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Outpouring of help for mom of slain boy


Outpouring of help for mom of slain boy

Bay Area residents donate $20,000, easing money woes

December 1, 2004

Carrie Sturrock

San Fransico Chronicle

Edrina Gibson-McEntire feels overwhelmed by the outpouring of community support she has received in recent days.

Since news of the Richmond mother's terminal cancer and the arrest of her husband for murdering their 18-month-old adopted son got out, Bay Area residents have donated more than $20,000.

She can now repay her sister for the baby's funeral expenses as well as rent and utility bills. She might even have enough money to get cancer medication again after losing her insurance when her husband stopped paying the premium.

"With all the love and support I'm getting I don't have time to be sad," she said. "I don't have to cry."

And another fear has been allayed: her 19-year-old son, Marine Pfc. Jamil Posey, won't ship out for Iraq while his mother is sick, said Gunnery Sgt. Steven Mobley with Headquarters Battery First Battalion 14th Marines, a reserve unit in Alameda.

The Marines had sent Posey home from Camp Pendleton on a humanitarian transfer in August to care for her, but after learning of his little brother's murder, the Marines decided to try and get Posey joined to that unit until his mother's battles are over.

The Marines are also working to get Gibson-McEntire on Posey's medical plan, which could take from two weeks to 60 days.

"He is a Marine now until the day he dies," said Maj. Michael Samarov. "No one is ever going to let him fail or fall catastrophically."

Last spring, Gibson-McEntire, 39, was diagnosed with aggressive lymphoma. Her husband, Charles Thomas McEntire, was charged with murdering their adopted son, Charles Thomas McEntire III, on Nov. 22.

Then, she learned the Oakland Unified School District had canceled her health insurance with Kaiser Permanente because the family was so far behind on its payments.

Her husband, who had worked as a security guard for the district, had stopped paying for insurance after retiring. At one point the couple owed $4, 000 and eventually paid $1,800, but it wasn't enough. After extending their health insurance with Kaiser for an extra 60 days, the district eventually dropped them for nonpayment.

It's not clear whether Kaiser Permanente knew of Gibson-McEntire's terminal illness. The health-maintenance organization is investigating the case, said spokeswoman PJBallard.

Meanwhile, Gibson-McEntire had run out of cancer medication. But the Richmond Police Department was so moved by Gibson-McEntire's plight, they started a fund, and the donations began pouring in.

So far, it has exceeded Detective Mitch Peixoto's expectations, although the family could still use a lot more help. People donated more than $20,000 in cash, some of which could possibly be used to get Gibson-McEntire health insurance, Peixoto said. A couple of doctors called to say they would try to get her medication. Other people have called to get the clothing size of her children, Jamil and Rayshana, 13.

"She is very appreciative of everything and anything," Peixoto said. "She thanks me and everybody 100 times a day."

But she is crushed by her small son's death. She misses the drumroll sound of him running through the apartment, the daily ritual of cutting up his food for his special tray he liked to eat from.

The car belonging to her husband, whom she married in July 2002, is still sitting in the driveway and she wants it gone. If he tries to plead insanity, she said, she will fight it.

"I want him to pay for what he did to my child," she said. "I want justice."

How to help

Donations may be made to the McEntire Family Memorial Fund, account number 1001934719, at Washington Mutual Bank, 12121 San Pablo Ave., Richmond, CA 94805. For further information call (510) 215-4840 or (510) 620-6614.

E-mail Carrie Sturrock at csturrock@sfchronicle.com.

2004 Dec 1