Mom Caught on Hospital Camera Abusing Baby After Staff Suspicions: Police

A mother was arrested on Friday after getting caught on camera abusing her infant son at a hospital.

Police in Charleston, West Virginia, confirmed the arrest of Ashten Kalli Teets, 29, of Buckhannon, charging her with child abuse causing injury. Her son is said to be in stable condition, but has major injuries that will take considerable time to recover from, local station WCHS reported.

Teets was caught beating her son on security footage taken at the Charleston Area Medical Center (CAMC) Women and Children's Hospital. In the footage, she was observed on three separate occasions within 24 hours stuffing her fingers down the child's throat to induce vomiting, according to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.

"We are very thankful that CAMC was on top of it and reported it quickly so we could make the arrest," Charleston Police Lt. Tony Hazelett said at a press conference.

The baby had previously been held at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown for a month. Staff at that location reported that it was able to grow and gain weight when Teets was assisted in feeding, but when the two were left alone the baby would not keep weight on. This discrepancy resulted in the staff reporting the mother to Child Protective Services for potential abuse.

In response, Teets defied the hospital's guidance and took her child to CAMC. Ruby Memorial warned the staff at Charleston about the suspicious occurrences, and when the same behavior began at CAMC, the police were notified and surveillance was set up in the child's room.

"[T]he surveillance system captured Teets placing her fingers in the 6-week-old's mouth deep enough causing the child to vomit on three separate occasions in a 24-hour period," said the criminal complaint. "After viewing surveillance footage, medical staff believed the acts of making the child vomit, could create long-term/short-term deterioration of the child's physical condition."

charleston mother child abise
A West Virginia mother was arrested after being caught abusing her infant son on a hospital security camera. Above, a representational image of an infant child. Didier Pallages/AFP via Getty Images

Hazelett said the current theory is that Teets suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental health issue in which a caregiver attempts to cause or fabricate injury or illness in a child. She is currently being held at the South Central Regional Jail on a $10,000 property or 10 percent cash bond, and was arraigned in court on Friday.

The Charleston Police Department is now investigating the situation in partnership with Child Protective Services. Teets has no prior criminal record and has another child, who is 3-years-old.