A Camden couple is facing counts of attempted murder, battery, and neglect after a 5-year-old in their care was found to be “emaciated” and in an abused condition from what doctors determined to be salt poisoning and malnutrition.
According to a July 10 Camden Police Department press release, Antwon Alvin D. Davidson, 28, and Janecia Kuame Moore, 27, of Camden Monday night turned themselves in after an active warrant was issued for their arrest.
The child — biologically only Davidson's — initially came in contact with doctors July 6 when Moore, the father's live-in girlfriend, took the 5-year-old to Ouachita County Medical Center (OCMC) after she reportedly fell "down stairs and complained of her neck hurting.”
Doctors upon further examination found the child to be "very bony” and “undersized for her age,” the report stated. The child was then transferred to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock for further evaluation. The Camden medical center also contacted local police, where Detective LaRhonda Moore received a preliminary report on the incident. At 7:27 p.m. Monday, Camden Police, through social media, issued a “Most Wanted” profile for the couple. The following morning, the department reported that both were in custody.
When investigating the incident, the 5-year-old was described as “emaciated and frail, with sunken facial features and crying out for food and drink” by Children’s Hospital officials. The child later said that, while at home, she was unable to consume liquids after 6 p.m. since she reportedly “potty’s on herself.”
The medical staff also discovered circular burn marks on the upper thighs and bruising on the child’s rear. The minor was later moved to intensive care and treated for severe malnutrition, dehydration and hypernatremia (high concentration of sodium in the blood), according to the report. Her electrolyte levels were found to be “remarkably high” due to extreme sodium intake and could likely have caused permanent injury or death.
In her description of life at home, the child said her guardians routinely “put a big spoon full of salt in my rice and made me eat it,” the report said. And she “ate too slow,” often having her ordinary food — sandwiches and Pop-Tarts — taken away and given to her brother because of this, and “gotten in trouble at home for drinking out of the toilet.”
According to the press release, doctors stated that the high levels of sodium would result in the child being “intensely thirsty” and her conditions match those seen in salt (sodium) poisoning — a “potentially fatal mechanism.” From Children’s Hospital reports, police stated that, with such physical abuse and neglect, “the young child would be at grave risk of serious injury or death in her home environment.”
For their alleged crimes, Davidson and Janecia Moore were charged with first-degree attempted murder, domestic battery-first degree, and permitting the abuse of a minor. If convicted on all counts — one Class Y felony and two Class B felonies — the couple could be facing up to 80 years or life in prison.
The couple, as of Wednesday morning, is detained in Ouachita County Jail. Their bond has yet to be set.