Babysitter arrested after child hospitalized for starvation, hypothermia

Posted at 11:54 AM, May 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-29 07:34:01-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - A Tallahassee woman is facing neglect charges after a child she was babysitting was hospitalized in what doctors described as a "starvation state."

Judith Monpas, 35, has been charged with child neglect in Jefferson County.

According to a probable cause affidavit from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, the incident happened on December 31, 2017.

On New Years Day, deputies were contacted by Capital Regional Medical Center about a bruised, hypothermic, child being admitted into their hospital. Staff noted that the child's temperature was at least 10 degrees less than normal and had blood sugar levels nearly 20 points below normal. 

Eventually, the child was transferred to the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital for further treatment. When deputies arrived to TMH, a nurse and doctor told them that the child had been abused and neglected by someone.

After JCSO and the Tallahassee Police Department took photographs of the child's injuries, deputies spoke with the child's guardians.

According to them, they left the child in the care of Monpas on Dec. 29. They note the child had spent the night on multiple occasions without an issue.

The next day, they brought a change of clothes for the child as well as an outfit for church on Sunday. 

However, late Sunday evening, they began receiving texts from Monpas, who is a registered nurse, saying that the child was having trouble keeping her eyes open and was acting sleepy.

Monpas told them that she had never seen the child act like this and her behavior was making her nervous, so she requested that the guardians come pick the child up from a church in Lloyd (Jefferson County).

When they arrived, they told deputies Monpas had the child inside her car in the parking lot without the engine running. The child was dressed in a thin long sleeve shirt with no pants on despite it being a cold, rainy day. 

The guardians told deputies that the child was cold to touch, so they made the decision to take her straight to the hospital.

According to the report, Monpas told deputies during an interview that she had fed the child before and after church. She explained that the bruising was from the child falling off a pew earlier and bumping her head.

Soon after, the child couldn't stay awake, worrying Monpas, so she called the guardians to let them know she wasn't comfortable keeping the child.

On January 30, investigators met with a child abuse pediatrician who said the child's status was the result of "nothing other than neglect."

Lab work revealed that the child had not been fed in at least eight hours and was hypothermic. The doctor also came to the conclusion that the injuries on the child's head were "in no way consistent with a fall from a pew in church."

The doctor told deputies that the neglect stemmed from a combination of not improper feeding and an improper response to an obvious medical emergency. In the doctor's professional opinion, documents say, Monpas should've known to get immediate medical attention for the child.

The doctor's report stated that the child's behavior in combination with lab findings were "consistent with sustained injuries while in a starvation state."

Documents say the doctor said the delay in medical attention could have been fatal and recommended "aggressive law enforcement involvement."

As a result of the investigation, a warrant was issued for Monpas' arrest. She was taken into custody in Leon County on May 19. She was released from the Leon County Detention Facility the same day.