Mom Abandons Disabled Daughter in Bar & I Don't Blame Her

Heartbreaking 84

courtI read the words "mom abandons disabled daughter in a bar," and my stomach clenched. What kind of mother, I started to rant, leaves their child? Their disabled child? But then I read Eva Cameron's story. I read the story that explains why the State of Tennessee has decided not to charge Cameron, why she will be walking away with nary a punishment for driving her daughter from her home state of Illinois south to a bar, letting 19-year-old Lynn Cameron walk in to use the bathroom, and driving away.

Eva Cameron has already lived her punishment. The mother of three has an adult daughter who has cerebral palsy and is mentally just 3 years old, and she doesn't know what to do with her.

I should be clear: having a disabled daughter is not a punishment. Kids with disabilities are every bit the blessing that other kids are to their parents.

It's the hopelessness of finding care for her child that plagues Eva Cameron. She has three kids, and both she and her husband have lost their jobs. She's thousands of dollars in debt. And she has struggled for a decade to find placement for her daughter in a group home in Illinois where she can get her care. She'd been told that Tennessee had better care for people like her daughter, so she drove south.

She's been called the worst mom in America. But put yourself in this woman's shoes for a moment, and suddenly "what kind of mother abandons her child" isn't the question. It's "what kind of strength must it take to juggle these troubles?"

Cameron was facing charges of willful neglect and exploitation of an impaired adult for leaving her daughter in that bar. But if you consider she was looking for better care for her daughter, the fact that the girl was abandoned disappears. The humanity component comes in. This isn't neglect. It's the exact opposite. It's a frustrated mom trying to find the best option for her kid and, yes, screwing up in the process. But we all make mistakes; it doesn't make them criminal or malicious.

When we consider prosecution for criminals in this country, we look first at what the law says. But we also must allow humanity to play a role.

Letting this mother off was the human path.

Do you have sympathy for Eva Cameron? Do you think the right decision was made in letting her off on the charges?


Image via walknboston/Flickr

crime, child abuse, special needs, tough topics


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lasombrs lasombrs

:/ I dont care if the girl was 19 and she wanted better care. Not the way to do it. My son will be disabled for the rest of his life and need my help. I'm his mother, both DH and I also dont have jobs to stay and care for him. Its not a great life but its what you do to care for your child! There is plenty of help out there. Yes, it requires constant phone calls and follow ups and non stop appointments, buts it out there!! It shouldnt be super easy to get free help, it deserves to be worked for. Her "job" should be spending 20+ hours a week finding help and ways to care for her daughter on top of caring for her other children. Every other special needs mother does it. Why shouldn't she?

Sierr... SierraLynn

U honestly think the endangerment charges should stand. There are tons of safer places she could have left her than in a bar.

I do however see how hard it must be. But her child is her responsibility despite the fact that she is 19. She has the mind of a 3 year old.

Would she just abandon a 3 year old in a bar because it got to tough? Doubtful. This is just sad all around.

LuvMy... LuvMyDandD

No excuses for something like this. I have two disabled sons and I know how hard it can be but come on.

LuvMy... LuvMyDandD

  I agree with lasombrs. You hit the nail on the head. Great comment. These Stir bloggers are a little off in the sometimes.

LuvMy... LuvMyDandD

off in the head i meant

CPN322 CPN322

No, not at all because of the place she chose to drop her child.

dirti... dirtiekittie

they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions... but i digress. she may have thought she had her daughter's interests at heart (she wanted to take her to a state with better care options) but she went about it completely wrong. she should have at least been charged with willful endangerment - if she really wanted her treated, why not take her to a county hospital or something of the like? she just dropped her off at some bar where any number of horror stories could have played out (thank god they didn't!). and as someone else said, she has the mind of a 3 year old - could you leave your 3 year old in a bar? can you imagine the panic that poor girl went through when she came out of the bathroom to find her mother gone? and what about the poor waitstaff who probably stood around at a loss trying to figure out what to do with this girl? 

the parents may have had a rough time of it with three kids, one being disabled, and no jobs. but in my mind, it still doesn't excuse the carelessness with the way she just left her child. 

imamo... imamombygrace

If she was so concerned with care the state offers..wht not move there? I would even stay in a homeless shelter in that state if funds were unavailable and I was that desperate. What she did was wrong.

Pinkmani Pinkmani

I mean that's better than locking her in a room or abusing her. Was there a better way to do this? No doubt. 

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