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Ryan Ramirez was convicted and sentenced to life without parole for the 2018 murder of 23-month-old Paisley Hudson, a death that is made even more tragic in that it may have been preventable if the right people had had the willingness and ability to protect Paisley from her abuser.

In a 2018 jailhouse interview, Paisley’s mother, Kayla Hudson, related to the Herald Bulletin that her children had previously been on the radar of the Department of Child Services.

In 2017, Paisley was treated at Peyton Manning Hospital for Children for pneumonia, and something about her case got DCS involved. Unfortunately, their involvement wasn’t enough to remove Paisley from her home.

In 2018, just two months before Paisley’s death, she was found wandering alone in the parking lot of Golden Corral, near the Red Roof Inn, where Ramirez and Hudson were living with the two children.

If there were any signs of the abuse that was most certainly occurring, they went unnoticed or unheeded by the police officers who responded to the restaurant.

A surveillance video shown at Ramirez’s trial gave jurors a glimpse into what Paisley and her brother Riley endured. The video, later released to The Herald Bulletin, showed Ramirez reaching into his van and punching at the area where Riley was seated. Paisley can be seen patting her brother’s arm and then rubbing her own head. Later that night, Paisley died from a blow to the head and a lacerated liver.

We need legislation that expands the power of DCS, medical professionals and police to act in such cases.

While we may look with some trepidation on empowering government agencies to remove children from their homes, we must look at the facts of this case. Had anyone had the power to intervene and get between Paisley and her killer, she would be alive today to tell her own story.

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