For those not aware of Robert DeShawn Childers’ story:
* Childers’ father purchased a house and land at a Lauderdale County tax auction around 20 years ago.
* The elder Childers failed to pay taxes, stating he thought he was exempt due to his age and a disability. In short, he dropped the ball.
* Approximately 10 years ago, Robert DeShawn Childers, a physically and emotionally disabled veteran, moved into the home and has resided there since that time.
* Due to unpaid taxes, the property was again sold and was purchased by Leroy Darby.
* Approximately two years ago, Leroy Darby upped his legal attempt to evict the Childerses from the property. A short time later, the senior Childers passed away.
* Approximately four to five months ago, Leroy Darby had Childers’ power permanently turned off; Shawn spent the summer without air conditioning.
* Approximately two to three months ago, Leroy Darby managed to have Shawn evicted in part. A court order stopped the proceedings, but Shawn’s possessions were discarded in a ditch.
* Earlier this week, Shawn Childers went missing.
* Shawn left his home for a walk and had a medical emergency, not being physically able to make it back.
* Shawn left for some secluded spot to think over his problems, not telling anyone where he was going.
* Shawn went for a walk and was picked up by someone with whom he decided to make a new life without telling anyone.
* Shawn went for a walk and was picked up by some lowlife who robbed him of what little money he had and discarded him in some manner.
* Shawn had grown so weary of life’s hardships that he no longer wished to continue.
* Shawn was taken out of the picture by someone who would benefit from his removal.
Public records tell us that Robert DeShawn Childers has had problems in his past, problems all related to substance abuse that are not uncommon in many veterans. Before readers bombard us with these issues, please remember that Shawn was not a drug trafficker, rapist, or baby snatcher. He was someone who had not, for whatever reason, gotten the help he needed.
What of Leroy Darby? Certainly he legally owned the property in which Shawn was residing, or at least had a good claim to it. Was Shawn in any way Leroy Darby’s legal responsibility? No.
Yet morally and ethically, Leroy Darby at least failed as a human being. At this point we don’t know the full story of Shawn’s disappearance. Let’s hope he will shortly be found safe and Leroy Darby has no new events for which to answer.