COLUMBUS, Ga. – Police have arrested the mother and two cousins of a pregnant 16-year-old who are accused of forcing the teen to drink turpentine in an attempt to induce an abortion.
Rozelletta B. Blackshire, 44, was charged with criminal abortion and first-degree cruelty to children, Columbus Police Sgt. Debra Bohannon said. The teen's cousins, Shonda Y. Blackshire, 26, of Columbus, and Monica M. Johnson, 28, of Eufaula, Ala., also were arrested Friday and charged with criminal abortion.
Investigators have not determined whether the turpentine has had any harmful effects on the teen, who is three months pregnant, or the fetus.
"There's no medical evidence that would support you could induce an abortion by giving her turpentine," Bohannon said. "Still, it's not made to ingest. It's not good to ingest."
Bohannon said the girl's mother and cousins twice forced her to drink turpentine between Sept. 12 and Sept. 20.
The women might have wanted the teen to have an abortion because her pregnancy could have exacerbated an unrelated health problem, Bohannon said. The girl is in protective custody.
Police were notified after the girl told her school counselor that her mother made her drink turpentine.
Bohannon said the sex crimes unit was handling the case because they already were investigating a sexual assault case involving the pregnant teen. Investigators believe the girl conceived during that assault.
If convicted in the criminal abortion case, the women could face up to 10 years in prison.
Phone numbers for Rozelletta Blackshire and Johnson were not listed and the women could not be reached for comment. A number listed for Shonda Blackshire was disconnected.