Jessica Rivera, the mother of a mentally disabled teen who died in 2011 after being found malnourished and covered with lice in her Jacksonville home, will spend eighteen years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of child neglect. Doctors at the hospital said she appeared to be brain dead and her core temperature was eighty-six degrees. An autopsy reported her daughter suffered from organ failure as a result of a massive infection within her body. Rivera had previously been investigated for abuse in 2007 and 2008.
Filicide due to neglect includes mothers who did not purposely kill their children but either failed to attend to the child's basic needs or were irresponsible in their reaction to the child's behavior. There are two types of subdivisions of maternal neglect. The first one is neglect-omission, which includes mothers who did not attend to the health, nutrition, or safety needs of the child. The second is neglect-commission, which includes mothers who were irresponsible in their actions and resulted in the death of the child."Mothers who Kill their Children" explains why mothers murder their child by conducting extensive research and reviews of cases obtained through NEXIS. This particular child abuse death case would fit in the maternal neglect filicide category.
More than half of all reported cases of child abuse and neglect involved children who suffered solely from neglect and a large number of these children died. Also, mothers are found to neglect their child at a significantly higher rate than fathers. Children who's nutritional needs are neglected, often die as a result of dehydration or starvation.
The mothers in this category were found to be young, single, have larger families, and lacked social support systems. Also, ninety percent of the cases involved mothers and children living in poverty. Mental health, mood disorders, and chemical dependency issues were also present in most of these cases.