A Florida mother of a baby who starved to death said she never noticed that her daughter was starving.
“I knew she was small. I didn’t realize she was that small,” Kristen Meyer-Aleman told detectives in September according to the Palm Beach Post. Her 13-month-old died in April 2016. “Why would I starve my child?”
The baby, named Tayla, died of exhaustion caused by neglect. According to the report, she weighed 7 pounds at death, 2 pounds less than when she was born. Detectives told her mother that the baby “looked like a concentration camp survivor.”
Kristen Meyer-Aleman and her husband, Alejandro are charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and animal abuse. They both face the death penalty.
An interrogation released by the State Attorney’s Office Thursday revealed disturbing parenting habits.
Alejandro said he never once picked up his 13-month-old daughter. In fact, he said he never cradled any of the other nine children that he and Kristen share when the children were babies.
“I won’t hold a baby until, until like 2 years old,” he said. “I don’t do little kids. I don’t.”
During the interviews, he got frustrated when detectives asked him why his baby was so thin.
“Aggravated child abuse and murder of my daughter, wow,” Alejandro said. “That’s a nasty charge, a really nasty charge.”
Kristen argued and interrupted detectives during the interrogation. The interrogation recording shows the mother blaming her dogs and her other children for spreading the walls with feces. It also shows authorities confronting the woman about the feet-high piles of clothes reeking of urine and feces in her home. Meyer-Aleman claimed the landlord hadn’t provided a working washer and dryer. However, she also claimed she did laundry every day.
According to the Palm Beach Post, an autopsy revealed Tayla was suffering from multiple strains of influenza, E. coli, the start of pneumonia and other bacteria.
Alejandro appeared annoyed that the detectives pressed him about taking not taking Tayla to see a doctor.
“Is there a law that your baby has to go to the doctor?” he asked.
“Yes,” a detective responds. “It’s called medical treatment.”
Tayla’s other siblings — one of whom was born after she died — have been under the care of the Florida Department for Children and Families since her death.
As a reaction to this incident, according to a CBS affiliate, the Florida Department for Children and Families has changed some of their policies to avoid future tragedies.
[Palm Beach County Jail]