Michelle Young was just 29 years old when she was beaten to death in her own home just outside of Raleigh. At the time, her 2-year-old daughter, Cassidy, was in the house with her.
Many times, I have imagined the panic of a mother who, with every blow, feared not only for her little girl but was trying to protect the unborn child she was carrying.
Monday night, as I stood in the Wake County Public Safety Center, waiting for her husband, Jason Young, to appear in front of a Wake County magistrate on a first-degree murder charge, my phone rang.
It was my oldest daughter telling me she had lost another tooth – the second one in less than two weeks. She gave me a play-by-play as I kept my eyes fixed on the glass partition, where the accused husband would soon stand before the court. I marveled at the contrast between the sterile, cold setting and the sweet tone of my daughter's voice.
I was momentarily saddened that I was not at home where I was supposed to be at that hour, but then, suddenly, it occurred to me that Michelle Young would never have the opportunity to get a call like this from her daughter.
She would not be there when Cassidy lost a tooth. She would not be there to see Cassidy ride a bike without training wheels. She would not be there when Cassidy tried ice skating for the first time, baked Christmas cookies or learned how to tie her shoes.
The murder had robbed the mother and the child of these precious moments that most of us take for granted.
Michelle Young's family and friends waited for three years, one month, and 11 days for an arrest in this case.
They pray justice will be served.
While Cassidy Young is now in the loving and nurturing arms of her mother's family, no matter what happens in the justice system, she has been cheated of what every child deserves – her mother.