By Sharon Ko
LOOKINGGLASS, Ore. — The mother of a four-year-old rape victim is reacting to news that the man convicted of that crime is now charged with murder.
Back in 1988, Mark Vanderhoof was convicted of the rape, and the little girl’s mother is speaking out.
Before moving and making his home in Lookingglass, Vanderhoof had dated Sherie Brint about 23 years ago.
They started a relationship while working at the County Health Department.
And while dating him for about four months, she trusted him with her 4-year-old little girl and didn’t expect things to turn out anything the way it did.
Brint can remember it like it was yesterday. She came home and saw her daughter with a fat lip.
“I asked her what happened, and she put her hand over my mouth and said, ‘Sshhh, I can’t tell you.’ Right then, I knew something was wrong, so I took all her clothes off and she had strangle marks on her neck. She had bruising here where he held her down,” Brint said.
Rushing her little girl to the hospital, doctors confirmed Brint’s worst fear.
“He had found out that she had been penetrated,” Brint said.
Shocked, disgusted and confused, Brint and their mutual friends couldn’t believe Vanderhoof fooled them all.
“I met his parents, his brothers, nobody, friends. We had friends that we socialized. No one had ever said anything,” Brint said.
Looking further into his past, she says she found out the man she thought she knew was a monster.
“He had prior in Douglas County, assault on children that could never conclude as sexual assault ’cause none of the kids would come through,” Brint said.
Brint says Vanderhoof’s pleas to get out of jail were a bluff.
“It’s false. It’s just to get out of the system,” Brint said.
But now he’s back in, accused of murdering his latest girlfriend’s 2-year-old son. Brint wants him to serve the death penalty.
“I’m not doing it out of revenge, you know? I really feel that he has nothing to offer to society and always going to be a threat to children,” Brint said.
Brint’s daughter is now 27 years old.
She didn’t want to be interviewed, but Brint says her daughter hopes the justice system will prevail in the new case against Vanderhoof.
As for Brint herself, she can’t let go of that day from 23 years ago.
“As a mother, it breaks your heart. Every time I look at my daughter, it breaks my heart thinking I couldn’t protect her,” Brint said.
Brint is planning on contacting the two-year-old victim’s mother to support her in her recent ordeal.