As a television reporter, Britten covered Kelsey’s case since the day after her death. She broke the news to Kelsey’s family, the two year old’s death was a homicide.
Because of Britten’s dedication to uncovering corruption within Oklahoma’s Department of Human Services, a long list of parents sought her help fighting the system. Due to confidentiality laws, many of those stories will never be told.
Cherokee's career in television news began 25 years ago. Throughout her years in journalism, Cherokee covered everything from death row executions to the Oklahoma City bombing as well as her personal journey with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. But nothing could have prepared her for Kelsey. She never covered a case so gut wrenching and unbelievable. She couldn't stop digging to find out how a child so young could endure such horrific violence. Years of investigating this case resulted in this unexplained homicidal mystery.
Cherokee was honored for her coverage of this case by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Associated Press.She earned national recognition as Oklahoma’s 2008 Woman of the Year.
Cherokee grew up in Oklahoma City and is native Cherokee Indian. She is part of a small community of Native Americans within the United States who are television news anchors. Cherokee was honored in a 2001 photographic exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. called, “Cherokee Nation: A Portrait of a People.” It depicted contemporary Oklahoma Cherokees.In 2002, she won the Cherokee Nation Medal of Honor Award and in 2001, the IABC Central Oklahoma Excel Award.
Her 2002 weekly series, “Cherokee’s Journal: Lessons in Living with Cancer,” took viewers on her personal journey through changes and challenges when cancer presented itself, from diagnosis, chemotherapy, to hair loss, radiation and finally, recovery.
Cherokee is a University of Oklahoma alum and worked as a professor at the School of Journalism, instructing its “Writing for Broadcast” classes. She has also won the Staff Peabody Award and a Regional Emmy for her coverage of the Oklahoma City bombing.
Meet Britten & Cherokee
Britten has spent years investigating the intimate details of the back room deals and negligence behind Kelsey’s story. Because Kelsey’s dead, her story can be told.
Britten’s investigative television reports earned her the prestigious Emmy and Edward R. Murrow awards, along with six state and regional broadcasting awards.
She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Southern Illinois University, where she was an award winning Division One volleyball player. Today she sits on the board of directors for the Alumni Association and the Dean's National Advisory Council.
Britten is no stranger to the book business. Five generations ago, her family founded Follett Corporation. Britten has returned to her roots in Illinois to work as the International Marketing Manager for Follett. When Britten is not traveling for work, she is traveling across the country, educating the public about child abuse prevention, in hopes of keeping another child’s smiling face from becoming the cover of a heart-wrenching book. Britten is a board member for Prevent Child Abuse Illinois and a member of the National Child Protection Training Center's Speakers Bureau.
"WOW! My advice to anyone who has not read this book yet: Read it! Powerful from begining to end. Thank you ladies, for writing this book to open the eyes to everyone who has never been, or even those who have been touched by child abuse." -Debi