A Lithia Springs woman is charged with felony cruelty to children after allegedly starving her newborn baby to the point it needed medical attention.
Jamie Lynn Bentley, 33, was denied bond Friday by Douglas County Magistrate Court Judge Susan Camp based on charges presented in court.
According to authorities, Bentley fed her baby only two ounces of food every six hours from the time it was born. At the age of six weeks, the baby had lost two pounds from its birth weight. It has since been taken from Bentley and, at eight weeks old, has returned to its birth weight in the hospital.
“DFCS has been involved in this since the beginning,” said Kristi Wilson, with the Douglas County District Attorney’s Office. “There are a lot of allegations of drug abuse with the mother.”
Wilson said Bentley, a mother of eight, was released from the hospital after giving birth because she passed a drug screen for meth, but the test might have come back positive if it had been conducted differently. The baby was taken back to the hospital six weeks later after a DFCS nurse visited the home and weighed it.
The baby was so starved it apparently was eating its own muscle mass.
“They were surprised it was alive,” said Wilson. “We don’t know if there will be any permanent damage to him. (Bentley) was taken out of Scottish Rite. They let her stay there to try and help feed the baby. When they’d come and wake her up the feed the baby she told them she wasn’t feeding that baby every two hours, that drove her crazy and they need to get the (expletive) out of her room. And so she was excused from the hospital, so they took other precautions to feed the baby.”
Camp had seen pictures of the baby, and said they were “terrible.”
“It was skin and bones,” Wilson said. “Certain people have seen the pictures and that’s what it was. They couldn’t even recognize it was a baby in the pictures. The state is adamant that her bond should be denied. Certainly we feel she is a risk of reoffending.”
Bentley’s other children have also been taken from her. She denied the allegations.
“He lost weight so drastically in the last three days,” she said. “His weight came out and he weighed 6 pounds, 3 ounces. I immediately left and called the pediatrician, made the appointment and got $200 for his visit. I had the $200, that’s what I was waiting on was $200 to make that visit.”
Bentley also said she’d spent $25 on baby formula, half of which had been fed to him, and that she could pass a drug test. But Wilson doubted Bentley’s claim.
“We talked to Children’s Healthcare and they said that was not a condition that would come on that quickly,” she said. “They said he’d been in that condition for a quite a while.”
Camp denied bond, saying Bentley is a danger to the victim.
“Looking at those pictures, it looks terrible,” she said. “It looks like you really didn’t care anything about the baby and you were just doing what you wanted to do. I’m not saying that’s right but that’s what it looks like. So what I’m going to do is deny your bond. You may have to take this thing to trial because it looks really bad.”