Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mother to 11-year-old daughter accused of trying to kill her: 'I love you.'

CLEARWATER — A judge ordered Nancy Broadhead not to have any contact with her 11-year-old daughter, who police say tried to burn down the family home while her mother was inside.

But the moment she is able to see the girl again, Broadhead said she knows exactly what she will say: "I love you. I love you with all my heart."

Speaking to the St. Petersburg Times for the first time since the Dec. 29 fire, Broadhead said she is taking her life one day at a time and isn't holding any grudges.

"Past is past; people change," said Broadhead, 48, who is living with a friend and awaiting surgery and skin grafts for her burned hands and arms.

She uses that axiom for more than just her view of her daughter and her alleged 15-year-old accomplice, Jack Ault, who were charged as juveniles with attempted murder and arson.

In the fire's aftermath, the media produced a flurry of stories about Broadhead and her family, exposing her struggles with alcohol and allegations of child abuse. Those things, too, she says, are behind her.

Her Clearwater home now charred, she said she may look for a new beginning outside Pinellas County, where she has lived most of her life.

But first, she said she would like to see her daughter end up safe — whether it's with her or not.

Her daughter, who the Times is not naming because of her age, is expected to be released from juvenile detention soon to live with Broadhead's sister, Linda, in Lakeland.

"I will do what is in her best interest," said Broadhead, adding there are still times when she finds it hard to believe her daughter could have played any role in the fire.

Broadhead said the night itself was a dark blur of confusion, its aftermath and cause still settling in her head.

"It's awful. I don't even know if I can come up with the right words. I really, really don't. It's called survival. You have to move forward," she said.

Broadhead, who has worked as a waitress for most of her life, has struggled to make ends meet. She lost what she did have in the fire, but said the help she has received from the public in the form of clothes, transportation and other necessities has been amazing.

"The outreach is, it just makes me cry. It's unbelievable," she said. "I never knew that people would reach out to you, call you. It's tremendous."

And her daughter, she said, "is a wonderful little person."

She said while they frequently fought, they did not always hate one another.

Broadhead said despite the picture of a troubled youth painted about her daughter, her problems only recently began when she started middle school last year. She had planned to send the girl to a new school and to see a counselor.

"All of a sudden, a few wrong people, a few wrong turns," she said.

She prefers to think about times before middle school, about a girl with a big heart.

Like when she'd see homeless people and ask her mom to set up tents in the back yard to help them.

Dominick Tao can be reached at (727) 580-2951 or

Mother to 11-year-old daughter accused of trying to kill her: 'I love you.' 01/15/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 15, 2010 10:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Behind the Lens: To capture an exhilarating moment, it's better to be lucky AND good


    Editor's note: Boyzell Hosey, our Assistant Managing Editor - Photography/Multimedia, shot this image while on a family vacation in Alaska. Below is his description of the shot.

  2. Council candidate James Scott sees a green future for St. Petersburg

    Local Government

    Times Staff Writer

    ST. PETERSBURG — James Scott's central tenet is sustainability.

    St. Petersburg City Council District 6 candidate James Scott. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT   |   TIMES]
  3. O.J. Simpson drawing world attention during plea for freedom


    LOVELOCK, Nev. — Former football star and convicted felon O.J. Simpson will command the world's attention once again Thursday when he pleads for his freedom on live TV.

    In this June 21, 1995 file photo, O.J. Simpson holds up his hands before the jury after putting on a new pair of gloves similar to the infamous bloody gloves during his double-murder trial in Los Angeles. During Simpson's trial, a prosecutor famously asks him to put on a pair of gloves allegedly worn by the killer. The gloves appeared to be too tight, reinforcing the immortal words of defense attorney Johnnie Cochran: "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." [AP Photo/Vince Bucci, Pool]
  4. Florida education news: lawsuits, trans rights, recess and more


    ANOTHER ONE: Palm Beach County may be the next School Board to pick a legal fight with the state over the controversial HB 7069, but they may do it alone. Board members Wednesday seemed conflicted about whether to participate with other school boards, like Broward and St. Lucie counties, in a joint lawsuit or sue on …

    Ya'riah Ellison, 6, of Tampa, works on a pop art self portrait at the Glazer Children's Museum in Tampa on Friday, July 14, 2017. On Thursday, July 20th, a new pop art exhibition will open in which children will be able to create self portraits in a variety of ways including screen printing, pointillism and pop art methods
  5. Looking Back: The Ybor City Streetcar gets a new life (December 27, 1991)


    Before World War II Tampa's public transportation needs were covered by a network of Birney streetcars, with a peak of 24 million passengers in 1926. When a local streetcar enthusiast came across a 1920's model, she contacted the Tampa Trolley Society with an eye towards restoration. That streetcar would become the part …