Palm Bay police say malnourished child could not stand up

Mom says she hit 'hard times,' went weeks without eating

Published On: Jun 19 2013 03:05:31 PM EDT
PALM BAY, Fla. -

A Palm Bay woman is in jail after police said they found a child in her care in such poor health the child couldn’t even stand up.

Local 6 partner Florida Today reports that Sylvania Montalvo, 39, is charged with neglect of a child-causing great harm, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Police were called to Montalvo’s apartment at The Pines on Palm Bay Road for a custody matter on May 1, and a police report says the boy appeared healthy. However, 13 days later, Montalvo sought help and told an apartment manager she and her child had not eaten or had anything to drink in about two weeks.

The child was taken to Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando. A police affidavit says the child was dehydrated, emaciated and in a “severe state of malnourishment.”

Montalvo told police she lost her job at Kmart months ago and had “hit hard times,” an arrest affidavit reads. She was arrested earlier this week and made an initial court appearance in jail this afternoon. Judge Judy Atkin lowered previously set bond amounts to a total $35,000. She ordered Montalvo have no contact with the child, should Montalvo be released from jail, and called the allegations against Montalvo “pretty severe.”

Montalvo said told the judge she was recently released from the hospital. She said her son is now with the child’s biological father in Georgia.

“I will never see that child again is what I was told,” Montalvo told the judge.