Mom not charged for dumping disabled daughter at bar

Lynn Cameron (Caryville Police Department)

Lynn Cameron (Caryville Police Department)

Abandoning a child who needs help is never right, but it’s not always illegal.

A Chicago-area woman who drove to Tennessee to dump off her mentally disabled 19-year-old daughter will not be charged, police said Tuesday in The Knoxville News Sentinel.

Police in the tiny town of Caryville had tried since June 28 to figure out the identity of the young woman. A break in the case came 10 days later when a Chicago-area resident recognized the daughter on a missing persons website and alerted authorities, who contacted the mom – Eva Cameron, 45, of Algonquin, Ill.

The mom traveled back to Tennessee to speak to police, not to pick up her daughter, Lynn Cameron, who has the mental capacity of a toddler and could not identify herself or her mother.

“[The mom] said that she did not want her, that she couldn’t take care of her and that she wasn’t going to take her back to Illinois,” said Caryville police Assistant Chief Stephanie Smith in The Chicago Tribune.

“She let her out to use the bathroom and drove away,” Smith said Tuesday. “She said she just couldn’t handle her anymore.”

Cameron, who has another mentally disabled child, cannot be charged because the daughter she abandoned is legally an adult.

Cameron told The Northwest Herald in suburban Chicago that she drove her daughter to Tennessee because it has the “No. 1 health care system in the United States of America” and she wanted the best for her child. She also said her church directed her there because it is a more Baptist area.

Tuesday, the daughter became an official ward of the state of Tennessee.

147 comments Add your comment


July 11th, 2012
1:56 pm

@Bobby – “simply a fetus”…you are “simply an idiot”. Disgusting.


July 11th, 2012
1:57 pm

Sounds to me like the mom is full of it… Her church most likely did advise her to do this and she only stopped in TN because it was far enough away and she would not get caught. Besides, if this woman TRULY wanted her daughter to get help, she would not have left her on the side of the road where no telling what would happen to her. She would leave her somewhere safe like a fire station. This woman got caught and she is scrambling to cover her butt.


July 11th, 2012
1:58 pm

I meant her church most likely DID NOT advise her to do this.


July 11th, 2012
2:05 pm

Reading this, all I could think was..”this woman is gonna burn in hell” It’s your child….not a piece of trash. They need to take away the other disable child.


July 11th, 2012
2:29 pm

More than likely the mother is mentally ill herself and cannot take care of her mentally ill children. This is why people with mental illness should never have children. They do not have the mental and emotional capacity to handle the extra stress of dealing with the extrenous burden of nursing and caring for mentally ill children and themselves too.


July 11th, 2012
2:40 pm

She is from Ill. same place as Obama, the govt probably didnt pay her enough to keep her. What did you expect from a state Obama came from.


July 11th, 2012
2:48 pm

Not going to judge her cause I haven’t walked in her shoes. I can’t imagine having one disabled child, let alone TWO. People in this situation need help!!
I’m with you, Keri.

Dana P.

July 11th, 2012
2:53 pm

That is really disturbing.

Once, when driving from Ohio to Atlanta, my car broke down in Caryville, TN and I had to stay there for two days. I will say that was one of friendliest towns I have ever been in! The people were incredibly nice and friendly. The hotel staff (at the now demolished Christmas Tree Inn) treated me like royalty! As did the folks at the diner across the street. If someone were going to dump a diabled child off somewhere, God forbid, I’d say they couldn’t chose a better place than Caryville, TN.

Did ya wonder?

July 11th, 2012
2:56 pm

So I am sure that all of you horrified people are quite willing to take in a 19 year old disabled ADULT with the mental capacity of a toddler. Any takers?

Thought not.

As for the mother, dumb move on her part. But she probably had few choices. States are not so willing to help when adults have mental illness.

Remember…Matthew 7:1


July 11th, 2012
3:01 pm

Who leaves their child like this? I can answer that question and that is a person who never should’ve become a mother to begin with. She has another mentally handicapped child who will most likely be abandoned as well. I don’t understand how you cannot charge the mother, HELLO…the mental capacity of a toddler and not a 19 year old. I pray that this young lady can be placed with someone worthy of her presence.


July 11th, 2012
3:06 pm

Enter your comments here


July 11th, 2012
3:07 pm

well at least we know where her children get the mental disability from….


July 11th, 2012
3:09 pm

Special needs children and adults take a lot of work. Obviously this woman had more than she could handle. Where was her support system since not at her church? Where’s the father? She did what she thought was best, but decisions made while stressed are not always best. Luckily the daughter did not suffer at the hands of someone when left.


July 11th, 2012
3:19 pm

I think this young woman is better off in the care of the state. You can criticize this mother all you want, but she did leave her daughter where she would have care and be tended to. That is more than some might have done. Do I think it’s right to abandon your child? Nope. But I haven’t walked in this woman’s shoes and neither have any of you. Tend to your own families and put as much effort into them as you have to the plight of this stranger and then you’ll have actually done some good with all the energy your instead spending on your righteous indignation.

joe suggs

July 11th, 2012
3:25 pm

It is her child !!! Who is supposed to support her ? Where is the father ?


July 11th, 2012
3:27 pm

This is not sad the mom didn’t know any better she is mentally challanged to just look at her.

Jon Lake

July 11th, 2012
3:28 pm

Gee, wouldn’t it be a shame if “Mom” were to slip and fall down the steps while leaving the police station.


July 11th, 2012
3:30 pm

This is a darn shame!

real deal is...

July 11th, 2012
3:35 pm



July 11th, 2012
3:36 pm

I am in such a quandary about these types of stories. I have had friends, family members, church members and coworkers that have handicapped children and this woman has 2. You never get a full nights sleep, you never get to enjoy a quite meal, watch TV, go on vacation or even just take a walk. Your child requires full time 24/7/365 care. There is no help. There is no relief. I didn’t see the childs age but she is over 18. That means in addition to caring for her, she has the mental capacity of a toddler, she also has to assist her in bathing, going to the bathroom and taking care of her female issues. She also has to worry about pregnancy and monthly uh, hm, cleanliness, in other words her period. She can not do anything about that unless the child agrees because the child is an adult. You have children you expect them to grow up, have their own life, you never expect to have to take care of them forever. I can not even BEGIN to imagine the nightmare that is. People that don’t know say “these children are so sweet natured” ah no. I have been around ones that are angry and mean. Think about it, a toddler???? She can’t even dress herself or feed herself how many years can you DO that? You love your children but your entire life is them. You never get any time to yourself and how about your marriage? Do you ever get any time together? Alone? Sex? What about finances? That means only one of you can work and when that person gets home they have to help as well. No relief, a miserable life. I hurt for them all :(


July 11th, 2012
3:38 pm

I do not condone what she did, but unless you have been the parent of a severely disabled child, you do not know the stress and pressure that comes with it. This happens more than people realize, but it is seldom reported. In Griffin a few years ago a woman was charged with killing her two disabled children because she could not longer deal with it. As the parent of a disabled child, I can relate to both of them, although I would not go to that extremee. From most of the comments, it appears that majority of the readers do not have clue what it is like to deal with a disabled child.


July 11th, 2012
3:38 pm

Realy….if this woman was capable to dumping her disabled daughter off at a public restroom and driving off….isnt the child better off with the State of Tennessee – instead of her mother??? The mother must have been abusing her – or at least neglecting her. How sad….hopefully someone will give this young teen a better life…she deserves it!!. The mother has to live with herself!!

End of her rope

July 11th, 2012
3:57 pm

I don’t condone the parent’s actions, but I can empathise. They took care of that disabled child for 18 years. There is another disabled child at home. How hard do you think that is to do? The trouble is that there isn’t enough support for parents with severly disabled children. What will happen to the children when the parents aren’t physically able to take care of them anymore? I suspect that is what happended. Remeber your toddler’s reasoning and behavior? Now put that reasoning and behavior in the body of an adult. Remember the toddler’s “tantrums?” What does an 18 year old toddler “tantrum” look like. Not many older women can physically handle this. Don’t judge the parent. She may have done the best she could do.


July 11th, 2012
4:00 pm

I feel sorry for both of them. The mother shouldn’t be expected to still provide such intensive care to a child who is 19 years old. That is unreasonable. I’ve personally seen animals rebuff their young from nursing once the parent feels they are too old, and humans are animals after all. I’m sure the mother is exhausted and tired of dealing with someone who will never be more mature than a toddler. It’s a sad situation for everyone, Mom, daughter, and state/taxpayers.

bishop long

July 11th, 2012
4:05 pm

This is a very sad story………………but the church told her to do it. Damn, the hell with church!


July 11th, 2012
4:10 pm

Tammt, How dare you sit up and make jokes about this humanbeing. I guarantee you are nothing nice to look at.


July 11th, 2012
4:19 pm

Turns out she dropped her off at a bar with NO money and NO identification. What a horrible human being.


July 11th, 2012
4:27 pm

I will absolutely judge this woman. How can you “care” for a living human being for 19 years and think the best way to make her life easier is to simply throw her away. a bar…because nothing bad ever happends to people there. And “at least she didn’t kill her” SERIOUSLY!! This is one of the most obscene things EVER. No, I don’t know what it is like to be responsible for a handicapped child but I do know what it is to have compassion. I understand being at the end of your rope…ASK FOR HELP! This is a living, feeling person. I have seen more people get upset about dumping their pets.. What is wrong with the world when someone can do this and have people stick up for her? No, she does not get a pass with this. Her daughter is mentally a child. But I guess sense she is legally an “adult” what she did was ok. Are you kidding?!?!?! I was firends with someone in school whose sister was a 22 year old but she had the mental capacity of a 9 year old. There is no way in the world would her mother have done this. And she was a single mother at that. That is the key word…MOTHER….some people just shouldn’t be mothers. Do the world a favor and stop reproducing if you are just going to dispose of your children.


July 11th, 2012
4:30 pm

And the best she could would have done would have been to place her in a SAFE environment! Not at some bar 600 miles from home..


July 11th, 2012
4:45 pm

Isn’t there a better way to turn a developmentally disabled adult to the care of the state than dropping her off at a bar in Tennessee without warning? My Lord.


July 11th, 2012
4:49 pm

This is sad, but the daughter is better off away from her nutty mother. Not everyone is equipped to handle children who have special needs (or children, period), but there was a better way to get help. There are agencies who could have helped her get her daughter placed in an adult facility, so she didn’t have to dump her. Anything could have happened to her, so thankfully she’s alright.

Did ya wonder?

July 11th, 2012
4:51 pm

Calm down Mel.

Go adopt a 19 year ol;d with a toddlers brain. Then you can shout your self-righteous indignation in ALL CAPS!


July 11th, 2012
4:54 pm

Bless you ExNuYawker. We share your sentiments exactly. Ms. Lynn Cameron is welcome to live with our family anytime as well.


July 11th, 2012
4:55 pm

-mel. As somebody whose been around quite a few mentally handicapped children, there is absolutely positively NO COMPARISON between somebody with the mental capacity of a 9 Year old and somebody with the mental capacity of a 2 Year old. I think a lot of people would actually find that comparison to be quite offending.

hypocrites all of you

July 11th, 2012
4:57 pm

if this woman had committed a crime you morons would be chomping at the bit to lock her up and throw away the key. if you don’t want mentally ill adults abandoned, then pony up some tax money and arrange for some social services. there are people like her in jail in every county in the country.

get off your high horse. You all can’t see past the end of your own noses. People will send a 14 year old to death row, but scream bloody murder for turning a 19 year old loose. you people make me sick. you are all like a cancer growing rampant on God’s green earth.


July 11th, 2012
5:28 pm

I have not read all the comments, but I do wonder one thing: how many people that commented here actually are parent to a handicapped child? Do you have even any idea about how much energy and strength it takes to raise a handicapped child? Do you know anything about this mother’s situation in general, especially with her having ANOTHER mentally disabled child? Because my son is handicapped too, I love him to death, but I was on the verge of going crazy myself many many times. This woman has cared for her daughter for 19 years. Almost two decades of constant work, therapy, fear, hope for things to get better. Which probably did not happen after some point. No doubt, what this woman did is very wrong, nobody should be just dropped off somewhere, ever! And I can assure you, that woman has not had one night of good sleep since she did that. But: none of you know this woman’s background, this woman’s reason, this woman’s strength which has probably simply come to an end. So stop judging; walk in HER shoes for one week and maybe you will be able to understand what she did.


July 11th, 2012
5:40 pm

And Gwinnett Mom: learn how to write before you go name-calling! You are the one who should be ashamed of themselves!


July 11th, 2012
6:09 pm

The adult strength with the mind of a toddler!!
Imagine having to deal with that day and night for the rest of your life.

I feel sorry for both of them.


July 11th, 2012
6:26 pm

That’s crazy if she is illegally not mentally capable then she should be charged anything ciuld have happen to her. In if she wanted the best for her she could have dropped her off at one of those places. Hold people accountable for what they do.


July 11th, 2012
7:13 pm

Ignoring the pointless racist comments, I think that most people realize that it is hard to take care of a developmentally disabled adult. But, the problem and judgement comes from the mother’s actions. Nobody would want this child to be in her care, there’s no telling what type of abuse she’s doled out onto her daughter, but the right thing to do would have been too take her to a hospital, even if it’s in Tennessee, and make sure that she is taken care of. There’s no excuse for dumping her at a bar, where anything could have happened to her.

Lenor Ericson

July 11th, 2012
8:47 pm

We LEFT Tennessee because it had absolutely no funding for our severely disabled adult daughter! So I do not know where this nutty (and disgusting) “mom” is getting her information! To just drop her precious daughter off like this is untenable & unthinkable! Our adult daughter, in addition to being mentally disabled, requires total physical care as well, & we have hung in there for 24 plus years. There is no excuse in the world for what this lady has done & she should be put in jail for the rest of her miserable life!


July 12th, 2012
12:16 am

After reading this story I became LIVID with this mother. From me being a former Physical Education (helper) in the disabled class at her high school I personally know Lynn. Aside from the occasional teasing by sticking out her tongue and pointing, she was a good student. Because she tried, and if she failed, she would try again. NOT GIVE UP. And she DID NOT deserve this what so ever.


July 12th, 2012
4:03 am

why is no neglect law to protect this woman.She should have left her at a hospital or police station for her safety. Why they don’t take the other one before it winds up on some other state door way dead or mamed. What church tells you to take your mentall ill child and leave them in harms way a bar. I would change my membership quick. And shame nyou Glenda God makes a way for all things he created


July 12th, 2012
4:36 pm

Im from caryville and this is so sad at least she could have put her up for adoption instead of leaving her at a bar where drunks go. I mean she could have been killed or anything. shes blessed now though and with people that will take better care of her.


July 12th, 2012
4:50 pm

And the CHURCH told her to take the child to Tennessee! another religious whacko!! WOW..Just because she is an adult in age her mental capacity does not allow her to rationalize as an adult or even a child. The majority of the people today are bunch of selfish POS who expect others to either take care of them or the children THEY bring into this world. So now she is tired, well, she decided to bring this child in this world she needs to take the responsibility, oh, wait, no, the CHURCH told her not too!


July 13th, 2012
8:54 am

My heart goes out to her daughter. How could a church advise her to do that, a church is a place for healing, love and compassion. If they are true believers in Christ, they should have pitched in and given her the help she needed.


July 15th, 2012
7:52 pm

Enter your comments hereWhat kind of church sent her to Tennessee instead of taking on the responsibility biblically? We as Christians are admonished to take care of our widows and orphans. I would consider this young lady an orphan and the church where they came from should be ashamed of themselves.