Nashville, TN - Some of you might remember a story we did back in January about a guy named Jerald Hicks, who starved his children. Hicks’ 17-month-old son, Jerald Hicks Jr., was dead on arrival at an emergency room on January 24, 2008. Baby Jerald died of starvation and hypothermia, and weighed only ten pounds at his death. His two-year-old sister LaTarvia was also severely malnourished, but survived. Now the children’s mother and grandmother have been arrested and charged in connection with baby Jerald’s death.
Chisa Hughes, 23, is the children’s mother and Jerald Hicks’ ex-wife. She left the elder Hicks with the children and took off for California in 2007, but was in Nashville and saw the children on January 17th – just a week before baby Jerald’s death. Why she didn’t alert someone, do something, take her babies, I have no idea. When Hughes saw her children – HER children! – in January, they already had no utilities, no food, and were clearly suffering. Yet she left and went back to Cali like nothing was wrong.
Katina Ballard is the children’s grandmother. She also saw the children – and while I think she was a little more helpful than Hughes was, she still didn’t report the children’s condition to anyone. And while she told police in January that Hicks wouldn’t let her see the children, she didn’t report to the Department of Chidlren’s Services – or anyone else for that matter.
Both Chisa Hughes and Katina Ballard have Myspaces: (Hughes1), (Hughes2), and (Ballard). They make interesting reads, if only to see pictures of the children on Ballard’s space within months of baby Jerald’s death. He was already emaciated when the pictures were taken. Hughes’ priorities are less about her kids than about getting “licked like a Charms Lollipop”, so whatever, right?
Jerald Hicks was arrested in January. He remains in custody, where he is awaiting trial on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, and two counts of aggravated child neglect. Chisa Hughes is charged with first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated child neglect. Katina Ballard is charged with two counts of failure to report child abuse and one count of aggravated child neglect. Both Jerald Hicks and Chisa Hughes are being held without bond. Katina Ballard’s bond is set at $50,000.
None of this will bring back Jerald Hicks Jr., or undo the damage to LaTarvia, who remains in foster care. But maybe there will be some justice for baby Jerald after all.
Tags: Child Neglect, Starvation