Petition Aims to Name West Galveston Bay Island “Riley’s Island”


 On October 29, a fisherman discovered a small blue storage container that had washed up atop the grassy shores of a small and uninhabited spoil island on West Galveston Bay near Green’s Cut. Inside that box were the remains of Riley Ann Sawyers, an innocent two-year-old girl who was savagely beaten, murdered and ultimately discarded off of the Galveston Causeway with no more respect than that afforded to yesterday’s garbage.
 I’ll reserve my assessment of the alleged perpetrators, Riley Ann’s mother and stepfather, for the court system and God to sort out. Pardon me if I contend in the meantime that there is a special place in hell for anyone who would do such a horrendous thing to an innocent young child, be it Riley Ann or any other little one.
 The story here is not of Riley Ann’s murder, but instead of an ongoing movement to try and extract something worthwhile out of this heartbreaking incident.
 Admittedly, it is virtually impossible to perceive anything positive stemming from Riley Ann Sawyers’ incredibly tragic story. Nonetheless, on Friday I received an email with an attached online petition that is aimed at doing exactly that. Flats Rainbow
The purpose of the petition is to name the remote shallow-water island “Riley’s Island.”
 Some might claim this to be a “feel-good” measure, a simple attempt to help create a sense of closure in regard to something that even those only remotely involved will likely never forget. Some of the most battle-hardened law-enforcement veterans in the state were severely shaken by the atrocious nature of what happened to this helpless baby girl.
However, not forgetting is exactly the point of this petition. And it’s a point, I believe, that is worth reinforcing.
 If naming the spot at which Riley Ann’s body was discovered serves no other purpose than to remind us that this kind of pure and unimaginable evil still exists in our world, that is purpose enough. From there it is a matter of action and social responsibility. Hopefully, every time this location is mentioned, every time the sign in Riley Ann’s memory is seen by a passing boater or shown in a media photo, it will reinforce the fact that each and every one of us owes it to our society … and particularly, our children … to report suspicions regarding child abuse.
 After the gathering of as many signatures as possible, the petition to create “Riley’s Island” will be presented to the General Land Office and Galveston County. Signing up is as simple as going to, and providing your name (all information will be kept private).
 I signed the petition Friday evening, and shortly thereafter received an email requesting verification of the signature. It was as simple as clicking the mouse to get the job done.
 To get the bigger job done, however, and accomplish the goal, more verified signatures are needed.
 I hope you will provide yours. If only one child benefits from our efforts, those efforts will have been immeasurably rewarded.

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