CLAYTON (AP) — A former day care provider convicted of killing a toddler and abusing dozens of young children will remain in state prison after she was denied parole.
Eleanor Nathan was convicted in 1983 of first-degree murder and 33 counts of child abuse. She was sentenced to 44 years to life in prison. Authorities said Nathan inflicted the injuries while the children were at her unlicensed home day care centers in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1970s and 1980s. She was accused of fatally abusing an 11-month-old Pittsburg boy, who was the son of a Concord police officer.
Dozens of victims and their families appeared at the California Institution for Women in Southern California, where Nathan was being held, for Tuesday’s parole hearing, the Contra Costa Times reported.
Nathan was previously denied parole in 2007. During her latest bid for freedom, many described the abuse they faced as children. Julia Cosmides Harris said she was 3 years old when Nathan severely beat her.
“These are the scars that can be seen. I can hide from them with clothing and a simple refusal to look at myself in the mirror,” she said in a letter to the parole board. “But the scars that are under the skin, deeper than hurt — these are the ones I can’t hide from myself. These are the wounds that don’t heal: the rage, the terror, the helplessness.”
Former prosecutor Douglas Pipes, who handled the case, said Nathan cared about profits and would take in up to 30 children at a time without telling their parents.
Pipes told the newspaper that Nathan “used her consummate acting skills to provide false information to young parents who trusted her, who terrorized the children into silence, and who affirmatively misled the authorities.”
After the 11-hour hearing, the state parole board denied her release. Nathan will be up for parole again in 2018.