A North Carolina mother has been charged with child abuse after letting her 6-month-old infant die, naked, amidst a pile of garbage and animal feces on Christmas Eve. Meanwhile, the mother allegedly got high on prescription medication.
According to Charlotte’s WSOC-TV, 30-year-old Stephanie Amber Tillman is being investigated after Jerry Allen, the father of the neglected child, returned home from work on Christmas Eve to find his infant son unresponsive on a filthy sofa. He immediately called 911.
“That night when I walked in, I was blown away because I’ve never seen anybody live the way that house was that night,” he told local news.
Authorities found the living conditions of the home to be abhorrent, covered in trash and animal waste.
Allen found the mother of the child, Stephanie Amber Tillman, high on prescription pills and unconscious in another room with two other children, ages 3 and 4, who were also naked but alive and alert. The infant son was not as lucky.
“In these situations, we are at the mercy of the medical examiner,” said Captain Tim Johnson from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.
Paramedics informed the medical examiner that the infant boy had died on the sofa under Stephanie Tillman’s care. The medical examiner could not find any evidence of injury, and an autopsy did not reveal the cause of death. Further tests are necessary to determine how the infant passed away.
Stephanie Amber Tillman has since been charged with three misdemeanor counts of child abuse and three misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency and neglect by parents. The mother had no previous criminal record, so the judge reduced her bond from $100,000 to $10,000.
The other two children were unharmed, but still taken by the Department of Social Services and placed in the care of other family members.
The father, Jerry Allen, admitted that his relationship with Stephanie Amber Tillman was “rocky,” but that he was shocked she’d be so neglectful of their children.
“She had her moments when the kids would get on her nerve, but up until this incident, it was things we could work with.”
The death of the infant wasn’t even the first time that Stephanie Amber Tillman was found responsible for neglecting her children. Twice before, a neighbor of Tillman’s claims to have found her 3- and 4-year-old children wandering the streets naked and alone.
“She just didn’t seem to really care,” said the neighbor.
Stephanie Amber Tillman may have to answer for that apathy soon. She was brought before a Lincoln County judge on Tuesday after being served with an additional warrant for involuntary manslaughter. She’s now being detained in the Harven A. Crouse Detention Center.
The baffled father claims he just wants to know how Stephanie Amber Tillman let the baby die.
“It’s just a bunch of assumptions and guesses and everyone throwing their opinions in. I want facts,” Jerry Allen said.
Until those answers come in, the investigation into the Christmas Eve death of the infant remains open.
According to the Huffington Post, Stephanie Amber Tillman’s next court appearance is scheduled for January 12.
What do you think happened? Should Stephanie Amber Tillman be held responsible for the baby’s death?
[Image via the LINCOLN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE]