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Entries in Child Neglect (2)

Monday
Mar122012

Guilty Plea From Mom Whose Son Died After She Left Him in Minivan

Commonwealth of Va Dept of Corrections(PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY, Va.) -- Karen Murphy, the Virginia mother who inadvertently left her two-year-old son in her minivan and found him dead hours later, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of misdemeanor child neglect and will not go to prison, ABC affiliate WJLA reported.

Murphy sobbed as she left the courthouse, WJLA said.

“She’s devastated by the loss of her son, she’s going to have to deal with that, and she is dealing with that,” said Edward MacMahon, Murphy’s attorney.

According to press reports and court documents, on June 17 Murphy, a veterinarian, left her son, Ryan, strapped in his car seat while she worked at an animal hospital. When she parked in the driveway of her home in nearby Bristow seven hours later, she saw the boy and tried unsuccessfully to revive him. He had died of heatstroke.

According to court documents, Murphy had previously left Ryan in the car while she worked at an animal hospital, back in January. Twenty minutes later, an employee of Ryan’s day care center called Murphy, who realized her mistake.

This pattern led prosecutors to charge Murphy with felony murder along with the two misdemeanors. The maximum sentence for all three charges could have been 40 years in prison.

On Monday, Murphy received a sentence of two years in prison, which was suspended, WJLA reported, adding she also got six years of probation and was ordered to do 400 hours of community service, to be served at an animal shelter.

The owner of a Facebook page titled “Supporters of Dr Karen Murphy, DVM” posted the following statement: “Today Karen received the compassion she’s shown & given to all of us through the years. The horrendous charges against her were greatly reduced and settled … Our prayers have been answered!”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Aug232011

Florida Family of Five Found Living in 'Filthy' Car Outside Walmart

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(MOUNT DORA, Fla.) -- Three children -- one suffering from second-degree burns -- were taken into protective custody Monday after they were discovered living with their parents in a "filthy" car in a Walmart parking lot.

Police were called to the parking lot Monday morning in Mount Dora, Fla., where they found the family of five living in a 1987 Cadillac Coupe de Ville full of clothes and garbage. Police told the Orlando Sentinel that days-old chicken bones were strewn about the car, along with a spoiled carton of milk and a bottle of tequila.

The illegal prescription drug clonazepam was also found in the car, according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

The parents, Justin Hamilton, 31, and Kristin Harris, 26, were booked into Lake County Jail on charges of child neglect and possession of an illegal prescription drug.

The oldest child, a 7-year-old girl, was treated at the hospital for blistering second-degree burns covering her entire back, said Carrie Hoeppner, spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Children and Families.

The two boys, ages 4 and 1, were initially released to relatives before they were taken into protective custody. The 7-year-old was released from the hospital and into custody with her brothers.

"We hate to break families up, but there is a difference between living in poverty and squalor and filth," Hoeppner said. "And if you look at the pictures, that is obviously the case."

Hamilton, who, along with Harris, denied ABC News' request for a jailhouse interview, did tell the Sentinel from behind bars that it was all a misunderstanding.

He said the family had been evicted from their apartment and, after a dispute with relatives, had been forced to stay the night in their car. The father of three said the family had simply fallen on hard times.

He said his business had slowed down, he was behind on medical bills from a motorcycle accident earlier this year and that he was trying to make ends meet by doing odd jobs and day labor.

"I didn't know where else to go," Hamilton told the Sentinel. "I'm trying."

He said his daughter's severe second-degree burns were sustained during a day of paddle boating on a local lake and added that the family's physician had examined the burns and provided the girl with aloe lotions.

Hamilton has a previous conviction for cocaine and marijuana possession in 2010, according to court records, which also show Harris has a previous conviction for shoplifting groceries and marijuana possession.

Hamilton is being held on a $10,250 bond, while Harris' bail was set at $10,000.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio