North Carolina woman arrested after grandchild with cerebral palsy starves to death

Geneen Ballenger, who according to local media is the child's grandmother, was charged with involuntary manslaughter on Friday.

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By Minyvonne Burke

A young boy with cerebral palsy weighed 25 pounds when he died in April at the North Carolina home of his grandmother, according to local media outlets.

His grandmother, Geneen Ballenger, was arrested Friday and charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection to the death. She has since been released on a $250,000 unsecured bond.

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Fayetteville police were called to Ballenger's home on April 15 for a report of a child not breathing, the department said in a press release. The child was pronounced dead at the house.

Police say the child was 7, but NBC affiliate WRAL in Raleigh cites court documents stating he was 8.

Geneen Ballenger.Fayetteville Police

"Based on the investigation and reports from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, it was determined that the child was not receiving proper care," police said.

The boy was a twin and lived at the home with seven other children, who were found in a closet with the door shut when police arrived, according to the court documents seen by WRAL.

Ballenger has had custody of the kids since April 2017, WRAL reports. The victim's mother, who lives in Florida, reportedly said her son had cerebral palsy, epilepsy and had to use a feeding tube. An autopsy report said the child died from acute bronchopneumonia due to starvation and weighed 25 pounds at the time of his death, according to WRAL.

The other children in the home are reportedly in the care of the Cumberland County Department of Social Services.