It looks like Cathy Winters is in for a heartbreaking Christmas. Her new grandson, Patrick, is in a hospital in Pembroke Pines, fighting for his tiny life after being born two months premature in a transient camp restroom near the Everglades. And her drug-addicted daughter, Patrick's mother, has disappeared. Winters, who lives in Washington state, believes 23-year-old Molly Selby is somewhere on the streets of Broward County and she just wants to locate her daughter so the family and authorities might have a chance at saving her.
I found out about Winters' plight from, of all places, the Sun-Sentinel comments board. She posted a comment on Bill Hirschman's story about a memorial service that was held yesterday for the 98 homeless people who have died in the county in the past year. Cathy's plea began, simply, "Help":
I live in Washington state and now am dealing with a daughter whom is somewhere on your streets of Broward County..She is a drug addict 23 and just gave birth Nov.27,06 to a boy, in a transient camp bathroom, somewhere by the Everglades, most likely near Pembroke Pines, that is(( fighting)) for his life ... My precious grandson came 2 months too soon and tested positive for drugs. She was only in the hospital for 3 nights and walked away, the morning of November 30, 06, and has not returned.
Is there anywhere I can post of picture of her, in case someone see's her, and I can be called? She was quite sick with Phnemonia when she left. ... We are a family whom loves Molly dearly and she is very sick, and we fear for her life..She has never been this far away. If anyone knows how I can post some pictures or help me, please as we no nobody in your state.
I e-mailed Cathy and she sent me some photos of Molly, which are reproduced here as well as I could (I'm hoping to make some better copies that I'll post later). The 52-year-old grandmother's reply to me began: "I am sitting here in tears. How can I ever ((((thank you))))) for helping me like this? You have so touched my heart and my families. My daughter is so very sick and that has to be obvious with what she has just done. We feel as her family that she just is not going to be alive much longer. My mother is not in good health and Molly dearly loves her me maw. Thats what Molly calls her ...".
You can feel the desperation and sadness -- and unmistakable hope -- in her words. Winters is suffering from a
severe infection in her foot and isn't supposed to travel, but says she has a round-trip ticket waiting for her to come to Florida for Patrick as soon as that is possible. She wrote that agents at Broward Sheriff's Office Child Protective Services have tried to find Molly, but have been unsuccessful. Cathy says her daughter simply walked out of Memorial Hospital Pembroke and never returned:
It is sad to think I know my daughter would be safer in jail and then I at least know she is alive. What breaks our hearts is are precious angel baby fighting for his life. By the grace of God and his miracles was taken to the hospital and survived being born too soon (over 2 months). He did test positive for drugs. I guess my daughter was so high she did not realize what was going on until she went into the bathroom and had him that fast. Drugs have destroyed my beauitful daughter and turned her into something or someone we do not know and it has been a 11 year battle.
... You have no idea what a heartbreaking situation this is, and yet I know God's hand is on it all, because Patrick Wayne is alive. I just do not know if my daughter is. She will either OD or get killed. I have always all these years fought to help her want to change her life. The message we most would like to get to her is that. Her family loves her deeply and wants her to call home or go to a hospital or church.
You have to separate the drugs from the person and hold on to whom the person really is. By God's grace I get through one more day, one more hour, one more minute, but the one thing that has never changed is when night falls that is when I have my hardest time.
Deep down in my daughters heart she has a heart of Gold, filled with love and compassion. She has not lost it , she just forgot its there. With all my heart I know that life on the streets is also an addiction. Hers just is finally taking it's toll and its a matter of time. I do not believe Molly is capable of having the street smarts, especially in Florida. She could die there and I would not even know she was dead. I know when I finally fly to Florida to see my grandson for the first time, its going to hit me like a ton of bricks, but as always God picks me up dusts me off like a rag doll, and, tells me I can! If my daughter lives through this, the message of, not just her, but many others, is of just being able to learn how to turn their scars into stars, and not look at what is lost but what is left.
Right now Molly is lost. Here's how Winters describes her daughter:
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"MOLLY HAS Beautiful Blue Eyes A touch of freckles 5ft6" Not sure on the weight after just having had a baby, but on drugs, she could be skinny Maybe 120-130 Tattoo's on forearm--Set of boxing gloves that say SICK GIRL One on her neck back of hair line Letters on the top side of her fingers Hair shoulder length Could be dyed Blonde but she is brunette Birthdate: 1-30-83 Home State: Washington."
If anybody does see her, they should call Child Protective Services at 954-765-4321 (I'm going to update this information soon with more specifics). I seriously doubt that anybody reading this blog has seen Molly, but I hope this helps get the word out.