Latina Tawanda Pearce from Minneapolis, Minnesota, was charged with two counts of neglect after authorities found her 12- and 13-year-old children abandoned at a motel in Merrillville. Pearce, who had apparently listed an address in Kankakee, Illinois, allegedly left the two kids on February 9 after staying in the motel for a few days for a funeral.
The 13-year-old girl told police that she was never told who died since they came into town, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The teen said she called Pearce's cell phone several times but was unable to get in contact with her mother. She decided to contact her school counselor in Minnesota the next day, who then immediately called Merrillville authorities.
Police said the 13-year-old girl had cuts around her neck while the 12-year-old boy had lacerations around his mouth, eye, and neck. Pearce had allegedly beaten them and their six younger brothers and sisters before leaving the motel without the two older children.
Two days after the kids had been left at the motel, Pearce contacted Merrillville police Detective Jeff Rice and asked about where her children were taken. She was eventually taken into custody and currently faces a maximum of three years in prison if convicted of the charges brought against her.
An Illinois family law attorney may ask whether the court has grounds to terminate Latina Pearce’s parental rights because she left her children at the motel. Statutory grounds that can establish an involuntary termination of parental rights include abandonment and severe or chronic abuse and neglect.
Pearce may want to consider finding a lawyer who can explain the legal rights and options she has in this case, especially f the court decides to hear proceedings on terminating her rights as a parent.
- Grounds for Terminating Parental Rights (FindLaw)
- Ferret Eats Baby’s Fingers: Parental Neglect? (FindLaw’s Blotter Blog)
- Newborn Infant Left At Gerarld Croarkin’s Doorstep (FindLaw’s Chicago Family Law Blog)