All Billy Joseph McCullen can do is cry.
He cried the first time his live-in girlfriend’s daughter Jordyn called him “daddy”. Jordyn’s mother, Jaylene Dumont, described their relationship as “loving”.
He cried when he called 911 to report that Jordyn, whom he was supposed to be watching, had mysteriously vanished while he was taking a nap on August 15th, 2016. He even begged her to “please come out” as if he believed that she might just be hiding somewhere.
The call was logged at 3:39 PM; dark fell at 9:45 PM that day outside Gastonia, NC. Gaston County officials and dozens of neighbors spent the six hours and six minutes in between searching for the missing 3-year old around her rural Gaston County home. Presumably, McCullen helped them. Crying.
They did not find anything.
At 10:10 AM the following day, they did. Jordyn’s battered body was located in a shallow grave in some woods near her home, covered with branches and leaves. She was wrapped in a black fitted bedsheet, and was wearing a t-shirt that declared her the “Best Big Sister”. In a nod towards motive, local media reported that “her shorts and fluid-stained underwear were pulled down over her upper thighs.”
The dispassionate numbers in the autopsy report reveal the savagery with which she was killed. 10 wounds on her torso. 26 wounds on her legs and feet. 20 wounds on her arms and hands. She had been hit in the abdomen so hard that she had internal bleeding and organ tears.
She was brutalized.
In a move that won’t surprise DD regulars, police quickly arrested McCullen. When Dumont went to see him in jail, he cried. Cried and said he was sorry.
And he wasn’t the only one. Gaston County social workers drew flak over their ineffectual interactions with the family during what would be the last few months of Jordyn’s life.
State Representative John Torbett said at the time that he intended to ask for an external review of social workers’ handling of the case. Gaston County commissioners also questioned how the case was handled.
Dumont also caught a bunch of heat, both on social media and from Jordyn’s father, Josh Kinnett, for not preventing the abuse. She cited being harassed in public in a November 2016 news article.
Better than being beaten to death and left in the woods, I think.
On Monday, McCullen was finally given something to cry about. He was found guilty of first-degree murder by torture and sentenced to a life term without the possibility of parole.
We all know what kind of reception he is going to get. And we all know he’s going to cry.