The Genocide of Battered Mothers and their Children

Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

Parenting Practices and Violence, Domestic Violence

In domestic law on May 29, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Rights for Mothers   Continuing on with the reality…

The existing social science literature on the parenting behaviors of both perpetrators and victims of domestic violence is growing but limited. This entry discusses such literature, the assessment of the impact and the risk of domestic violence on children, and interventions.

Parenting by Perpetrators and Victims

The literature on parenting by perpetrators of domestic violence indicates that they often continue their abuse of the adult victim and make targets of children in their homes. This behavior may negatively affect the development of children in a number of ways. Children may also continue to hold positive views of both parents despite the violence, but they more often assign negative qualities to the perpetrator.

The literature on parenting by adult victims- usually mothers-indicates they are many times under greater stress than other mothers, but that even in this hostile environment, they tend to parent adequately. Battered mothers may, however, be more likely than other mothers to use physical aggression against their children, but they are less likely to do so when they are safe. Adult victims repeatedly indicate that perpetrators interfere with their parenting and that the victims often make decisions to stay with or leave the perpetrator based on their sense of the best interests of their children. These protective strategies are often underestimated or overlooked in custody and visitation recommendations and decisions.

Ironically there are more data available on battered mothers and their caregiving than on the male perpetrators and theirs. This imbalance in the published literature is probably a result of the greater availability of battered mothers to researchers collecting data in social service and shelter systems. At times the over-reliance on data collected from and about battered mothers may lead to partial or inaccurate conclusions. For example, it may be that the perpetrator’s behavior is the key to predicting the emotional health of a child. However, a number of studies measure only battered mothers’ difficulties resulting from perpetrators’ violence and then associate these maternal difficulties with negative child outcomes. By not collecting data about the perpetrators, researchers may incorrectly conclude it is the mothers’ problems and not the perpetrators’ violent behavior that is creating negative outcomes for children. Thus, the results of some studies discussed in the literature may provide only a partial picture of the events that impact the victim’s parenting and a child’s emotional health.
Impact and Risk Assessment

Assessing the impact of violence on children and the parenting behaviors of both perpetrators and victims is a complex process for which few guidelines or protocols currently exist. It is known that the impact on children is likely to vary along a continuum of relevant factors that require thorough assessment when making safe custody and visitation arrangements for the child. Another ingredient is the careful assessment of parents, especially the perpetrator.

A major factor in custody and visitation decision making is to ascertain the level of continued risk a child may face. Risk assessment has been the focus of some areas of the social science literature for decades, but research into risk assessment is virtually nonexistent in the domain of children exposed to domestic violence. Guidelines drawn from extensive practice experience are, however, being published.


Interventions for children exposed to adult domestic violence have existed for over 25 years in shelters and in community-based programs for battered women. It is only recently, however, that these programs have expanded and that other, nonshelter services have become available. Interventions with children exposed to domestic violence are most often provided in the form of individual treatment for trauma, group support and education programs, and child witness to violence programs that work with children and their mothers. Although many programs offer groups for battered mothers and separate groups for their children, other programs may work with individual parent-child dyads. Initial evaluations of these various child-focused programs reveal that children who participated were able to reduce their use of aggressive behaviors, lessen anxious and depressive behaviors, and improve both their mental health and social relationships with peers.

The growing awareness of the impact of adult domestic violence on children has also led to increasing efforts to intervene with parents after domestic violence has occurred. Recently, a number of authors have published descriptions of their work with battered mothers alone or with parent-child dyads. One of the most common approaches is providing a parenting support group that runs concurrently with a children’s program. Others have described direct work with battered mothers through weekly in-home sessions over a number of months following shelter residence. Still another approach is to work with mother-child dyads in providing parenting support. Initial data on parenting group programs, in-home services, and dyadic counseling show positive outcomes for children and their participating parents. These programs have been developed by practitioners with a deep understanding of domestic violence.

The published literature contains few descriptions of programs for perpetrators who are parents. This scarcity is perhaps due to a focus in the field on adult-to-adult violence. Most batterer programs have not included significant content on parenting, but there are several examples of emerging programs specifically designed for training adult assailants to parent without violence. These programs include information and activities focused on (a) a father’s role in the family, (b) defining violence in parenting, (c) using discipline versus punishment, (d) nonviolent means for changing children’s behaviors, (e) information on child development, (f) the effects of child exposure to domestic violence, (g) how to use logical and natural consequences, and (h) communication skills, assertive-ness, and expressing feelings appropriately. However, to date there are few published evaluations of these programs that would help to understand their effectiveness or to refine existing efforts.

In addition, this growing literature reveals little about class or cultural differences in parenting within the context of domestic violence and offers scant guidance on how to respond uniquely to these families.

Supervised visitation programs are also increasingly being used for families in which domestic violence is occurring. Some perpetrators use visitation exchanges as an opportunity to abuse the other parent. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges has repeatedly recommended that supervised visitation be provided only when safety and security measures are taken and visitation center staff are well trained in the unique dangers posed by domestic violence perpetrators. Suggested security measures include closer supervision of domestic violence-related visitations by trained staff, staggered arrival and departure times and separate entrances for mothers and fathers, escorts to cars, and center access to police protection through direct electronic connections. Although some data on the impact of supervised visitation centers on children and their parents do exist, none focuses on the impact of these programs on families experiencing domestic violence.

Overall, there is a steadily growing interest in the impact of domestic violence on children, and very recently this interest has moved to include a focus on how the parenting of both perpetrators and victims may be better assessed and improved through education and support efforts.

—Jeffrey L. Edleson
Entry Citation:

Edleson, Jeffrey L. “Parenting Practices and Violence, Domestic Violence.” Encyclopedia of Interpersonal Violence. 2008. SAGE Publications. 25 Apr. 2010.

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Tampa mom recalls final words with slain toddler Police search for man who beat toddler to death

In domestic law on May 29, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Michell Blanco

Michell Blanco

Tampa mom recalls final words with slain toddler

Photo from Itzaira DeJesus

Alexis Garcia died Tuesday after emergency surgery for head injuries.

Alexis Garcia died Tuesday after emergency surgery for head injuries.

Photo from Itzaira DeJesus

Alexis Garcia died Tuesday after emergency surgery for head injuries.

Alexis Garcia died Tuesday after emergency surgery for head injuries.

TAMPA – Itzaira DeJesus remembers how happy her son was when she called from work to check on him.

Alexis, 3, had been feeding ducks.

"He told me, ‘I love you, Mommy,’ and I told him, ‘I love you back and I’ll see you later,’" DeJesus said.

Two hours later, her boyfriend called and said Alexis had fallen and was unconscious. DeJesus never got a chance to talk with her son again.

Alexis Garcia died Tuesday after emergency surgery for head injuries. The medical examiner’s office determined Thursday that his death was a homicide.

Hillsborough County deputies are searching for DeJesus’ boyfriend, 28-year-old Michell Blanco. He’s wanted on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse.

"How can he do this to me?" DeJesus asked Friday. "He said he loved me. He said he loved my kid."

She doesn’t know where Blanco has gone. They began dating in November and she and her son had been living with Blanco and his 5-year-old son.

DeJesus said Blanco called her Monday afternoon to tell her that Alexis had fallen while chasing ducks in the parking lot of their apartment complex on North Dale Mabry Highway.

She told him to take Alexis to a hospital; Blanco said he didn’t think doctors would help because he wasn’t the child’s father.

When DeJesus got home from her housecleaning job, Alexis was in bed, unconscious and struggling to breathe. She carried her son to her car and told him she was with him. They went to St. Joseph’s Hospital.

There, DeJesus was told her son’s injuries did not come from a fall, but rather "that somebody beat him up."

DeJesus said she asked Blanco whether he had beaten her child. He promised her he had not.

A private memorial service for Alexis will be held Sunday.

DeJesus said her son loved Astro Boy, animals and picking flowers.

He trusted everybody – when he met someone for the first time, he did so with a hug and a kiss.

Alexis’ organs have been donated, his mother said. His heart saved a 2-year-old child in South Carolina. His liver and kidney went to children in Florida and Georgia.

"He wanted to be a superhero," DeJesus said. "And he was."

Reporter Josh Poltilove can be reached at (813) 259-7691.



Murder-suicide at motel tops police blotter

In domestic law on May 29, 2010 at 8:15 pm

Possible murder-suicide in motel

Investigating police found the bodies of a man and a woman inside a SeaTac motel room. A police spokesman reported that there was a great deal of blood in the room. Police plan to investigate the situation as a murder-suicide. Last month, a man was arrested for another killing that occurred at the same hotel.

(OH) Coroner confirms murder/suicide of Boyfriend and Girlfriend

In domestic law on May 29, 2010 at 8:13 pm

The bodies were found Thursday night

Updated: Friday, 28 May 2010, 5:52 PM EDT
Published : Friday, 28 May 2010, 5:52 PM EDT

  • Megan O’Rourke

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Police found two bodies inside a home at 130 Fernwood Avenue around 9:30 Thursday night.

They’ve since been identified 31 year-old Nichole Cochran, and her boyfriend, 49 year-old J.B. Jones.
Neighbors, like Steve Tannreuther, are in shock.

"It’s awful," said Tannreuther.

At the scene, officers revealed they were looking at this as a possible murder/suicide.

On Friday, the Montgomery County Coroners office confirmed investigators initial suspicions. They said Jones shot Cochran, then turned the gun on himself.

"We’re questioning numerous individuals and try to ascertain as much history as we can to try to find out what was going on prior to anything that may have happened here," said Sgt. Dan Mauch.
A gun found inside the house was being tested to see if it was the weapon used.

In the meantime, neighbors are coping and questioning what went wrong.

"We never heard any arguments between them or anything," said Tannreuther.

Both Cochron and Jones do have criminal pasts. In 2007, they were convicted with drug crimes and receiving stolen property. In 2003, Jones was convicted of felonious assault with a deadly weapon.

Police are still investigating the deaths in hopes of finding a motive.

Michael and Kay Peterson (going thru Divorce) critically injured in an apparent murder-suicide in Smithville earlier this week have died.

In domestic law on May 29, 2010 at 8:09 pm

UPDATE: Michael and Kay Peterson dead

The husband and wife critically injured in an apparent murder-suicide in the Smithville neighborhood earlier this week have died. Official times of death were 8:55 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Friday.

The husband and wife critically injured in an apparent murder-suicide in the Smithville neighborhood earlier this week have died.

Michael and Kay Peterson died on Friday, said Brad Wick, Duluth police public information officer.

Times of death were officially listed as 8:55 a.m. Friday for Kay Peterson and 2:30 p.m. Friday for Michael Peterson. They were kept on life support into the night so that organ donations could be made, Wick said.

Wick said the times of their deaths have not been listed. An autopsy on Kay Peterson was scheduled to be conducted at 10:30 this morning.

Police believe Michael Peterson shot Kay Peterson in the head three times before turning a small-caliber gun on himself Wednesday evening. The Petersons were going through a divorce


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Children of Madisonville murder-suicide tell harrowing story of Mother being shot and killed

In domestic law on May 29, 2010 at 8:06 pm

BELTON – For nearly three years, twin brothers and their older sister say they’ve been abused and neglected, but they never thought their stepfather would shoot one of them.

Craig Wallace is just 12 years old, and he has fragments of a bullet in his face.

The bullet was fired from his stepfather, George Utterback, moments after Utterback shot and killed Craig’s mother during an argument two weeks ago at their home just outside of Madisonville.

"I was screaming, ‘Don’t shoot, don’t shoot…’  And I jumped on the ground and then he pulled the trigger and I heard him say, praying something to God, and then he shot himself, and then I saw him fall on the ground," Craig said.

It was that gunshot that startled Tamlin Wallace, who left his room just in time to see his stepfather turn the gun on his twin brother.

"He was about to shoot Craig and I opened the door and ran to him and said, ‘You leave him alone!’  And then he shot at Craig while I was right by him, and… I can’t remember the rest."

It was Tamlin who ran to a neighbor’s to call for help.

Now recovering at home with their biological father in Belton, Craig still has nightmares about the terror he and Tamlin went through.

Craig said, "I kept on dreaming of him lying on the ground, and him right beside me when I’m shot and he’s laying on the ground shot, too.  I had a dream where George shot me and I didn’t make it though."

The boys’ older sister Lana was at a friend’s while the brothers fought for their life.  Now, she says, it’s hard not to feel guilty.

"I don’t know, if I would have been there maybe Craig would be fine," Lana said.

Tommy Wallace is the biological father of all three, but hasn’t seen them in nearly three years.

Wallace blames Child Protective Services for dropping a case in 2008 which resulted in the mother and stepfather regaining custody of the children.

He calls Utterback a monster. "I just hope he burns in hell, you know, which he probably will for eternity.  I think shooting himself in the head was just too easy, too easy."

The Wallaces say they’ve been amazed by the support from their entire community, but their troubles are still far from over.

Craig still must undergo another 12-hour surgery to remove the bullet fragments from his face.

Ex-Boy friends Jealous Rage in Murder Suicide (New Albany, IN)

In domestic law on May 29, 2010 at 8:02 pm

VIDEO here:

Friends: Man killed in New Albany double shooting was victim of jealous ex

Posted: May 28, 2010 5:18 PM CDTUpdated: May 28, 2010 10:21 PM CDT


Ex-boyfriend’s rage may be behind New Albany double shooting


RAW: Aerial view of double shooting in New Albany


By Connie Leonard – bio | email
Posted by Charles Gazaway – email

NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) – Two men are dead after a shooting in New Albany and people who know the victim tell us he was a person who got caught in the middle of an ex-boyfriend’s rage.

The double-shooting happened around 5 p.m. May 28 in the front yard of 108 Greendale Drive. We have learned who one of the victims is, but will not use his name until it is officially released. Close friends and neighbors of the victim say one man shot the other and then turned the gun on himself.

"I heard four to six shots," said Robert Arnold, a neighbor.

Arnold is also a gun owner and knew exactly what he had heard.

"It was pop, pop, pop, pop, that quick," said Arnold of the gunfire in his neighborhood. "She was screaming and hollering for somebody to call 911."

We’ve learned the girl Arnold saw screaming was a friend and roommate of the man who lives at the house where the shooting happened. The two worked together at the Sports and Social Club at 4th Street Live! in Louisville.

Friends say after the young woman had some trouble with an ex-boyfriend, her friend and co-worker let her move in with him until she could find a place. Friends and neighbors say the ex-boyfriend slashed their tires and spray painted their home in recent weeks, but the trouble ended Friday on the front lawn of the home when they say the ex-boyfriend showed up and shot her friend then himself. 

"They were disputing over her and it just comes to a head," Arnold remembered.

According to Captain Keith Whitlow, the New Albany Police chief of detectives, when their officers arrived at the scene, both men were dead.

Arnold says another neighbor witnessed the murder-suicide and went to police headquarters to tell investigators what he saw.

"It’s a tragedy," said Arnold said. "It really is."

Several friends of the man who was shot on his front lawn tell us he was one of the nicest people they ever met. By 10 p.m., his Facebook page was flooded with kind words for him. Many who knew him also sent e-mails to our newsroom about the man.

Assumption sheriff says ‘system did not fail’ slain woman’ (what??)

In domestic law on May 29, 2010 at 7:58 pm

THIBODAUX — Up until the point Gary LeBlanc walked into the bar where his estranged wife worked early Sunday morning, he had no documented violations of the protective order she obtained against him nearly four months earlier.

LeBlanc arrived unannounced inside the Lakeview Inn Bar on La. 401 in Napoleonville with a 9 mm pistol. Moments later, Jennifer LeBlanc, 44, lay dead behind the bar with three gunshot wounds. Her 50-year-old soon-to-be ex-husband, who was not supposed to come within 100 feet of the bar according to the order, lay dead less than 15 feet away from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The shooting happened within seconds, authorities said, long before Assumption sheriff’s deputies could respond to the bar, located at the end of the long and winding La. 401, which leads to Lake Verrett.

Protective orders restrict in-person contact and contact over the phone and Internet between two parties. Law-enforcement officers can arrest protective order violators on the spot, without asking why they were at a place or why they tried to contact the other party.

But while protective orders are a valuable tool to stop recurring domestic abuse, they should not be viewed as infallible, law-enforcement and victim-rights advocates agreed.

“It’s not a bulletproof vest or a shield,” said Tamara Joseph, a domestic-rights advocate for the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children, which is housed in the Lafourche Sheriff’s Office’s police services division. “It has to work hand-in-hand with other things.”

Protective orders should be accompanied by safety plans, formulated to avoid and respond to potentially dangerous situations.

The LeBlancs each obtained protective orders against each other Jan. 27. It is unknown what steps, if any, they took to protect themselves from each other. Neither was arrested for violating protective orders, according to court records.

Gary LeBlanc violated his estranged wife’s protective order Sunday morning and would have been charged with a violation, Assumptiion Parish Sheriff Mike Waguespack said. There was no way for the murder-suicide to be prevented, the sheriff noted.

“It’s not a foolproof system,” Waguespack said. “The bottom line is if an individual wants to take another person’s life it’s an almost impossible task for the system to prevent them from doing so.”

Waguespack added, “I truly believe, in this situation, the system did not fail the victim. The system stood behind the victim.”

It is impossible to have a deputy watch over every person with a protective order, Waguespack noted. All law enforcement can do is respond to violations and make arrests based on those violations.

In general, protective-order violations, including telephone calls and text messages, are not always reported, said Pat Babin, the Terrebonne Sheriff’s Office’s domestic-violence coordinator.

Babin said a deputy in his division has served 108 protective orders since the new year. The department’s number could be higher, he noted, depending on the number of orders served on weekends and nights.

Only eight violations have been recorded.

“Sometimes it’s in the mind of an individual that as long as there is no physical contact that it’s all right,” Babin said.

After a person files paperwork for a protective order, both parties must appear before a judge to argue why the order should or should not be granted. The judge can issue the protective order for up to 18 months, or refuse to grant it.

In the LeBlancs case, the protective order was supposed to last until January 2011.

As of Wednesday, the Assumption Sheriff’s Office had served 31 protective orders, Waguespack said. The Lafourche Sheriff’s Office has served 77, Joseph said.

The numbers of protective orders issued in recent years have not changed much, according to Kimberly Clement, program manager for The Haven in Houma, an advocacy group for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Clement encouraged victims of domestic violence to call The Haven at 800-915-0045 or the statewide number, 888-411-1333.


In domestic law on May 29, 2010 at 7:48 pm

Story Published: May 29, 2010 at 1:27 PM CDT

Story Updated: May 29, 2010 at 1:31 PM CDT

The Smithville couple involved in what was believed to be an attempted murder-suicide earlier this week have died.

56–year–old Michael Peterson and his wife, 50–year–old Kaye Peterson, were both taken off life support Friday after having their organs donated.

Family members told the News Center the Peterson’s were going through a divorce.

Police say Michael Peterson shot his wife in the head three times before turning the gun on himself at the couple’s 9425 Grand Avenue home.

Kaye Peterson was pronounced dead at 8:55 Friday morning, Michael Peterson was pronounced dead at 2:30 Friday afternoon.

An autopsy was scheduled to be conducted on Kaye Saturday.

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Victim called 911 twice in 30 mins before she she was shot dead by husband while she was holding her baby (West Haven)

In domestic law on May 29, 2010 at 7:29 pm

Report On Murder-Suicide Shows Gaps In Response He was bonded out twice before he


    6:23 a.m. EDT, May 25, 2010

    The first time he was arrested on charges of beating and kicking his wife, Selami Ozdemir was ordered into a family violence education program. Four months later, when he was arrested for hurting her again, Ozdemir posted bail, returned to his West Havenhome and killed his wife, then himself.
    It was three weeks before his first domestic violence class was to begin.
    Because of a backlog in the program for first-time domestic violence offenders, defendants like Ozdemir can go months between being arrested and receiving domestic violence counseling, services and monitoring, a five-month investigation by the Ansonia-Milford state’s attorney’s office found.
    A report on the case released Monday included several recommendations for changes, including increasing the number of slots in the family violence education program to minimize the wait time and increasing the supervision of domestic violence defendants while their cases are pending.

    Ansonia-Milford State’s Attorney Kevin D. Lawlor said that some recommendations might cost money, but that they could also produce savings in the long run if they can reduce the likelihood of domestic violence defendants reoffending.
    "Justice shouldn’t come with a price tag," Lawlor said. "We have a job to do."
    The report detailed a host of problems in the case. Ozdemir, 41, and his wife, Shengyl Rasim, 25, had two children, and his first arrest, last September, included allegations that he knocked his wife against the crib where their 3-month-old slept. But none of the agencies involved alerted the Department of Children and Families after the first arrest; each appears to have assumed that someone else had, the report said. It recommended formalizing the procedures for notifying DCF in domestic violence cases that involve potential child endangerment.
    After his second arrest, on Jan. 16, Ozdemir allegedly managed to get out of custody without putting up any money for his $25,000 bond or signing a contract or payment plan — allegations that the state Insurance Department is investigating, according to the report. The report suggested reforms to the bail bond industry designed to keep agents from allowing people to "get out of jail free."
    The report also described the failure of 911 operators to relay key information to police who were at the family’s home minutes before the murder-suicide.
    Two officers had arrived after Rasim called police at 3:29 a.m., saying that she heard her husband banging on the door. When the officers arrived, Ozdemir was not there. Then, at 3:43 a.m., another woman called 911 and reported that Ozdemir was drunk and returning home. The woman expressed "grave concern" for the safety of Rasim and the police, the report said.
    But the dispatchers did not tell the officers at the house that Ozdemir was coming. The officers left at 3:47 a.m.
    About six minutes later, the dispatch center received another call from the house. On the line were the sounds of an argument and a baby crying. Then there were loud sounds that seemed to be gunshots.
    Dispatchers told the officers to return to the home, but did not mention the gunshots. The tape recorded several more minutes of the baby’s cries and the officers trying to enter through two locked doors.
    West Haven police and fire departments — which both supervise the 911 system — are conducting an internal investigation into the handling of the calls, according to the report. The police department has modified and clarified its procedures for relaying information to responding officers, the report said.
    On Monday, attorneys representing Rasim’s estate and her children filed a notice of intent to sue the town of West Haven, the police officers and dispatchers involved in her case.
    "This is probably the most preventable tragedy that I have ever witnessed in my career as a lawyer," Joel T. Faxon, whose firm, Stratton Faxon, represents Rasim’s estate, said in a written statement.
    Stratton said the lawyers plan to file a federal civil rights complaint and ask the U.S. attorney to investigate whether there was evidence of racial bias in the department’s handling of the case. Rasim was from Turkey and did not speak English well. The state’s attorney’s report cites multiple instances in which language barriers presented problems, including during the 911 call shortly before Rasim was killed. The report noted that West Haven police can access translation services by telephone to communicate with 911 callers but did not use them with Rasim.
    A call to the West Haven police department was not returned Monday.
    Since the murder-suicide, the judicial branch has increased the number of family violence education classes, the report said.
    It now takes between 60 and 65 days for a person ordered into the family violence program to begin sessions — better than before, but not ideal, said William Carbone, executive director of the state’s court support-services division.
    The program consists of 9-week group sessions that focus on educating defendants about the effects of violence on relationships, as well as interpersonal skills to develop violence-free relationships and an understanding of power and control dynamics, according to a report by the state judicial branch.
    In the first three quarters of this fiscal year, 3,663 people were ordered into the program, and 172 groups were completed, with an average of 15 people per group, according to the judicial branch. Each group costs about $4,000 to run.
    The report also recommended increasing the supervision of domestic violence defendants and suggested that one way to reduce recidivism would be to make court family resource counselors more involved in supervising them.
    Family resource counselors typically handle both domestic violence and family court cases, and in the Ansonia-Milford judicial district, they have more than 100 domestic violence clients each. The report recommended letting some counselors work only on criminal cases and receive training on more closely monitoring defendants.
    Carbone said he would not disagree with the recommendation, but said it is not possible to do now.
    "That’s a resource-driven recommendation," he said. "At the present time, the resources are not there to accomplish it."
    Stephen R. Grant, director of family services for the judicial branch, noted that restraining orders are civil, not criminal, matters, and that some recent domestic violence murders occurred in families with no previous criminal cases.

    Copyright © 2010, The Hartford Courant

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