A Paducah woman faces a child abuse charge after police responded Thursday afternoon to a welfare call and found a young child who appeared malnourished.
Takeyah L. Smith, 24, was arrested and charged with first-degree criminal abuse of a child 12 or under. She was booked into the McCracken County Jail.
Paducah police said officers responded around 2:25 p.m. Thursday to Noble Inn and Lodge on Joe Clifton Drive to check on a child's welfare. Officers spoke with an employee, who said he'd been doing routine maintenance, when he entered a room and found items blocking entry into the bathroom.
"After moving the items, he opened the door and found a small child, alone, sitting on the toilet," police said, in a news release. "Officers located a 4-year-old male child in the room with bruising about his body and the appearance of being malnourished."
The release further stated officers were on scene for about 30 minutes when Smith returned, explaining she barricaded the child in the bathroom while she went to a doctor's appointment. Smith, who police identified as the mother, told detectives she sometimes hits the child with her hand and a belt because he steals food from her room.
Police said the child was taken to a local hospital for treatment and an examination revealed "bruises and marks" on his body that were consistent with being struck by a belt. Medical staff determined the child was dehydrated and malnourished.
The Department of Community Based Services assisted police in this matter.