As Halloween approaches children become frightened of urban legends and old murder stories. Kids could never imagine that an old murder story could have involved their teacher’s aide, but in a school in Conrad, Iowa, that is exactly the case. Paula Pace, formerly known as Paula Baniszewski, has been fired from her teacher’s aide position after the school discovered she was directly involved in the beating and killing of Sylvia Likens, 47 years ago. The death of Sylvia Likens is recognized as, “the most terrible crime committed in the state of Indiana,” and her story was also made a movie in 2007, “An American Crime.” Paula, her mother, her brother, and neighborhood children had beaten and tortured Sylvia, taking turns burning her and throwing her down the stairs. Even going so far as to stick Coke bottles in her privates. She was found dead in the basement of the Baniszewski home. Paula was arrested alongside her mother, brother, and neighbor. She was sentenced to only 7 years in prison and was released in 1972. She eventually moved to Iowa and changed her last name to Pace where she started a new life working in a school.
Paula has been fired due to falsifying her information on her job application. I am sure the board would not have hired an ex-murderer for their school system if they rightly knew her backstory. But should they let bygones be bygones? Don’t we want to believe as human race that people can genuinely change? Unfortunately, in this case her termination is not reconcilable. She lied about her past and deliberately misinformed her superiors of an incident that could effect the students, teachers, and parents she worked with. She might have changed her immoral ways but that does not change the fact she helped murder a girl when she was 17.
And so this brings to mind, who can we trust? Are there people you know that are hiding their true identity? Your baseball coach, your librarian, the man at the meat market (especially the man at the meat market), could they all be covering up a horrific past? So, beware when you are out on Halloween, Trick-0-Treating, you might reach a house where an axe murderer lives. But keep in mind Halloween is not the only time when people are wearing a mask.Google+