Mothers Arrested After 4-Year-Old with Autism Found in Dumpster with Severe Burns

Mothers Arrested After 4-Year-Old with Autism Found in Dumpster with Severe Burns August 9, 2019

A mother of a 4-year-old boy with autism is charged with involuntary manslaughter after he died from untreated burns. Malachi Lawson, 4, was found dead in a dumpster last week and had severe, untreated burns all over his body.

According to a report by The Baltimore Sun, police found Malachi Lawson’s body in a dumpster on August 3. His mother, Alicia Lawson, reported him missing the day before. She told police that he wandered off the front porch.

After receiving the missing child report, police executed a widespread search for the boy. Police posted a missing and endangered child bulletin and urged people to help find the boy.

When search efforts failed to find the boy, Alicia Lawson confessed to police that she dumped his body in a dumpster. According to court records, Lawson told police that on July 23 her son soiled himself. Her wife, Shakita, placed the boy in the bath, and the two women cleaned him. Additionally, the women washed his dirty clothing in the sink.

Shortly after putting Malachi in the bath, the women noticed he had severe burns from his waist to his feet. According to the report, the women saw Malachi’s skin floating in the water.

In court, Shakita’s attorney, Roya Hanna, said the entire incident happened very quickly. Additionally, the attorney argued that neither woman intended to harm the child.

The mothers took photos of the boy’s burns. Rather than taking him to the hospital, the women decided to treat the injuries at home. Both women feared that the hospital would report them to CPS for the burns if they sought medical help.

“They both decided to not call 911 or seek any other type of medical assistance due to fear that the child would be taken from them, that they would get in trouble for what happened to the child and their past history with child protective services,” the charging documents said.

By August 1, Malachi’s burns had not improved. Alicia Lawson woke up that morning and found him unresponsive in a “puddle of wetness.” Rather than calling 911, Alicia Lawson wrapped her son in a blanket and called a Lyft driver.

The mother had the driver take her nearly 10 miles away from their home. When she arrived at the destination, she placed her son in a trash bag, tied it up, and put him in a dumpster. A search of Alicia Lawson’s computer found that she searched for trash collection sights in her area on the day of his death.

After she returned home, Alicia Lawson contacted the police and reported her son missing. Police say she lied about his disappearance to cover-up her negligence related to his death.

“From the time of the child’s injury to the fabricated call to 911 neither Alicia or Shatika sought medical treatment for the child, instead seeking to hide his injuries for the sake of their own well being which resulted in his (Malachi’s) death,” the charging documents said.

When Alicia Lawson confessed to dumping her son’s body, police executed a search in her home. The mother claimed her son died from burns he obtained in the bathtub. However, authorities tested the water of the bath, and the water never got hotter than lukewarm.

An autopsy completed by the medical examiner determined Malachi died from complications related to the severe, untreated burns. Police obtained the photos of Malachi’s burns from Alicia Lawson that she took on July 23. The pictures matched the injuries described by the medical examiner.

Following the investigation, both women were charged with involuntary manslaughter, first-degree child abuse, reckless endangerment, tampering with evidence and giving false statements.

*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles related to trending topics and crime on her column.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Friend

    Utterly depressing. The poor child.

  • Jim Jones

    Jesus wept!

  • RainbowPhoenix

    Every autistic child that is abused is blood on the hands of anti-vaxxers. You don’t get to rant endlessly about how autism is worse than death than turn around and give the surprised Pikachu face when actual autistic people suffer.

  • Julius Caesar

    Exactly! The fault lies not with the women that abused and killed the child but with the anti-vaccine crowd. People always treated autistic children with love and compassion before these anti-vaccine nutters came around. Good point.

  • Jolie Mcmillian

    How is this remotely involuntary? That poor child. Disgusting.

  • RainbowPhoenix

    Anti-vaxxers: Autism is worse than death!

    *autistic child is abused and murdered*

    Anti-vaxxers: *surprised Pikachu face*

  • 24CaratHooligan

    In what universe?? Any kind of mental illness/disturbance/difference has been mocked, vilified and even killed over the centuries. Don’t try and shoe-horn another conversation into this. Blame the health authorities who didn’t provide assistance to two mothers struggling to deal with a child, blame the wider family for not noticing or understanding what was going on but don’t conflate two separate things to create nonsense.

  • Delta

    As far as I can tell, AVers didn’t create this hatred, but they sure aren’t helping either.

  • Julius Caesar

    Are you autistic? I was being sarcastic. The other guy saw two black women and of course is too much of a puzzy to call them out on their evil because they’re black. Instead of treating blacks as full human beings with agency, he treats them as mentally handicapped who are not responsible for their actions. The fault lies entirely with the mothers who murdered their son. Blaming the anti-vaccine crowd, blaming the government, blaming this, blaming that, is nonsense. The only guilty parties in this story are those two failed mothers who should spend the rest of their lives in prison.

  • 24CaratHooligan

    Oddly enough I am

  • Munchkn

    That’s what I’d like to know.

  • RainbowPhoenix

    And there’s the race card. Pointing out that their actions did not occur in a vacuum in now way absolves them of responsibility.