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.