Weatherford Democrat

December 17, 2013

Mother charged with child endangerment


Weatherford Democrat

— By CHRISTIN COYNE

Springtown police arrested the mother of a special needs child found running down the road in Springtown half-naked Saturday evening, charging her with endangering a child.

Lacie Danielle West, 28, remained in the Parker County Jail Tuesday, charged with second degree felony abandoning or endangering a child. 

Officers responded to a call shortly after 5 p.m. at a convenience store in the 600 block of North Main Street, where a woman who called 911 was holding a child and trying to warm him.

The boy, who was wearing only a long-sleeve T-shirt and no shoes, socks, pants or underwear, had blue hands and fingers and bright red legs from exposure to the cold, according to Springtown police. The temperature at the time was 38 degrees with a wind chill just above freezing.

Police said they wrapped him in a jacket and put him in the back of the patrol car to raise his body temperature.

The boy, who is severely autistic, according to police, was unable to identify himself or say where he lived. However, due to previous encounters, police pieced together where he lived, at an apartment about half a mile from the convenience store where the boy was located.

The child’s mother reportedly said she was in the bath while the children slept and was unaware the boy had left the house.

“The 9-year-old has a history of getting out of the house and Lacie was supposed to have an alarm on her front door to alert her if he opened the door,” a responding officer wrote. “Lacie admitted the alarm had not worked in several months and she had not bothered to fix or replace it.”

Officers who went to the home reportedly found a messy kitchen and human waste on the floor in areas where the boy and an 18-month-old brother play.

A police officer wrote that the conditions inside the home were not fit for an adult but were especially bad for the children.

Broken glass was also found on the floor of the boys’ bedroom, according to CPS, which also reported West failed an oral swab to test for methamphetamine and amphetamine use, despite her statement that she no longer used methamphetamine.

It’s not the first time West has been in legal trouble regarding alleged endangerment of the boy.

West was arrested in February 2011 in Tarrant County on a charge of abandoning or endangering a child after she reportedly left the boy, then 6 years old, in the car while she was in a bar for at least an hour, according to court records. The child reportedly came into the bar dressed only in a T-shirt.

After West underwent counseling, the boy was returned to her care and the CPS case was closed in 2012.

CPS received two other complaints involving West that were ruled out and

However, twice in March, the boy was found wandering along State Highway 199, once dressed only in a T-shirt covered in feces and another time about two miles from home and barefoot on a 56-degree day, according to court records.

Investigators reportedly found feces smeared on the walls and floors of various areas of the home in March, as well. 

Both children were removed from West and placed with an aunt for a period of time.

However, after various steps were taken, including the family using locks and alarms at the home to keep the boy from running away, the youngest child moved back in with West and the older boy stayed with her on the weekends, according to CPS.

Both children were placed with their aunt Saturday, according to CPS, which had filed paperwork with the court this week to remove the children.