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Home-Alone Tot In Good Shape

Toddler Survives 3 Weeks Alone

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., U.S. October 1, 2003

Dakeysha Telita Lee (Photo: AP / CBS)

"This is an amazingly tenacious little 2-year-old."
Sheriff John Rutherford

(CBS/AP) Authorities say a 2-year-old left alone for nearly three weeks while her mother was behind bars is in good health.

The little girl, who survived by eating mustard, ketchup, rice and raw pasta, was treated for malnutrition and dehydration.

She's sitting up in the bed and laughing and playing with the nurses," said Wolfson Children's Hospital spokesman David Foreman prior to the little girl's release from the hospital late Tuesday.

The child's father, Ogden Lee, who is separated from the child's 22-year-old mother, Dakeysha Telita Lee, said he had been trying to contact the mother for two weeks and did not learn until Sunday that she was in jail.

Dakeysha Lee was charged Monday with child abuse because she didn't let anyone know that her daughter was alone in her apartment. She was jailed Sept. 10 on unrelated charges.

Ogden Lee told the Florida Times-Union that his daughter had wolfed down four pieces of chicken, mashed potatoes, Cheerios and two pints of milk after being taken to the hospital.

"I am a 240-pound man and I can't keep from crying," he told the newspaper. "I can't even imagine how hungry she must have been."

When a manager let him into the apartment Monday, the girl was lying in a baby's bathtub, covered with a towel and was watching cartoons. She was filthy and covered with dry ketchup, he said.

"She grabbed me and wouldn't let go of me," Lee said. "It is really a miracle how good a shape my daughter is in. I don't know how she did it."

Lee, 33, said the girl had dragged the food, toys and other things into her mother's bedroom, where he found her.

The child opened the refrigerator and got into a pantry, eating anything she could find, including dry spaghetti and macaroni, Sheriff John Rutherford said.

"This is an amazingly tenacious little 2-year-old." Rutherford said Wednesday on CBS News' Early Show.

Leaford James, who lives across a breezeway from Dakeysha Lee's apartment, said he had heard crying from the apartment "but nothing to get suspicious about."

Dakeysha Lee and was being held Tuesday on $20,000 bond. She was represented by the Public Defender's Office on the original charges, but it had not been assigned the child abuse case. Her appointed attorney was not immediately available for comment.

"We do not have any idea why she didn't alert anybody" about her daughter, Rutherford said.

The Department of Children & Families was reviewing the case to determine where the child should be placed.

"The child is safe in our care," said Patricia Mallon, a DCF district manager. "Our every effort is to ensure her safety and well-being."

MMIII The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

Health Canada

What's Wrong with Spanking

PDF Click here

Laws on Corporal Punishment of Children from around the World

Other countries don't allow assaults on children

Like Britain, countries such as Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Austria had a defence to assaults on children similar to our s. 43. These defences were removed between 1957 and 1977. The criminal law of these countries therefore gives children the same protection from assault as it gives adults. Beginning with Sweden in 1979, these countries also amended their civil child welfare laws to expressly prohibit corporal punishment so that the public fully understood it was illegal.

Resource on Effective Disciplining of children

City of Toronto

Public Health
October-December 2006

Spanking: It hurts more than you think

Spanking hurts more than you think is an early child development public education campaign that includes TV ads to remind parents that spanking is hitting and never a positive way to discipline your child.

Parenting is very rewarding, but nobody ever said it was easy. There are ups and downs, and both you and your child will make mistakes along the way. That's okay. You're not alone.

One of the major challenges you might face is discipline. When your child's behaviour pushes you to the edge, how do you handle it? Do you see spanking as a solution?

View the TV ads

Read about: The problem with spanking

Reasons not to spank

Why discipline works. Use discipline to encourage good behaviour

Use discipline when your child misbehaves


Making it work Brochure, Posters "Take 1" Information Sheet Media Links for more parenting information

website link click here

Repeal 43 logo

Committee to Repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada Which Allows Hitting Children to "Correct" Them

The Repeal 43 Committee is a national, voluntary committee of lawyers, paediatricians, social workers and educators formed in 1994 to advocate repeal of section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

It is an offence under our Criminal Code to use force against anyone without their consent. This right to personal security is the most fundamental of all human rights. It is a protection against assault that all adults take for granted.

Children do not have the full benefit of this protection because section 43 of the Criminal Code justifies hitting children for disciplinary or "correction" reasons. This violates a child's right to the equal protection and benefit of the law guaranteed by our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It contravenes the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It violates a child's dignity and shows a lack of respect. It can lead to serious physical and emotional harm.

Over 400 organizations from across Canada that deal with children are against corporal punishment