A mother allegedly abandoned her disabled non-verbal teen son at a hospital because she was overwhelmed caring for him, police say.
Surveillance footage reportedly shows Diana Elliot, 37, leaving her 14-year-old son at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia on December 4.
Elliot was charged with cruelty to children on Wednesday after her son was found ‘cold and hungry’ outside the hospital, Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said.
The mother reportedly told investigators that she left her son at the hospital because she was overwhelmed caring for him and her three other children.
‘It was fortunate there was a nurse at Grady hospital, who was on her break, who went outside, and happened to notice this young man outside, and it wasn’t right, and that he needed help and shouldn’t have been left like that, Atlanta police Lieutenant Jeff Baxter said, according to NBC.
Police said the boy was non-verbal with a diminished mental capacity and was unable to identify himself or write.
‘Our message is that we definitely understand that parents can feel overwhelmed by special needs children. That’s something that everyone can empathize with,’ Campos said.Nazi death camp survivor turns 100 on Holocaust remembrance day
‘But leaving them unattended is not the proper solution. The child was found outside, cold and hungry, and that’s just not an appropriate way to deal with something like this.’
‘It’s rare that you see somebody older than a newborn being abandoned. Very rare,’ Campos continued.
After receiving tips from the public, authorities were able to track Elliot down to a hotel she was staying with her other three children.
She was booked at a local jail on one count of first-degree cruelty to children and is set to appear before a judge on Thursday.
Her teenage son is currently in the custody the Georgia Division of Family and Child Services.
The Georgia has ‘safe haven’ protection laws that allow parents to leave newborns at hospitals, police stations or fire station, but they must be dropped off within 30 days of the child’s birth.