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Friday, October 31, 2014

Homeless woman finds shelter on Glendale Boulevard median

Cassandra Brown said she does not want to draw attention or publicity. But it’s hard not notice her after the thin homeless woman became the resident of a fairly large homeless camp that popped up earlier this week on the median of busy Glendale Boulevard where it crosses under the 2 Freeway on the border of Echo Park and Silver Lake. Brown’s home, which is composed of plastic tarps and a barricade of shopping carts, orange traffic cones and other materials, has attracted the notice of passing motorists as well as members of the Echo Elysian Forum. Said one member:

Anyone know what to do to get them to leave or move? It’s huge and seems pretty shady.

Brown  said she does not cause any problems and cleans up and takes care of  herself. “I don’t ask anybody for anything,”  said Brown in a brief interview outside her home.

Despite living only inches away from traffic speeding on both sides of her home, Brown said living in the middle of Glendale Boulevard under a freeway beats living on the sidewalk.  The freeway shelters her from the rain and sun and Brown does have to worry about  pedestrians stepping over her.

“As long as they [motorists] stay off the curb, I’m okay.”



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80 comments

  1. Man that’s dangerous. There are so many soused drivers in Silver Lake-going-to-EP these days……

  2. We should give her a one-way ticket to Santa Monica, like the rest of the country does with their homeless…

  3. In the spirt of the holidays!
    What a wonderful outpour of support for a fellow human,
    Such lovely people you all are .

  4. The Silverlake Food Pantry (organized by a church) at 2930 Hyperion Ave gives out food on Wednesdays around 5 to 6 pm.

  5. And we have low tax paying multi million dollar home dwellers in the vicinity of this poor woman’s predicament, what a disgusting country.

    • Ted, maybe you should stop by and see if there’s any way you can help this woman get out of her predicament. And if you think this country is so disgusting, it might be time for you to get out.

    • Ted, why don’t you take her in instead of just complaining abou our country? And if you don’t like our country, Mexico is just 2 hours away and Canada about 3 by plane. Feel free to move.

      • Really? If there are aspects of this country he doesn’t like, he should shut up and move? Maybe he wants to stay and help make things better. It’s OK to complain.

    • Well certainly if someone busted their behinds working to afford to live in a nice “multi mullion dollar home” they deserve to take care of this problem too!

      Ted, your socialistic attitude is disgusting. I already pay more than “my fair share” in taxes and thanks to the morons in this state I’ll be paying even more with prop 30.
      We don’t live in a perfect world. There will be people who are homeless. Demanding high income people to kick-in more and more money will never be the solution…
      And if you are soooooo worried about it, by all means…

      • Beanteam,
        How do you calculate that you personally pay more than your fair share?

        • Well, that’s a simple equation, boombala. My tax bill was 6 figures last year, while 47% of Americans had a 0% effective tax rate.

          If you want to call it “fair”, I’d disagree. If you want to call it “share” then I’d suggest that the 47% kick-in a few shekels before you ask me for more.

          There is a limit to how much you squeeze out of my wallet before I pick up my marbles and leave you with the 47%. Then you can fight over who’s not paying their “fair” share.

          • Beanteam-
            Really, you make that much money and you only read the headlines of right wing talking points . . . but never considered further or noticed that the invented “47% had a 0% tax rate” talking point that Rmoney got caught parroting had everybody backing away from it the minute it was even slightly scutinized.

            You should consider yourself very lucky to be paid that well considering your analytical impairments.

          • The statistic sighted was not from the political campaign, but from the IRS after the last tax cycle. I’m am not a republican nor a democrat, not that it should matter. I’m merely answering the question asked.

            You should check your facts before you comment. Evidently analytical intellect is wildly overrated if yours is the benchmark…

          • More to the point, roberto, if 1 person pays 100K and another pays 1K. How can you say the one paying 100K is not paying “their fair share”? Wouldn’t you say that about the person paying 1K?

  6. be nice
    God bless her and keep her safe

  7. How can we get her to leave? No thanks, get a job, go elsewhere.

  8. Just on a human level, this is really sad and a real fail on our collective part. I’m guilty of it too– I’m quick to make comments on the state of things, but rarely do something about it. But to make judgment on this lady isn’t really fair. But her posting up illegally isn’t right either. I don’t have a solution. It’s just sad.

  9. comments here sadder than the story

  10. Alvarado Resident

    I’m really impressed by the ingenuity this woman showed in building her shelter

    • There are some long-time can collectors in my neighborhood that I feel the same way about. There are two of them, a man and woman team. They had been living on the street with shopping carts, and within the last couple of years they upgraded to a beat-up white van. I admire their persistence and wish they could find a better way to apply it.

  11. Somebody please call 311 and report an illegal homeless encampment.

  12. I wouldn’t Fu#k this comment section with BEANTEAM’s keyboard

  13. I noticed this last week. I thought CAL Trans was storing materials there, because it was so clean and neat. As someone who worked with the homeless for years doing research for NIH and The Rand Corporation, I see homeless people every where. My heart goes out to her. She has a story. She didn’t end up there over night. A long, harrowing string of incidents causes people to become homeless. The longer they’re on the street, the harder it is to get them back into society. As a nation, we have failed this population. I lived in Mexico for over four years, and as poor as the people were there, they all had homes. A lot of them looked just like the pictures above. God bless her.

    • thanks echoman2000
      lucidity and compassion that upgrades this comment section, gives it a sign of human presence.

    • I’ve lived in Los Angeles for more than 45 years and have lots of experience with the homeless. I understand the immediate reaction of pity from most, but please understand that some homeless (such as the Ms. Brown) choose to live on the street for a variety of reasons despite the assistance available. While your pity is natural it is likely unwanted.

      • the comments you are responding to weren’t about pity, but compassion: not knowing someone’s story, how they became homeless, and thus, not judging them for it.

        Also maybe important not to presume what is or isn’t welcome. the woman is a person and only she can give an account of that.

  14. If you live in the area, you can call LAHSA and they will find a shelter for her. It is too dangerous to be sleeping there. Two homeless people were run over on the sidewalk in Skid Row last week. Unfortunately she probably will not go to a shelter. Here is their website:

    http://www.lahsa.org/

    • THANK YOU for the mention.

      I work at LAHSA. We can help her if she would like the help, and we do have outreach teams that travel daily to try and get people access to services and housing. Unfortunately in a county that’s over 4K square miles, we can’t find everyone.

      The emergency response team phone number is 213-225-6581, after hours the best number to call is 211.

  15. There are more than five times as many vacant homes in this country as there are homeless people.

    And yes, the rich aren’t paying their fair share. Not only that, if you happen to be a bank executive engaging in massive fraud and confiscation of people’s homes through the practice of robo-signing, you don’t get criminally prosecuted — but if you’re one of the “normal” people and happen to be picked up on a nonviolent drug offense, you can be stuck in the criminal justice system for years.

    Let’s bring the top marginal tax rates back to Eisenhower-administration levels, let’s prosecute fraudsters hiding behind the corporate veil, and let’s reinvest in our country and its people.

    I wish the best for this woman.

    • How much should the rich pay? Lets say we go to Eisenhower levels and there’s still homeless then what? I’m consider my self a pretty liberal democrat but simply trying to have people pay more to solve the worlds problems simply won’t work.

      FYI there are actually currently homeless shelters and food banks that that she could go to right now to get help.

      Just out of curiosity what percentage of your paycheck are you willing to contribute to eliminate poverty.

      The answer to these problems in individual responsibility no the government. You want help reduce poverty and crime start volunteering your own time and effort especially at the developmental stages and stop asking oher people to pay for something that’s primarily (in this country) a social problem.

      • Mark,

        I am actually unemployed and not too far from poverty myself. I volunteer some of my time to help people who are being evicted from their homes.

        Yes, there are homeless shelters, but from what I understand they often fill up, usually have restrictive policies such as when you have to arrive and leave, and are sometimes unsafe. Some people have mental health issues or addictions that deter them from checking into shelters.

        No social problem can be eradicated fully, be we could go a long way to addressing the homeless problem by prioritizing jobs with living wages rather than worshiping at the altar of high finance, instituting single-payer healthcare that most Western democracies have, strengthening the mental health system, treating drug addiction as a health problem and not a crime, and not starting stupid wars from which returning veterans swell the ranks of the homeless.

        Individual responsibility doesn’t negate collective responsibility. The first sentence of the Constitution of the United States says that one of the purposes for setting up our government is to “promote the general Welfare.”

        • Nice comment, but you lost me at welfare.

          The authors of the Constitution (as were most in the day) believed in being self-sufficient and self-reliant. Certainly what they meant by “welfare” is the government should promote and make available opportunities so one could survive and thrive; not the model of welfare today where it is merely a hand-out.

        • collective responsibility means spending other peoples money. These are not primarily “government” problems anyway they are social and cultural problems. If the average citizen put in half as much effort as the government already does into solving them it would go twice as far. How come no one here see a homeless person and thinks “man I really need to get involved” If you want to know why we have these problems people need to look in the mirror first and foremost and then a distant second blame the goverment.

          By the way by prioritizing jobs with living wages is not the goverment’s job either. If you want to make that a priority by all means start a business and pay people a decent wage.

      • it is sooo easy to scream go to a shelter, when you have never been to one and SEEN what goes on there. ..she would LOOSE the majority of her little scrapped-up on belongings, and her private things would get rambled through daily.

        That is what is allowed in already over-crowded shelters. ..Use your BRAIN to think why else a person chooses to live under a bridge than simply go into a shelter. ..(or is it that you simply DIDNT want to admit to yourself that the shelters must be in really bad shape for people to rather CHOOSE to live on the streets?

        Mentaly smoke-screening bad social situations does NOT make them go away. .if you cant or dont want to help anyone. stay silent and just care about only YOU

  16. Love her….we should bring her food.

  17. I just came back from a three week trip to Morocco–Algiers, Fez, Marrakesh. I did not see one homeless person. I asked about it. Homelessness does not exist in Morocco. And it’s a poor country. Families won’t allow it. The government won’t allow it. The religion won’t allow it. I’m not saying we need more religion, though churches do much to help people without homes. But we could value family a bit more and be less atomized as individuals. And our taxes could be used to fund social programs more than strange military adventures that lead nowhere. Finally, I don’t mind saying this country is in some ways disgusting. But I’m not leaving. I’m going to stay and help to fix.

    • Well said. That’s exactly what I’m seeing. Family values in this country are disappearing. I’m from Europe and this is the first thing that stroke me when I came here…

      • Homelessness should not be allowed. Too often it is by choice (but not always). When it isn’t, families should take care of their own…if they don’t, government and/or non-profits need to step in and provide shelter, meds, food etc. I am sorry some people don’t like shelters and their rules but as a civilized society, we should have zero tolerance….for the safety of the homeless individual as well and keeping our streets safe and clean. Europe does a much better job than we do.

        • Yeah? Im from Europe and its awash with homeless people. The only difference is they are respected as individuals rather than an ‘unsafe’ element to be swept into a shelter to keep everything ‘clean’.

    • I went to Marrakesh in September/October 2012 too and yes, there were NO homeless. Freedom is a double-edged sword.

    • Same thing when I visited Peru. I went to 3 different cities and rode a train through the countryside. I can’t remember seeing one single homeless person, at least noticeably. This women has been made a spectacle because she’s in plain sight, but it’s not about this women. There are 1000s just like her. Don’t judge these folks unless you’re willing to talk to them and learn their story. It’s possible she’s feels safer in the median because there’s less foot traffic, etc..

  18. Ron,

    Homelessness doesn’t exist in Morocco? LOL! Just like I’m sure homosexuals don’t exist there, too. Puhhhleeeez.

  19. I was giving flu shots in Glendale last week, and driving home I stopped and gave her a couple of left over tuna sandwiches. She smiled and said “Thank you.”
    So tell me again why we should call the cops on an ‘illegal homeless encampment”?
    I would rather have a dozen of her for neighbors than the cretins at 36 Echo or whatever that rabbit warren is called.

  20. Maybe someone can contact gschomeless.com, they have outreach and may be able to convince her to go to their quality Women’s Village at Beverly and Union. And why would anyone write nasty comments about this situation? What’s that about?

  21. Sorry, gschomeless.org

  22. I am very supportive of many comments here, but a major portion of these comments are not only ridiculous but intellectually dishonest. This notion that because (group A) exists, and they have “needs” (group B) is somehow indebted to (group A). Somehow when emotion or a person’s “story” is involved, equal application of the law 0r structure in a society goes out the window? this is illogical and dangerous.

    As a home owner, business owner and landlord, I pay plenty, and no person that has commented on this topic, or any Government official has the power to be the arbiter of what “fair share” is. If we all gave freely all that we earn, there will still be homeless, so why would paying more in taxes help? Because Government does things so well? no.

    We all do pay, we all pay taxes, fees and charges that pay for those that are unable or unwilling to pay for themselves. And many of us donate time and money to charitable organizations such as Missions and shelters, (as well as state subsidized organizations) so this complaint is mute. If you embrace living in a slum that is full of homeless encampments, move out of the area, or be a good utopian that puts money where mouth is, and move them into your home.

    I have lived many years here and have purchased property to maintain or even improve the quality of life for myself, those that rent from me, as well as others living in this area. I also invested in property in hopes (God Forbid) that it would go up in value. if this offends you, you are beyond hope.

  23. Mitt Romney would be proud. She didn’t ask for the government’s help. SHE built that!

    The selfishness exhibited in this thread is so unbecoming. Empty shells of people trying to justify their need to build the wall between the haves and have-nots higher and higher. And probably all consider themselves moral.

  24. Would be nice to hear responses that are not filled with baseless assumptions, generalizations and progressive talking points void of substance or meaning.

  25. this thread is bumming me out on so many levels. nice to know that people can have such complete disregard for their fellow man.

  26. Reading things that make us all warm and fuzzy inside are wonderful, but in practical reality they get nothing done. The authorities need to come and escort this homeless person to one of the organizations set up for this very purpose. The only reason it has not been done already is due to political correct issues surrounding this situation.

    No one opposes any individual bringing this person sustenance or financial help. The non-warm and fuzzy fact is; the encampment is illegal and dangerous and will be a magnet for more encampments and then the situation becomes so large NO ONE will want to touch it.

    Removing this person and this encampment is not cold hearted, it may not be a solution to the greater issue of homelessness but it is however a practical solution to the situation at hand.

    • translation: out of sight, out of mind.

      • Having the authorities (which we citizens pay for) escort the homeless to organizations (which we also pay for in tax dollars and donations of time & money) that are equipped to help a person or persons get the help they need, is not what your obviously well thought out and solution based response would insinuate.

        • the likely scenario is the police come, and chase her away. most of her stuff ends up in the trash and she becomes someone else’s problem. I work with the homeless all over the city and see it every day. if it was that easy to get someone into a shelter or transitional housing they wouldn’t be camped out on medians and waiting 12 hours in line on skid row to get into a cold weather shelter.

          homelessness is a horrible problem and there are no easy answers. i think a good start is more housing made available. the hard part is that no one wants it in their neighborhood. so people get pushed into areas like skid row (which is initially acceptable to most people), but then those areas start to get gentrified and these people are not tolerated anymore, and get pushed out again. at the moment (due to ongoing development) Hollywood is kicking them all out, so expect more soon in your own neighborhoods.

          @ Neighbor, I actually didn’t take offense to your line of thought (you actually seem compassionate). there were some other replies here that struck me as callous and cold hearted. there are a thousand variations on the theme of homelessness, and there needs to be just as many responses. not as many resources as people imagine, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon. i just get touchy when I see responses insinuating that the homeless are a burden (aesthetically speaking) on the real citizens. imagine what it is like to live that way.

  27. If someone wants/chooses/has-no-choice-but to live between two poles under a freeway overpass, dear God why don’t we let them?

  28. No matter what, we should all get out there and aggressively help the homeless with food, conversation, books or whatever. They are our brothers and sisters.

  29. Although we all have bleeding hearts and want to help our fellow man/neighbor/friend. We really aren’t helping them one bit by giving tuna fish sandwiches or extra tarps.
    The truth of the matter is that no home should be in the median of an underpass. And anyone that helps her in any way other than aiding her relocation is an enabler. I drive by several times a day. It really is unsafe, and creates a bit of a blindspot and extra darkness inside an already dark and curvy underpass with an abrupt light. It’s dangerous for everyone including the homeless woman.
    Is that really any way to live?

  30. I agree with Michael. Some of the complete callousness and disregard for human life here is by far the most sickening things I have ever read. Its just the whole, “I dont give a sh*t about anyone but myself and my 6 figure income” is what disgusts me. No, the government and our taxes dont have to pay for food or shelter for the homeless….I understand your republican selfish train of thought, but should that stop you from just FEELING something in your heart? FEELING sorrow, FEELING sadness for someone so lost they ended up under a bridge? Do you not question what could have happened to these people? Do you really have no compassion or empathy for them? I have gone through some hard times, to the point where yes, if I take one step further I too will lose everything, my job, my home….but I was lucky enough to have family and friends that stopped it before it all happened. These people probably have no one.

    All I know is that what you say on here and your mentality towards human life is reflective of who you are as a person in general, an insensitive, detached heartless person and I would be surprised if you had any friends or family that actually want to be around you.

  31. The gift of clairvoyance is abundant in this comment thread. Some have the amazing ability to know what is in a person’s heart or mind and what action they have taken in their life to help the homeless, or not. All this by simply by reading a short comment, I envy your abilities.

    Now that most of the progressive points on your checklist have been marked off, what do you propose as a solution? As much as a person may empathize, worry or ponder why a person is homeless, those feelings do not get this person the help that is needed.

    Citizens for years have protested and pushed local and state Government to “solve” the homeless situation. In turn more funding, more outreach, more redundant city council resolutions were adopted. A structure was created and now for some ethereal reason, using the very structure that was created would be callus and void of feeling.

    If all law was applied based on emotions, feelings, empathy, background story, there would be complete chaos. Some seem to think this is how it should be, that is, until it effects them personally. One’s feelings differ from the millions of others that live in this city and visa versa. So the law must be followed and applied equally.

    • here’s a few to start: better education (including college), programs for vets that actually do something instead of pay partial tuition for community college, drug treatment on demand, using some of the surplus housing that sits empty for those without a home, taking the business improvement districts out of the decision making when it comes to money spent on the homeless (there’s an incestuous conflict of interest if I ever heard of one), helping people out of the whole foreclosure mess, vocational rehab, affordable housing (I mean affordable). the problem is pandemic and can’t be solved by a couple of nights in a cold weather shelter for one woman.

      it is a mess, there are no easy answers. I didn’t claim that I had the answers. I merely stated that it isn’t that easy to get into a program or housing. I also stated that I don’t believe that this is a problem for the police. they do not have the power to help her. they can perhaps arrest her or move her along. neither solves the problem. she is allowed to sleep on the street, and she is also allowed to store her property on the sidewalk (recent lawsuit that the city lost), so there is no reason for the police to even contact her. you keep mentioning a “structure” but I’m unclear as to what you are speaking of. the numbers of homeless people in LA are far greater than the number of available beds. you make it sound like she is just too damn lazy to pick her happy ass up and claim the bed that has been sitting empty waiting for her.

      I have no idea how she ended up there and neither do you. regardless of whether or not she has made bad decisions in her life, she still deserves to be treated with dignity and not scapegoated for bringing down your property value. but we don’t know about her story, we know she lives on the sidewalk and irritates some people. sadly, for many older people in this situation, it is often the end of the road. this is why it is called “chronic homelessness.” what do you advocate for those that are not suitable for traditional housing?

  32. The PATH Outreach Team was at the location today and made contact with “Mrs. Smith.” We offered her services and an opportunity to seek shelter. She declined and stated she may be leaving the location soon. She is very ill and we believe that she has been homeless for decades. We will check back with her soon and offer her services again…that’s what we do for our homeless neighbors. For more information on PATH check us out at: http://www.epath.org. If you’d like to contribute to our outreach efforts and invest in your community you can give here: http://www.imaginaryfeast.org.

  33. How can all these so-called home and business owners be angry about their taxes going towards something that makes a neighborhood better for all people?
    You did not get to where you are in a vacuum. Every aspect of society is affected and supported by public funding.
    And what about the tragic wars that are fought with your taxes, out of sight. Compared to that, the amount that is spent on the poor is literally next to nothing.

  34. It’s been good to read what people think. Whatever you think of this woman, good or bad, it is irresponsible of anyone to not imagine how they themselves could be in her place or worse. I’m not religious, but the phrase “There but for the grace of God go I.” certainly fits. Whatever God is to you, even money, whatever separates you from her can tumble down in a second. You don’t have to pity her, just try and have some respect and compassion in your heart and acknowledge another humans existence that is not your own.

  35. Maybe she can hookup with the homeless guy a block south on Allesandro who’s been doing the same thing for a year now. I’m sorry but i’m tired of these people and their 4 full shopping carts filled to the brim choosing to camp outside rather than deal with reality and change. We have shelters in LA. We have churches and NPO’s that assist the needy. These people are an LA phenomena (materialistic homeless hoarders). People to attached to their possessions to give them up to go to a shelter and too complacent with how they’ve come to live an outdoor life to want to change for their own good. There is so much pigeon feces under that bridge where that woman lives that she must be exposed to constantly, it makes her a public health concern any place she goes. I guarantee you she uses the pedestrian underpass at clifford as a restroom along with the other homeless. I have to use that pass everyday to get to the bus stop cause lord knows the light at aaron takes forever and cars doing 60mph off the 2 make crossing at branden unsafe. Im tired of smelling piss everytime I cross the street. Im tired of echo park becomming the new skid row. I’m tired of the same 4 people at glendale and alvarado panhandling for the past 4 years taking advantage of sympathetic peoples ignorance. They have signs saying they are homeless and hungry yet within walking distance from the dream center. They make good money off that corner. I did the math 40000 cars go past there every day, if half the cars gave them a penny they’re still making $200 a day

  36. Wow, DS! You’ve got it all figured out! It’s so easy for you to solve other peoples problems, you should run for politics. We need more hitler youth like you deciding the fates of the less fortunate. Did you ever think that there are reasons outside of the ones that you spewed forth from your narrow mind that prevent these people from going to the Dream Center or a Shelter or as you put it “deal with reality and change.” Maybe this is their reality, maybe YOU are the one who is having trouble dealing with the reality of the state of this world. You say you are “sorry” but you are tired of them. You seem to know you need to apologize for the words you write. I bet you are tired of anyone who is not you. Well, I’m tired of everyone who IS you. Good luck in your old age. Hopefully you have a long life and die in your sleep rather than lose your job, lose your home, get Alzheimers, lose your spouse, develop a mental illness and die on the street.

  37. compassionisrational

    I saw this encampment the other day, and I was touched. This woman is obviously very creative and imaginative. I’m a little shocked at the people who choose to plot against her because she isn’t conforming to the rules. Have we learned nothing from our American past? Has Mark Twain, Howard Zinn, and Rosa Parks taught us nothing? Sometimes the law isn’t moral and sometimes laws which bind the oppressed aren’t just. It’s our job as a community to strike down those laws and support benign extralegal activity. It is not our job to endanger innocent people’s lives. It isn’t our job to judge homeless people and automatically categorize them as crazy, dangerous, or shady. Have some compassion people, we are in the city of angels–not demons.

    • The dumbest comment I’ve ever heard! You are comparing great poets and civil rights leaders to someone putting her own life and others in danger by creating distracting blight in the median of one of the busiest routes in Los Angeles?

      I understand your bleeding heart compassion for someone who is obviously in need of some help, but we are a country of laws that are for the protection and well being of the citizens (yes, that includes her). She is a danger to herself and others by building an encampment on a median. It is dangerous!!!! If you REALLY care about her you would be encouraging her to at least move, not trying to make her into some kind of hero because she’s doing something (illegal) without thought for her own (and others) well being.

      • compassionisrational

        she may not be a hero but you sure are a villain . I am a 17 year old girl whom you just shamed for being thoughtful? Damn, you are heartless and I hope you learn your lesson soon. Man, you sure have nothing better than to harass people online….GET A LIFE

        • If you were shamed by my pointing out the obvious, then that’s on you.

          You may think you are “being thoughtful” but you’re not. You are being dumb. There is a difference. And instead of trying to make me a “villain” why don’t you try and absorb some wisdom from someone who has a bit more experience in life than you… and please pass that message to the rest of your fellow 17 year olds.

          The fact remains; she is putting her life and other innocent people’s lives in danger by setting up a giant tent in a median of busy street! Oh, and I have a great life! Why don’t you GET A BRAIN!

  38. I drove by the other day and saw them taking down the camp.
    They weren’t chasing her away and taking her possessions.
    And I’ve seen the women on Alvarado and Glendale many times before panhandling.
    She is young, in her 20’s. I think she has a shot at a better life than . Lets hope that she was moved to a better place.

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