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Illinois woman won’t face charges for abandoning disabled daughter

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 9:26 a.m. CST

(MCT) — CHICAGO — While her actions were “inexcusable,” an Algonquin, Ill., mother will not face criminal charges for abandoning her 19-year-old disabled daughter at a Tennessee bar, according to the district attorney general in Campbell County, Tenn.

That was the conclusion of a grand jury that investigated whether Eva Cameron, 45, should be charged with willful neglect and exploitation of an impaired adult, according to a news release issued Monday by Lori Phillips-Jones, district attorney general.

“There is no disagreement that the actions of the mother, Eva Cameron, in this case were inexcusable,” the news release states. “However, Tennessee law has not anticipated such behavior and thus the Grand Jury was faced with conduct which was not necessarily indictable.”

Cameron could not immediately be reached Monday. She has said previously that she did not believe Illinois would provide adequate medical services or housing for her daughter, who functions at the intellectual level of a 3-year-old.

Tennessee officials at first said they would not charge Cameron because her daughter is legally an adult, but reversed course after learning the circumstances of the case. On June 28, the teen, who has a limited vocabulary, was discovered without an ID or money at a bar in rural Caryville.

Authorities trying to identify the teen released a photo seeking the public’s help, which resulted in a tip that led police to Cameron. She returned to Tennessee July 10 and signed a statement saying she did not want to take her daughter back to Illinois.

The teen, whose name is being withheld because of privacy laws, has since been returned to Illinois. The state of Illinois has petitioned the court for guardianship of the young woman, who has been living in a group home, officials said.

The incident sparked outrage in Tennessee, prompting one state representative to work on potential legislation with local authorities to avoid similar scenarios, officials said.

Caryville police and caseworkers “went above and beyond the call of duty to care for this young lady to ensure that she suffered no harm during the short time frame between her discovery and the subsequent intervening actions from the state of Illinois which placed her in an appropriate facility in her home state,” the news release states.

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