Addison Grace Lanham died last week from an untreated infection. Friday night, mourners gathered for a candlelight vigil for the 2 year old. Addison’s mother, Shannon Lanham and Shannon’s boyfriend, Jason Wells are chaarged with involuntary manslaughter, felony child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Wells is a registered sex offender who was babysitting Addison when she became unresponsive. Lanham rushed from work to the motel they were staying at and called 911. After the autopsy, it was found that Addison had a broken leg that had not been treated and died from a blood infection at the hospital. Authorities are looking into whether Addison was sexually assaulted. DSS had been contacted by family members with concerns about Lanham and her boyfriend. Lanham and Wells knew Addison was hurt but refused to seek medical treatment for fear that Lanham would lose custody of the child. The two are being held in the Gaston County jail, in which Lanham may not be allowed to attend Addison’s funeral.
There were obvious signs of concern and neglect. One question that arises is why wasn’t Jason Wells under tighter supervision? Another question would be why didn’t DSS investigate or take action sooner? There may never be any answers to these questions. The fact is that because of neglect on the mother’s part, a child has senselessly died.
There has been an increase in child abuse, sexual, mental and physical, as well as permanant injuries and death from such abuse. In cases like this, should the parent(s) or guardians receive the death penalty? If the abuse is not fatal, should the child or children be taken away permantly on the first offense? There is no question the safety of the child is paramount. The debate comes from what should be done. How much longer can we tolerate the abuse of our children?
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