Are cases of child neglect on the rise? Prosecutor Rodney Cummings of Indiana seems to believe so, telling CBS4Indy, “It seems the severity, the injuries, the neglect of the children seems to be more severe than it once was.”
This statement follows the arrest of Louisiana couple, Melanie Jayne Smith and Murl Tyler Jr., after police apparently found the pair under the influence of drugs at a Burger King with their 5-month-old baby in Henry County, Indiana on June 25, Fox 59 reports.
According to police reports, officers responded to the fast-food restaurant following a call that a person was bothering the other customers. They found Tyler in a car with his child and another man, William Jabez Tanner, who reportedly had 1.7 grams of marijuana on his person.
Smith was in the Burger King when the police arrived, but she claimed she felt sick and ran to a restroom, where she tried to flush marijuana down a toilet, the police reported to the local television station.
The police questioned Tanner, who reportedly said that the couple had smoked and taken painkiller pills “all day,” and also that the baby had been throwing up frequently that day.
After medics rushed to the scene to check on the child, the Department of Child Services took custody of the baby, reports Fox 59.
A few days later, on June 30, Mary Beth Bonaventura, the director of the Indiana Department of Child Services, released a memo discussing how the statistics of child abuse and neglect cases are rising across the country. In response to this rise, she is adding more staff to her department, reports CBS4Indy.
Addressing concerns in Indiana, Cummings said he links the increase in child abuse to depressed feelings caused by greater unemployment and increased drug use. Additionally, in his county, 84 percent of the children in the community schools receive some form of public assistance.
“The run of the mill kids that live in a disadvantaged environment is very troubling and very disappointing,” he said to CBS4Indy.
Photo Source: Fox 59