Karly Sheehan, whose child-abuse death spurred Karly’s Law, remembered on ID

The latest installment of The Real Story with Maria Elena Salinas, a new newsmagazine on Investigation Discovery, focuses on the tragic death of toddler Karly Sheehan, who was a victim of child abuse and neglect from her mother’s boyfriend in 2005.

The episode, titled An Unspeakable Tragedy, documents how a bright, energetic child began losing her hair and exhibiting strange behavior in the lead-up to her death in Corvallis, Oregon, when she was only 3 years old.

The tragedy spurred Oregon officials to enact Karly’s Law, a 2007 measure aimed to strengthen child abuse investigation standards and procedures in the state.

The abuse and neglect were apparently noticed by a daycare provider who was treating Karly Sheehan when she was 2 years old.

“One October [2004] day during lunch, Sheehan says that her daddy has been hitting her and that he needs to stop,” reads a press release accompanying the episode of The Real Story with Maria Elena Salinas.

“Child protective services open an investigation into her father but there’s no proof and the case is dropped,” the release continues. “As the toddler’s condition continues to deteriorate over the next eight months, suspicion turns from Sheehan’s father to her mother’s boyfriend, but only after it’s too late.”

Despite the tragic outcome of Sheehan, her death led to Karly’s Law, which requires that children who show signs of injury during an abuse investigation be medically treated within two days.

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The Real Story with Maria Elena Salinas airs Mondays at 10/9c on Investigation Discovery.

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