LAS VEGAS – A 17-year-old who was taken into custody after her severely malnourished 4-month-old daughter was hospitalized and the corpse of a 3-year-old was found at a North Las Vegas home is a victim and won't face criminal charges, the district attorney in Las Vegas said Monday.
The teen was released Monday from juvenile detention into the custody of county child protective services, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said.
"This child is a victim in this case and can best receive appropriate and necessary services through the dependency court system and family services," Wolfson said in a statement.
Police in North Las Vegas are continuing to probe what they have described as a three-generation case of child abuse involving the girl's mother, Kellie Cherie Phillips, 38, a man she described as her stepfather, Jondrew Magil Lachaux, 39, and the discovery of the couple's 3-year-old daughter dead in the back seat of a broken-down car in the garage of a home on Wood Thrush Place.
Lachaux, an ex-convict, was arrested April 7 and Phillips was arrested April 8 on allegations that they abandoned the teen and the toddler in a North Las Vegas house and took their other five children to Oakland, California.
The other children — ages 1, 4, 7, 8 and 9 — were found with Phillips in good health. They have been placed in the custody of family services.
Lachaux and Phillips, who are not married, were being held pending court appearances this week on felony charges of child abuse.
The teen told police that her mother didn't know she was pregnant with Lachaux's child when the rest of the family left last year in a crowded rental car. She said she gave birth at home last November with no medical care.
The girl told police her sickly 3-year-old sister died several weeks ago, and that Lachaux returned to the house in late March and moved the decomposing corpse to an old Mercedes sedan parked in the garage, covering it with old pizza boxes.
Lachaux kicked the teen out of the house, police said, and she lived for several days in public places including the Las Vegas Strip and McCarran International Airport before someone noticed the sick baby and summoned authorities.
The infant is recovering after being hospitalized in critical condition for severe malnutrition and hypothermia, police said. The girl told investigators the child survived on watered-down baby formula.
Records show that Lachaux served prison time in Nevada from June 2006 to August 2008 on a coercion conviction and that he and Phillips were involved in a family court legal dispute in Reno until 2010.