abandoned and alone: mom leaves disabled teen at bar
The teen, Lynn Cameron, suffers from cerebral palsy and has the mental capacity of a 2- or a 3-year-old. But because she is legally an adult, police in Caryville, Tenn., said they cannot file charges against her mother, Eva Cameron.
Police Chief Johnny Jones told The Daily that the mother, from Algonquin, Ill., admitted dumping her daughter at the Big Orange Bar on June 28.
“To just to push her into a bar, I don’t understand how a mother could do that to her child,” he said. “I don’t understand how anybody could do that to anyone.”
Read more behind the jump, or at The Daily, where this article was originally published.
Lynn Cameron couldn’t tell employees at the bar her name or where she was from. She carried no identification. Police, called to collect her, estimated she was between 15 and 20, so she was placed in the care of the Department of Child Services while investigators tried to identify her.
Finally, police received a tip from a bus driver who used to shuttle Lynn Cameron in Illinois. They tracked down her mother, who came to Caryville to speak with officers Tuesday.
Cameron told police that she had argued with her daughter at a nearby Waffle House restaurant, where she tried to get the teen to use the bathroom. Then she dropped her off at the bar and drove away when she saw police arrive.
Stephanie Smith, the assistant police chief who spoke with Cameron, said the mother indicated she couldn’t cope any longer.
“She was very blank,” Smith told The Daily yesterday. “She didn’t have any emotions whatsoever. She just came in and basically said, ‘I’m not taking her.’ ”
Smith said the mother implied that if she were forced to take her daughter she would abandon the teen somewhere else. “If you make me, then Kentucky’s gonna be dealing with it,” Smith quoted Cameron as saying.
Cameron told the Northwest Herald that she had another disabled child and she couldn’t take care of both.
“The way the laws are set up, they don’t have enough for families with multiple disabled children,” she said. “You can only stretch yourself like a gummy bear so far until you rip.”
Lynn Cameron is currently in a group home and under the care of Tennessee’s Adult Protective Services program. Smith said it would be better for the young woman if her mother did not take her back.
“She’s probably cared for more now than she ever has been,” Smith said.
Click the thumbnails below to see how this article looked in The Daily’s iPad app.