A young Tempe, Ariz., mother faces a felony child abuse charge after her severely malnourished 1-year-old was admitted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The baby boy weighed just 14 pounds.
Police arrested Diana Vazquez, 23, at the Tempe home she shares with her boyfriend Tuesday afternoon. According to court paperwork, Vazquez took her son to the hospital on July 31 at his doctor’s behest.
She told hospital staff that he weighed 28 pounds at his six-month doctor’s visit, and she was advised to change his diet.
“Diana stated Doctor Mach told her to stop breastfeeding her son, as he was significantly overweight,” reads the probable cause statement.
Vazquez said she did not take her son in for a nine-month visit. When it came time for his one-year checkup, she took him to a different doctor. That doctor immediately referred Vazquez to PCH.
He weighed 14 pounds when he was admitted. According to growth timeline numbers from BabyCenter.com, the average 12-month-old boy weighs between 20 and 23 pounds.
“His weight put him at less than the 1st percentile among his peers,” according to court paperwork. “The baby’s PCH doctor stated that his malnutrition could have been life threatening within a week or two if left untreated.
“The baby had excess skin hanging from his arms and legs and his spinal cord was clearly visible when his back was displayed,” the probable cause statement continues.
The hospital staff told police they would not recognize Vazquez because she rarely visited her son.
Vazquez told police that “everyone called her baby fat,” and that she had struggled with weight issues herself. Police also said Vazquez told them she was planning to give custody of her son to his father, but had been unable to contact him.
After reading Vazquez her Miranda rights, an officer spoke with her for about 90 minutes.
“… Diana showed no signs of emotional attachment to her one year old child that she stated she spends nearly 24 hours/day 7 days/week (sic) with,” the officer wrote in his probable cause statement. “She discussed her boyfriend more frequently than discussing her son.”
Vazquez was booked on one felony count of child abuse but is out of jail on supervised release. She is due back in court for a status hearing on Aug. 19, followed by a preliminary hearing on Aug. 25.