TEMPE, Ariz. — A young mother in Arizona faces a felony child abuse charge after her severely malnourished 1-year-old son was admitted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital weighing just 14 pounds, authorities said.
Diana Vazquez, 23, at was arrested at the Tempe home she shares with her boyfriend Tuesday afternoon, police said.
According to court documents, Vazquez took her son to the hospital on July 31 at his doctor’s behest. She told hospital staff he weighed 28 pounds at his six-month doctor’s visit, and she was advised to change his diet, CNN affiliate KPHO reports.
“Diana stated Doctor Mach told her to stop breastfeeding her son, as he was significantly overweight,” according to the probable cause statement.
Vazquez said she did not take her son in for a nine-month visit. When it came time for his 1-year checkup, she took him to a different doctor who immediately referred her to Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
The baby weighed 14 pounds when he was admitted. According to growth timeline numbers from BabyCenter.com, the average 12-month-old boy weighs between 20 and 23 pounds.
“His weight put him at less than the 1st percentile among his peers,” according to court paperwork. “The baby’s PCH doctor stated that his malnutrition could have been life threatening within a week or two if left untreated.
“The baby had excess skin hanging from his arms and legs and his spinal cord was clearly visible when his back was displayed,” the probable cause statement continues.
Since his admission to PCH, the baby has gained slightly more than 1 pound.
The hospital staff told police they would not recognize Vazquez because she rarely visited her son.
When police talked to Vazquez, she reiterated what she said she was told at the baby’s six-month checkup.
“She was told he needed to lose weight because he was in the 98th percentile of weight among his peers and would be a large child,” the arrested officer wrote in his probable cause statement. “After that appointment, Diana stated she stopped breast feeding and began to feed him baby food from a jar several times a day.”
Vazquez told police that “everyone called her baby fat,” and that she had struggled with weight issues herself.
“Diana did not want her child to experience the same weight issues she did …,” according to court paperwork.
Police also said Vazquez told them she was planning to give custody of her son to his father, but had been unable to contact him.
She also showed officers pictures of her baby from several months earlier.
“[H]er son appeared to be overweight,” according to the probable cause statement.
Because the office where Vazquez said she took her son for his six-month checkup has been closed for more than a year, police have not been able to confirm the visit or what instructions the doctor might have provided.
After reading Vazquez her Miranda rights, an officer spoke with her for about 90 minutes.
“… Diana showed no signs of emotional attachment to her one year old child that she stated she spends nearly 24 hours/day 7 days/week (sic) with,” the officer wrote in his probable cause statement. “She discussed her boyfriend more frequently than discussing her son.”
Vazquez was booked on one felony count of child abuse but is out of jail on supervised release. She is due back in court for a status hearing on Aug. 19, followed by a preliminary hearing on Aug. 25.