Longform

Angel Eyes

Page 8 of 8

In recent weeks, Caleena has managed to pull herself together. She's gotten a job selling satellite television and has moved into the basement of a Fort Collins house. Although she'd initially told detectives what happened, they wanted a formal statement from her, which she only recently gave them. She says she's prepared to testify at Justin's trial.

For now, though, all Caleena wants is to get Alyssa back and start over. But for at least another six months, she'll have to settle for five visits per week at her mother's house. She has half a year to prove to social services that she can hold a job, maintain appropriate housing, pass drug tests, attend substance-abuse and parenting classes and go to grief counseling. Caleena's not sure she'll be able to do it all -- especially since she has to rely on family and friends to drive her everywhere. "Having a job and raising a kid are enough for most people to handle," she says.

Eventually, she'd like to run a nonprofit to help troubled teens, but Caleena is realistic about her chances of doing that. "I can't really help other people when I'm not there myself," she says.

And she has a hard time bringing herself to visit Jasmine's grave. The northeast corner of Crown Hill Cemetery, known as "babyland," is dotted with the tiny headstones of infants, most of whom died in accidents or of illnesses. Brightly colored pinwheels planted at several of the graves spin in the autumn breeze. Right now, Jasmine's is marked by the trumpet-blowing angel, a small wind chime and a teddy bear.

Before the first anniversary of her death, Caleena's family plans to unveil a proper headstone, courtesy of Olinger. On it will be engraved only Jasmine's first and middle names, leaving no lasting reminder of the man who put her there.

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Julie Jargon
Contact: Julie Jargon