While the majority of the Covid-19 cases in minor children and babies will recover from the virus without developing severe condition, some of them develop symptoms and are required to undergo proper treatment. A proper treatment was required for a 3-month-old Covid-ill infant who was left home alone for a whole day in the care of the 9-year-old sibling, but the baby later died in hospital.
The 26-year-old mother of three minors M. Flores is now officially charged with child neglect for the incident that took place in November last year when police responded to her home and found Flores’ baby unresponsive. The infant tested positive on Covid-19 once it was transferred to hospital for treatment and died due to Covid complications soon after.
According to the incident report, officers were dispatched at Flores’ home in Indiana on November 28 and when they arrived there, they found Flores, her 9 and 7-year-olds and the infant who was unresponsive. They conducted a search and easily realized there was no food and electricity in the house, described in the report as “filthy and in disarray.”
Officers questioned Flores’ neighbors who confirmed that the children were home alone the evening before and they decided to take the minors at their home for the night. According to the neighbors, they even took a video of the baby “laying alone in the dark house, screaming with no adults in sight.” The neighbors easily realized the infant was cold, soiled and having difficulty breathing while lying on his back.
The mother returned home in the early morning hours around 2 a.m. and she took her children from the neighbors once she arrived. However, later that morning she left her children alone, again. When officers arrived at the home, they found a bystander performing CPR on the 3-month-old outside the residence. The officer took over CPR efforts until paramedics arrived. EMS reported that when they arrived, the infant was “making jerking movements with his arms,” and was still breathing and vomiting, per court documents. They baby was transferred to hospital in critical condition and died later that day.
Flores left at 6 a.m. in the morning and returned home around 10 a.m. when she found her baby unresponsive. When questioned by police what had happened, she initially said she was home for the whole day and night on November 27, but once the officers confronted her with what others had said, she changed her story and admitted being out until about 2 a.m. because she “needed to vent” to a friend, the affidavit said.
In addition to her claims, Flores admitted the infant has been sick for days but she didn’t give him medication because “she wanted to treat it naturally before going to any doctors.” Flores also said the baby “had an ‘old man dry cough’ and that you could ‘hear the mucus’ in the way he was breathing and that he was ‘trying to gasp for air’ when he was breathing.”
The hospital records indicate that the infant suffered injuries described in the medical report as “a common finding in toddlers and infants who are being abused by being shaken or by being forcibly handled and yanked by their limbs.” The autopsy results show the infant tested positive on Covid-19 and had hemorrhagic lungs, which were likely related to COVID. The cause of death was determined to be complications from COVID-19 infection.
Last month, Flores was charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in catastrophic injury.