Palm Beach County is filing charges against Marcus Carl Brown and Felisha Annette Slater after discovering that their 11-year-old daughter weighed 45 lbs and in a state of extreme starvation chewed off parts of her thumb. The pair dropped the daughter off at St. Mary’s Medical Center where doctors had to amputate her thumb due to how advanced the infection was. They placed her on IV antibiotics for six weeks.
It isn’t clear from the article if the couple is the parents of the child or simply caregivers. Their relationship with the child has been redacted from the record. The article also states that the child is a quadriplegic, which means that she cannot move her arms or legs. If that is true, then there’s no possible way she could have chewed through her thumb because she couldn’t move her arms. The report also states that the child is mute and blind.
Police also state that this particular girl was the subject of at least a dozen Florida Department of Children and Families investigations. These included reports of inadequate supervision, medical neglect, and other forms of abuse.
The Girl that Nobody Wants
Regardless of what the child’s disabilities were before or after the latest neglect, this child has been the subject of intense scrutiny throughout the years. In 2012, unnamed caregivers were cited for their total unwillingness to cooperate with medical appointments and other needs. The child was briefly removed from one home but then returned shortly afterward. Again, it is unclear if the suspects were the primary caregivers of the child.
Neither suspect was willing to discuss the matter with police or child welfare workers after dropping the girl off at St. Mary’s. The police issued warrants and charged the pair with neglect. The child is now in the care of the Department of Children of Families.
Is Evidence of Neglect Evidence of a Crime?
The question that needs to be answered is whether or not prosecutors can infer neglect from the child’s condition when she was surrendered to St. Mary’s. Clearly, being severely underweight and having advanced infections is a sign that someone wasn’t keeping up on her care. These individuals are responsible for her care, neglected to provide the necessary care, allowed the girl’s condition to become severe, and now they are facing child neglect charges.
Of course, child neglect charges aren’t as severe as child abuse charges or charges that the parents were intentionally attempting to harm the girl.
It is likewise unclear why this girl, with her history of neglect and abuse, was allowed to be returned to caregivers who refused to keep her doctors’ appointments or otherwise help her.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re being charged with a serious crime, call the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today to learn more about how we can help.