Without a doubt, mothers, caretakers, and close family members struggle to help the ones they love with disabilities. But, there are a few instances when someone abandons a disabled family member. On December 4th, a woman was seen entering Grady Hospital with a young man and then left him there. Surveillance footage caught the woman on camera, but between December 4th and December 17th, it was impossible to identify her.
On December 17th, officials were able to identify the woman as Diana Elliot, a 37-year-old Atlanta resident. The young man abandoned was 14-year-old Sheldon Linen. Sheldon Linen was found walking around the perimeter of the hospital, had not been checked into the hospital, or registered for any medical treatment there. The hospital staff was not aware of his presence until hours later.
Near midnight the hospital staff realized that Linen was unattended and needed help. At the time, he had no identification, was malnourished, and was not responsive to communication. The cursory belief is that Linen has down-syndrome.
Atlanta police later found Elliot in a motel with three additional children. She informed the police that raising her son with special needs, as well as her other children, was overwhelming. She informed Atlanta Police that she chose to leave him at the hospital. Elliot is facing charges of first-degree cruelty to children, she is held in Fulton County Jail awaiting the conclusion of the investigation and legal proceedings.
Linen is under the care of Grady Hospital staff, and the Georgia Division of Family and Child Services is taking custody of him. No note has been made on the custody or guardianship of the other three children involved in this case. On December 17th, local mothers of disabled children appeared to support her, bringing attention to the gross lack of resources available to parents in need.