A 39-year-old woman, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has been accused of child abuse after allegedly forcing her five-year-old son to smoke crack cocaine.
Rochelle Daniels, who is currently missing and being sought by police, is also accused of locking her child in his room for extended periods of time and leaving him to beg for food from neighbours. The woman faces charges of endangering the welfare of children, simple assault, corruption of minors and recklessly endangering another person.
The case emerged after the boy's aunt brought the child to a children's hospital in Pittsburgh after he told her his mother "gave him something to smoke, described as what appears to be crack cocaine from a pipe," according to a police affidavit seen by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
It emerged the boy had been living with his aunt since August, after he was allegedly abandoned by his mother at a property in the city's Crafton Heights neighbourhood. A missing persons report was filed after she wasn't found at her home, with her last seen on 26 August.
Police say the boy then told his aunt about an incident which had seen his mother take something "long" – like a pipe – and push something "white" in the end of it.
"Mommy took the lighter and flicked the lighter," he said. "Mommy lit the end of it and told me to smoke it."
The boy said he "started choking" after inhaling, the affidavit said.
After speaking to a child case worker, the child went on to say his mother locked him in his room before leaving the house all night, returning only in the morning when it was time for school. He was allegedly given pills to go to sleep.
The child also claimed his mother would also "never" wake up to give him breakfast, leaving him to "get food from my neighbors because I was so hungry".
Police obtained an arrest warrant for Daniels on Tuesday (15 November).