May 27, 1997 in Nation/World

Mother Had Nails Done While Son Died

Associated Press
 

A woman ignored her doctor’s order to take her malnourished son to a hospital immediately and instead took him to a salon where he died as she was having her nails done, police said Monday.

Dianna Meeks, a 25-year-old mother of five, was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of her youngest child and ordered held Monday on $350,000 bond.

She said nothing at a hearing as prosecutor Mike Goldberg outlined the abuse he said had led to the death of Dontory Jordan.

Authorities said he weighed 5 pounds, 11 ounces when he was born prematurely on March 29. He weighed only 3 pounds when he died Thursday.

Meeks took him to a doctor for a checkup and was told to take him to a hospital immediately; the doctor even wrote out directions, Goldberg told the judge.

Instead, Meeks dropped the baby off with a sister and went shopping. Later, she took Dontory and her four other children - boys 6, 4 and 2 years old and a girl 17 months old - to the Sunny Nails salon, where the baby died.

At the salon, an aunt noticed that Dontory, wrapped in a blanket, was not moving, authorities said. Paramedics were called and the baby was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The cause of death was failure to thrive and maternal neglect. There was no evidence of food in the baby’s digestive system, and he lacked body fat, Goldberg said.

Meeks said she refused to take Dontory to the hospital because she feared losing public assistance and being accused of not taking proper care of her son, Goldberg said.

She faces up to five years in prison if convicted.

Her other children were taken into protective custody.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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