DALLAS — A Dallas woman arrested for starving her teenage daughter tells News 8 in a jailhouse interview she thought she was doing what was best for the child.
Investigators said Schandrilla Schlesinger withheld food and medication from her daughter, who has cerebral palsy.
"This is so surreal," Schlesinger said, wiping away tears as she talked about her 15-year-old daughter Kiana. "Unbelievable; never do anything to hurt my children."
Schlesinger is in jail accused of nearly starving Kiana.
"There was no issue of me starving her," Schlesinger said. "She was fed."
But Dallas police say Schlesinger abused her daughter by taking her off her medications in February and feeding her very little since then.
According to court documents, when Kiana arrived at Children's Medical Center on July 30:
"...she was wasted in appearance, her ribs were clearly visible and she no subcutaneous fatty tissue. Her cheeks were sunken and she only weighed 49 pounds. Her current weight is that of a seven-year-old girl."
"Had I any indication she was suffering that bad, I would have taken her in," the girl's mother told News 8.
A visiting nurse called police, alarmed about Kiana's condition.
Schlesinger maintains she took her daughter off medications because they weren't helping, and she decided to put the whole family on an herbal diet. She said it was to help Kiana.
"For treating her? No, I don't have any regrets," Schlesinger said. "I only regret that she is in the state she is in now."
Kiana's mother said she can't believe she's behind bars for deciding on an alternative treatment for her daughter, but police said that treatment nearly killed her.