A mother and her boyfriend were arrested by San Antonio police Monday after investigators found a severely emaciated nine-year-old girl in their care.
Walter Hawthorne, 34, and Lakendra Williams, 30, were arrested on suspicion of causing injury to a child, days after they had called 911 because the child was unresponsive.
According to the arrest affidavit, Williams called police on Thursday, saying the child was passed out and cold to the touch.
As first responders arrived, they quickly noticed the girl was “extremely emaciated,” according to the arrest affidavit. The girl weighed 35 pounds, the average weight of a four-year-old child, doctors told the investigators.
Williams told police that the girl “for some unknown reason” stopped eating and drinking, according to the affidavit.
The girl was taken to the Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital emergency room due to her condition. Doctors told investigators that the child suffered from extreme malnutrition and had visible injuries and open wounds all over her body. She also tested positive for COVID-19, according to the affidavit.
The girl told the doctors that Hawthorne and Williams kept hitting her with a dog leash until she passed out. She also indicated that she had been shackled around her ankles, which doctors found physical evidence of, according to the affidavit.
The girl “is lucky to have survived,” doctors told investigators in the affidavit.
The suspects blamed the girl in police interviews, according to the affidavit. Hawthorne told officers that the girl was “evil” and just trying to get them in trouble.
“I asked him if the victim is capable of starving herself to death in order to get the defendant in trouble and he said yes,” investigators wrote.
Hawthorne and Williams remained in jail Tuesday, records showed. Their bail amounts were set at $100,000 each.