Docs: Baby boy dies from COVID-19; mother wanted ‘to treat it naturally’
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis mother has been charged after infant son was left untreated and died from a COVID-19 infection.
Madelissa Flores, 26, told Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department investigators her child had been sick for days before police began investigating the child’s death on Nov. 28, 2021. Police were called to the 9400 block of E. 42nd St. on the city’s far east side to investigate. That’s between Post and Mitthoeffer roads.
Officers arrived to find the 3-month-old boy unresponsive. CPR was performed until paramedics arrive to take the child to a hospital. He was later pronounced dead.
While at the home, police described the home as “filthy and in disarray” with no electricity, the floor covered with dirty diapers, rotting food in the open, open alcohol bottles left out and an open container of antifreeze on the floor. The house also smelled bad and had no food in the refrigerator. A detective said a “marijuana cigar” was on the bedroom floor.
Investigators spoke with a neighbor who said their son was playing with one of another one of Flores’ children and said Flores had left all three of her children home alone. The son took a video on his phone of the baby screaming in the dark. The neighbor then told the son to bring all of the Flores children over. The neighbor said the kids stayed from around 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. when Flores came home and knocked on the door, looking for her children. The children went home with Flores but the neighbor said Flores left them home alone again later in the morning.
Flores’ oldest child told detectives that Flores wasn’t home when the baby stopped breathing.
According to court documents acquired by News 8, Flores said the child wasn’t given “any medications for this condition because she wanted to treat it naturally before going to any doctors.” She told police the baby had congestion, wheezing, difficulty breathing, a stuffy nose and a cough since Nov. 25.
Flores described the baby as having “an ‘old man dry cough’ and that you could ‘hear the mucus’ in the way he was breathing and that he was ‘trying to gasp for air’ when he was breathing,” according to court documents.
After initially telling investigators that she hadn’t left the child alone, police say she admitted to lying.
She told investigators that she wen out for Mexican food around 7 p.m., got back home around around 9 p.m. but stayed outside in the parking lot until 2 or 3 a.m. because she needed to “vent” to someone on the phone.
She said she picked up her children from the neighbor, then left them unsupervised again from 6 a.m. to around 10 a.m.
“Madelissa stated that she left to go to a friend’s house because she is [sic] single mom that is under a lot of stress and needed to talk to someone and did not have anyone available to watch her children while she was gone,” court documents state.
Police say Flores told them the house had been without electricity for about a week and that there was no food in the fridge “because she only buys enough food to eat day-to-day.”
Doctors looking at the baby learned that he had fractures in both femurs. A child abuse detective described the fractures as “bucket” fractures, which occur in “toddlers and infants who are being abused by being shaken or by being forcibly handled and yanked by their limbs.”
DCS complaints made in 2020 and 2021 state that Flores was leaving the children home alone for hours at a time for “leisure activities,” that the home had no food or electricity and that the home was infested with rodents. The children were also not attending school.
An autopsy report in January determined the child died from complications from a COVID-19 infection. A doctor said the child had hemorrhagic lungs.
Flores was charged on Feb. 15 and an initial hearing occurred Thursday. Flores is due back in court in May.
News 8 has requested a mugshot from IMPD.