Karly Sheehan’s murder has a story. Karen Spears Zacharias has wrote a book about the three-year old who lost her life because she was beaten to death.
What’s interesting is that Karen Spears Zacharias had actually been living with Karly’s mother, Sarah at one time. The two had ended their friendship before the abuse began, but once she heard about Karly Sheehan’s murder, she began investigating how it happened. Her book, A Silence of Mockingbirds, tells the story.
Karla (Karly) Isabelle Ruth Sheehan was born January 4, 2002 at Good Samaritan Hospital in Oregon to her parents David and Sarah Sheehan. The following summer, David and Sarah got a divorce, but continued to share custody of Karly. In September 2004, Sarah met a man named Shawn Field. They began to date and moved in together. Shawn Field was extra controlling over Sarah and their finances as well as Sarah’s daughter, Karly Sheehan.
When Karly Sheehan would go to daycare, she would sleep for hours as if she was exhausted from not sleeping that night before. In October 2004, Sarah brought Karly to daycare with her hair cut short. Little by little she started to lose her hair until she had bald spots. Karly had stopped crying for her mother when she was dropped off at daycare and would cry out for her father instead.
On November 16, 2004 Karly Sheehan told a daycare worker, Delynn Zoller that she was being hit:
“My dad hits me all the time,” Karly said.
“What?” The daycare provider asked shocked.
“Yes, he hits me on the head all the time.”
“Daddy David?” asked Delynn.
“Yes,” responded Karly. “You need to talk to my daddy.”
“What should I say?” Delynn asked.
“You need to tell him, ‘No! He needs to stop hitting me,” Karly told Delynn.
The daycare worker, Delynn Zoller called DHS to report Karly’s abuse that same day. DHS reported that when she was on the phone with Delynn, she could hear Karly in the background asking when her Daddy was going to pick her up. Delynn told Karly “Oh honey, your mommy is coming to get you tonight.” Karly starting to cry severely and say, “I want my daddy, I want my daddy.”
DHS opened a case of Karly’s suspected abuse. They suspected either her father, David, her mother, Sarah, or her mother’s boyfriend, Shawn Field. Sarah denied leaving Karly alone with her boyfriend, Shawn, but acknowledged that her move in with him may be the reason for Karly’s behavior. In December 2004, Karly Sheehan began to spend more time with her father, David and was starting to improve.
On December 7th, 2004 DHS closed the case. “Based on the information I learned in my investigation, I do not believe Sarah or David are physically abusing Karly; nor anyone else I identified.”
Sarah Sheehan moved into her own apartment soon after and promised Karly wouldn’t be around Shawn. Begin January and April 2005, Karly was doing really well with no bruises and all her hair grown back.
In April 2005, Karly started to have bruises on her body again and was getting anzious. David became suspicious that Sarah was seeing Shawn again.
David had a job opportunity in Portland, Oregon so Sarah agreed that Karly was happier with him and she could move with him. The move was to happen that next summer, 2006.
On May 30, 2005, Sarah Sheehan had bought groceries and was going to take them to Shawn Field’s house. Once Karly heard that, she threw up and had a panic attack once they arrived at his house. A couple of days later, Sarah left Karly alone with Shawn for the night. When Sarah went to pick her up that next morning, Karly had a large bruise on her eye and was swelling it shut and bruised feet. Shawn said she had jumped off the bunk bed.
On June 3, 2005, Sarah was trying to find out what was wrong with Karly so she used play therapy. That’s when Karly asked if she could go be with Jesus. Sarah still left Karly with Shawn for a couple of hours and when she came back, she found Karly laying lifeless on the bedroom floor. One of her eyes were bruised and swollen shut. June 3, 2005, Karla Isabelle Ruth Sheehan was pronounced dead.
Karly had 60 separate injuries from head to toe. She had “substantial trauma to the head, physical symptoms consistent with asphyxiation by smothering.”
On November 8th, 2006 Shawn Field was convicted of Karly Sheehan murder. He was sentenced to 46years in prison. In May 2007 Karly’s law was passed to help other child abuse victims.