deemed a truant.

Back in 2000, as a result of her baby brother’s death, a neglect petition was filed against Nga’s mother and she lost custody of her children to their grandmother. Within the past year or so the grandmother died, and the children remained in the apartment with their mother, 31-year-old Van Truong.

Yesterday, the four other children of Van Truong — ages 1 through 14 — were placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Families, which had an open case with the family. Van Truong came to the United States in 1984 from Vietnam, where she had lived in refugee camps. She struggled with mental illness and left much of the care of her children to her oldest daughter, a junior at South High.

“This kid never had a chance,” said someone familiar with the case. “It’s heartbreaking.”

Yesterday, on her 17th birthday, Nga was moved from a juvenile facility to a women’s facility; however, she avoided confinement at Framingham State Prison. She may or may not be pregnant again. Meanwhile, her lawyer continued to blast police for what he deemed an “unlawful” interrogation, and called any inference that Nga was involved in the 2000 death of her brother absurd.

“She was 8 years old,” said lawyer Edward P. Ryan Jr. “Any suggestion that she was involved in the death of her brother is an obscenity.”

Police have defended their questioning of the girl. They said she understood her rights, agreed to speak without a lawyer and declined the opportunity to call her mother.

“We’re not unsympathetic to this young lady,” Capt. McGinn said. “She doesn’t seem like a villain. She seems like someone who’s up against it all. I don’t think we were sitting across from a stone cold killer. Motherhood is stressful under any circumstances. But at 16? Couple that with the other children in the house.”

He said typically hardened investigators were “pale” when they emerged from their interview with Nga.

“One of them said, ‘This was an admission we didn’t want to get,’ ” Capt. McGinn said. “She said that she needed help. Obviously, her outlook was grim at that time.”

On her MySpace page, Nga posted a picture of herself with her son and wrote on Monday, “missin yhu so much khyle. mommy luhvs yhu so much i wish yhu were here buht I kno yhur in a better place now.”


Isn't that just heart-breaking? I can hardly believe this poor kid lived within 10 miles of me. I hope she gets the help that she so obviously needs.

Off to work - last week before I have 3 weeks off!!! Peace!


  1. Jenn, Thanks for the update. It is truly heartbreaking for this child.

  2. How sad ,I hope this girl gets the Help she needs !

  3. thanks for the update. i cant believe she did it . its so heartbreaking..... i cant even imagine all the things that this little girl has been throughi

  4. How sad. Its very heartbreaking.