A Vancouver couple faces criminal mistreatment charges after their infant was hospitalized and treated for malnourishment stemming from neglect, according to Clark County court records.
The documents also show the baby’s doctor was concerned he might die and a “CAT scan revealed a possible brain bleed.”
The parents, Tamera Weinert and Kirk Lee, both 24, made their first court appearance Monday, after the pair were arrested Saturday.
Lee also faces charges of attempting to elude, after records show he allegedly led deputies on a high-speed chase after they tried to pull him over Friday in connection with the investigation.
The infant boy was rushed to the hospital after a babysitter called 911 Friday afternoon.
Angelia Gavagan told FOX 12 she was instantly worried about the baby when the family came to stay with her.
“He was nothing but skin and bones,” Gavagan said. “You could see his vertebras.”
Gavagan, and her neighbor, who also helped her care for the infant, told investigators the baby also appeared to be having trouble breathing and was soiled and dirty.
Gavagan said she used to be good friends with Weinert, and stays in touch with her through social media -- sometimes helping her out.
She said Weinert reached out to her Thursday asking if Gavagan could come give her dead car a jumpstart.
When Gavagan showed up, she realized the family was living in the car.
“I just didn’t have the heart to let them stay in their car, so I brought them home,” she said.
Gavagan said she knew the baby and his 6-year-old sister needed help, but she didn’t want to call authorities in front of the parents.
She said when Weinert and Lee wanted to leave her home the next day, she convinced them to let her watch the children longer.
Around 1 p.m. Friday, she said she made four phone calls to Washington state’s Department of Health and Human Services, but never was able to reach anyone.
“I’m not faulting them, because I just ended up calling 911 and asking for an ambulance for the baby,” Gavagan said. “The paramedics –- they said that if he had waited another week, he probably would have been dead.”
The infant, according to court records, was first taken to Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center and then the Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland.
“I’ve come to the terms that if I hadn’t stepped in, something probably tragic could have happened to this baby,” Gavagan said. “I hope they both – the kids – get what they need and they find a loving home.”
It’s unclear what the baby’s current condition is.
Washington DSHS told FOX 12 they couldn’t answer any questions about Gavagan’s phone calls, but said the baby and his sister are now safe and in protective custody.
A spokeswoman for the department said DSHS has an open investigation into the parents and has provided services to the family in the past.
Lee and Weinert will be back in court on Friday.
Lee has a criminal history, including an assault conviction stemming from a domestic violence case involving an ex-girlfriend.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month.
DSHS recommends that anyone who suspects child abuse, mistreatment or neglect call 866-END-HARM.
If a reporting person can’t get through or if the child is in imminent danger, call 911.
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