Erik Harper, age 11, had a deal with his grandmother. If Joseph Randolph Mays, the man living with him and his Deaf mother, and his younger brother Dakota, ever tried to really hurt them — it was an open secret in the family that Mays was physically beating all of them — Erik would send her an emergency text message in code: “The Sky is Blue” that meant they were in real danger and she should call 911.
On Saturday, March 21, Erik sent “The Sky is Blue” emergency message to his grandmother. The alert was ignored.
Instead of calling 911, the family did nothing and planned to ask Erik why he sent that emergency text message when he and Dakota arrived a couple of hours later for a visit.
When the boys didn’t show up, the family finally called the police.
When the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police broke down the door of the apartment three hours after Erik sent his death cry of a message, they found Erik in the bathroom near the toilet. He’d been stabbed to death like his mother Erika.
Erik’s brother, Dakota, age 10, was still alive when the police arrived. He later died of his stab wounds at the hospital.
It seems Joseph Randolph Mays became enraged and stabbed Erik’s mother 18 times with a hunting knife. The tip of the blade was broken off and embedded in the back of her skull.
After the attack began, Erik scrambled his brother into the bathroom where they locked the door and sent the urgent blue sky message to their grandmother.
Mays, after murdering their mother, quickly broke down the bathroom door and began stabbing the boys.
Dakota made a break for the front door of the apartment, but he wasn’t strong enough to lift the security bar to escape.
Neighbors told the police stories about Erik leaping from the second floor window of the apartment into the muddy courtyard below to escape May’s previous beatings.
Today, we’re left with another senseless triple murder in America, and one begins to wonder why we so quickly devalue direct threats and excuse cries in the night and ignore pre-planned pleas for help?
We, as a people, fight the notion that babies are born only to die in air shafts — even though they do.
Many in the media were outraged and offended by this domestic violence Public Service Announcement starring Keira Knightley because it went “too far” in delivering its blunt message:
Does that Keira Knightley video go too far in demonstrating the reality of domestic violence; or does it not go far enough?
I wish we could ask Erik Harper.