Affidavit: Oak Cliff mom starved special needs daughter

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by MATT GOODMAN

WFAA

Posted on August 12, 2013 at 4:53 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 13 at 10:14 AM

DALLAS –– An arrest affidavit alleges that the mother of a teen diagnosed with cerebral palsy starved her and cut off her seizure medication, causing brain damage and a loss of 38 percent of the child's bodyweight over a five month period.

Schandrilla Schleisinger, 37, is in custody at the Dallas County Jail on a charge of injury to a child. She is being held in lieu of $150,000 bond, according to the county. 

On July 30, 15-year-old Kiana Thompson was taken to Children's Medical Center and placed on life support. She weighed just 49 pounds. Her ribs were "clearly visible." She also had no subcutaneous fatty tissue –– the layer of fat found just beneath the skin –– and her cheeks sunk into her face, the affidavit says. 

On February 26, the last time Thompson saw her primary care provider, she weighed 80 pounds, just under 40 percent more than she did five months later. When the physician questioned Schleisinger about her daughter's rapid weight loss, she said she discovered a "plant based diet regiment" (sic) on the website WebMD and "initiated the changes herself, without the consultation of a physician." 

A hospital social worker called Dallas police, which dispatched two detectives in the child abuse unit. Schleisinger agreed to speak with them. She initially said she noticed no change in her daughter's weight over the past several months. She told detectives that Thompson ate three regular meals a day plus snacks. She said her daughter's clothes "fit the same as they always have." 

In addition to the change in diet, Schleisinger said she read on the Internet that her daughter's medication to control her seizures was "bad for her" and "ineffective." This, she brought up with Thompson's neurologist, who suggested an implant as an alternative. But, as she told a detective, a friend advised her against the implant. 

"When asked if she sought out a second opinion from a different neurologist, she explained she had not," the affidavit says. 

Detectives estimate that around July 28, Schleisinger took Thompson off her medication. The exact date isn't known because she told investigators different stories. However, on July 29, a caregiver noticed Thompson was "limp" and "not right." The aide urged Schleisinger to take her to the emergency room and threatened to call the police if she didn't. 

"The suspect complied and threatened her other two juvenile children not to say 's––' at the hospital," the document says. 

Eventually, Schleisinger admitted to lying to detectives. In February, Schleisinger explained she noticed her daughter "was not eating properly." Some days, the affidavit says, the teen would eat just a single meal per day, "consisting of a possible bowl of oatmeal or a smoothie." 

Some days, the affidavit says Thompson simply wouldn't eat, at which point Schleisinger "would blend food up and pour it into her mouth while she slept." Other times, the document says she would feed her daughter with a syringe.

During the interview, Schleisinger eventually admitted to noticing her daughter's rapid weight loss. Why, then, did she not take her to the hospital? 

"She feared that by taking her to the doctor, they would observe Kiana's condition and take away all her kids," the document says. "In retrospect, the suspect regrets taking (Kiana) off of her seizure medications and failing to seek medical treatment for Kiana when her weight continued to drop." 

Thompson is hospitalized with a brain injury from being deprived of her seizure medication. She also has severe malnutrition that was worsened by her previously existing medical problems, the affidavit says. Schleisinger is blamed for it in the document: "The suspect's actions constitute life threatening physical abuse and neglect." 

In a July 30 post on her Facebook page, Schlesinger wrote, "I need you to pray with me concerning my daughter. She is in ICU and the doctors are not expecting her to make it past tonight."

Jail records do not list an attorney for Schlesinger. 

News 8's Rebecca Lopez contributed to this report

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