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Palmerton woman charged with endangering welfare of her child

Published August 07. 2018 12:11PM

A Palmerton woman is charged with endangering the welfare of her child.

Ashley Whiteman, 23, faces charges on two counts of endangering welfare of children and one count of recklessly endangering another person.

According to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Detective Kevin Buck of the Palmerton Borough Police Department:

On June 4, Buck received a report regarding the medical neglect of a 4-year-old boy, with the suspect being identified as Whiteman.

Through the course of the investigation, it was discovered that on June 3, the child was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest campus by Whiteman’s cousins for seizures.

Police learned that Whiteman had abandoned the child at the home of her cousins on May 23, and did so without leaving any clothing, food or prescribed seizure medication.

On June 3, while still in the care of Whiteman’s cousins, the child suffered another seizure resulting in the current guardians taking the child to the hospital.

The hospital staff repeatedly attempted to contact Whiteman, who did not return any hospital telephone calls, nor calls from her cousins.

As a result of this, the hospital took administrative custody of the child.

Police learned that Whiteman had stopped giving the child his prescribed seizure medication for about one month before this episode, nor had she taken him for any follow-up care.

The caregivers told Buck that from the time the child was about 4 months old, Whiteman would drop him off with her cousins, sometimes for one to two nights, then increasing to two weeks to a month, and sometimes longer, never knowing when she was going to return and each time failing to provide the child’s insurance cards or medication.

Police said about one year ago while the child was in the hospital for a seizure, Whiteman signed him out and refused to get an MRI of the head as was recommended.

In February, the child had suffered from six seizures in one day and Whiteman failed to appear for a follow-up appointment with the neurologist.

On June 12, Buck sat in on an interview with Whiteman that was conducted by a Children and Youth caseworker.

During that interview, Whiteman said that the child suffered his first seizure at around the age of 2½ years old, and has had about 20 since then.

Whiteman said that the child was prescribed Keppra for his seizures, and that he was taking 7.5 milligrams twice a day when she stopped the medicine.

Whiteman said that she stopped giving it to him because she did not like the side effects, and that she had allowed the insurance to lapse three to four times and she was unable to afford to pay for the medicine.

A doctor was consulted, who said that Whiteman’s stopping of the medication placed the child in serious risk of permanent injury, and possible death as a result of the seizures.

Whiteman is free in lieu of $10,000 bail unsecured.

Whiteman is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday before District Judge William Kissner of Palmerton.

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