A 42-year-old Marietta mother left her 10-year-old autistic son in their house littered with feces, drugs, syringes and weapons under the care of a 19-year-old “family friend,” police say.
Jennifer Dawn Barnes traveled to Indiana on Oct. 3 without telling anyone when she’d be back and returned to Marietta on Oct. 10, when she called the police to report that her PlayStation 2 was missing, her arrest warrant states, adding that by then her autistic son had been taken into child protective services.
“Said accused contributed to the dependency of her juvenile son by having a blatant disregard for said juvenile victim’s safety and endangering said victim,” it states. “Leaving her juvenile son who has autism in the care of a 19-year-old “family friend” with the promise that the friend could stay in her house while she was away.”
Barnes’ home on Highland Parc Place, in the Jasmine At Marietta Crossing apartment complex, did not contain enough food or money for her child and his caretaker, and was unsanitary and unsafe for the child to live in, police said.
“There was dog feces, uncapped syringes, knives, a hatchet, handcuffs, a bowl with marijuana residue, empty beer cans, overflowing toilets clogged with human defecation, clogged sinks, an empty fridge and no clean clothes for the juvenile to wear due to the washer being broken,” Barnes’ warrant states. “Said accused did not provide a key for the 19-year-old caretaker to secure the home when he needed to leave, and expected said caretaker to administer several needed anti-psychotic and other prescription medications to said juvenile victim.”
When questioned by police, Barnes said she was “only gone for three days,” officers said.
Barnes was arrested at home and booked into the Cobb County jail around 4 p.m. on Oct. 10 and spent a day in custody before being released on a $7,500 bond, her jail record shows.
She faces a felony charge of cruelty to children in the second degree as well as a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the deprivation of a minor resulting in serious injury or death. The warrant did not detail specific harm to the youth.