In Jacksonville, Florida Maddie Clifton’s family, law enforcement officials and religious figures involved in the case speak out.
Former Sheriff Nat Glover: “I remember the number of days she was missing, the media coverage and the level of attention, both here and nationally. …”
Mark Foxworth, who lead the Clifton case: “Tuesday, Nov. 3, 1998, is a day I will never forget.”
Maddie’s older sister, Jessie Clifton: “As an 11-year-old, you think about toys, games, and most of all, your family and friends.”
Monsignor John Lenihan: “Not a day goes by without some memory of Maddie Clifton, her mother, father and sister, Jessica.”
Media coverage of Maddie’s case:
THE MADDIE CLIFTON SAGA: Her killer fights back tears when asked about Maddie and her family
By Paul Pinkham, The Times-Union
Few homicides have dominated Northeast Florida’s consciousness like the murder 10 years ago Monday of Maddie Clifton.
Just 8 years old, she disappeared on Election Day from her family’s Lakewood home. For a week she was simply gone. Hundreds of people searched Dumpsters and woods around the secluded Southside neighborhood. Police sealed off the area and interviewed neighbors. Yellow ribbons sprung up everywhere as people hoped and prayed Maddie would be found.
A week later, Jacksonville Sheriff Nat Glover made a grim and emotional announcement. Maddie’s body had been found, stuffed under the water bed of her 14-year-old neighbor and playmate, Josh Phillips. Josh’s mother made the discovery and alerted police. Thousands lined San Jose Boulevard for Maddie’s funeral procession.
Phillips was indicted as an adult and convicted of first-degree murder by a jury in Polk County, where his trial was moved because of publicity in Jacksonville. He was sentenced to a mandatory life term in prison, where he remains today. . .
Maddie’s mother said Phillips’ sentence is appropriate.
“Josh did get a life sentence, but Maddie got the death sentence. She was only 8 years old,” Sheila Clifton Delongis said. “He should not be cut a deal just because he was 14.”
Delongis said she knew Phillips as a neighbor and has no doubt he knew right from wrong.