Mom jailed in boy’s abandonment at church

by  TERRI LANGFORD | HOUSTON CHRONICLE

A 28-year-old Liberty County woman was arrested on Thursday and charged with abandoning her 8-year-old son, who was found left in an empty church all day last month Patricia McHaney remained held at the Liberty County Jail without bail late Thursday.

She was arrested on a second-degree felony charge of child abandonment after a hearing involving her son and his two brothers.

A bond hearing for McHaney was scheduled for early Friday. Texas Child Protective Services has placed the three boys in the care of relatives.

At Thursday’s hearing, CPS officials presented evidence about why they took the children, relaying for the court the 8-year-old’s emaciated state and how he was left for hours at a time in the church.

Neighbors contacted police last month after watching McHaney escort the boy to the empty Bethel Baptist Church, off Texas 321. When police arrived, they found him left with water bottles, a small fan and a paint can to use as a toilet.

“He revealed he was being isolated as punishment by his mother,” a CPS caseworker wrote in documents filed with a Liberty County court after they talked to the boy on May 12. “The punishment consisted of being forced to go to the abandoned church building and remain.”

CPS has investigated the care of the woman’s children at least four times since 2001.

The next hearing on the boys’ care is scheduled for July 23.

terri.langford@chron.com

Source: Houston Chronicle

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