Police Arrest Mother Of Starving Teen Who Weighed 33 Pounds
Story and Video Provided by: WAVE Raycom Media
A Louisville woman faces some serious charges for allegedly starving her daughter. Louisville Metro Police detectives say the victim is her 19-year-old daughter who weighs only 33 pounds.
Authorities were alerted to the case when the teenager failed to show up at Moore Traditional High School for the new school year.
"She had her student in her class last year, and this year she had not shown up, so she started calling the house to see where she was," said Maurice Risner, a spokesperson for Jefferson County Public Schools.
The teacher grew so worried that she paid a visit to the student's home, and asked the teen's mother, 44-year-old Ronda Ferrell, where her daughter was.
The teacher said Ferrell didn't let her in the house.
"When the child showed up for school the next day, they noticed the child was very malnourished," said Risner.
Detective John Fogle, who is investigating the case, described the teen as "bony -- skin deteriorating to the point you could see the bones underneath the skin. It reminded me of a Third World country where you see images of a child starving to death, and it was right here in America."
Detectives were not able to communicate with the teen because she suffers from cerebral palsy.
However, they did speak with Ferrell and arrested her on Tuesday.
"The mother told me the child just doesn't eat," Fogle said. "I said: 'ma'am, the child has cerebral palsy, you have to be patient and take the time to feed your child.' And again the mother just told me the child doesn't eat. To be perfectly blunt, it was like she didn't care. She did not care."
A judge released Ferrell Wednesday on the condition she not have any contact with her daughter.
Police are thankful the outcome was not worse.
"If it weren't for the teacher, she probably wouldn't be here today," Fogle said.
The teen is now being cared for at an undisclosed health facility.
Ferrell also has a 13-year-old daughter who did not appear to be malnourished, but Child Protective Services also removed that child from the home.
Ferrell faces a charge of caretaker neglect, a felony which punishable by five to 10 years in jail.