Jennete Killpack Up for Parole Review

In January of 2006, Jennete Killpack was sentenced to up to fifteen years in prison, for child abuse-homicide. On June 9th, 2002, Killpack tied her four-year-old daughter’s hands behind her back and forced her to drink a gallon of water as a punishment for sneaking sips of Kool-Aid. The child, Cassandra, died of water intoxication, a condition characterized by brain swelling, fatally dropping sodium levels, vomiting and dysfunction in the central nervous system.

Now, after five years incarcerated, Killpack had her first meeting with the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole. While Killpack herself has voiced the desire to go home to her family, others are not so sure she should be released yet.

“For those of us who were involved in her whole case, it’s hard to imagine her ever getting out,” said Sherry Ragan, who was the prosecuting attorney at Killpack’s 2006 trial. “It wasn’t just the one day. This abuse had been ongoing.”

Some people believe that Killpack was encouraged to use hydrotherapy as a disciplinary method by Larry VanBloem, a therapist known for his unorthodox methods with “troubled” children. In addition to hydrotherapy, VanBloem was known to endorse  what is known as “holding therapy”, a form of physical restraint meant to calm children down.  However, VanBloem’s Cascade Center for Family Growth was cleared of any responsibility in Cassandra Killpack’s death in September of 2002.

Whether or not Killpack will be released is yet to be decided. According to Jim Hatch, the Board of Pardons and Parole is in the midst of making a decision and will reach a conclusion in two-to-three weeks.

Hatch indicated that the parole hearing had been scheduled shortly after Killpacks’ incarceration, dispelling reports which made it sound as though Killpack had requested the hearing herself. “We dictate when they [the convicted] have a parole hearing,” said Hatch. “Not them.”

Sherry Ragan is of the opinion that Killpack should not be released after only five years in prison.

“We were hoping that [Killpack] would never be around those kids again,” says Ragan, expressing concern for Killpack’s other children. “She not only caused the child’s death. She tortured her her whole life.”

2 thoughts on “Jennete Killpack Up for Parole Review

  1. My opinions:

    Attachment (Holding) Therapy is actually based on the old, discredited notion of catharsis. It takes a calm child and attempts to enrage the child or make him fearful in order to drain off suppressed “infantile rage.” In the old run, it appear that aim of the practice is to create unquestioningly obedient children.

    It is hard to understand how the Cascade Center could have been cleared of involvement. Survivor of Attachment Therapy often note that part of the parenting method is “forced gorging” with whatever food the child has taken without permission. (For example, I heard a survivor tell of watching a small boy being forced to eat an entire package of cookies laced with hot sauce.)

    Mothers who torture and kill their children should not be allowed to be around other children, and especially not released early from prison to care for other children. In…

  2. My opinions continued:

    …In prison, such people understand who has the power and it’s no surprise that they may be ideal prisoners; but with children, the situation is entirely different — they have power over the children.

    I note that layperson Nancy Thomas will soon be in Utah teaching Attachment Therapy parenting — for CEUs! Will this horrid parenting method never go away?

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