Mother's fight to start child abuse registry gets lawmaker's attention

 A local mother's fight to get a sex offender-like registry for child abusers is starting to get attention by Lansing.

A mom's fight to have Michigan create a child abuse registry has grabbed the attention of a state lawmaker. 

Erica Hammel's 1-year-old was abused by her ex's girlfriend who had a history of child abuse - but nobody knew. 

An online petition to create a child abuse registry called Wyatt's Law has grown from a few hundred to nearly 6,000 signatures and got the attention of lawmakers. 

Meanwhile, Wyatt's mom took her fight for change to the St. Clair Shores City Council.  

Wyatt is the victim of abuse, trauma that doesn't allow him to eat solid food or speak. 

So his mom, Erica Hammel, has been speaking for him and telling his story to anyone who will listen. 

"There's one true voice and it's mine," Hammel said. "I did this from the beginning, That's my son, my story."

The woman responsible, Rachel Edwards, had access to Wyatt by way of the father, has recently pleaded  no contest to the abuse charge in Macomb County Circuit Court. 

Edwards is a familiar face for former prosecutor and current legislator, State Rep. Derek Miller.(D-Warren).

"I prosecuted a woman by the name of Rachel Edwards who was accused of giving Seroquel, which is anti-psychotic medication, to her boyfriend at the time's son," Miller said.

He helped prove her guilt to prior abuse charges against a different child, resulting in probation. 

"That's basically the extent of what our office could have done," he said. "We came to find out a month or two later, Rachel Edwards committed child abuse in the second degree, almost killing a child named Wyatt."

When Miller heard wyatt's story and found out that Edwards was the cause of his injuries - he wanted to do something. 

"It was absolutely devastating, heart-breaking," Miller said. "At the time when we cross-examined Rachel Edwards in Warren's district court, you could see there was no remorse with the abuse of the child, Travis English, Jr. 

"And we saw that this could easily happen again if she were able to come into contact with children."

So he plans to introduce a law that would allow mothers like Erica to have access to the criminal history of those in a position of caring for kids, even if it doesn't result in jail time such as the prior convictions of Edwards. 

Which would go a long way to giving Wyatt a voice of his own. 

Miller wants to caution that laws like this take time. but he hopes the exposure will create some bi-partisan support and put this bill on the fast track.

Wyatt's mother says  he has been going to therapy four times a week and is making a miraculous recovery. 

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