A Tennessee mother has been arrested for allegedly abusing her 6-year-old son, who weighed only 13 pounds.
Police were called on Dec. 8 after a Department of Children's Services employee found the mother, Andrea Caldwell, and her children in a motel. DCS had been looking for Caldwell since May, after she failed to bring her son to 13 doctor appointments, according to WREG.
Caldwell's son was born with severe developmental disabilities and required a feeding tube. However, when the DCS employee found the boy, his feeding tube was dirty and clogged, according to WMC. Caldwell had reportedly been feeding her son with Similac baby formula, instead of using the free nutritional materials she received from social services.
The boy was also covered in bruises and bed sores, had matted hair and smelled of urine when he was found.
The boy weighed 40 pounds when he was last seen by a doctor in March. By the time he was found in December he had lost nearly 30 pounds, according to WMC.
Caldwell has been charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect, according to WMC.
Another guest at the motel, Stacie Broussard, told WREG she couldn't imagine treating her child so poorly.
"That is bad -- that is really sad," she said. "There is no excuse for that."
According to employees at the motel, Caldwell had been staying there with her mother and children for about a month.
Caldwell's sister and mother spoke to WMC and denied the allegations against their relative.
"I just don't understand why this is happening," sister Angela Caldwell said. "She's took very good care of him since he was born."
According to the boy's grandmother, June Caldwell, the boy was taken to the hospital in November but doctors said nothing was wrong.
"We had him at Le Bonheur [Hospital] in November saying he could not keep his food and stuff down and they told us to just keep doing what we were doing," June said.
The family admits that Andrea missed some of the boy's scheduled doctor visits, but says it's because they lost their car.
"I know she's missed a few, but I don't think it was 13," Angela said.
Angela and June say the family had no idea DCS was looking for the boy. It can be difficult for the organization to locate people if the children are not in school and the family moves around a lot, according to WMC.
The boy and his 4-year-old brother are now in state custody. The younger brother is in a foster home while the 6-year-old remains in the hospital, according to WREG.