Monday, December 7, 2009

Mom expected God to provide food, daughter testifies

Mom expected God to provide food, daughter testifies
Friday, December 04, 2009
Joe Moszczynski
STAR-LEDGER STAFF
The money ran out first. Then the food.

Over three months in 2006, as her five children grew more emaciated and listless by the day, Estelle Walker made no move to find a job, no effort to scrounge up a meal, her kids told a jury yesterday.


"We were supposed to wait for God to provide," said Walker's oldest daughter, now 21. "And that's what we did."

At one point, the daughter said, she and her siblings went 11 days without food. When police were at last summoned to the Sussex County cabin by neighbors, investigators found the children so malnourished they had difficulty talking.

More than three years later, three of the siblings took the stand in a Newton courtroom, describing how their mother watched them nearly starve.

Walker, 50, of Brooklyn, is charged with four counts of second-degree child endangerment. If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison on each count. Walker was not charged in connection with her oldest child because she was a legal adult at the time.

The young woman and her two siblings -- a 16-year-old sister and a 15-year-old brother, betrayed no resentment toward their mother, speaking in soft, even tones.

Under questioning by Sussex County Assistant Prosecutor Frances Koch, they said Walker never tried to get any assistance for her family, either from her estranged husband or from other relatives. She likewise avoided seeking help from two churches near the Hopatcong cabin where they had been staying, the children said.

Though she had previously worked as a teacher, Walker made no effort to earn money, her children said.

"She never tried to get money or food or get a job," the 16-year-old daughter said.

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