Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Sad Story about Charity Powers

When I was in 6th grade, Charity Powers went missing. The blonde hair blue eyed Charity was a classmate, but had recently transferred to a neighboring school in town. Naturally, the story of her "abduction" spread like wild fire around my Sleepy Virginia town: her mom dropped her off at Chester Skateland but forgot to pick her up and the last anyone saw of her was at a nearby Hardee's Restaurant. As one story had it, when Charity asked a sassy Hardee's employee for the time, the woman answered, "Time for you to be in bed."

Normally, when something like that happens at a school, grief counselors are brought in to help students deal with it. When another classmate died that year of Leukemia, an official announcement was made and our teachers asked us if we wanted to talk about it. And years later, when a popular senior at my high school died in a car crash, almost everyone was allowed to stay home and mourn.

But when Charity Powers disappeared, none of that happened. It wasn't talked about in an official way. Even the rumors were discussed very casually, as if we were gossiping about a cheerleading scandal or new gym class policy. We weren't given a "Don't Talk to Strangers" lessons or asked what we would do if our parents never showed up to pick us up. And I don't remember being scared. As it was, my town was largely middle class family town, and Charity was from "the wrong side of the tracks". Her mom had a different last name as Charity. Sadly, most of the adults in my town thought her abduction didn't apply to their children. Whenever it was discussed, there was always a tone of "That could never happen to you, dear, your mom wouldn't forget to pick you up."

While that may be true--my mom always did come through for me--I wasn't struck by how sad and regrettable the whole affair was until later, in my college years, when I realized the implications of that attitude. I was reminded of it again, this past fall, when Hurricaine Katrina devastated Mississippi and Lousiana and the people who were left stranded those who didn’t have the resources to leave, were initially forgotten and dismissed.

Within a few weeks of her disappearance, the chatter about Charity subsided. Months passed and Charity was never found. What seemed like a year later, her body was found in the back yard of a man who lived near the Skateland.

Recently, curious to know the truth, I researched her death on the internet and discovered the facts: Charity’s mom had arranged for a family friend to pick her up, but the friend fell asleep. Later that evening, Charity’s mom came home and discovered that she was missing. Charity was indeed last seen at a Hardee’s restaurant, and so was Everett Lee Mueller, according to 4 teenage eye-witnesses who had also been at the skating rink. When the police searched Mueller’s backyard, four months later, they found Charity buried in a shallow grave. Mueller later confessed on video tape to taking her home, having sex with her and strangling her. He testified that he was drunk at the time and thought that the 10 year old Charity was 19 years old. The next morning he thought the whole episode was a dream until he came across her body. He proceeded to burn her clothes and jewelry and bury with a shovel. Autopsy reports say that Charity’s throat was also cut and also indicated that she was also stabbed repeatedly. Mueller was tried by jury and sentenced to death for 2 counts of capital murder, but petitioned clemency by saying that he found the girl's body while walking through the woods behind his home. His petition was denied and Everett Lee Mueller was executed on September 19, 1999 by lethal injection, the 573rd American to be executed.

In my research, I came across a picture of Charity. It was interesting to compare the picture in my mind to the real picture. She looks like a normal, happy 10 year old.

When I was in sixth grade, I was told her mother was to blame—that Charity’s fate would have been different had her mother been a good mom. But what if I were at the Skateland and my mother was in a car crash and failed to show up? That creep still would have been on the prowl and the outcome probably would have been the same. And what about all of the others involved? What about the owners of the skating rink? Why hadn’t they noticed that a 10 year old girl was stranded? What about the teenagers who knew Charity? Why didn’t they offer to help her? What about the Hardee’s employees? Weren’t they worried about this little girl, who was there unattended late at night? Maybe it was unwise for the mother to leave her daughter in the care of someone irresponsible enough to fall asleep and forget her. Maybe her mother should not have left a 10 year old girl unsupervised at a skating rink, despite the fact that she was familiar with the staff.

Ultimately, the community didn’t protect her. We didn’t protect her life when she was stranded, we didn’t protect her honor when she was abducted and we didn’t protect her memory when she died.

60 comments:

hucklebuck said...

Amen.

Margaret said...

Oooh Carrie that gave me chills. I remember it the same way. She was in Children's Theatre - that's how I knew her.

I remember hiding under the kitchen table hearing my mom talk about how Charity's mom was crazy and something had always been "off" about her.

Weirdly, right after they found her body, I started keeping a kitchen knife under my bed just in case.

bettalove said...

Carrie, your blogs about CH are piercing. Although I was only there for First through Third Grades, and then came back for Eighth and Ninth Grades, I remember clearly the story about Charity Powers. Haunting, especially your description of the utter detachment of the people on "our" side of the tracks. Reminds me of my trip to Rwanda in 2004 and the question I could not answer: Where is compassion in this world? It is a problem everywhere that people do not care for each other properly, that communities fail. Thanks for this posting.

xoxo,
e.lang

Carrie said...

Thanks, all! This story something that I've returned to a lot since college. Writing it was definitely a cathartic experience--especially since it gave me a reason to really research the facts. I'm extra glad that you (and others) have appreciated it.

Miss Smartee Pants said...

Lovely post . . .

I can relate on so many levels. My 7th grade classmate, Opal Mills, fell prey to the Green River Killer. I regret not knowing enough about myself to extend to her small kindnesses along the way. I wish that my classmates and I hadn't been so sensationalistic about it afterwards, that we had recognized it for the true tragedy it was.

It pains me, as an adult, to read about her life and to know how wrong we were.

Your blog is lovely.

George said...

I remember all that. Laura Carter was the girl in 6th grade, she was Ben Carter's cousin. Ingram died in that car accident - I really felt for Stevie and Richie, even though we'd never been friends or even talked much.

A little younger, a guy named Keith died by a drunk driver - that, too, came and went all too fast, but perhaps worse than that, his most remembered moment had been that he was suckerpunched in a fight and knocked out. It's a real shame he wasn't able to outlive that moment to be better remembered with something else.

About the same age, Beth Sweeney died in another auto mishap, this time with the driver reportedly having fallen asleep at the wheel. It may have been some embellishment of the rumor, but she was said to have fallen asleep, too, and slept through it all. I was surprised how fast she disappeared from peoples' minds - she had been a fairly "popular" sort.

Right now, worst for me and my recollection, I cannot remember the girl that was hit by a police car some years before all that. I want to say she even predated Laura's death - she had been riding her bike, I think just before a school year started, when an officer didn't see her and ... that was it. As if it was not bad enough to die, and then be poorly managed in the memories of others subsequently, she also had the terrible misfortune to have died on a summer break, well out of the minds of her peers. I used to remember her name without fail, but my memory has been whittled away by various things.

And that's not even all the people that quietly, pleasantly disappeared from the Heights' view. Maybe it's as simple as we predated grief counselors visiting after such tragedies, but I'm inclined to think that people simply did not care enough.

Life and schooling in Colonial Heights failed to prepare us for a great many things in life, and it would prove to fail us even in death. I'll be managing my memory myself, and well outside that city's reach.

(I noticed you in the CHHS people on MySpace and was wondering how you'd been doing, since I'm frankly just relieved to see that people I knew are still alive, and thought I'd check your blog. You're just about as I'd expected. :)

Anonymous said...

This article brings back many, many memories. I was also a ten-year-old blonde girl when Charity went missing. We were the same age and generally fit the same description, but I was from the "right" side of the tracks. No one I knew was close to Charity or her family -- in fact no one I knew even knew them. However, I clearly remember the adults around me blowing Charity off because she wasn't middle class and from a family where both parents were married. There was no public outrage over Charity's death like there was over Polly Klaas' murder in California or Sofia Silva and Kristin and Kati Lisk slayings in Spotsylvania, Virginia. Why? Because these were "good" girls from "good" families. For goodness sakes, Charity's mother loved her! 17 years later, my heart still goes out to Charity's family. Where the hell is the compassion for them? Why weren't laws changed in Charity's name?

Angie Major said...

Today is November 2, 2007. I just came across the story about Charity. I was a cousin of hers. We played together when we were younger. I remember many things about her. One, when she would come to visit, she would always bring a large bag of candy to share with my sisters and me. Her dad loved her very much and spoiled her to the extent any loving father would! Her fathers love has a bittersweet ending. A little less than a year ago, her father passed away in a car accident. He and his girlfriend both died in the crash. So now Mike, her father is with her in Heaven. I know as soon as he found out that Everett L Mueller was a suspect, he went looking for him...luckily he didnt find him but the cops did. So sad.

Carrie said...

Wow, that is so sad, Angie. Thanks for sharing.

Hello from the Gulf Coast said...

Wow, great post. I lived in Chester for the first 9 years of my life before moving to Northern Virginia. I don't remember Charity's case as clearly as you do because I'm a little younger than you. I was a 3rd grader at Curtis Elem. I didn't realize she was from the "wrong side of the tracks" and that everyone blamed her mother. When she disappeared, I remember some people knocking on my door and showing my parents a picture of her and asking if they had seen her. But now that I think about it, none of the teachers or other adults at school mentioned Charity at all. The only adults I remember discussing Charity's case were my parents. My dear father warned me to be careful every time he saw a missing child in the news and every time one of those "Have you seen me?" postcards came in the mail. Being the great man that he was (rest in peace Daddy), he didn't treat Charity Powers any differently and warned me after she was kidnapped. Charity was somebody's little girl.

After reading this I am really pissed off at the employees working at the skating rink and at Hardee's. There were all those adults there and not ONE of them bothered to help her. And THEN they actually had the NERVE to turn around and blame the poor mother after she was kidnapped.

Thanks for the post. Do you still live in the area?

Carrie said...

Thanks! I haven't lived in that area since high school.

I am now glad I grew up there and have an enormous fondness for Virginia, but back then I wanted nothing more than to get out, so I did. I found people to be so judgmental there, just like in this story. I don't mean to make generalizations. There are some wonderful folks there, too, of course, but people in my hometown could be so cruel to people perceived as outsiders.

Anyway, I never thought of Charity as being from the "wrong side of tracks" either, but I remember at least one snooty adult referred to her as such.

I love hearing from people like you, because I often wonder if my classmates remember it the same way I do. It makes me glad to see others are carrying her memory on with them.

I've since edited and updated this story. I should probably post the new version sometime, but I'm too nostalgic to take the original version down.

Thanks again for your comments!

=)

Anonymous said...

I was also a sixth grader in Chester the fall that Charity Powers dissapeared, and the tragedy was the first time I remember having any real concept of the evils and injustices in the world. The idea that something so horrific could happen in the same small town where I'd always felt so safe and protected really impacted me. You also capture, perfectly, the response of the town. I remember trying to discuss Charity with adults, in hopes of finding some sense of resolution, only to realize that they'd rather sweep it under the rug then try to talk sensitively to a child about what had happened. My friends and peers seemed to also feel detached and unaffected....as if it were something they saw in a movie, discussed in passing in a gossipy, throw a way kind of way, instead of the unthinkable occurring in our own back yard. I knew several of her cousins and like most children in Chester, the Skateland was a familiar hang out to me. The thought of someone so young just dissapearing, and that none of the adults who saw her stranded in the middle of the night reached out to help, was horrifying. Charity's smiling face in the school picture that was so often in the newspaper during that time haunted me, and for months I remember saying a secret prayer for her safe return at bedtime. After some time, the eerie feeling subsided and reports about the case dwindled from the television and newspaper, then Everett Mueller was arrested and the facts of what had happened were released to the local media, which opened up those basic questions all over again: How could something like this have happened to an innocent person? Why don't people want to talk about it? It could have been me...it could have been anybody's child. I looked for answers and found none, but shortly after that I had a dream that I was sitting on my front porch on an unusually sunny day, and a little girl in a yellow sundress suddenly appeared from the clearing in the woods and came up to me carrying a flower. As she got closer, I recognized her as Charity from the pictures....she appeared very peaceful and had a sunny air about her. With out a word, she quickly leaned in and handed me the flower, then smiled and nodded serenly before retreating back to where she came from. The dream was a great comfort to me. Having moved from Chester sometime ago, I haven't thought about Charity in years, but it came to mind recently so I googled her name to see what I could find. Your blog was teh first thing that came up, and it gave me chills but so perfectly captured the time, place, and feeling of those events. Thank you for posting.

Anonymous said...

The 18th anniversary of Charity's death has recently come and gone -- Oct. 6. I hope the Richmond newspaper does something in two years for the 20th anniversary. She deserves to be remembered for who she was -- a young girl who loved shopping and talking on the phone to her best friend. I can't believe she has been gone so long.

Carrie said...

Wow, eighteen years. I forget that now she's been passed longer than she was alive. So sad. =(

Kate (Moore) Sklat said...

Carrie,
I too remember that story vividly, and think of it every time I think about skating rinks. Becuase she wasn't from our school, I only knew of her thru some folks I skated with, "regulars", and I too remember that it was treated as no big deal. It was like the adults had the attitude that she was already gone so why bother. A friend's mom warned us about the area when we'd go skate, but I don't think my own parents ever mentioned a thing.
And you are SO right about our town and it's good-ol' boy atmosphere. Everything you said is true and I couldn't have said it better myself. As an adult I can see that it was a better place to grow up than most, but it sure was a social nightmare at times. Glad I wasn't the only one who counted down the time til I could leave it.

wwgt said...

I was reading the book " bones "
a forensic detectives casebook , on the bus today , riding home from work , and this case was mentioned and it saddened me to hear this story. In my wildest imagination I cannot understand how such a chain of circumstance has lead to this tragedy. Who in their right mind, upon seeing this child not in the company of an adult , would not even take a moment to ask if her where her guardian was?
and what were the odds that a monster would be lurking at the very same time......
makes you wonder how A loving god could allow such an event to take place..
My heart goes out to you charity .
I can only imagine what betrayal you felt while this took shape and occurred..not to mention absolute terror.
and to think a convicted rapist was free to commit this horrible act, makes me want to scream..
while on the other hand harmless but money making, and not much effort required by law enforcement and prosecutors, violations such as pot smoking, are prosecuted to the full extent of the law , and in many ways is much more punitive than what this monster had to deal with ....
god bless you charity and your poor mother ,,im sure in alot of ways this has killed her too.
May the deaf dumb and blind
politicians be dammned as guilty as the monster who did this as, they provided the way for it to happen and who serve no one but themselves
:(

Anonymous said...

Charity has been gone 19 years as of today. 19 years. I wonder where she would be in life today as a 29-year-old woman.

Anonymous said...

It is so sad to hear this story. My heart goes out to the family..

I am a parent of 3 kids, and I could not imagine ever not picking up my child. If for some chance I had to arrange to have them picked up, I woud still call to make sure they got home.

I learned of this story in 2002 when I wanted to search for my biological father, who turned out to be Everett Lee Mueller.. I was saddeded to know that this kind of thing really happens so close to home.

I can tell yu he was sick, he had mental issues, thats not an excuse for his actions, but I really feel like the justice system failed this innocent child. He should have never been released from prison the first time.

I did not know my father, but I will apologize for his actions, I know that will not bring back little Charity.. But someone needs to take responsiblity.

As a parent I try to put myself into this poor mothers shoes, the guilt would just kill me, but just knowing that her baby is not there is too much pain to endure.

I will leave this as the last blogger said "May the deaf dumb and blind
politicians be dammned as guilty as the monster who did this as, they provided the way for it to happen and who serve no one but themselves

Anonymous said...

Yo, idk whos website this is but for real fuck off. you no nothing bout that crap that happened. that just so happened to be my half sister. you dont no crap bout that all you no is the dumb bull crap stories that every one says on this internet. So stop runnin your mouth because that is not the stuff that happened some of it is true but most of it aint. i started to read it and it pissed me off how much of that was fake. so i decided to call you on it so do me and my family a favor and don't talk about stuff when you dont have all the facts enspecially when it is about our family. Thank you have a great fuckin day.

Anonymous said...

Tayrn is a lier for one she never had a ride for charity. She was at the bar getting wasted when she was supposed to be picking her up. And Charity was not 10 she was 13. And tayrn dint care. she waited two days before she called the police.but one thing that you are right about is tayrn is a HORRIBLE mother. she made nathan potts her youngset son go to school with cockroaches in his book bag when he was bout 9 or 10. her house was always dirty and she let her kids beat her and just didnt care bout anything and at this moment she is supporting a child molester. But on top of all that she goes over to mexican ships and prostitutes herself for money.That is what you should no bout taryn potts

Carrie said...

First of all, I'm sorry you and your family had to go through that. I can't imagine.

My intention in telling this story was to honor Charity and lament the fact that her gruesome and untimely death was overshadowed by all of the politics, finger pointing and nasty gossip of a small town. I did not know Charity very well, but I have thought of her often and her death affected me profoundly.

I wish you and your family the best.

Anonymous said...

Charity was my cousin and a very beautiful girl, and not from the wrong side of tracks really just from divorced parents. As for skateland I myself even after this incident use to sneak out and go swimming in hotel pools behind the rink and be back in parking lot before parents got there to pick me up. Skateland has a rule you go out no re-entry and they still do and they don't care where you go when you leave as long as your not there. Same with other area rinks. What I remember most about Charity is she was friends with everyone, everyone knew her and loved her. She was natural and drop dead beautiful.... she made a room shine and everyone in it smile. It tore the family apart and everyone thinks and talks of her everyday still has little memorials in their homes as if this happened yesterday.... and there are terrible details that are left out, including the fact the man who did this he had a wife who lived there, how could she not know?

Anonymous said...

To Charity's brother and cousin (who visited this blog) our hearts are with your family. Trust me, I haven't forgotten Charity, even though it has been nearly 20 years since her death. I was the same age as her when she died, and each stage of life, she is in my thoughts since she would have experienced the same things as me at the same time. For example, high school graduation, marriage, children. I know Taryn has had it hard, and I wish, I wish, I wish she knew that there are people who care about her and hope she can continue through life. No, I don't know anyone who was close to Charity, including her mother. I am simply a stranger who still thinks about a little girl who should have been able to grow up like I did. I wish I could do something to honor Charity.....

tina said...

I was already a young adult when this happened. My grandmother lived in the trailer park right behind skateland. I can't tell you how many times we were dropped off at skateland and snuck out to go hang out @American Trailer Park. We were rarely picked up at the ring because we wanted to walk up to Hardees to eat and hang out. It was a safe area and for the most part Chester is still a very safe place. My heart goes out to the family. There are many people who think of her from time to time. Her mother did nothing wrong. It was a sad sad thing.

tina said...

carrie you are so right, I still live in Va, I live in Midlothian, I lived in Chester for awhile. But in general, people in
Va are very judgemental, you just learn to live with it and know what other people think is not important.

wwgt said...

Yeah it's a pretty Lame old world , when you cannot even let your kids go to the mall or roller skating
with out predators lurking around every corner

Anonymous said...

Angie (or anyone) I am doing a paper on abductions in VA and I'm using Charity's case. When is her birthday? I have searched news archives and can't find it anywhere. Also, I am sorry for your loss. Truly sorry.

Anonymous said...

I was at skateland today with my children for a birthday party and it made me remember. I do from time to time. I too grew up here. I remember the Charity Powers story well as I had met her a few times when she came to Courthouse Green to play with her cousin. I think about her and what a tragedy it was. I remember several different versions of what happened. I don't know all of the facts and I probably never will. Nor do I really want to. The main fact is that she is gone and no matter how you tell it or what you say it wont bring her back. I only hope now that those who were children then and are adults now with kids of their own will always remember Charity. That they will remember how fast a little girl can disappear in this "quaint" town. Let her story remind them to protect the precious lives of the children now. If you see a young child alone please question them, help them and don't let them become a victim the way sweet Charity did. I think Charity would have appreciated that.

LaToya said...

My brothers are the sons of Taryn's late sister Dawn. I would love for them to learn more about Dawn's family. Taryn, if you read this post, please email me @ latoyahoward86@gmail.com.

Anonymous said...

On Wednesday, it will be 20 years since Charity left us. 20 years. She would be 30 if she were still alive. What would she be doing? Would she be married? Would she have kids? Would she have a career? I hope she is at peace.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting, I was in CHMS 6th grade when Charity went missing. It bothered me for a long time. Jason Ingram bothered me for an even longer time. I spoke to him in just days before his death during gym class. He was walking on crutches from having knee surgery. I guess I always put myself in Richie's shoes with his relationship to his older brother compared to my brother, who was also older. I was also in Earth Science class with Richie. After his brothers funeral he looked terrible, but he composed him self well enough for class. There are really no wordsI could say. The moral of my thinking is that I have a family and two boys. Know who their with what their doing, and where there going. That dosen't mean bad things can't happen.

Anonymous said...

George,
The girl that you couldn't remember her name was Erin Hingerty. She died the summer before starting 8th grade at Chester Middle.

Kendra S. said...

WOW, very touching indeed out of the blue today Charity popped into my mind and prompted me to warn my nine year old daughter of the dangers in this world. I remember Charity's face popping up on the evening news like it was yesterday. At the time of her disapearance I too was a care free ten year old who had Charity as a school mate at Harrowgate Elementary. When they found her that was a very sad day at our school, I distinctly recall the tears that flowed down the faces of many of my school and classmates myself included. We planted a tree outside the door of the school in her memory and the next time I go to Chester Im going to stop and see if that tree is still there, it has done alot of growing over the last 21 years. RIP Charity!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kendra. Thank you for your little story about your classmates planting a tree for Charity. I want to drive by and see it, too. Did y'all plant a marker with it? What side of the school is it on? I never knew this was done for Charity, but I am glad her school wanted to honor her.

kelli said...

I often think about Charity. She was one of my good friends & I was at the skating rink when she went missing. In fact my mom offered to take her since she lived in our neighborhood. She replied that her ride was on the way & that she would get in trouble if she left without that person knowing. When we found out what had happened, my mom just cried. I cried. My mom felt so bad for not just getting her & taking her home. She has always been on my mind since then. Ever since then, I have always collected the missing persons cards that come in the mail, just in case. She was a good friend & I will always miss her.

Carrie said...

Thanks for sharing, Kelli! It's a very sad story indeed.

Anonymous said...

I just recently attended juvenile court in Chesterfield , VA because I dropped some kids off at a skating rink and another parent was suppose to pick them up but came much later than expected. Thew Judge reminded us of Charity's story.

Please guard your childrem with your LIFE...

Anonymous said...

Ok. I've heard enough. Wrong side of the tracks? The so called "adults" in the lives of some of you, your parents, the teachers, as well as others, are far more twisted than what they described this child's mother to have been if this was the attitude that they had. No matter where she was from, she was a CHILD and I hope that the people who dismissed her because of where she was from, at some point in their miserable little lives, received the mental help they so obviously needed. There is a word for people like that and it's not a nice one.
I suppose those same people think that in order to get into God's good graces, one must live on the "right side of the tracks", whatever that is. LOL!
Well, not to worry! Because while they were looking down their snooty noses in judgement of this child and her mother, God was pointing his finger at them and judging them.
And things haven't changed much for those types of people over the years. I was raised well off BUT MY parents taught us better than that. They instilled in us that we were no better than anyone else. Just luckier and my father made sure that those in need had a helping hand even though "some people" thought him nuts. Oh, and "some people" were deleted from our lives because my dad couldn't tolerate their attitudes. He summed them up as silly folks with mental issues. That was good enough for me.

Carrie said...

Anonymous, I completely agree with you.

Luckily, my parents don't subscribe to those twisted values and raised me to believe that EVERYONE has worth if not opportunity. But so many of the adults in that area were utterly dismissive of this child. And as I grew up and became an adult myself, I realized the disgusting injustice of it.

Your father sounds like an amazing man.

Brian Bearfield said...

that was my sister. i never thought of us as living on the wrong side of the tracks, we had a decent house and the neighborhood was safe. my mom took care of us and the biggest issue was me whining about wanting to watch ghost busters instead of peewee's playhouse (although we both loved that show). i get overwhelmed at the horrible rumors and made up stories about her on the internet, but wanted to tell you that this was the most accurate. i really never knew people saw us as on "the other side of the track", but i was just 6 and couldn't really even comprehend her death. a few things that to clarify (not that they were specifically wrong) but the hardees employee didn't just make a smart remark, but they made her leave the building unless she was buying something. also the friend of the family, steve, was responsible and had an alarm set... there was just several horrible, small things that all happened and ended up with this. the clock was set but didn't go off, i think because of a battery, and i can't remember clearly, but i think i heard the sound of a phone off the hook as i started to fall asleep since i was the last asleep that night in my bed. i think maybe my little brother had knocked it over, and i sometimes blame myself for not getting it up putting the phone on the hook, but i was young and things like that didn't worry me. the people at the skating rink also saw my sister and the security left her there and suggested she walk up to hardees. and she absolutely did not willingly get into the car with a stranger, there were witnesses that came out later admitting they heard a scream just before the abduction, but were afraid to say at the time because they sat around and didn't do anything. there's other people far more responsible for my sister's death than my mom or steve (the one that was supposed to pick her up), like the courts. mueller had been to court on 4 different occasions for rape at knife point, one being his sister. only two of them got him a conviction and the courts just let him right back out to kill my sister. the judges and lawyers helped kill my sister too. and i don't care what anyone says, the death penalty doesn't bring my sister back, but it does make me feel better. i know that no other little girl will ever have to see that monster again. and thanks to all the people (or their parents) that went out and helped search for her, i think about them and still appreciate it till this day -Brian Bearfield

Anonymous said...

Everett Lee Mueller was a "Monster"!!! This was a travesty on so many levels!
The full blame should be put on the "monster" albeit it sounds like Charity's community failed her!
I was unfortunate to have known that "Monster" & it was Not the first time he hurt a woman/or girl!
I will write more on that "monster" another time as I'm weeping for Chariy & all you people where it happened. Namely her friend who wrote this blog.
God bless you all!

Anonymous said...

Thankyou all for posting, I am Charity's cousin Amberly, born 2 years after she was born, I was named after her, an grew up listening to this devistating story.. It has taught me alot about communities an people. I wish I could've known her, her family didn't fail her, the people outside her life did.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Thankyou all for posting, I am Charity's cousin Amberly, born 2 years after she died*, I was named after her, an grew up listening to this devistating story.. It has taught me alot about communities an people. I wish I could've known her, her family didn't fail her, the people outside her life did

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I am related to the Phsyco Pedafile Monster Everett Mueller. I am a Mueller but there are no other Mueller's related to us who would even come close to doing the Horrific things that Everrett has done not only to Charity but to other innocence women. Everett was in my opinion a Serial Rapist. There was no fixing a person like that. His execution was a Blessing not just for Charity Powers's family but for the vast majority of the Mueller family as well.
The Mueller's I know as a whole are hard working , good, loving people. Mostly Chritians. I only met Everett 1 time that I can recall mostly because he was always in jail & never at family functions. I was a young adult when I met & was told about him . He was never even discussed at family bathing s probably because of Negatvity the conversation might lead to. I always remember Mueller gathers as Fun, Happy, & full of smiling faces.
I have been reading other post on here that talk bad about the family of Charity Powers & I find this deeply disturbing. Charity was someone's Daughter, someone's Sister, & someone's Friend. Their family should not be shamed for their level of income or what "side of the tracks" they grew up on. Everett Mueller is the only person to blame for the Rape, torture, & Murder or Charity Powers, Not the Potts family & Not the Mueller family.
As for the family of Charity Powers, my heart goes out to you.. May God Bless you for that you have endured.
I would like to meet you someday so that you will understand that the Mueller's share in your pain over the loss of Charity.
God Bless Taryn, Nathan & Brian.

Anonymous said...

Please excuse my spelling errors. I wrote this from my smartphone without my glasses. I'm not sure how to edit it but " family bathings" should read " family gatherings" spellcheck sure can change everything with just one wrong click of a letter.

Anonymous said...

I also remember her from my time at harrowgate.and I remeber noone wanting to talk about it.

Anonymous said...

Brian, would you or your mom be willing to have lunch ( in a public place of your choosing) with a member of the Mueller family & talk?

Brian Bearfield said...

I would have to talk to a person through text or something less face to face before I would meet with someone. Also the event left me with PTSD and extreme generalized anxiety to the point of disability, so I'm not very personable

Anonymous said...

Somerset...i remember this. I remember before she was taken, how safe the neighborhood and the rest of this now shithole used to be. I stayed out super late with my brother, my parents never worried about us. I too frequented skateland, every friday night. When that bastard took her away, he took the freedom and safety from every kid in the county. I was 8 and i remember it all vividly. We played together, everyone loved her, and she would not have grown up to be a judgemental ass like most of the people around here. It has been so long since youve been gone charity, u r certainly not forgotten. The adults may have brushed it off, but your peers have never let go. I hate this place-nothing has changed.

Stephanie said...

I remember this. My son is now invited to parties at Skateland but I can never forget this incident. I have never understood why the employees left with no thought to any children left unsupervised. Why did they not call the police, if nothing else? As a teacher, I've had students "left" at after school events. After trying to contact the parents, the police were called. How can an adult leave a child? How do you say, "this is not my concern"?

Miss Raven said...

I am probably older than most of you... and I remember the details of Charity disappearing very well. I was so scared for her. I had just had kids of my own... and because of this I never once let my kids out of my sight until they were much much older, but I still made it a point to know where they were at all times even then. The sad thing is what reminded me of her again, is that a body was found in the same area just a few days ago. Poor man, I think his death may have been medical and weather related. I just cant figure out why he left his home and ended up down that way! Anyhow My kids used to stay mad at me saying I was too over-protective. No just overly cautious! I still feel extremely sad when I think about Charity to this day. I think those who blamed her mother can go $#@! themselves... she did the right thing by making sure someone else was gonna get her... not her fault the dumb @$$ fell asleep. That will probably stay on that persons conscience for the rest of their lives. And should if they have any decency about them. I feel for her mom. I wish I had met her

Miss Raven said...

O I didnt mention about the other people who came across Charity before she disappeared... I dont understand how they could just let a young kid like that leave so late by herself. I wish her mother had been able to sue the skating rink employees as well as the owners of it. Not to mention the person who was supposed to get her that nite. I dont understand how it stayed open after that or how anyone sent their kids there after this happened! Think about it... The 2 people who got murdered in Cloverleaf Mall, that had people so scared the place became a ghost building until it was finally torn down. Nobody wanted to go there anymore. But the skating rink? With so many Kids? Was like nothing had ever happened! And it did! A child ended up in serious trouble! Not me or mine!! As for the employees at Hardees, I cannot believe none of em had a lick of sense not to let that child use a phone or call someone for her, even the police! Hope they can live with themselves. But I have been there a few times over the years and havent been impressed at all with who I came across. Anyway NO CHILD on my watch will go thru any kind of hurt or pain or be in trouble or left alone.... I can PROMISE you that! I guess part of my sadness from this comes from the fact I was living just on the other side of Willis Rd when this happened and I am just mad at myself for not being down that way that night. She would have made it home... and cuz I wasnt there, I have to live with that

Carley said...

George,
Hi, that girl you are referring to is my cousin, Erin Hingerty.

Melanie said...

I have read a lot of things on here. Charity was Loved by so many. Her mother and father loved her so much. Lots of family and friends. They called the police as soon as her mom new. The police called and talked to my father and mother. She was all over the news even in the news paper. My Dad was a truck driver who was always on the road posting missing posters of her. We never came from the wrong side of the tracks. If u don't know what your talking about just keep your stupid mouth shut. �� RIP ����Charity I still think about u all the time. Never forgotten

Reagan said...

Part 1 of 2 posts

First, there are some inconsistencies and factual errors posted to this board which I believe should be addressed. According to Charity's ("Anonymous") self-proclaimed step-sibling, she was thirteen and not ten. This is absolutely NOT TRUE, as has been verified by the medical examiner, the court documents and the birth certificate of Charity. Her murderer was also charged, and subsequently convicted of the crime of capital murder in violation of Code § 18.2-31(5) and -31(8) (murder in the commission of a rape, and murder of a CHILD UNDER 12 in the commission of an abduction).

This alleged step-sibling also claimed it was the fault of the mother, Taryn and not the "family friend", by reason that the mother failed to pick-up her daughter and as well that the mother Taryn failed to report her missing. This, as evidenced by investigatory documents, is absolutely UNTRUE. The mother reported her daughter missing the moment she knew of her boyfriend going to the skating rink at around 3:00 AM, and not finding the child, Charity there.

A poster to this blog asserting themselves to be another sibling stated they were present in the home on the night/early morning of the abduction, and attested that Charity was supposed to have been picked-up by the mother's boyfriend, not the mother.This was, in fact corroborated by investigators at the time of Charity's disappearance, unless it was a fable that was maintained within the family for these years. I doubt that would be possible, as the "friend of the family" was, in fact the mother's boyfriend, who was initially considered a suspect until thoroughly investigated in Charity's disappearance. There was hair found in his trunk and this was found to be from laundry he had done with the family's laundry.

Such falsehoods are borne of so much gossip in allegation of guilt and suspicion among friends/family in the societal way of blaming the mother. I believe these truths should be asserted, that Taryn not still be tried as a failure of a mother, and the burden of her persecution as a woman of sin and guilt be lifted. She did NOT cause this. If she had overslept, or been out and missed the time - it does not mean her punishment should have been the death of her daughter. That was in NO WAY THE FAULT OF CHARITY'S MOTHER OR OF CHARITY HERSELF, REGARDLESS WHETHER CHARITY WILLINGLY GOT INTO THE VEHICLE, FOR A RIDE HOME OR UNDER ANY OTHER PRETEXT, IT WAS THE SOLE AND ENTIRE FAULT OF MUELLER. THERE IS NO WAY A 10 YEAR OLD, NINETY LB. 4'8 little girl with braces ever, ever was mistaken for a nineteen year old, and especially after conversing with her, as the killer was seen to have done by THREE witnesses.

Reagan said...

Part II of II posts:
Yes, I believe there should have been different, and more responsible, ethical responses in the case of these witnesses and their lack of intervention. I believe the girl should never have been shut out of the skating rink, or Hardees. There was a major ethical flaw in shutting the door on a ten year old child in sake of the perception of store security, and valuing money over a child's welfare. Regardless of the faults of all involved, the community bore the burden of the child's death and hopefully those responsible for various neglect of Charity learned a valuable lesson not to repeat those offenses. It is not a consolation of any kind - nor a justification, but it may have spared another child at some point. Still, it was the FAULT of the perpetrator. We should not worry, and those doors should not have been locked on her if not for the perpetrators of crime who make it unsafe.

I am not implying that these allegations were made by a person who was NOT a sibling of hers, as I do not know, but because of the nature of the post, and it's harsh, abusive nature - I must assert that we do not know this to be a fact - they posted as "anonymous", so there is no assertion or offering of credibility. Furthermore, as this person was possibly a child, themselves at the time of Charity's murder, they may not have been privy to the facts, except second-hand and/or many years diluted through misconstruing of the facts through mis-remembering or repetition through rumour, or of allegation. This does not excuse one of the perpetuation of false facts through repeating what we do not know to be a verifiable fact.

The FACTS I'VE ASSERTED ARE FROM LEGAL DOCUMENTATION AND VERIFIABLE ARTICLES OF THE TIME
NO MORE WITCH-HUNTS OF MOTHERS - Taryn herself suffered, even being made to stand out on a field with protesters of the execution of her little girl's killer during her daughter's killer's execution, and not learning of his death but through a newscast. This, of course, is nothing to the hard and long road of self-imposed guilt a mother feels and the torment of losing a child. As far as her "negligence", Charity had an orthodontic retainer on her teeth - often used in correction of teeth as the child is still growing, before braces can be applied on full growth of the jaw. That alone should speak of the class of her family and the care they lavished on their daughter. SEE THE FACTS

The charges document the age of the victim here:

http://www.leagle.com/decision/1992802422SE2d380_1799.xml/MUELLER%20v.%20COM.

Suspects and the boyfriend of Taryn, who was supposed to pick-up Charity:

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1298&dat=19920218&id=FABOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=5osDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6774,3182084&hl=en

Appeal:

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-4th-circuit/1414034.html

A photo of Charity can be found at site below - note her retainer, an expense a negligent mother would hardly either make allowance to afford or care to maintain.

http://www.geocities.ws/lizzietish2000/AngelsInHeaven.html

Anonymous said...

Today is the 25th anniversary of Charity's last day on earth. Tomorrow, October 6, it will be a quarter of a century since she was kidnapped and murdered. Let's remember this forever 10-year-old who should be 35 today. Perhaps if she had lived, she would have her own 10-year-old daughter now.

Anonymous said...

I have never forgotten Charity and how awful and evil that mueller was I was at a friends grave the other day and while walking amongst the graves I came across Charity's. I was so saddened once again to know that sweet angel had to endure such evil. I know she is with Jesus and will visit her grave often and place flowers she will never be forgotten by me and I know many many others who know the angel is with Jesus. All my love always to her family and those who in hindsight will always wish they had done something!

Anonymous said...

I have never forgotten Charity and how awful and evil that mueller was I was at a friends grave the other day and while walking amongst the graves I came across Charity's. I was so saddened once again to know that sweet angel had to endure such evil. I know she is with Jesus and will visit her grave often and place flowers she will never be forgotten by me and I know many many others who know the angel is with Jesus. All my love always to her family and those who in hindsight will always wish they had done something!

Anonymous said...

I have never forgotten Charity and how awful and evil that mueller was I was at a friends grave the other day and while walking amongst the graves I came across Charity's. I was so saddened once again to know that sweet angel had to endure such evil. I know she is with Jesus and will visit her grave often and place flowers she will never be forgotten by me and I know many many others who know the angel is with Jesus. All my love always to her family and those who in hindsight will always wish they had done something!