Thursday, April 26, 2018
News Roundup

Mother describes day she lost her 4-year-old daughter

She lives alone now. Not in the house where it happened, but in a new one, far removed from the memory and regret.

At least, Cathy Jo Ivancsits says, she still has her young son Ryne. Even though he's with his grandmother now, the 38-year-old mother lives on the hope she'll get him back. Maybe then they can be a family again.

She swears she never saw her 4-year-old daughter, Michelle, scoot in front of her car that October day last year. The SUV sits so high, she said, and Michelle was so short.

"Who would do that? If I saw her, I would stop. It was just a horrible, horrible tragic accident," she said in an interview with the Tampa Bay Times. "I thank God that he gave me my daughter for four years."

She remembers she was almost out of her Hudson townhouse complex when she saw her husband waving frantically in the rearview mirror. She parked fast and jumped out. Something was very wrong.

"I saw something was laying in the street," she said tearfully. "I was running. When I got closer, I saw it was my daughter. I picked her up and held her. I said, 'baby girl, talk to me, please, talk to me, baby.' But she just didn't talk. She was gone."

They didn't let Ivancsits ride in the ambulance. She went in the bathroom at home and washed her daughter's blood off her arms. At the hospital, they tested her and found marijuana and alcohol in her system. Last month, she was charged with misdemeanor DUI.

The medical examiner said Michelle Ivancsits died from blunt force trauma.

Four months later, Ivancsits' husband, David, died. She said he drank himself to death because he missed their daughter so much. Then the authorities took away her son.

She knows what people say about her. The media, she said, crucified and vilified her. She knows people blame her. She couldn't turn on the news after it happened.

"I relive it every day of my life," she said. "I wouldn't put anybody through this."

She hasn't had a drink, she said, since her husband died. She's been taking classes on substance abuse and parenting, all in the scramble to keep it all together.

She hopes to get weekend visits with Ryne soon. She hopes a judge will have mercy on her and see she's trying to change.

In her new house, she has two shelves in a room holding two urns. One is decorated with butterflies, and the other has a football cup a son bought for his dad on Father's Day.

"I'm still standing. I'm here alive and kicking, and so is my son," she said. "We're going to make a life together."

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