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Family joins fight to keep child killer behind bars

Jessica Cuffman • Aug 27, 2014 at 2:38 PM

The 3-year-old died in 1990 after suffering from third-degree burns for days, his wounds inflicted by scalding water. When firefighters were finally called to help the boy, it was too late. Michael died a few hours later of dehydration and blood poisoning.

Craig Popke, boyfriend of Peggy Wasserman, Michael's mother, was accused of causing the deathly burns.

Family members were alerted Popke was eligible for a parole hearing when they read it in the Register on Monday. Martina Wassermann, Michael's aunt, her sister Tammy Brown, and their sister-in-law Martha Wassermann, each called the newspaper.

"There's still quite a few of us here in town," Martha said. "We will fight for Michael. We are here."

For more on the fight to block Popke's parole and new legislation requiring notification of victim's family members when an offender is up for parole, pick up a copy of Tuesday's Register.

Want to help?

Craig Popke, 47, is up for parole at Richland Correctional Institution on Dec. 27.

Popke was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison for the 1990 death of his girlfriend's 3-year-old boy, Michael Wasserman.

Michael suffered third-degree burns that eventually lead to his death after an excruciating three days.

To sign a petition to oppose Popke's release, visit blockparole.com.


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