MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – A Memphis mother is behind bars, accused of child abuse after her 6-year-old severely disabled son was admitted to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital weighing only 13 pounds.
Andrea Caldwell, 32, is charged with aggravated child abuse/neglect. According to police reports, the Department of Children’s Services had been looking for the boy since May. A DCS worker located him and his mother, as well as his younger brother, at the Welcome Inn on Summer Avenue Dec. 8. Police say the 6-year-old suffers from severe developmental disabilities.
The DCS worker said at the hotel, the boy was found severely small for his age, with bruises over his body, matted hair, and bed sores. The worker said his feeding tube was clogged and appeared to not work. The worker told investigators Caldwell had been feeding the boy baby formula, and had failed to use free nutritional services from social services.
The fire department transported the boy to Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, where the emergency doctor told investigators the boy was severely malnourished and dehydrated. At that time, he weighed only 13 pounds, which DCS told investigators was a drop from a weight of 40 pounds when he was last seen in March.
According to investigators, hospital and DCS records show Caldwell missed about one year of medical appointments for her son. They say his mother missed 13 appointments since April. His last appointment had been for Nov. 25, for which he did not show up. Investigators say the no-shows led to the hospital contacting DCS to help find the boy.
Andrea Caldwell remains in jail on $175,000 bond.