Family Defends Woman Charged With Child Abuse

April 23, 2008 8:40:56 PM PDT
The family of a Fresno woman arrested for child abuse claims she wasn't capable of harming her three-month old baby. The baby had been beaten to death on Friday.The baby's mother, Lashonda Caldera was living on her own even though her family says she had the mind of a child. The 25-year old woman is described by family as a loving mother.

Investigators ruled three-month old Elijah Hamilton died of on-going abuse. Eddie Hamilton is charged with murder. His girlfriend Lashonda Caldera is charged with child abuse. Caldera's sister Jaime contended "She's not capable of nothing like that. She wouldn't even let, she wouldn't do that."

Family members say Lashonda has the mental capacity of an 8-year old. The family says she received federal disability aid and that case workers made regular check-ups on Lashonda as well as the baby. An aunt who did not want to be identified said "We were comfortable with what the programs were offering and even during the pregancy we were comfortable that they were going to check on her - not relying on them do that."

Case workers declined to comment on this story as did officials with "Babies First," a Fresno County program the family says provided assistance.

Lashonda's sisters say they've always been protective of her because of her limited mental capacity. Tareva Caldera said "She don't really know what's really going on right now and its hurtful for us to think that because for what she's being charged with, people don't like people like that and i would not anything to happen to my sister in there."

Fresno Police did not wish to respond to the family's portrayal of Caldera only to say she is being treated as an adult. Caldera remains jailed.


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