An Arizona woman admitted this week that she and her boyfriend opted to pay for cigarettes, Netflix, and a premium cable package rather than feed their 9-month-old son.
The infant was taken to Phoenix Baptist Hospital recently where doctors told Veronica Diaz that the child’s kidneys were failing. Diaz and boyfriend Ryan Morris, who is the baby’s father, were subsequently arrested on child abuse charges.
“I feel bad about what happened,” Diaz said. “His eyes were twitching. He would respond, but every time he opened his eyes they would just start twitching. His color wasn't good, and from what they said, his kidneys were failing.”
Diaz confessed she stopped giving the child baby formula on March 1. Since that time, she gave the baby water and a small amount of cow’s milk every night. The infant weighs just seven pounds, roughly half of what a child his age should weigh.
Diaz had a number of excuses when asked why she stopped feeding the baby. She blamed her failure to walk one mile up to a store to buy formula on her depression. She blamed Morris’ job loss on the reason she couldn’t afford formula in recent weeks.
Diaz told police she and Morris had roughly $1,000 in their names this month after combining Diaz’s social security with Morris' last paycheck. A whopping $340 of that went to pay a cable bill for a premium package including HBO channels. A chunk of the $1,000 went to a Netflix bill as well.
“There was a bill he had to pay for Netflix for the older kids to watch,” Diaz argued, adding that she believes she put in more effort to care for the children than Morris did. “I tried harder than he did, but it just didn't seem like he wanted to help me find a way.”
When asked how court officials would react to Diaz and Morris’ choice to pay for luxuries like cable and Netflix instead of feeding their children, she said “Not good.”
Phoenix Police Department spokesman Sgt. Steve Martos called the case child abuse “at a minimum.”
"If we give her the benefit of a doubt and argue that she did not have money, there's a variety of different places she can go to for assistance," he said.