Can you imagine what it's like to be falsely accused of murdering your son for 25 years before you're finally cleared of all wrongdoing? It must be sheer hell.
The police questioned Elizabeth Watkins of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, immediately after her son's death in 1987 but then released her without charge. That wasn't good enough for the locals, who were convinced she had killed her six-year-old son Nicholas.
Her other son and his father were also convinced of her guilt and broke off contact with her.
After 25 years of living under a cloud of suspicion, it must be a colossal relief to at last be free of it.
A new inquiry into her son's death has concluded that he wasn't murdered but was killed by a pack of dogs. How tragic that detectives didn't investigate more thoroughly at the time and discover the non-human cause of death while unhealthy suspicions could still be nipped in the bud.
But just imagine the festering feelings of injustice and rage and despair that must have addled her life and crushed the sort of enjoyable, freewheeling existence that most of us take for granted.
And the sick feelings of betrayal and humiliation as relatives, friends and acquaintances all refused to believe her declarations of innocence and continued to assume she was capable of slaughtering her child.
And the feelings of burning impotence as she could find no way of proving to the outside world that she had nothing to do with the death. Presumably she had no alibi for her movements at the time.
Now she has somehow to put all those miserable years behind her and try to recreate a more normal life in which she is once again an unblemished and respected member of the community. Without an awful lot of sincere regret and generosity on other people's part, that's going to be quite a struggle.
Pic: Elizabeth Watkins