RANDOLPH COUNTY, NC -- After months of pain and confusion, a Randolph County grandmother is using her own troubling experiences to help others.
Linda Benskey was all smiles on Sunday while collecting toys for victims of child abuse in honor of her granddaughter, Angel.
“It feels fantastic,” said Benskey. “It lets me know that her community, her family, her friends, her church family, we have not forgot about her. They have not forgot about her. I'm very blessed to know that she has support.”
But those smiles have been few and far between for the last few months.
"Chaos, hurtful, mind-boggling, disturbing,” said Benskey. “It's just been rough."
Back in September, investigators found then 5-year-old Angel Byrd locked in a closet at her dad's house in Randolph County.
The girl's father, Adam Byrd and another woman, Crystal Carnahan, were arrested and charged with felony child abuse among other charges.
The child was placed in foster care where she's remained for the last three months.
Now, Benskey wants Angel home with her.
“We're fighting a battle that seems like we shouldn't have to be fighting,” said Benskey.
In the midst of that fight, she's doing what she can to help others.
She organized a toy collection drive on Sunday at Randleman Elementary School on Sunday.
Benskey said the goal was to honor Angel by helping other kids who have suffered from abuse or who might be spending Christmas in foster care.
The toys will be donated to the Salvation Army of Randolph County.
“I don't want any child to not have Christmas this year or to not feel like nobody cares,” said Benskey. “There are many, many children that can't be with their family this year for whatever reason. There are parents that are struggling that need help. That's what we're trying to help.”
Family and friends came out to donate toys and sign a poster card with messages of hope, love, and justice for Angel.
“She loved to go Christmas shopping. She loved to pick out gifts for Gamma and Papa and her aunts and uncles,” said Benskey. “We can't do that with her. So we're going to donate these to other children in honor of her.”
The next court date for this case is December 20.
Benskey hopes to find out then if she will get custody of her granddaughter.
“She's not forgotten. We love her. We are here and we are waiting,” she said. “We will continue to wait and do whatever it takes to bring her back where she belongs.”
Randolph County Manager Hal Johnson confirmed that Angel’s case worker with the DSS resigned from her position in October.
A supervisor was also fired for “poor job performance.”
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