Walteria Bledsoe was arrested and charged with injury to a child by omission after her 9-month-old son, Varius Bledsoe, was hospitalized weighing less than 8 pounds, KHOU-TV 11 reports.
Authorities are accusing Bledsoe, 23, of failing to provide proper nourishment to her son and seeking proper medical treatment for him. In November, the child was Life Flighted to Memorial Hermann Children’s Hospital where he was diagnosed as being severely malnourished. Investigators say that the boy’s rib cage could be seen and his stomach was sunken in. A child normally weights 20 pounds at 9 months, according to Live Strong.
“The child, at 9 months old, weighs what a newborn would weigh,” said Assistant Harris County District Attorney Alison Baimbridge, according to the Houston Chronicle. “It appears to be fairly severe. The child was severely malnourished.”
On Feb. 28, Varius was born 28 weeks premature and spent 10 weeks at the hospital. He weighed a mere 5 pounds after his release. Bledsoe told authorities that Varius was small but did not appear to be malnourished. She also said that her other children are small and so is their father. Bledsoe said that the boy struggled to hold down milk and was constantly vomiting. Child Protective Services has custody of Varius and his two brothers.
After a brief court hearing on Monday, Bledsoe’s sister, Tasha Bledsoe, said the child’s condition is not as bad as investigators said it was.
“He’s not bad, like they say,” she said. “My sister is a good mother.”
Bledsoe faces life in prison, if convicted. She is free on $20,000 bond. During the court hearing, she said she has not hired an attorney.