The Family Story

The Story of Walter Dean and Betty Mae Barteaux -  The Dangers of Adoption

Little did Dean and Betty know,  when they took home their new son what was in store for them.  Over the next forty plus years they would discover loving tolerance, generosity to their child, and ignoring the problems he caused, was not a strategy which would bring them the joy they had expected.

If they had been able to look forward in time and, perhaps, read the article posted in the New York Times Magazine on May 12th of this year, titled, "Can You Call a 9-Year-Old a Psychopath?," they might have felt a chill as they looked into the small face nestled in their arms. 

Today, a consulting psychiatrist, such as Dan Waschbusch, a researcher at Florida International University, could have providing them with terminology which makes chilling sense of the behavior exhibited by the son they so wanted.

If such a therapist in 1950, who could have used a combination of psychological exams and teacher- and family-rating scales, to assess their son, their lives might have been very different. Instead of decades of chaos, capped with the indifference of their grandson as Betty laid dying, they might have been able to leave their considerable estate to people who loved them, instead of viewing them, like the predators they are, only as the source of wealth.

Humanity has always sensed the presence of the psychopathic, the demonic presence of these individuals being articulated in the iconic images of Satan, Lucifer, and other inhuman entities. But it is, perhaps, the most frightening to see this in the children you love.

Today, humanity stands on the threshhold of an understanding which promises to change our world, making it possible to identify these individuals early and either treat or quarantine them so they can do no harm.

Based on our growing understanding of neurobiology, which allows us to understand the internal function of the brain, these tools include the Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits, the Child Psychopathy Scale and a modified version of the Antisocial Process Screening Device.  Designed to measure the cold, predatory conduct most closely associated with adult psychopathy, a term deemed essentially identical to “sociopath,” these innovations come in response to the growing awareness of the impact and nature of psychopathy and other social disorders, Callous-Unemotional Traits, among them.

Today, these traits are being recognized in children as young as three.  Callous-Unemotional Traits, or C. U., manifest in obvious ways. “Paul Frick, a psychologist at the University of New Orleans who has studied risk factors for psychopathy in children for two decades, described one boy who used a knife to cut off the tail of the family cat bit by bit, over a period of weeks. The boy was proud of the serial amputations, which his parents initially failed to notice. “When we talked about it, he was very straightforward,” Frick recalls. “He said: ‘I want to be a scientist, and I was experimenting. I wanted to see how the cat would react.’ ”

In the same article Frick noted another case, which has received more public attention. In this instance Jeffrey Bailey, then 9 years of age, shoved a toddler into the deep end of a motel swimming pool in Florida. As the little boy struggled, sinking to the bottom, Bailey pulled up a chair to observe. Bailey explained to the police afterward he was curious to see someone drown. He showed no emotional reaction when taken into custody, and was untroubled by the prospect of jail. He positively enjoyed being the center of attention.

Psychopathy presents on a gradient which, experts believe, is complex, relating to the specific individual. As with all gradients, most psychopaths are not as severely affected as the few who come to our attention through the shocking nature of their behavior. But their behavior can be, none-the-less, abnormal, abusive, and heart-rending.

Evidence is mounting that the traits which cause the adult to be psychopathic can be inherited, explaining how Richard Lee Barteaux, who never saw his oldest daughter, and had little or nothing to do with raising his other two children, impacted their lives.

The ramifications for us are enormous and demand study and action.

The Barteauxs adopted a baby but this one act has impacted a multitude of other individuals, the ripples of that act sending shock waves through time to present day.

This site tracks the behavior of Richard Lee Barteaux, Senior and his three biological children.

Carolyn Anne Barteaux (AKA Morgan Pillsbury Gell
Richard Lee Barteaux, Jr. 
Angel Barteaux

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