We Remember: Lydia

We remember Lydia Schatz today, February 6, 2017.

Seven years ago today, 7-year-old Lydia Schatz died after her adoptive parents disciplined her to the point of death.

Lydia was a vivacious little girl, adopted from Liberia.  In the photo below, her smile shows a missing upper tooth — in the same place where my 5-year-old-son is missing a tooth.

Lydia Schatz

Lydia Schatz


February tends to be a hard month for me.  I don’t know why it is, but it seems some of the biggest emotional challenges come around in February. A big part of it is remembering and mourning Lydia Schatz and Sean Paddock, and facing the reality of abuse within the church and Christian families.

Lydia’s adoptive parents, Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz were convicted by the courts. Kevin was sentenced to two life terms for second-degree murder and torture and will serve a minimum of 22 years. Elizabeth Schatz sentence is for over 13 years for voluntary manslaughter and infliction of unlawful corporal punishment. These sentences were the result of a plea bargin — originally they were charged with murder related to Lydia’s death, torture related to her sister (also adopted) who was hospitalized but recovered, and cruelty related to a biological son’s injuries.

O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more.
Psalm 10:18-19

Lydia’s autopsy revealed that she died from rhabdomyolsis, a condition related to kidney and heart failure from toxins released when muscle tissue breaks down. Lydia’s muscles broke down as a result of repeated beatings over time, though her death was proceeded by an especially long “discipline” session.

Lydia’s parents used a plumbing supply line, which is recommended by Michael and Debi Pearl in their book “To Train Up A Child.” Both plumbing supply line and TTUAC were found in the Schatz home and the older children have attested to those methods being used in their home.

While death is not a common result from the implementation of TTUAC, this is not the first time that a child has died when parents have carefully and consistently applied the so-called “child training methods” espoused by the Pearls. In February 2006, 4-year-old Sean Paddock was killed. How many other unreported cases of quiet abuse are happening under the influenced of these harmful, unBiblical teachings?

Compounding the tragedy is the professed love of these parents for their children, the desire to nurture their children through homeschooling, the commitment to seek out help in parenting.

Further compounding the tragedy is that Lydia and her sister Zaraiah were adopted. Her parents needed to provide love, security, attachment. . . and instead beat them with a plumbing supply line. Sean was a foster son in the process of being adopted.

We need to remember Lydia. We need to remember Sean. We need to remember Hana Williams.

We need to remember the children who need families, who are in families.

We need to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.

We need to open our eyes to the abuse within our own communities.

May God have mercy on us all.


Lydia Schatz Memorial

9 comments for “We Remember: Lydia

  1. Lisa
    February 6, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Thank you for keeping on with this work.

    • February 6, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      Thank you, Lisa. Such a sensitive subject. I know many loving, well-meaning parents buy in to the garbage taught by Michael and Debi Pearl. While they may never go so far as hitting a child until she dies from rhabdomylosis, it is easy to go “too far” when following their guidelines of “never surrender, never let the child win.”

      • John
        February 7, 2017 at 7:10 pm

        I believe any use of corporal punishment is harmful, even the legal methods. Just finished reading a professional book on sexual addictions, and all of them come from child abuse, especially where deliberate shaming was done as a part of the punishment!

        • February 8, 2017 at 12:56 am

          I’ve seen research making those connections, as well as heard from people who have had negative sexual experiences linked with childhood corporal punishment. It’s very concerning.

  2. February 6, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    I think you need to reword your second sentence. “Seven years ago today, 7-year-old Lydia Schatz died after her adoptive parents disciplined her to the point of death.” It was torture, abuse, not discipline.

    • February 6, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      Yes, Hevel, the courts did charge them with torture and abuse. Objectively, that is what it was.

      And yet, I used the phrase “disciplined to the point of death” to allow parents to see how the intention to discipline can result in the reality of abuse.

      Did the Schatz parents set out to abuse their child? Did they want to kill her? All indications were that they at least started out with good intentions. In church families it is more common to see “well-intentioned child abuse” than intentionally inflicting harm. Much of this abuse is begun under the influence of popular teachers and books (like Michael and Debi Pearl in the cases of Lydia, Sean, and Hana.)

      What do you think?

  3. Margaret McKinney
    February 7, 2017 at 12:07 am

    Thanks Alexandra for remembering Lydia and the other young souls…such a sad situation. 😪

    • February 7, 2017 at 12:32 pm

      I appreciate you, Margaret, and the care you give to the children in your community.

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