Difference between revisions of "Rachel Hood"
(New page: '''Rachel Hood''' (born '''Rachel Vacca''' in 1988) is a Birmingham Police officer. Rachel and her twin sister Jennifer were born to...)
Revision as of 12:28, 12 December 2010
Rachel and her twin sister Jennifer were born to Albert and Laurie Vacca. While their older brother and sister were raised with some degree of normalcy, the infant twins were maltreated. They were found home alone by a Jefferson County Sheriff's deputy in 1989 and Children's Hospital workers found signs of abuse when they were admitted in 1991. That same year, day care workers noted that the three-year olds would arrive on Monday in the same diapers they had worn home on Friday. Those incidents were reported to the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) to little effect. When the story reached the media, reforms of DHR were undertaken, but the girls were still returned to their parents. When the family moved, former landlords discovered rooms soiled with human waste and prospective new landlords were introduced to a family of four, rather than six. The twins were kept locked in a bedroom to fend for themselves, deprived of food and companionship.
When the Vaccas were evicted from a house on Carnation Drive in Roebuck Gardens in July 1993, they abandoned the twin girls, then five years old but severely underdeveloped, shackled in a locked room. By chance the landlady happened to see Rachel's face peering out a window when she came to cut the grass. Unable to get into the room, she called police, who broke in and retrieved the starving girls. The horrifying and sensational news gripped the city for weeks.
Sherri Hood, a newly-approved emergency shelter foster parent, accepted the girls into her care when they were released from the hospital and gradually nursed them to physical and emotional health. The Vaccas surrendered their parental rights in February 1994 after several legal actions. Several volunteers offered to adopt the girls, including Chick-Fil-A founder Truett Cathy, but Hood was committed to raising them as her own. They were awarded to her adoptive care by a judge in April of that year. The Vaccas were both convicted of child abuse. Laura served four years of her two 10-year sentences and Albert served 13 years of his two 20-year sentences. They divorced and have since moved away from Birmingham.
Rachel played sports in school and moved out of Hood's home while she was a senior at Clay-Chalkville High School. She researched her childhood and met once with her birth mother in South Alabama, but has sought no other contact with her. Knowing that she wanted to help people, Rachel worked as a YMCA counselor and, at age 20, applied for the Birmingham Police Academy. She is currently a patrol officer assigned to the East Precinct.
- Robinson, Carol (December 12, 2010) "From nightmare to new life and hope: Child rescued from terror is now policewoman." Birmingham News