Dr. Phil weighs in on controversial obituary

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Updated: 9/14/2013 9:37 am
RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) - A story we have been telling you about is gaining national attention following the story of a blistering obituary that appeared in the Reno-Gazette Journal. Even Doctor Phil weighed in on the Today Show.

Pat Reddick, one of 8 children born to Marianne Theresa Johnson-Reddick, says he and his siblings stand by every word because they hope it will make an abuser think twice.

Doctor Phil McGraw weighed in on the obituary on the Today’s Professionals segment of the Today Show. He said, “Maybe she deserved it completely, but that's not becoming to the children. I mean they have to live with it. That's not becoming to them. If they had those emotions tell her. Why wait till she dies and put it in the newspaper?”

We spoke with a family law attorney today who said personally he was not shocked by the obituary. Family Law Attorney Joel Santos told News 4, “In the area of family law, it's such an emotional area, that part of me, as an attorney, I'm not surprised by it unfortunately.” Santos says family law in Nevada has evolved, where it used to favor parental rights, “I think the law has switched now to really focus on the child.”

Two of children behind this obituary, Pat and Patricia Reddick helped lay the foundation for this shift of focus away from the rights of parents to the what's right for the child. Their story of their mother's abuse and neglect caught the attention of then Nevada State Senator Sue Wagner (R-Reno), “I thought that the children, they were grown guys when I met with them, they deserve to have some rights and that's why I introduced the bill.”

The bill she is talking about is part of a series of bills that were approved in the mid-80's that shifted focus to give children more equal footing. The Reddick's specifically played a role in SB 98 which laid out "failure of parental adjustment" as grounds for termination of parental rights.

While the Reddick's hope their obituary is an agent for change nationally, they have already played a role to help children in their situation in Nevada.


Clip from the Today Show with Dr. Phil talking about the obituary:

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Here are the most recent story comments.View All

halmolitor - 9/15/2013 9:11 PM
1 Vote
Dr. Phil, as usual, sounds off without a clue about the story and its history. The kids did talk about it when she was alive - and their talking resulted in major changes to Nevada law, with untold major benefits to abused children. The obituary is a good cap to the story and - as it says - may lead to additional benefits for abused children.

April - 9/15/2013 5:40 PM
1 Vote
The survivors of this woman's abuse should be able to tell their story in THEIR way and on whatever venue THEY see fit. That is what THEY need to heal. We should all respect that...including Dr. Phil. Nowhere does it say that when you write an obituary that you simply MUST write something that sings the praises of the deceased, no matter what type of monster they were in life. I say, BRAVO to the survivors! May they find peace and healing.

LASD1096 - 9/15/2013 10:43 AM
1 Vote
The abusive witch deserved this, maybe this is closure for her poor neglected kids and they can carry their heads high knowing that their own children will never have to experience the neglect and abuse that they did, Good for Sue Wagner for recognizing the rights of the children. Note to abusive parents, be careful what you do to your kids, it could come back to bit=e you.

Breckenridge - 9/14/2013 5:00 PM
1 Vote
I'm reminded of editing a 50-year reunion yearbook for my local high school, and a few classmates took pot shots at teachers and others, most of whom were deceased. I declined to include the hurtful comments, inasmuch as no good would come of it at that date and the yearbook didn't exist to provide a soapbox for those imbued with hate. And I'd do it again. And the paper should have looked at the larger view - who won this bout? I'd have declined the obit and forsaken the revenue - you wanna pick at a scab, don't do it in my paper

tryng2servive - 9/14/2013 3:18 PM
4 Votes
Shame on the media..this private,personal matter has become a circus..a media feeding frenzy..I'm so glad they brought in the "experts" so everyone will know how they are "supposed" to feel. I guess in order for the Obit to remain, they will have to lie now and make everything all rosie, warm and fuzzy to keep the censors at bay...

Justdoit - 9/14/2013 12:22 PM
2 Votes
Who cares what this Oprah clone thinks!
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