FORT WAYNE, Ind. — An Indiana woman accused of feeding her young son olive oil and vinegar until he stopped breathing and died and then hiding his body more than a year has been formally charged.
Latisha Lawson, 31, of Fort Wayne faces two felony counts of battery and three felony counts of neglect of a dependent, according to a probable cause affidavit filed Tuesday in Allen County Superior Court. The document also provides details from an interview with Lawson’s 10-year-old daughter, who was also allegedly neglected.
DNA results are still pending to definitively determine whether remains found Dec. 21 at a home in which Lawson was living are those of her 3-year-old son, Jezaih King. An autopsy found the cause of death for the young child found in the house to be asphyxia due to compression of the neck.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Lawson told authorities that Jezaih died more than a year ago after she gave him three doses of oil and vinegar and then held his mouth shut for 10 minutes until he stopped struggling.
No attorney for Lawson was listed in court records Wednesday. She was being held in the Allen County Jail on $130,000 bond. An initial court hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
During an initial interview, Lawson said she believed her children were possessed by demons, according to police. She also said she could not take Jezaih’s temper tantrums.
Police said she told them she gave both children doses of oil and vinegar, but that she left her 10-year-old daughter alone when she spit it out.
According to the court document, the daughter told police how Lawson put Jezaih’s body on a couch and called her over to say goodbye to her brother. The girl said her mother then placed Jezaih on a bed and told her to pray over her dead sibling.
A former roommate told police Jezaih died in an apartment on Nov. 19, 2009, according to court records.
Lawson was taken into custody on Dec. 21. Someone tipped off authorities about where she was after media reported that Fort Wayne police were looking for a missing family of three. Lawson’s daughter was placed in protective custody.
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