Police report reveals disturbing details behind alleged abuse

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by Sybil Hoffman

azfamily.com

Posted on September 19, 2011 at 9:54 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 7:58 AM

GILBERT, Ariz - The video was shocking but the police report is just as disturbing.

3TV has new details about the Gilbert mother who allegedly blew marijuana smoke into her baby’s face and why the court will most likely put the baby back in her care.

While it’s disturbing to watch, this cell phone video gave child protective services enough evidence to remove 10 month old Laura from her 21-year-old mother, Jessica Callaway last month.

Attorney Lynda Vescio has years of experience representing Arizona’s children.

"Without documentation, it's just one person's word against another so that's very helpful that you have evidence of it. It gives CPS the basis to step in even without seeing the marks. It goes on so much more than we actually get to see so I think we should be just as upset and just as outraged that it is going on quietly in a way that's not seen and not brought to the public attention," Vescio said. 

According to the Gilbert police report, Callaway told detectives, “she was having an argument with her roommate Alexandrea, about not having anything to wear that night” and “was getting frustrated.”

Vescio told us, "It sounds to me like she's sort of struggling with the identity of having to be a responsible mother and still wanting to be a 21 year old."

The police report also reveals Callaway “blew the marijuana smoke into her baby’s face and then described her daughter’s reaction saying “she was like, oh hey, this is new.”

"For a parent to think a, that's what a child is thinking, and b, that would make it somehow appropriate, you really can't understand what's going on in her head make her make that kind of statement," Vescio said. 

Despite the apparent abuse and poor thinking, Arizona’s law protects parents like Callaway.

"So it's not about who has the most money, who can give the child the best education, who has the best judgment, it's about that parent's right," Vescio explained. 

Translation, keeping the child with their biological parents is always the court’s top priority. Even for parents deemed minimally adequate. In fact, determining the best interest of the child becomes only one part of the equation.

"In CPS court, in juvenile court, best interest of the child is certainly a factor, and there is an attorney who is called an attorney ad litem, who is appointed to gather information about that factor, but if the parent is minimally adequate, they have a right to parent their child," Vescio said.

A fact which will no doubt surprise Callaway’s roommate Alexandrea Kinglsey, who was the one who videotape the abuse.

"My hope is that she has a better chance and that she will find a loving family that will care for her and give her everything she needs and deserves," Kingsley told 3TV. 

Vescio points out if Callaway commits herself to getting help with parenting and drugs, there is a good chance the courts will deem her minimally adequate to raise her baby.

To read the police report click here.

 

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