Family’s anguish revisited after hateful remarks
Dear friends and members of the Glendale community,
First, we want to thank all of you for your overwhelming
expressions of love and support during the past few weeks. It has
been a very difficult time for all of the members of the Keen family.
On April 28, the News-Press printed a copy of the slanderous
e-mail from Pamelyn Ferdin regarding our daughter’s death. We were in
possession of that same letter as well, and were familiar with the
accusations and falsehoods it contained. Although we are reluctant to
dignify such trash with a response, we feel it is appropriate to let
those of you who do not know this family know what the truth is.
1) Contrary to Ferdin’s allegation, Kelly was not treated for and
did not die of a ruptured spleen. One of the surgeons in the
operating room with her contacted us this month and recalled Kelly’s
injuries. She suffered extensive injury to her small neck, where the
animal gripped her with its teeth; she also suffered enormous loss of
blood. He added that had Kelly survived, she would have been a
2) Contrary to Ferdin’s allegation that Kelly was quickly cremated
to avoid pathological testing, Kelly’s body remained at the Los
Angeles County Coroner’s for two days, and a public report is on file
stating the cause of her death. The death certificate states, “Mauled
by coyote” and “burial at Forest Lawn Glendale.” She was buried in a
small white casket three days after her death; she was not cremated.
It is unconscionable that Ferdin, to further her own cause, would
fabricate a story implying a “cover-up.”
3) Regarding a subsequent investigation into her death, which
revealed “mysteriously missing hospital records,” we know of no such
subsequent investigation. If there was such an investigation, it
seems strange that no one contacted the family of the victim for
information. Additionally, we never gave anyone authorization to
review the medical records of our children, and to do so without
written authorization is a criminal invasion of privacy both on the
part of the party inquiring and on that of the hospital. If a file
indeed did disappear, it did not happen because of any activity
Kelly’s family took part in.
4) We know of no physician participating in an investigation as
Ferdin states, and we never threatened anyone to drop such an action.
She neglects to mention a name; perhaps the physician himself would
like to speak to this issue. Glendale Police Capt. Michael S. Post,
then captain of the Support Services Division, did investigate the
tragedy in 1981 and did state on April 22 in the News-Press Community
Forum that it is an undisputed fact that Kelly Keen died as a result
of an attack by a coyote.
5) Regarding the impossibility of a 30-pound child being dragged
90 yards by a coyote, we do not know who claimed that she was dragged
90 yards, but this statement did not come from us. Kelly was attacked
about 20 feet from our front door, on our driveway. She was dragged a
total of about 15 yards when her father ran to her rescue. Our son
John can tell you where the pools of blood were and about the trail
of blood across the street. He returned to the shocking scene after
football practice that morning while we were at the hospital.
6) Ferdin claims there were no reports of any neighbors hearing
screams, and then callously describes the screams of a rabbit being
attacked by a coyote. This statement pained us more than any of her
cruel words, as it forced us to visualize the attack and whether or
not Kelly tried to scream for help. First, there were no neighbors
home at the time; the people living on either side of our home had
gone to work, as it was 8:30 a.m. There were no homes across the
street. Second, our front door was ajar, and we heard no noise from
outside. We can only speculate and hope that she was knocked
unconscious immediately. There was a large knot on her forehead
indicating that she had been attacked from behind. Her head would
have hit pavement.
7) It is our understanding that this is the only documented death
of a human as a result of a coyote attack. We do not pretend to know
the history of mankind, as Ferdin does. However, we hope that this is
and will continue to be the only documented death. For Ms. Ferdin to
claim that it is silly to believe such a “far-fetched” tale, we can
only respond that we were there; she was not. Kelly’s father saw the
coyote on top of her across the street, ran to rescue her, and the
animal retreated when it saw him running toward Kelly. Ms. Ferdin was
not in the car with us racing to the hospital, holding the severely
lacerated, profusely bleeding, and moaning three-year-old child.
It is impossible to describe the pain that accompanies the loss of
a child; only those who have been there can understand. Kelly was an
adorable, tiny and humorous little girl who we loved with all of our
hearts. Time has allowed us to heal to a degree-- not to get over the
pain, but to live with it. The hateful accusations made by Ms.
Ferdin have succeeded in erasing our years of healing and have forced
us to revisit the details of this event that devastated our lives. We
hope that God will forgive her; we will not.
CATHY AND BOB KEEN