A Wisconsin woman was arrested was last Thursday and charged with two counts of child neglect, causing bodily harm after it was discovered that her 11-month-old twin daughters weighed the same as they did on their 8-week check-up, reported WIFR. On July 10, police officials arrived at the home of 24-year-old Shannon Smith, who happened to be 16 weeks pregnant with her fourth child, of Janesville on 436 Harding Street after receiving a complaint.
The father, whose name has not been released, of the twins called Janesville police, reporting that after arriving at Smith’s home, he discovered that his twin daughters were malnourished and had been left alone in the home with Smith’s 2-year-old child. When police officials arrived at the home, they stated that the twins were exceptionally thin and didn’t behave as 11-month-old babies should behave. Smith informed Wisconsin police that she thought they were underweight because they were born five weeks premature. However, she failed to enlighten police officials on why she allowed her toddler, who police officials say didn’t seem to be underfed, to babysit her 11-month-old twin daughters.
Due to the state of her children’s health, Janesville police officials asked Smith to take the twins to the hospital with a social worker. Smith concurred, but she explained that she had not been able to take her children to their regular physician for a check-up because she was having insurance issues. Once they arrived at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center, it was uncovered that the twin babies hadn’t had a check-up since they were 8-weeks-old. A 12-week checkup was requested by the children’s physician, but Smith never returned. Doctors also stated that the twins weighed the same as they did on their 8-week checkup, according to ABC 27.
One of the twins weighed 9 pounds, while the other weighed 8 pounds. Smith stated that she would feed the twins regularly, but they did not gain any weight due to the fact that they had kidney problems, and one of the twins had an enlarged bladder. Doctors described the twins as “having saggy skin, brown discharge coming from their ears, long and yellow fingernails, and wearing wet and dirty clothing.” Investigators added that when they arrived at Smith’s home, they realized that the twin babies could “barely lift their heads and had limited movement.”
The twins were later admitted to American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, where staff informed investigators that they discovered sores on the twins’ backs and bottoms, but they cleared up after being hospitalized for four days. According to documentation, the twins’ health has improved tremendously since being removed from their mother’s care. Although the twins were diagnosed with “Failure to Thrive” due to “environmental and medical neglect,” both twins have gained 5 pounds. After their release from the hospital, they were placed in foster care, but the whereabouts of Smith’s 2-year-old child has not been reported.
It is unclear if the father will be investigated for child neglect, as he only reported the incident when the twin girls were at their feeblest. He had ample time to report the crime, but he failed to do so. Could he have been absent in his children’s lives until recently or did he play a role in neglecting the twins? It has not been confirmed if the father will be under investigation; as of this writng, Smith is currently being held at the county jail, facing criminal charges for neglecting her twin daughters.
Shannon Smith pleaded not guilty to two counts of child neglect last month, and she is scheduled to make her second court appearance on Thursday.
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