A mother from Illinois drove to Tennessee specifically so she could abandon her daughter there. The daughter is nineteen years old, and has some severe special needs. Legally, the mother was no longer officially the guardian of her adult daughter, and so, cannot be charged with a crime for abandoning her.
Eva Cameron is a mother who lives in Algonquin, Illinois. She has three children: a daughter who is sixteen years old, a son who is seventeen years old, and a daughter named Lynn Cameron, who is nineteen years old.
Lynn has special needs. She has diminished mental abilities, and about a thirty to forty word vocabulary. Despite being nineteen years of age, Lynn has the mental capacity of a two year old child.
On June 28, 2012, Eva Cameron drove her daughter Lynn to Caryville, Tennessee. Caryville is about 550 miles away from Algonquin, Illinois. Eva and Lynn went into a Waffle House that is located off Interstate 75. Video from the restaurant shows Eva walking away from Lynn, who is sitting at a booth, and walking out the door. At that time, Lynn got up and followed her mother. It appears that this was Eva’s first attempt to abandon her daughter.
Later, Eva drove to the Big Orange Bar, which is nearby the Waffle House. Eva let Lynn out of the car, reportedly so that Lynn could go into the bar to use the bathroom. As soon as Lynn entered the bar, her mother, Eva, drove away. She abandoned her daughter without any money, identification, or extra clothing. Lynn is unable to tell people her name, and it took police days before they were able to identify who she was.
Eventually, police in Tennessee learned Lynn’s name, and who her mother was. Eva returned to Tennessee to speak with police. Caryville Assistant Chief Stephanie Smith reported that Eva said :
“I don’t want her, I’m not taking her, and if I have to take her, they’ll be dealing with her in Kentucky”.
Eva stayed for around ten minutes, and then returned to Illinois, leaving her daughter behind. Police cannot press charges on this mother, for abandoning her daughter who has special needs, because Eva is not, technically, Lynn’s guardian. Once a person reaches the age of eighteen, that person is legally considered to be an adult. This is true for eighteen year olds who have special needs, too.
Parents who wish to remain the guardian of an adult child who has special needs must apply for guardianship. Lynn’s mother chose not to do so. Sadly, this means that Eva hasn’t broken any laws by driving out of state and abandoning her daughter.
Image by peggydavis66 on Flickr