North Carolina woman arrested after 7-year-old grandson with cerebral palsy dies of starvation
Local media outlets reported how a young boy with cerebral palsy weighed just 25 pounds when he died in April at the North Carolina residence of his grandmother.
Geneen Ballenger, 53, was arrested Friday on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in connection to the death, but has now been released on a $250,000 unsecured bond, NBC News reports.
On April 15, Fayetteville police officers responded to Ballenger's home after reports of a child not breathing, per a press release by the department. Authorities pronounced the child dead at the scene. The boy was aged seven, according to police.
"Based on the investigation and reports from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, it was determined that the child was not receiving proper care," police said.
According to court records, the boy was a twin and lived with seven other children at the home. Responding officers found the rest hidden in a closet with the door shut.
The kids have been in Ballenger's custody since April 2017, per WRAL. According to the victim's mother, her son had cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and had to use a feeding tube to ingest food. However, an autopsy later deemed the child's cause of death as acute bronchopneumonia due to starvation. The report stated he weighed just 25 pounds at the time of his tragic demise.
Meanwhile, the other children in the home are currently in the care and custody of the Cumberland County Department of Social Services.
A neighbor who spoke on condition of anonymity recalled seeing the child being carried out of the home in April.
"I remember her carrying the child out herself -- in a box," WRAL quoted the neighbor as saying. "And because she carried him out herself in a box, I thought it was a two-year-old, or a baby."