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Police: Toddler Abandoned by Mom

November 19, 1997

AUBURN, Wash. (AP) _ A 14-month-old boy found by police who were clearing out a burning building is believed to have been left alone for five days without food or water.

The toddler’s mother, LaDawn Jump, 21, was charged Tuesday with second-degree child abandonment. Court papers said her son, Damon, was found Thursday with an ulcerated thumb.

``The doctor believes this was likely because the child had nothing but his thumb to eat,″ prosecutors said.

Doctors said Damon weighed 16 pounds, 4 ounces _ four ounces less than when he had heart surgery in May. He was born with a severe heart defect.

Court documents said Ms. Jump had been living with a new boyfriend and feared he would be scared away by the boy. So she checked on the boy every few days, leaving him peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or cheese to eat, prosecutors said.

Ms. Jump, who could get three to eight months in jail if convicted, told police she last visited her son Nov. 8. Five days later, the toddler was found as police evacuated the building due to a fire in another unit.

Damon and a 3-year-old sister were placed in the custody of state child services. The boy’s father was in jail for driving with a suspended license.

Ms. Jump had been arrested before on suspicion of child abandonment after the boy was found alone inside another apartment in March. That case was pending.

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