Slain Teen

Family and friends of a 13 year old girl, whose descent into drug
addiction and prostitution ended in her slaying, recount a life
punctuated by sexual abuse and an endless search for acceptance.

Despite caring foster parents, social workers and a home life that
in many ways seemed normal, Rebecca Hedman’s life ended violently.

Her body was found in October [1993] dumped on an embankment along
the Spokane River. Authorities say the girl, who used the name “Misty” as
a street prostitute, died of several blows to the head. [John W. Medlock,
33, was charged in December with first degree murder after confessing to
Canadian Police that he killed Rebecca, "Misty," with a baseball bat.]

The pain hit home when foster father Dennis Hedman of Tacoma, WA
went through Rebecca’s room, packing up clothes, coloring books, toys and

“A year ago Becca was in the backyard with her friends playing
dolls,” he said. “Now she?s found by the river bank and she?s a
prostitute and a crack addict. And there?s nothing to stop it?”

Rebecca was abused as an infant and taken from her mother when she
was 15 months old and placed in the Hedman?s home.

Though her foster parents thought she gradually learned to make
friends in school, fellow students told a different story.

“She really wanted to be popular,” said Amanda Staples, a grade
school friend. “But no matter what she did, it never worked. Kids were
always picking on her, breaking her glasses.”

Rebecca grew up in Tacoma and had been in Spokane when Dennis and
Darlene Hedman arranged to have the girl placed in Daybreak, a Spokane
residential treatment center for drug and alcohol addicted teenagers.

She ran away from the center three times in the first month, and
resisted subsequent efforts by counselors to get her to return to Tacoma.

She ended up selling her adolescent body for money on Spokane’s West
First Avenue.

“She thought she knew it all,” said Sauncerae Bache, an 18 year old
Spokane street kid and prostitute who befriended Rebecca. “She thought
everybody out here was her friend even after some trick handcuffed her
and held a gun to her head.”

“She thought she could be somebody else out there.”

The two sometimes stayed together in low income hotels or any other
place they could find.

“We would get up, it wasn?t always morning, sometimes it was night,”
Bache said. “We would get out there and work. First $20, we would buy a
rock (of crack cocaine).”

During her time in Spokane, Rebecca kept in periodic contact with
her Tacoma foster parents by telephone.

“We would talk about how she was scaring me to death,” Dennis Hedman
said. “She would say, ?I?m okay, dad. I can take care of myself. I have

Before her move to Spokane, she had been a runaway who ended up on
the streets in Seattle…She ended up in a hospital emergency room after
being beaten up.

“I was actually in shock,” Dennis Hedman said. “This is a 12 year
old child talking to you about sex acts, abuse, cigarette burns, getting
beat up. Oh, and a venereal disease.”

Around her 13th birthday, she made an effort to get back on track.
After it was learned she was hooked on drugs, state social workers
arranged to place her with new foster parents while she attended therapy
sessions for her addiction.

“She was named student of the month at her school, followed house
rules and completed chores in exchange for an allowance,” said Diane
Schmidt, who ran the foster home in Gig Harbor where Rebecca stayed.

“It looked pretty hopeful,” Schmidt said.

Reprinted by permission of the Associated Press

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