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Mother charged with neglect in death of infant left in 9-year-old brother's care

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Posted at 5:11 PM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 23:43:33-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A mother faces felony neglect charges after her 3-month-old son died of COVID-19 complications while in the care of his 9-year-old brother without adult supervision or food or electricity, a court document shows.

Madelissa Flores, 26, of Indianapolis had several complaints made against her to the Department of Child Services alleging she had left her children at home unsupervised for hours at a time, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Indianapolis police began an investigation into the infant's death on Nov. 28, 2021, after a detective was dispatched to the 9400 block of East 42nd Street to check on the child's welfare, according to a probable cause affidavit. Arriving officers found the infant unresponsive.

According to court documents, paramedics noted that the infant was "making jerking movements with his arms" while vomiting. The infant was transported in critical condition to Riley Children's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead about 1:35 p.m.

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Police executed a search warrant on the home and discovered it had a foul odor, no electricity, working lights or appliances, floors littered with dirty diapers, trash and rotting food, and bottles of alcohol left open.

Officers also found the fridge empty and a marijuana cigar on a bedroom floor.

A witness told police Flores' children had been left unattended, and that the infant was cold, only wearing a onesie with a soiled diaper, and had difficulty breathing and a cough.

The witness also told police they saw Flores leave the children by themselves at home the morning of the infant's death, according to the affidavit.

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Police also interviewed the infant's 9-year-old brother, who told them Flores instructed him more than once to take care of his infant brother while she was away. At one point while they were unsupervised, the boy found the infant not breathing and unresponsive.

Flores told police the infant had been sick but was not being given medicine because she wanted to treat him naturally before going to a doctor, according to the affidavit.

She originally told them she had been with the infant earlier and that she only left the home for five minutes, then came back to find him unresponsive. She later changed her story, saying she had left the children unsupervised for hours on several occasions, but that the infant was behaving normally when she checked on him, the affidavit alleges.

Flores also told police the home was without electricity for a week and that there was no food because she only buys enough to eat day-to-day.

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Medical records showed the infant had multiple fractures, indicating he may have been shaken or forcibly handled, according to the affidavit.

His cause of death was later determined to be complications from COVID-19.

Flores is charged with two felony counts each of neglect of a dependent resulting in catastrophic injury and neglect of a dependent placing them in an endangering situation.

An initial hearing was held Wednesday, online court records show. She is scheduled to appear for a final pretrial conference on May 31, followed by a jury trial on June 6.