Although Nodaway County Missouri and its county seat, Maryville, are over a thousand miles from my home in Montana, I grew up in the area and know it well. In fact, at one time I moved to a town about an hour from Maryville and I can personally attest to the fact that outsiders are not treated too kindly.
I was shocked (and later I was just ticked off) when I read about the recent events in the little town of around 12,000 in northwestern Missouri involving Melinda Coleman and her family.
The Kansas City Star has the story HERE.
This all happened in 2012. To recap, two girls age 13 and 14 were spending the night with each other at the Coleman home and were texting boys. They came up with a plan and sneaked out of their home at 1:00 in the morning. They went to a party where a high school senior (age 17) and another boy had sex with them after getting them drunk. A third boy recorded the act.
After the encounter they brought the girls back to their house and left the 14 year old outside passed out on the front steps in freezing temperatures. Melinda Coleman found her daughter (Daisy) when she heard something scratching on the door. She was almost frozen.
The Star reports, “Interviews and evidence initially supported the felony and misdemeanor charges that followed. Yet, two months later, the Nodaway County prosecutor dropped the felony cases against the youths, one the grandson of a longtime area political figure.”
Online threats started with many in the town turning against the Coleman family. One kid made a t-shirt saying the boy leads Daisy 1-0. The Coleman’s oldest son was booed (at home) when he took to the wrestling mat for a match. Melinda Coleman lost her job. The family had suffered a tremendous loss a few years before when their husband and father (a medical doctor) was killed in an automobile accident. The family moved to Maryville after the accident.
The harassment became too much and the family moved away from Maryville and back to the town of Albany where they first moved from.
Then their vacant house in Maryville burned to the ground.
Justice was not served in this situation. The group “Anonymous” has now taken up the cause. Here is their message about Operation Maryville (#OpMaryville):
I salute “Anonymous” for taking up the cause.
Several people are leaving comments on the City Of Maryville’s Facebook page and officials there contend that it was Nodaway County’s case and not the city’s. The Nodaway County’s website has the message “We are currently experiencing issues with our website. Please check back later” and the Sheriff’s Facebook page appears to be missing. Central Missouri State University, where the boy accused of the crime is attending, has had comments left on their Facebook page about a rapist attending the University.
Today we find that there will be a further investigation. The Star reports, “Two high-ranking Missouri officials have called for new investigations in a sexual-assault case that has embroiled the town of Maryville, Mo., and gained international attention.”
We’ll be watching.
As for Daisy and the Coleman family – hang in there. There are thousands of us who are behind you and will stand with you.