Saturday, November 21, 2009

Jennifer Hampton: Child without a Home

Jennifer Lee Hampton was 21 years old when she died, scores of miles from her high school friends in Waterloo and the various homes in which she had lived in her short life. According to officials at Waterloo High School, Jennifer lived with a sister while attending school. Her mother was barely in the picture, and no one knew if a father even existed.

If these things discouraged Jennifer, she tried not to show it. While at Waterloo High she was voted Homecoming Queen her senior year and acclaimed the most dependable. If one looks at photographs of Jennifer, one may not see the type of girl that is normally elected homecoming queen. She wore no fancy frock or lashings of make-up. Jennifer won the title because of what she was on the inside.

Neither was Jennifer rich; she had little or no money for college and was unsure of what she wanted to do with her life. After working in restaurants for a little over a year, Jennifer announced she wanted to be a nurse. Accepted at a local nursing school, Jennifer continued to work for what she wanted. Living in an apartment in Muscle Shoals, she worked as a server at Mama Blues Restaurant in Florence. Jennifer was so proficient in her job that owner Steve Barnhill chose her to be on the team that trained new employees in other towns.

Friends say Jennifer loved the opportunity to travel and was eager to train workers at a new Mama Blues in Knoxville. It was in Knoxville that she encountered illegal immigrant Valentino Miranda, the man who brutally raped and murdered her.

Tomorrow: Valentino Miranda

What's up with this: Richard O'Neal Matthews has been indicted in Franklin County on a fifteen year old rape case. We wish Joey Rushing the very best in prosecuting this and any other vermin guilty of the sexual abuse of a child.