- At Home
While she technically cannot be charged with a crime, a mother from Illinois is on the receiving end of a firestorm of criticism for doing what most see as unspeakable. She left her mentally disabled daughter at a bar in a completely different state.
When 19-year-old Lynn Cameron had to use the restroom, her mother, Eva Cameron, stopped at the Big Orange Bar in Caryville, Tennessee. Then she left her by the side of the road and returned home to Algonquin, Illinois.
Eva is the mother of two mentally disabled children, and she says that caring for both of them is too much of a burden for her to bear. She told the Northwest Herald that she chose Tennessee because it has the "No. 1 health care system in the United States of America." She added that the high population of Baptists in the area also played a role in her decision.
When the Caryville police came to pick up Lynn, they discovered she had only a limited vocabulary of about 30-40 words, and was confused about what was going on. "(Lynn) didn't know her age, she didn't know her address, she didn't know her phone number and she didn't even know her name," Assistant Police Chief Stephanie Smith told CNN.
Since the girl is past the legal age of independence, police say they cannot press charges against Eva. The young woman had not been assigned a legal guardian, and her mother states that she “cannot and will not” take her daughter back in.
"As terrible as it is, unfortunately there is nothing we can do," Smith said. "There is no doubt we need a law for mental health rights, but pending this investigation, we just don't know what else to do."
As of Tuesday, Lynn is a ward of the state in Tennessee, being cared for at a facility in Roane County.
While it's obviously hard to understand how a mother could abandon her child, the story is also a commentary on the problems with our current healthcare system. In an ideal world, there would be more resources available for overburdened women with multiple disabled children.
"It's very dramatic when a parent gets to the point when they just feel they have to turn their back, walk off and leave their child," Charlotte Bryson, executive director of Tennessee Voices for Children told Knox News.
"I can't imagine how difficult that would be. … Think of how many years she's provided support and care for this child. It is a major stressor, taking care of a disabled child. They can't do it without respite, they can't do it without breaks, and they can't do it without support."
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