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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lifestyle changes proven to reverse, prevent diseases

According to well know medical doctors Dr. Andre Weil and Dr. Dean Ornish, simple changes to your lifestyle can not only reduce the risk of certain diseases, it can cure many common illnesses and prevent others from occurring as well.
This was the basis of a lecture the duo gave on Nov. 15 at the Trustees Theater in Savannah as part of Gulfstream’s Live Will/Be Well community education series.
For more than three decades Dr. Ornish has promoted his lifestyle driven and holistic approach in helping people control and reverse coronary artery disease and other chronic illnesses.
“The limitations of high technology medicine is becoming clearer…The treatments we use for high blood pressure, diabetes, prostate cancer and others, well they don’t work as well as we once thought,” Dr. Ornish told the audience. “Yet at the same time the simple choice we can make in changing our lifestyle work even better than we once realized.”
Dr. Ornish explained that most doctors these days don’t have the time to spend with each patient to get to the underlying root of their medical problems. They spend a few minutes, have the patients take a few tests and offer some pills to treat the current symptoms.
“Sometimes drugs and surgery can be lifesaving in a crisis but we need to determine the cause (of these diseases) of which to a large degree are the lifestyle choices we make every day.”
As an example he said people placed on high blood pressure medication are often told they have to take it for the remainder of their lives.
“What we find is that we when we can treat the underlying cause and people change their lifestyle our bodies have this remarkable capacity to begin healing and much more quickly than we once realized…and we also found that the more people changed the better they got ant any age,” he said adding research and expert studies have found lifestyle changes to cure people of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, diabetes and even prostate cancer, to name a few.
Dr. Andrew Weil, the founder, professor and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and author of several books agrees adding the current health care system is managed more by greed than healing.
“We have to start asking ourselves why as a society we can’t do a better job of prevention and health promotion, “ Dr. Weil said. “And I’m afraid that has a very simple answer, they don’t pay. And until we can figure out how prevention and health promotion pay we are not going to get anywhere.”
Dr. Weil cited an example that was written in a Time Magazine article several years ago regarding type II diabetes. In the research one part of the focus dealt on the economic impact of the disease and it mentioned that in recent years many diabetes research clinics had closed.
“For every preventive foot consultation offered by one of these clinics, for every preventive eye consultation offered by one of these clinics, for every preventive nutritional consultations offered by one of these clinics they lost, on average, $60 per patient. For every amputation of a diabetic limb, they made $6,000…now how are we possibly going to ever change this.”
Weil added that it becomes increasingly difficult to change the current state of health care because the big pharmaceutical companies often pump big money into political campaign funds to keep things status quo.
“No real change can come from our government and our elective representatives is a grass-root movement in which enough people get upset about things as they are and we begin to elect different kinds of representatives who do not hold any vested interest.”
In the meantime Weil said the best way to stay healthy and avoid being another statistic within the broken health care system is to implement the basic lifestyle choices he, Dr. Ornish and many in the integrative approach to medicine share.
They seem simplistic but because our society is always looking for the quick miracle cure or pill these basic tenets are often avoided.
The first thing is looking at your diet, not in the sense of just counting calories but what types of food you readily consume.
Dr. Weil and Dr. Ornish both agree that people tend to eat more processed foods, consume more fat calories and consume food stocked with artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup. All which are bad for our bodies and influence the ease of illness occurrence.
Dr. Ornish advocates a diet comprised highly of plant based whole foods. Similarly Dr. Weil said he like to follow a Mediterranean style diet which is also predominantly plant based, small portions of lean protein and heavy on extra virgin olive oil.
Both men say exercise is another form of lifestyle change easily attainable. They both added people should find ways to cope with stress such as meditation or yoga and people need to surround themselves with others who offer acceptance and love.
The easiest way to begin is walking a little every day Weil advocated.
Dr. Weil said finding a way to make these lifestyle changes fun instead of an added chore will increase the likelihood that you stick with the program. Lifestyle changes come gradually but the better once a person starts to look and feel the easier it is to make it a life time commitment.
“We are learning how powerful and dynamic these changes can be,” Dr. Ornish said. “When you eat healthier, exercise, manage stress and love more your brain gets more blood flow and more oxygen…Your skin gets more blood flow so you don’t get wrinkles as much, your heart gets more blood flow, reversing heart disease, it also helps in turning on the good genes, the disease preventing genes and turning off the bad genes, the disease causing ones.”
Dr. Ornish has developed a personalized program that focuses on the four elements of what you eat, activity levels, stress response and support called the Spectrum. It allows the individual to pick how much they commit to each element based on their needs and preferences.
Dr. Weil has expanded his research to include the aging baby boomers and found research and study that correlate how an anti-inflammatory diet helps prevent or reverse degenerative diseases like arthritis and Alzheimer.
For more information on the Spectrum visit:
For more information on the anti-inflammatory diet and healthy aging visit:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Horrid tale of a life taken to soon: Torres Boles guilty of killing his 3-year old daughter

Life without parole for child murder conviction
Sept. 22, 2014

Torres Boles was sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole Monday after being convicted last week for the death of his 3-year-old daughter in February 2013.
The sentencing was moved up and handed down by Liberty County Superior Court Judge Paul Rose Monday afternoon in the Liberty County Justice Center.
Boles’ trial ended last Wednesday and his sentencing was to take place in two weeks. The reason it was moved up was not explained.
The trial painted a brutal picture of the last 24 hours of Andraia Boles’ life and how it ended at the hands of her father.
Boles’ public defender, John Ely, asked for leniency, saying his client had no criminal history prior to the incident. He said Boles had received several military medals during his eight years of service. He said Boles was deployed for 15 months in Iraq and later 13 months in Afghanistan. During both deployments Ely said his client had seen his friends killed in combat.
“He never received any type of grief therapy… He was never assessed for post-traumatic stress disorder. He was never taught how to deal with his emotions or his anger issues or his need for isolation. And perhaps that may be part of the reason we find ourselves in this situation today,” Ely said.
Atlanta Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Melissa Poole said Boles didn’t deserve any leniency.
“His 3-year-old daughter will never have the life that he is asking the court to give him here today. She just turned 3 when he brutally beat her to death… She was treated like a pet. He never did anything for Andraia and now he is asking the court to do something for him. He is not entitled to it. His actions deserve the harshest punishment,” Poole said.
She said even in prison Boles will receive better treatment than what he gave his own daughter for the past few months of her life.
Rose faced Boles and asked if he wanted to make a statement. Boles said, “No.”
The judge then spoke to Boles before handing down the sentence and said, “…The evidence is absolutely horrific. The pain and agony that you imposed on your daughter Andraia and what she endured was absolutely unspeakable. From the time that she was about 2 1/2 years old you and your wife made a decision, a very selfish decision, to not provide any care for that child. And all I could imagine is what terror went through her mind as she cried and she fell and she stumbled and there was nobody there to provide her with love or help. You literally bludgeoned her to death. By your own admission, you left her in that tub moaning in pain as her life was literally oozing out of her body. It’s beyond horrific.”
Boles was sentenced to life without parole for the felony murder charge, 20 year for the two counts of cruelty to children in the first degree to run consecutive to the murder sentence, 10 years for cruelty to children in the second degree, also consecutive, and 12 months for the misdemeanor charge of deprivation of a child to run concurrent to the murder charge.

Jury quickly reaches Boles guilty verdict
Sept. 19, 2014

The jury didn’t deliberate long in the state’s case against Torres Boles. The six men and six woman took less than an hour Wednesday to find the Hinesville man guilty of felony murder, three charges of cruelty to children and one charge of deprivation of a child — his own daughter, Andraia Boles, who was 3 years old at the time of her death.
The jury did acquit Boles on one count of malice murder.
The trial started Monday at the Liberty County Justice Center, where it took nearly three hours to select 12 jurors and two alternates.
Afterward, Atlantic Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Melissa Poole began the methodical task of presenting a mountain of evidence that detailed the last 24 hours of Andraia Boles’ life. She died Feb. 26, 2013, at her Bannon Court home and, as Poole proved, her death was the result of injuries inflicted by her father, Torres Boles.
The jury heard how Boles and his wife, Candice Boles, kept the child locked in the bathroom for months at a time, claiming they had no funds for a babysitter or day care.
Poole presented photos depicting the immaculate interior of the house as well as the 60-inch flat screen TV in the living room and 46-inch flat screen in the master bedroom. Tied into the 60-inch was a surround-sound system, several gaming stations as well as a vast collection of Blueray discs and gaming videos. The couple also had their own laptops and various other electronic devices.
The jury was shown pictures of Andraia’s bruised and battered body. They watched as autopsy photos were shown and the state’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Edmond Donohue, detailed 56 pieces of external evidence of physical abuse in 64 areas of her young body that displayed scars that were older and had healed. The doctor also indicated massive internal bleeding had occurred throughout her body and brain. The child’s skull exhibited multiple fractures, some of which ran three layers deep into the brain’s tissue.
Boles never took the stand in his own defense, but the jury did hear Boles’ own words. More than four hours’ worth of audio, taped by lead investigator Doug Snider of the Hinesville Police Department, was played. One portion of audio, nearly three hours long, included the interview Snider conducted with Boles after reading him his Miranda rights.
Throughout his interview, Boles said he had not touched the child other than spanking her behind a month earlier. He acknowledged the scars on the girl’s buttocks were from him and said they never healed properly because of her diapers and Pull-Ups training pants. Boles could be heard crying on the audio and, in the courtroom, he occasionally wiped away tears or shifted in his seat when photos were shown.
Forensic pathologists determined that most of the samples taken from the crime scene by HPD Detective Elizabeth Jackson contained Andraia Boles’ blood. The swabs were taken from the bathroom, where Boles had confined and punished the girl the night she died. She was disciplined for stuffing toilet paper down the toilet, reportedly causing it to back up and flood a large portion of the house.
While under interrogation, Boles first claimed he never touched the toddler and only made her stand in the corner of the living room while he labored over the wet carpet and floor. But as the hour passed, his story continued to change and Snider pressed on.
Boles said he didn’t beat his daughter. He said he saw the injury he previously had caused and wanted to use a different form of punishment. He said he placed her in the bathtub and allowed her to continuously slip and hit her head as he soaked up the water and wrung towels out in the tub around her.
Two-and-a-half hours into the interview, Boles said he might have taken the punishment too far, but he still claimed he put the child in the bedroom she shared with her older sister so she could go to sleep.
The state later proved that wasn’t the case. According to evidence presented, Andraia, in soaked clothes, spent the night in the wet tub and died as her mother and father slept in their bed just a few feet away.
Boles’ attorney, John Ely, contended from the beginning that it was the child’s mother, Candice Boles, not Torres, who was responsible for the toddler’s death.
Ely presented testimony by Medical Examiner Dr. Adel Shaker regarding the time of the child’s death, in which he claimed Andraia died just a few hours before 911 was called and not the night before, as Donohue’s testimony indicated. He said his client couldn’t have caused the girl’s death, since he was doing PT at Fort Stewart at the time she died, and it was Candice Boles who was the last person to see her alive. He also said it was Candice who delayed calling 911. Instead, she called her husband first to report their daughter was unresponsive. Ely said Candice then ate an apple and played video games while she waited for her husband.
Poole presented Medical Examiner Dr. James Downs, who said the techniques described by Shaker are not the standard used in the United States. He added that, based on the circumstances of the incident and the extensive evidence of child abuse, the test Shaker recommended would constitute medical malpractice.
In the end, it was Boles’ own words that the jury requested to hear just prior to rendering a verdict. They asked the court to replay a portion of audio that was taped just before Candice Boles and Torres were taken to Liberty County Jail. The couple were allow to see each other one last time before being escorted to jail.
“I’m sorry … I didn’t mean for none of this to happen,” Torres Boles said to his wife. “I fucked up…I did this shit…I left her in the bath tub.”
Candice Boles will be tried later. She is charged with being party to murder and one count of cruelty to children.

Forensics paint grisly scene
Trial on for father accused of killing daughter
Sept. 17, 2014

Forensic scientists testified Tuesday that most of the blood taken from a crime scene in February 2013 was that of 3-year-old Andraia Boles.
Tuesday was the second day of the murder trial of the child’s father, Torres Boles.
He is charged with two counts of murder, three counts of cruelty to children and one count of deprivation of a child, which resulted in the death Andraia Boles at their Bannon Court home Feb.26-27, 2013.
Assistant District Attorney Melissa Poole still was presenting the state’s case Tuesday morning. Her first of three witnesses were forensic biologists with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, who testified about evidence collected from the scene by Hinesville Police Department Det. Elizabeth Jackson.
During her testimony Monday, Jackson spent more than an hour presenting it, displaying some for the jurors.
Among the items were dirty Tickle Me Elmo pajamas that Andraia Boles likely was wearing before her death, soiled socks and objects and photos that showed what may be blood.
Jackson had testified she had taken 10 possible blood samples.
GBI biologists Tara Ransom, Barbara Retzer and Rachel Duke testified the samples were blood and all but one was from Andraia Boles.
Before lunch, the state called HPD Det. Doug Snider, the case’s lead investigator.
Jurors got a glimpse of what took place that day in February as they listened to taped conversations between Snider and Boles.
They heard a distraught Boles cry as Snider told him his daughter had died. Boles was heard saying his life was over, that he had no reason to live.
It was unclear when the defense would start its case.
Monday morning, six men and six women were chosen for the jury along with two alternates.
Poole said during opening statements that the state would show Andraia Boles died of blunt-force trauma and that the injuries were the result of Torres Boles’ punishment.
Boles’ public defender, John Ely, said the defense would prove his client was not with the child at the time of her death. He added that the actions of the child’s mother, Candice Boles, before emergency personnel were called would cast doubt about his client’s culpability.
Candice Boles, the wife and co-defendant, will be tried later. She is charged with being party to murder and one count of cruelty to children.
Among the first witnesses was the child’s grandmother, Gaynell Jacobs. She cried as the state showed a photo of Andraia Boles. She said she had not seen the girl or her older sister, Darria Boles, for some time. She and the girls’ father did not get along. She said she often told her daughter Candice Boles she disagreed with how Torres Boles treated the girls.
The state then called first responders, officers, paramedics and Dr. Bobby Herrington, a physician at Liberty Regional Medical Center.
All described finding the child cold, with no vital signs and substantial swelling to her head.
Herrington said the child’s core temperature was 84 degrees. He added that the child had rectal tearing. As he described her injuries the jury saw photos of her battered body.
Torres Boles shifted in his seat and looked away from the monitor.

Testimony underway
State presents its case in toddler murder trial
Sept. 15, 2014

Six men and six women were chosen and the trial for alleged child murderer Torres Boles promptly started Monday afternoon at the Liberty County Justice Center.
Boles faces two counts of murder, three counts of cruelty to children and one count of deprivation of a child allegedly causing the death of his three year old daughter Andraia Boles at his Bannon Court home between Feb.26-27, 2013.
Atlantic Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Melissa Poole explained, during opening statements, that the state was ready to produce sufficient evidence to show Andraia Boles died of blunt force trauma. She said the state would prove the injuries were the result of Torres Boles’ punishment to the child the night before.
Boles’ public defender John Ely said he will present information proving his client was not with the child at the time of her death. He added that the actions of the child’s mother Candice Boles, before emergency personnel was called to the house, were questionable and would cast doubt about his clients culpability in his daughter’s death.
Candice Boles, the wife and co-defendant, will be tried at a later date. She is currently charged with party to murder and one count of cruelty of children.
Among the first witnesses called to the stand was Boles’ grandmother Gaynell Jacobs. She cried as the state posted a photo of young Andraia Boles. She said she had not seen Boles or her older sister Darria Boles for quite some time. She and the little girls’ father Torres Boles did not get along. She provided a brief explanation saying that she often spoke with her daughter Candice Boles about how her husband treated the children and how she disagreed with it.
The state then called several of the first responders, officers, paramedics and Liberty Regional Medical Center contractor physician Dr. Bobby Herrington.
All described finding the child was cold to the touch, had no vital signs and had substantial swelling to the head area.
Dr. Herrington said the child’s body core body temperature was 84 degrees. He added the child had some rectal tearing. As he described the various injuries and degrees of trauma the jury watched as photos of the young girls’ battered body was placed on their viewers.
Torres Boles shifted in his seat and looked away from the monitor.
More compelling testimony followed as the state called Hinesville Police Detective Elizabeth Jackson to the stand.
For more than an hour Jackson and Poole presented evidence she had collected from the crime scene, including a dirty two-piece Tickle Me Elmo pajama Andraia Boles was likely wearing just before her death, a heavily soiled pair of socks that were worn by the toddler and a slew of objects and photos that showed where the detective had spotted what may be blood splatters or smears from the bathroom the child was enclosed in the time during which the incident occurred.
Among the evidence presented was a pair of size 12 sneakers Jackson said has what appears to be blood spots on the front.
The trial is expected to last until Wednesday and is being presented before Liberty County Superior Court Judge Charles P. Rose

Trial for toddler’s death starts Monday
Sept. 11, 2014
The trial against accused murderer Torres Boles is set to begin Monday in Liberty County Superior Court.
Boles faces two counts of murder, three counts of cruelty to children and one count of contributing to the deprivation of a child for allegedly causing the death of his then 3-year-old daughter, Andraia Boles, in their Bannon Court home on Feb. 26, 2013.
Boles’ wife and co-defendant, Candice Boles will be tried later. She is accused of one count each of cruelty to children and being a party to murder.
The case focuses on the final days of Andraia Boles’ life. In previous hearings, Hinesville Police Department Det. Doug Snider testified the couple would lock the toddler in a bathroom for hours. This reportedly went on for approximately six months.
On Feb. 26, the girl apparently clogged the toilet, causing flooding. As punishment, Torres Boles allegedly put his daughter in the bathtub, mopped up the floor with a towel and wrung it out in the tub where she stood. According to previous testimony, Boles claimed the girl slipped several times and hit her head on the tub. Boles denied hitting the toddler, but told Snider that when she tried to climb out of the tub, he knocked her hands down, causing her to hit the tub again. Snider said the toddler had extensive bruises on her head and buttocks. Snider said Boles admitted the child was so severely bruised the following morning that she could barely open her eyes. Boles reportedly told Snider he changed her into dry clothes but kept her locked in the bathroom when he left for Army training. He reportedly woke up the child’s mother and said the little girl was in the bathroom and OK.
Candice Boles found the young girl unresponsive later that morning.
Snider also testified the toddler showed signs of previous physical abuse.
Public Defender John Ely pointed out his client, Torres Boles, called 911 even though the child’s mother found her unresponsive.
The couple has another daughter who is living with other relatives. During testimony, Snider said it appears that both children were treated the same way except. The older girl had turned 4 and started attending pre-K. Testimony indicated the couple spent money on two new cars, a 40-inch TV and other household items but not on childcare for when Candice Boles was in school and Torres Boles was at work.
Candice Boles is represented by chief conflict defender with the Georgia Public Defender's office, Stephen Yekel.
Ely filed a motion for separate trials. He also filed a motion for a change of venue saying his client couldn’t be tried fairly in Liberty County because of publicity and community outcry. While his motion for the separate trial was granted, the change of venue was denied.
An April evaluation by the Forensic Services Division of Georgia Regional Hospital found Torres Boles to be mentally competent to stand trial.
Jury selection starts at 9 a.m. and the trial will begin once the jury is seated. The case will be tried before Superior Court Judge Charles P. Rose.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A mother’s quest to honor son’s memory

Two years after her son, TJ Floyd was brutally stabbed to death Debbie Floyd feels like she is finally turning a corner. “The Devil thought he was going to take me down because I had reached hundreds but now I am going after thousands,” Floyd said adding she recently realized her new mission, one she could carry forward to honor her murdered son’s memory. To understand Floyd’s future mission you need to understand the events that devastated her past. “You would have thought that when I walked out of the court room the other day I would have been relieved. I wasn’t I went into this deep dark hole…I wasn’t prepared for that,” she said. Floyd’s son was 19 when he was stabbed to death on Jan. 21, 2012. That day changed Floyd’s life forever. On April 4, Floyd and her family were in court as her son’s killer Travon Walthour, accepted a plea agreement on a manslaughter charge in Liberty County Superior Court. Walthour will have to spend at least 15 years in prison before he would be eligible for parole and be on probation for two years afterwards if released. But for a mom still grieving the loss of her youngest son the ordeal was far from over. After all it wasn’t supposed to be this way, TJ was her miracle baby. A baby somehow conceived and carried to term against medical odds as she was told by several doctors. She was treating a health condition and a baby wasn’t supposed to be part of the plan. But TJ was born and was healthy. Floyd addressed Liberty County Superior Court Judge Robert Russell before Walthour was sentenced saying her son “Lived life to the fullest, was the kindest soul I ever met, was always willing to help others, wore a big smile most of the time and his presence made people happy.” LOOKING BACK Floyd said her son was the Salutatorian for the 2010 graduating class at LifeSpring Christian Academy, the same school she spent 13 years as an educator. He was an avid outdoorsman who loved fishing, boating, golfing, riding his ATV, exploring the great outdoors and nailing a triple flip on his trampoline. Then suddenly he was gone. Floyd said the first few weeks after his death are still a blur. “This little house had hundreds of people,” she said. “I don’t even remember them but hundreds of people were in and out…they said I did great for the most part until the Valium ran out and I’d start screaming and they would pop another one in me.” Floyd said about 900 people came to the funeral home during her son’s service. Without placing blame she tried to understand what led to his demise. In 2012 Debbie Floyd said she, her husband Terry and son TJ lived in the Lake George area of Midway. It was a house she described as her dream home. Her son’s long-time girlfriend also lived in the house although they didn’t share the same room. The two had been together since TJ was 14. He attended LifeSpring while she attended Liberty County High School. After school they would take off on his ATV into the woods. She was a photographer and took hundreds of pictures of Floyd’s outdoor adventures. It was a passion they shared. Shortly before his death a series of misfortunes caused a rift in the Floyd household. Floyd said she separated from her husband Terry and moved back to the Port Wentworth home that TJ and the family lived in until he finished the fourth grade. Shortly afterwards TJ and his girlfriend broke up and she moved out of the Midway house TJ still shared with his dad. “They had all the same friends and you know how that is when there is a breakup one of the two gets isolated from the group,” Floyd said. “He ended up with a whole different group of friends and I didn’t know them but I knew they were smoking pot.” Unfortunately TJ started smoking pot as well. It wasn’t something mom was happy about but he was an adult and had to make his own mistakes to learn from. She did offer advice and said she spoke often to her son to see if maybe he would change his ways. “I said, ‘TJ do you believe that God would have done all of those miracles to get you here to be where you are right now,’” she said sharing one of the last conversations she had with her son. “’And he said no;”…”He said, ‘Mom would you get the stuff up for me to go ahead and get in to Savannah Tech….I said fantastic.’” TJ wanted to be a mechanical engineer and after talking with mom decided it was time to move forward with his school plans. “When he died I had the application up on my computer…he was really excited about going to Savannah Tech,” she said. Floyd recalls she was at her friend’s house celebrating a birthday on that fateful day in January. “I had turned my phone off, and when I turned it on it was blowing up,” Floyd said recalling the day that shattered her world. Knowing the news was going to be bad she remembers handing the phone to her friend while she went into the bathroom and became violently ill. “The night that TJ was murdered Terry got the phone call that TJ had been beat up,” she said. “He rushed down there where they told him he was. And when he got there he said there was like 100 people and police everywhere. He went running up there and he saw TJ and he tried to get to him.” Floyd said her husband was nearly arrested for trying to cross into the crime scene. He was physically removed from the area by police. “They apologized later but they couldn’t have him contaminate the crime scene….I think he just thought if he could get over there, TJ wouldn’t be dead,” she said crying. Floyd said she fell apart. “We were left out there with no resources,” she said. “When we called to try and get help, because I can tell you we needed help, there wasn’t any. And when I called my insurance company they said, ‘We don’t cover mental health.’ I said we are not mentally ill but our son has been murdered and we need help.” Up until a week ago Floyd said she wasn’t able to read and retain much. “I couldn’t comprehend what I was reading,” she said. “And it made me feel stupid because I taught for 13 years.” She kept teaching until October of 2012. “I went in and I told the Pastor I’ve been trying so hard but it’s not fair to me and it’s not fair to the kids,” she said. “I was good at what I did and she begged me to stay but I said I couldn’t it was driving me crazy.” FINDING HELP About a year ago Floyd found out about a group called Compassionate Friends of Savannah. “They are a group that is for the parents, siblings, and grandparents of any child that has died no matter what age,” she said. “When I got involved with them it was scary…walking in was scary at first.” But Floyd said she was soon dumbfounded when she learned that many of the families were there due to a murdered child or family member. She kept attending the monthly meetings joined the group’s Facebook page and joined another Facebook page for the Parents of Murdered Children Inc. “I knew about the group (the Parents of Murdered Children) on Facebook and I am part of the group on Facebook but I had no idea until the last week or so that these people are a National group,” she said. “They do all kinds of things…and after looking at everything they had to offer I realized we needed a local chapter.” Floyd found the group became involved. Recently she took training to become a grief recovery specialist through the Grief Recovery Institute. “I went to school in January 2014 right after TJ’s two year ANGELversary as we call it and I became a specialist,” she said. Now she is in the process of creating a Coastal Empire Chapter of the National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children Inc. and Floyd said she suddenly feels awakened. “It’s like I’m on fire,” she said. “I stayed up until 2 a.m. and I read and retained everything…I mean I am soaking it up like a sponge….It’s like God has moved certain things away but said soak this in. This is what I want you to do. You always know when it’s a God thing…everything just starts flying open…everything is just falling into place.” And she wants to set the record straight. “TJ was wrong for being there…he was wrong for being there…he had no street smarts...up until the last year before his death he was with me all the time,” she said adding her son met Walthour for the first time that day. And while she admits her son was there to make what the courts said was a $600 purchase of pot, she said Walthour and co-defendants Jonathan Robertson and Damion Walthour had an alternate plan. “They were trying to rob them from the get go,” Floyd said explaining her son went with a friend to make the exchange. She said what Walthour presented to her son turned out to be a bag of oregano and parsley. “The robbery didn’t go the way it was supposed to,” she said. “They drive off but they get pissed off and they come back to get the money.” Floyd said Robertson held her son’s friend at gun point in the ditch. She said the gun was never found by police so it was never brought up in court. “Chip says there was a gun so I believe Chip,” Floyd said about her son’s friend Everett “Chip” Drewery. “I don’t think he would have any reason to lie to me about that. His wife, she was his girlfriend at the time, she ran up on the scene and she was the one who held TJ while he died. That gave me some peace…that he wasn’t in Travon’s arms when he died and that he knew he was in somebody’s arms that loved and cared for him.” She said people have accused her son of pulling a knife out on Walthour. She admits her son has always carried a buck knife since he was in fourth grade. But she said her son was small in stature compared to Walthour, a former football player at Liberty County High School. She said Walthour took the knife from her son’s pocket. “He stabbed TJ a minimum of 13 times, that is deep rooted rage,” she said. “That type of rage came from something else.” And the crime was for nothing she said. “The coroner found the money inside TJ’s shoe,” she said. “He (Travon) didn’t get anything.” Floyd said she will be attending a conference in August to learn about developing the local chapter for the National Organization of Parents of Murdered Children Inc. She said she wishes she could have been provided immediate referrals to the services the organization provides. “These are the kinds of things I needed and we needed to be told about,” she said. “There was nothing for us.” She also wants to do something with the local DARE programs in TJ’s name. “You know these kids don’t think that it is dangerous to go buy pot, they think it is dangerous to go buy heroine or crack or meth or something like that,” she said adding that she once thought the same way too. “I didn’t think it was that huge of a deal although I didn’t want my kid smoking pot. And you hear people say all the time you never hear of someone getting violent over pot so you are not associating violence with marijuana. So I do want people to know that there was no marijuana and how that was set up because I don’t think kids realize how they could get set up like that. Kids don’t need to be out there trying to buy the stuff because you don’t know what you are buying and you don’t know if you are going to come out alive…these kids don’t realize that it could be their last moment.” She said she plans to attend every parole hearing to keep Walthour in jail for as long as she can. She said it is something the organization she plans to establish also does on behalf of the victims’ families. And she plans to see her new mission until completion. “I was already a Christian which was a good thing because when he died I had that foundation and everything but it put me in a whole different direction,” she said. “I had always dedicated my life to helping others that is just me I am not about self I am all about helping others. But it put me on a whole different road….I am on a mission and that mission is to do something in this community that is needed. No mom, no parent should ever feel this…there aren’t even words to describe what this feels like.”