Diana Elliott Atlanta mother charged after abandoning special needs child at hospital. Woman claimed struggling to cope with four children in tow.
A mother has been arrested for abandoning her 14-year-old son with mental development issues at a hospital in Atlanta.
Police say Diana Elliott, 37, was caught on surveillance video walking into Grady Memorial Hospital with her son Sheldon Linden just before midnight, December 4 and then leaving alone. Cops say the woman left the area in a vehicle WSBTV reports.
A few hours later, a nurse noticed the boy, who had no identification, appeared to be malnourished and unable to speak or write, alone outside the hospital.
The nonverbal boy was confused and unable to identify himself to police or to hospital staff nbcnews reports.
Authorities released a screen-grab photo of Sheldon asking for the public’s help in identifying the boy and the woman who’d left him at the hospital.
Elliott was arrested on Wednesday after police found her at a DeKalb County hotel with her three other children.
She reportedly told investigators that she was overwhelmed caring for Sheldon along with the other children.
Elliot was booked into Fulton County jail on charges of cruelty to children in the first degree.
Boy w/ diminished mental capacity abandoned by the one person he thought he could trust:
‘It’s rare that you see somebody older than a newborn being abandoned — its very rare,’ Atlanta police spokesman Carlos Campos said.
Adding, ‘Our message is that we definitely understand that parents can feel overwhelmed by special-needs children – that’s something that everyone can empathize with. 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.’
Sheldon is currently in the custody of Georgia’s Division of Family and Child Services. It remained unclear what care (if at all) the boy had been receiving prior to having been left at the hospital.
Not immediately clear was what remedies, if any – the mother had sought and what had been remedied to her, if any…