Months after his 3-year-old son was killed, Robert Crim thinks every day about what could have been done differently.
Crim’s son, Jacob Smith, was found dead in a Trafalgar apartment in February. Amanda Smith, Jacob Smith’s mother and Crim’s ex-girlfriend, was arrested on a charge of murder. Police say she drowned the little boy in her bathtub because she thought her family was turning him against her and that nothing good would come of his life.
Crim and Amanda Smith both had their visits with their son regulated by a county court after calling police and asking for help with a drug addiction. Crim said he believes that court should have closely followed Amanda Smith’s treatment and any struggles with mental illness, which had been documented in court records.
He wants to bring change to the court system, so another family won’t have to suffer the loss of a child, he said.
About the petition
What is it: Robert Crim and his sister, Margaret Maloney, have started an online petition asking for change in the court system after the death of 3-year-old Jacob Smith earlier this year.
How to see it: Visit change.org/petitions/don-t-be-silent
“I am heartbroken it happened to me and my family. Not in a million years do you think it would have happened to you, but it does. I am trying to get the word out there. I would hate to see it happen to another family,” Crim said.
He and his sister, Margaret Maloney, started a petition on change.org. Their goal is to require courts to research records, such as police reports, about people involved in cases who have a history of mental illness before making decisions, including visitation arrangements, Maloney said.
Amanda Smith had called police multiple times in the days before Jacob Smith was killed and more than 200 times in recent years. Her reports ranged from people in her attic, her car being tampered with repeatedly and suspicious images she believed she saw on her home security system. Court records showed she had been diagnosed as schizophrenic.
Court officials have said they were not aware of those calls to police.
Weeks before his death, the court had approved allowing Amanda Smith to have one overnight visit with her son each week. It was during one of those overnight visits that Jacob Smith was killed, police have said.
The court system needs to be changed, and that is the goal of the petition, Maloney said.
“Their responsibility should be to the child first, put in a better check system, and be looking at records of people,” Maloney said.
The petition is online, and Crim has a picture of Jacob Smith on the semitrailer truck he drives around the country for a living. The message next to his son’s smiling face asks people to visit the website and sign the petition.
They have put out messages through social networking and plan to print pamphlets and business cards, Maloney said.
Their goal is to gather 1 million signatures asking for change and take them to the U.S. senators and members of the U.S. House who represent Indiana, she said.
Crim takes any chance he can to tell people about his son. Often he tears up, thinking of his smile and how much he loved to play. But he wants more than people’s sympathy for his story, he said.
“I am not looking for sympathy. I am looking for change,” Crim said.