Prosecutors have filed child cruelty and drug charges against the mother of an emaciated 15-year-old boy who weighed just 47 pounds when Baton Rouge police found him last month living in deplorable conditions.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Monday the boy is still hospitalized.
Rose Holland, 49, of 1762 N. 46th St., is charged with second-degree cruelty to juveniles, which carries a possible 40-year prison term, and possession of cocaine.
Holland “intentionally or negligently caused serious bodily injury or neurological impairment” to a child under the age of 17, according to a bill of information filed Friday by the District Attorney’s Office.
A second woman, Cathy Armstead Fort, also was charged with cocaine possession in the case.
A police officer discovered the boy when he responded to a loud music complaint at Holland’s address and noticed her and Fort, 54, of 5359 Astoria Drive, sitting in a vehicle. The officer observed a glass pipe and other evidence of crack cocaine use in the car and arrested both women, a court affidavit states.
The officer decided to go inside the house, where the boy was apparently having a seizure on a cot that was crawling with roaches, according to the document that described the boy as being “very small and extremely malnourished” and “stuck to the cot from his feces and urine.”
The affidavit suggested the boy had been lying there “for days at a time.”
The boy’s aunt, Edna Mitchell, has said he was covered in bodily fluids and insects.
“The conditions that the child was found were deplorable,” Moore said.
After the severely malnourished boy was discovered, state Department of Children and Family Services Secretary Suzy Sonnier announced policy changes and said the agency would conduct a thorough probe.
Under one new policy, she said, any child who is nonverbal and has special needs, such as the boy, will be evaluated by a multidisciplinary team, including medical professionals, in the course of any investigation.
DCFS representatives had been to the boy’s house multiple times over the years but were concerned only with whether the child’s family had access to food and running water, Mitchell has said.
Holland is being held without bail. Fort is free on bail. Court records do not indicate if either woman has hired an attorney.
Their arraignments have not been scheduled. The case has been assigned to state District Judge Tony Marabella.