Last month, three days before Christmas, Virginia couple Melissa Delp and Daniel Janney left Delp's two kids, both under 13, with their friend Alexander Edwards for the night. Then there's a blank in the police record, but cops say when the parents got home, their kids had been tattooed against their will. Search warrants said the kids' names had been inscribed on their right shoulders. The sitter has been arrested and is being charged with a crime called "malicious wounding," along with abduction and felony child abuse.
Low res mugshot of Edwards via
The few times I've ever been tasked with babysitting, I got through it by eating pizza and watching TV.
Alexander Edwards is a different kind of babysitter than me. First of all, he favors much more direct interaction with the children than I would. Also, he apparently got close enough to them that he felt like his judgement about what kinds of tattoos they would want superseded their own opinions on the subject.
I'm sure this will come as a shock, but Edwards wasn't a pro. He was using a home tattooing kit, and unless he was a prodigy, the artwork probably wasn't stellar. Maybe his reasoning was that the low-quality ink his kit came with was going to fade soon anyway, so the ink wouldn't be permanent. Home kits like these are for practicing on grapefruits, not the unblemished skin of innocent children.
Stories with headlines like the LA Times' "Mom comes home to find sitter has tattooed her children," don't convey the way in which the alleged parents took the situation from bad to worse when they decided they didn't care for the job the sitter had done inking their kids. After Edwards' arrest it emerged that they had tried to allegedly remove the tattoos with an allegedly hot razor blade, maybe because they hadn't seen this video, or hell, maybe because they had seen it:
Major L.T. Guthrie of the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office says the attempt at removal, "didn’t help the situation any. It added more scarring." So Delp, the kids' mother, and her boyfriend Mr. Janney were also arrested, and they now face malicious wounding charges of their own.
The one nice part about this story is that an enterprising tattoo remover named Michael Mucklow of GO! Tattoo Removal in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, is earning some publicity for himself by offering to perform removal procedures on the victims for free. He told UPI, “It breaks my heart to know they have gone through something like that,” and despite his experience with tattoo regret he said, "I can’t imagine what it’s like.”
Now granted, I don't know what laser tattoo removal can do for the blobs of scar tissue on these kids' shoulders after their legal guardians basically branded them (allegedly). Maybe a skin graft is really what the doctor ordered, but Mucklow's idea is definitely on the right track.