Mother charged with injury to child after teen found malnourished, underdeveloped, police say

Victim described being restricted access to food, water

By Mary Claire Patton - Digital Content Curator, Garrett Brnger - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Debora Darden, 48, is charged with injury to a child after her 16-year-old daughter was found severely undernourished and underdeveloped, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The Department of Family and Protective Services started an investigation into the incident after receiving notification of a malnourished child.

The victim was seen by CPS and the Center for Miracles for severe malnutrition and mental  and developmental delays due to lack of care by her mother, according to the affidavit.

The teen described the mental and physical abuse she'd suffered to authorities and described being repeatedly hit with a belt, jump rope, electrical cord and a stick.

"Visually, she appeared to be developed about to the age of eight, to maybe a nine year old," said Converse Police Lt. Jeff Shook. "Medically speaking, she just was not receiving enough nourishment to properly develop."

Shook said the girl's adoptive father, who had been kept from her for at least eight months, was finally able to get in contact with her. Upon seeing her condition, Shook said, the girl's father took her to get treatment and got a hold of Child Protective Services.

DEFENDERS UPDATE: Edison HS teacher accused in pyramid scheme sued by Texas AG

Scars and marks across the teen's body were consistent with her story, according to medical examiners.

The victim also told investigators her mother would restrict her food and liquid intake, as well as force her to stay in her room without being able to go downstairs, interact with her peers or contact anyone outside the home for months.

She also told investigators she was forced to stand for the entire day without rest for minor infractions and that her access to the restroom was restricted.

SAISD student accused of attacking principal, faces felony assault charge

A physical examination determined the malnourished teen suffers from amenorrhea, or not having her period when she should have already had it.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Family and Protective Services, which includes CPS, said the girl is now staying with relatives.

Darden was released Wednesday on a $20,000 bond.

Copyright 2018 by KSAT - All rights reserved.