Although Lynn Cameron has the mental age of a two-year-old child, she is 19-years-old and an adult who does not have a legal guardian. Police say her mother will not be charged for leaving her in a Tennessee bar.
Eva Cameron has two disabled daughters and decided she just could not cope. So on June 28, the Algonquin, Illinois mother put Lynn, 19, in her car and drove to Tennessee.
After reaching that state, she stopped outside the Big Orange Bar in Caryville. When Lynn went inside to use the washroom, her mother waited in the parking lot until she saw police show up. She then drove back to Illinois.
The International Business Times reports Lynn was left at the bar with no money, no identification, and no change of clothing. It was later determined that the disabled teen has a vocabulary of between 30 and 40 words; she was unable to tell authorities her name, her telephone number, or where she was from.
Last Sunday, police released Lynn's picture in an attempt to identify her. They received an anonymous tip allowing them to learn who she is and to find her mother. Lynn has cerebral palsy, is severely mentally disabled, and is incapable of looking after herself. But because she is technically an adult and no one has ever been appointed as her legal guardian, police are of the view that her mother committed no crime in leaving her all alone in a strange place in a strange state.
Assistant Police Chief Stephanie Smith was quoted by CNN as saying, "As terrible as it is, unfortunately there is nothing we can do. There is no doubt we need a law for mental health rights, but pending this investigation, we just don't know what to do."
Yesterday, Eva returned to Caryville to speak with authorities. The Northwest Herald reports the mother has no intention of taking her daughter back. The woman deliberately chose Tennessee as the place to ditch her daughter because the state has the "No. 1 health care system in the United States of America." She also told the newspaper her church told her there is a high concentration of Baptists around Caryville.
Knox News reports Rep. Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro) is planning to meet tomorrow with the District Attorney General and the head of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDDS) to see if charges can be laid against Lynn's mother. If not, Powers wants legislation introduced to attempt to prevent what happened from occurring in the future.
Although her future is uncertain, Lynn is currently being cared for in a Tennessee facility and is reported to be doing well.