Duval County

Jacksonville mother charged with child neglect, accused of starving baby

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrested a local woman in connection with a child’s death.

STORY: JSO: 2 injured after suspects shot into home in North Shore

According to the arrest report, 23-year-old Tania Nicole McGowan is being charged with child neglect and child abuse after the infant died Dec. 11.

The report says that at 6:17 p.m., Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department responded to a home on Duval Road in reference to an unresponsive infant and quickly transferred the baby boy to UF Health, where he was pronounced deceased.

Medical staff were concerned due to the infant’s condition and called the police to investigate. The medical examiner conducted an autopsy, but results are still pending. However, the medical examiner did mention that the child was extremely malnourished and had no evidence of any food in his stomach or intestines.

When police arrived at the hospital, they learned that the suspect Tania McGowan, who called JFRD, had left the hospital. Medical personnel also told police that the baby was in an “emaciated” state and weighed only seven pounds at death.

STORY: PowerPoint Pedro: The viral video that let a man live his dream of seeing the Jaguars in New York

Another officer was sent to the home on Duval Road and got written consent from McGowan to enter the home. Upon entering, the officer found the house to be cluttered with barely any furniture. A pack-and-play was found in the basement, and there were only two bottle of baby formula in the house.

When the officer questioned McGowan, she claimed she placed the baby to sleep at 8 p.m. on Dec. 10 and didn’t check on him until midnight. She said the baby appeared to be asleep, so she went to bed. When she checked on the baby again at 2 p.m. the next day, she said the baby was unresponsive and cold to the touch.

The officer also spoke with apartment management and learned of an abuse incident involving the victim and another child in the clubhouse. McGowan was caught on surveillance slamming the victim against furniture, putting blankets over the head and continuously slapping the victim’s head. She did this in front of the other child.

STORY: Black bear shot and killed at Jacksonville Zoo for ‘engaging’ with zookeeper

Police interviewed McGowan again and learned that the child was her son, but he used to live with his father. She gained custody of him when his father moved to Texas in October. During the time the victim was alive, he was never seen by a doctor. McGowan admitted she noticed the child was slimming down, but she thought he was growing in length.

McGowan’s phone was inspected and images showed the progression of the child from a healthy size to malnourished.

As a result of the following findings, McGowan was arrested and charged. She is being held on a $500,003 bond for child abuse and another $1,000,003 for child neglect. Her first day in court is scheduled for Jan. 29.