Friday, February 5, 2010

Houston mom accused of fatally starving 8-year-old girl

This is very sad

A Houston woman is accused of starving her 8-year-old daughter to death a year ago, authorities said.

Almita Nicole Lockhart is accused of neglecting Halle Smith to the point that she weighed just 15 1/2 pounds when she died, said Estella Olguin, spokeswoman for Children's Protective Services. Lockhart is charged with injury to a child.

Halle, who was born severely premature, suffered a stroke and had underlying health issues that required her to be fed through a tube, was unresponsive when Lockhart took her to an emergency room in January 2009. Her mother was charged on Jan. 14 and jailed Tuesday after autopsy results and further investigation led authorities to believe the girl's condition was intentionally inflicted, Olguin said.

Lockhart, 34, held Halle in an empty apartment off Northborough in the Greenspoint area of north Houston, authorties said, and apparently did not feed her properly.

Lockhart, who has a total of 10 children according to CPS, remains in jail today in lieu of a $30,000 bond. Her next court appearance is set for Feb. 24.

The other children, who range in age from 2 to 18, were living elsewhere and taken into state custody, where five remain today. The four oldest have been placed with their natural father.

CPS visited Lockhart in 2006, when Halle weighed about 46 pounds and conditions at the home appeared satisfactory, Olguin said. Lockhart was convicted on a drug charge that year.

At some point after the CPS visit, Olguin said Lockhart stopped making regular medical appointments and receiving in-home care for Halle.

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