SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio couple has been arrested on suspicion of causing injury to a child after police discovered an emaciated, COVID-19 positive 9-year-old girl on the verge of hypothermia in their care.
Walter Hawthorne, 34, and Lakendra Williams, 30, were arrested the day after Williams called 911 on Thursday to report the child was unresponsive and cold to the touch, KSAT reported.
First responders found an “extremely emaciated” child, weighing only 35 pounds, according to the arrest affidavit.
The average weight for a 9-year-old girl is about 70 pounds, WOAI reported.
Williams told police that the girl “for some unknown reason” stopped eating and drinking, the affidavit stated, noting doctors at Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital told investigators that the girl suffered from extreme malnutrition, had visible injuries and open wounds all over her body and tested positive for COVID-19.
According to court documents, the girl told the doctor treating her that her mother and her mother’s boyfriend starved her, handcuffed her around her ankles and hit her with a dog leash because “they think she steals.” The doctor confirmed that what appeared to be restraint marks were found on the girl’s ankles and markings consistent with “whip marks” were visible on her legs, WOAI reported.
The doctor reportedly told police that the child was “lucky to have survived,” the TV station reported.
According to the affidavit, the suspects blamed the girl for her condition in police interviews, and Hawthorne told investigators that the girl was “evil” and just trying to make trouble for him and Williams, KSAT reported.