Canton Mother Receives 30 Year Sentence for Felony Child Abuse

Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney John K. Bramlett, Jr., announced today Latasha Leonard was sentenced to serve 30 years for Felonious Abuse of a Child by Circuit Court Judge Steve Ratcliff.  The case was a combined investigation of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, Canton Police Department, and Child Protective Services.

In 2017, Madison County Child Protective Services received a complaint about possible neglect on Latasha Leonard.  Through a joint investigation of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, the Canton Police Department and Child Protective Services, it was discovered that Leonard had a ten-year-old son that had been severely abused and neglected.   He was only 3’4” and weighed 41 pounds – the size of an average 3 to four-year-old child – upon admittance to the hospital.  He also had an untreated broken femur bone that had healed with no apparent medical intervention.

Additional investigation revealed that the child had never been enrolled in school, had not received any medical care or immunizations since he was eighteen months old, and was made to stay in a small space between a dresser and the wall in the family’s home almost twenty-four hours a day.  He was frequently tied up, beaten, and denied food by Leonard. He was not allowed to go outside and play or eat dinner with the rest of the family.  Leonard even attempted to deny his existence to law enforcement at the beginning of the investigation.

The child was placed in a therapeutic foster home and has received care from various practices at UMC including getting eyeglasses, hearing aids, growth stimulants, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.  He also started pre-K after coming into CPS custody, at the age of 11, and has since learned to read and write and is now getting ready to enter the seventh grade.

District Attorney Bramlett stated, “This was one of the most horrible cases of child abuse I have ever seen in all my years as a prosecutor.  Thanks to the hours of work by MBI, CPS, CPD, numerous UMC pediatric units, and the devotion and love of his foster mother, this child has been able to attend school, receive medical care, and receive the food, love, and attention that every child deserves from their parents. As a father, I cannot imagine doing something like this to my own flesh and blood and am glad that Ms. Leonard will spend her foreseeable future in prison.  She basically forced this child to live in a cell his entire life and now it is her turn to live like that.”

Defendant:

Name:  Latasha Leonard                                                                               

Date of Birth:   September 18, 1984