There will be justice for Ocean
The death of a child is always tragic and devastating, but it’s even more harrowing when the child was abused in the days, weeks, or even months prior to their demise. It seems unconscionable that an adult would harm a child at all, yet it happens all over the world every single day. In the best case scenarios, there are concerned citizens and social services to correct situation and get the child out of harm’s way, but sometimes those systems aren’t in place. Then again, sometimes children slip through the cracks even with every possible safeguard in place. When that happens, those children can lose their lives at the hands of abusive people.
One family is struggling to get justice after their precious baby was taken away from them. More and more people are calling for the local authorities to do what’s right and put her murderers behind bars.
Sassidy Curry was the proud mother of two-year-old Ocean Wright. She was raising Ocean with the help of her husband Marcus, Ocean’s stepfather, who adored the child. He even gave her his last name despite not being her biological father.
Ocean had hardly seen her biological father, Chris Witing, since her birth as he lived in Hawaii while she lived in Las Vegas with her mother. The courts ordered Sassidy to let Ocean spend two months with her father, and she obliged. Sassidy had taken Ocean to see Witing in Hawaii once before and felt confident that everything would be okay.
As far as she knew, Chris was in the army and lived at the Schofield Barracks in Oahu. What Sassidy didn’t realize at the time was that Chris had moved in his new 21-year-old partner, Tihani Bowman-Martin. The couple lived with Tihani’s two children, one of which was a newborn.
After leaving Ocean in Witing’s care, Sassidy tried to keep in touch with her child. Then, communication became difficult. Sassidy’s cousin Miracle Watson wrote about what happened in a Facebook post:
“You could tell Tihani didn’t like the close relationship Chris shared with Ocean… and it got to the point my cousin Sassy couldn’t contact her daughter. She would call, no answer. She would face time, his excuse was he can’t answer cause his screen was cracked. When my cousin finally got to talk to her baby, Ocean would be so excited and immediately ask to come home. My cousin told her ‘A few more weeks and mommy is coming to get you.’”
Then all contact with her daughter ceased.
On August 18, Sassidy received a phone call from Chris’s mother Shirley Whiting. Shirley said that Chris told her he found Ocean face down in the shower, and her skin was falling off. Shirley believed the child was having an allergic reaction, but Sassidy insisted the child had no allergies.
Sassidy frantically called Chris to get more information, but he never answered. Instead, she got another call from Shirley asking her to stop calling Chris because he was becoming upset.
This mother wasn’t about to give up on her child. She called multiple hospitals and finally found the one where Ocean was receiving care. According to the doctors, Ocean was in the burn unit of the Kapiolani Medical Center after Chris brought her in, saying that he found her electrocuted next to an outlet. On another occasion, he said he found her in a bed wrapped up with the skin condition.
Rightly so, the doctors didn’t believe any of his changing stories.
Sassidy got on the first flight to Hawaii and was with Ocean in a matter of hours. The doctors were able to deduce what really happened to her. Miracle explained:
“After the doctors washed her skin off they were able to tell how the burn was caused… HOT BOLING WATER!! Ocean was burnt 100% on her face, [and] 22% on her legs and arms!! From the way the burn looked the doctors said hot water was poured over the baby’s head and they made her stand in it because her toes were almost burnt off.”
It also appeared that the child had tried to shield her face from the water with her arm. “I only can imagine the screams that she had and the pain that she felt,” Sassidy said of the injuries.
Sassidy was appalled at Chris and at this mysterious “wife” of his, but she was also furious with the local authorities over their lack of care. She found out that Ocean was brought into the hospital less than a month earlier due to a fractured eye socket, bruises, and a bite mark. CPS investigated the situation, but nothing was done.
Sassidy wasn’t even notified.
After Sassidy found out what really happened, she learned that Chris had called CPS to pick up his newborn and Tihani’s four-year-old because he didn’t think they were safe around her. The older child attested to the fact that Ocean was horribly abused while in the care of the couple.
Astonishingly, Chris bailed Tihani out of jail after she was arrested under abuse charges. Making matters worse, Sassidy was contacted by the father of Tahani’s four-year-old who told her that Tihani was abusive to children. He also told Sassidy that she had been investigated under suspicions of child abuse at least once before. She evaded arrest by fleeing to the island state.
According to Miracle, Ocean was recovering slowly over the next few week:
“During the [next] five weeks, Ocean started to get back to herself. She was eating on her own talking and playing! It brought my family so much joy to hear and see our baby back to herself after all she been through; it was truly amazing how things turned around because the doctors didn’t expect her to make it past day one.”
Sadly, Ocean passed away when her heart rate dropped after a skin-graft surgery on September 25. She was laid to rest on October 5. Chris didn’t attend the funeral. However, it was discovered that he had taken out a life insurance policy on his daughter at some point before her death.
Sassidy, Miracle, and many others are on a mission to put the perpetrators behind bars. Sassidy told Hawaii News Now, “I’m never going to stop until justice happens. My daughter might be dead in flesh, but she still lives on because as long as I’m her mother, I’m never going to stop.”
The death has officially been classified as a homicide, but no one has been arrested in connection with the incident as of publication (Oct. 25, 2017).
SHARE this story about unchecked child abuse and leave your well-wishes to Ocean’s family in the comments.