Mom of dead 7-month-old held on $250,000 bond
BY MiCHAEL LANSU, JON SEIDEL AND TINA SFONDELES Staff Reporters December 12, 2013 9:47AM
Police mug shot of Erica Hampton
Updated: January 14, 2014 12:49PM
The mother of a dead 7-month-old baby was ordered held on $250,000 bond Friday as authorities revealed that the child, wrapped in a blanket and snowsuit while in a car seat in a “very warm” apartment, died in part from dehydration and overheating.
The mother, Erica Hampton, 25, faces one felony count of child endangerment and two misdemeanors, authorities said.
Hampton was arrested Thursday after a neighbor came across the little girl, Lamya Hampton, once she was alerted by the girl’s older sister. It was the third time in 10 days that neighbors had found the children home alone, authorities said.
The baby’s diaper had been soiled multiple times, and the baby had clearly not been recently bathed, authorities said. An autopsy determined that the child’s core temperature, postmortem, was 100.6.
Hampton, a warehouse worker, is a high school graduate and the sole supporter of her two surviving children, her public defender said in court.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said earlier this week it is investigating the mother for allegations of neglect and has taken the infant’s two siblings into protective custody. DCFS officials said they’ve received no prior reports regarding the family.
A neighbor found the little girl unresponsive at 3:37 p.m. Wednesday at the family’s Lawndale apartment, wrapped up in her snowsuit and a blanket and lying in a car seat after her older sister went next door to ask for food.
The baby was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital a short time later. Her two sisters, 2 and 6, were also at the apartment and were taken to the hospital for a checkup. They appeared unharmed. No adults were home.
Tyisha Kinsey, who lives across the street and knows the girls’ mother, said earlier this week, “She’s a good person. I really can’t understand how this happened. That’s why it’s so sad. God. She took care of those kids. I never seen her neglect them or anything,” said Kinsey, 27.
“But I don’t know if she left them alone or what. That’s the big part I don’t understand,” Kinsey said.
Contributing: Jordan Owen, Reema Amin