Sunday, April 10, 2016

Jeanie Ditty's Creepy Kodak Moment

U.S. soldier & accused killer Jeanie Ditty
It goes without saying that none of us are without fault, but sometimes it's difficult to fathom the choices that some human beings make in this life.

Especially the actions of depraved adults who victimize innocent children; like the four derelict scum bags arrested for gang-raping a 9-year-old girl at a home in Vernal, Utah while her mother was in the garage with a friend smoking crystal meth - on Easter Sunday no less.

On numerous occasions I've ranted about justice and the rule of law in various essays on this blog over the years, but when I read about stuff like that poor child in Utah, or the creepy story about a disturbing murder that took place in Spring Lake, North Carolina back on December 4, 2015, the idea of the rule of law can seem secondary to a desire for retribution.

Unfortunately, parents who neglect or intentionally harm their own children is a troubling and difficult-to-understand fact of life that just happens in this world.

As Christopher Mele reported in a story in the New York Times last Wednesday, 23-year-old active-duty soldier Jeanie Ditty's bizarre decision to hire a Pennsylvania photographer to use Photoshop to superimpose an image of her deceased 2-year-old daughter Macy Grace Ditty onto a picture of Ditty sitting on top of her child's grave was strange enough.

But the knowledge that Ditty herself was arrested on March 24th and charged with the murder of her daughter adds a truly disturbing element to the photo that makes it one of the creepiest things I've seen in awhile.

Last week I read this story on The NY Times Website and I spent awhile scrolling through all the reader comments trying to make sense of it by reading other reader's thoughts on it; but I just couldn't get this creepy image out of my head.                            

Photoshop image of Ditty on the grave of her murdered child
One of the things that struck me was the level of anger readers directed at Sunny Jo, a 22-year-old photographer from Hazelton, PA who created the bizarre photo image (pictured left) after being contacted by Jeanie Ditty about a month after her daughter Macy died.

Ditty brought Macy to the Caper Fear Valley Medical Center on December 2nd where medical personnel discovered the 2-year-old had extensive bruising all over her body.

Police were called to the scene as is standard in such cases.

The child was transfered to UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill where where she died of her injuries two days later on December 4th.

A month later, Ditty sent photos of herself sitting on the child's grave to Sunny Jo, who, according to the NY Times, runs a service called One More Time in which he uses Photoshop to add images of a deceased relative to an existing photo, asking him to create the image above.

For the life of me, I look at that photo-image of Ditty above and I just can't figure out what the Hell was going though her mind. Did she have the photo created to try and cover up the physical abuse and subsequent death of her child?

Victim Macy Grace Ditty
It suggests something truly diabolical if she did try and use that photograph as some kind of prop to cover up a homicide; using it to intentionally manipulate the emotions of her loved one's and friends to gain sympathy is also really disturbing on a number of levels.

Some psychiatrists ascribe complex mental or emotional causes that motivate parents who want to kill their children, Janelle Dumalaon wrote an interesting article in The Daily Beast about it back in 2014.

But I don't think there are nearly enough facts known about Ditty's case yet to know if there were mental sickness issues involved in this horrific crime.

Regardless, Ditty, an active-duty member of the U.S. Army's 525th Military Intelligence Brigade, is currently being held without bond on charges of murder and negligent child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury for the death of her daughter (pictured left).

Her boyfriend Zachary Earl Keefer was also arrested but it's still not clear what happened in this case yet, and it will be some time before we know why this poor child was beaten to death - and who did it.

It's not my place to tell anyone how to mourn the loss of a loved one, and I don't blame the photographer Sunny Jo for creating that bizarre image for Jeanie Ditty; it's a paid service he provides and he had no idea she wanted the image to help cover up the death of a child.

But to me, the idea of using Photoshop to create an image of a deceased relative touching you from beyond the grave totally creeps me out - that's like beyond Kardashian-level tackiness.

Jeanie Ditty's image is like the ultimate anti-Kodak moment; and a sad and troubling reminder of the senseless death of an innocent child.

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