Daughter of abuse speaks

DURHAM Paddock was found guilty by a Johnston County jury in June, 2008 of killing her 4-year-old adopted son Sean by wrapping him so tightly in a blanket that he suffocated.

Her other adopted children took the stand against her - detailing a life filled with abuse. Tamara Paddock is one of those children. She told Eyewitness News Friday she's now ready to try and help other children avoid abuse - and even death.

Her disturbing personal story shows how the system that's supposed to protect our society's most vulnerable can sometimes fail.

Raped at the age of six, she went into foster care and was overjoyed when she was adopted.

"I always wished on a shooting star for an actual family. And when I ended up there, I thought it was a dream come true," she recalled.

The dream soon turned into a nightmare.

Tamara says her adopted mom starting abusing her - adopted five more children - and abused them.

Sean Paddock, age 4, was one of them.

"I didn't trust telling anybody because I didn't think they'd believe me and then that would cause Lynn to inflict further punishment," Tamara explained.

Then in 2006, Lynn Paddock wrapped Sean mummy-style in a blanket.

"She had started keeping him upstairs in the attic underneath his bed," Tamara said. "Stuffed underneath it with all the blankets on him and she had a trampoline and this rug and it was right on his head so there was no way of him moving at all and that's one of the reasons he suffocated."

Tamara says since then she's partly blamed herself for what happened.

"I feel guilt for Sean's death knowing she was mad at me the night before and it just escalated from there. I went to drugs, anything I could to. I tried killing myself about four times," Tamara offered.

But now, she says recent child abuse cases - and her new son - have given her the strength to speak out. She wants teachers, other parents, anyone in positions of authority to be more watchful so kids like her brother have a chance.

"Kids will come to school and let you know problems that are going on but a lot of people ignore it," she said.

Sean's death will likely haunt her for life, but she's trying to turn that into a positive force for good.

"I just know that there's something that I could, I should have done or could have done, but I'm not sure what it was. But I know that there's other kids out there that hopefully I can help," she explained.

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