Joplin mother arrested for abuse after child is hospitalized and put on dialysis

Handcuffs, Police Lights

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JOPLIN, Mo. – Prosecutors charge a Joplin woman with abusing her daughter. Documents state a Child Abuse Pediatrician’s initial impression and classification was “Child Torture.” Children’s Mercy admitted the girl to its Pediatric Intensive Care Unit earlier this month.

Authorities say the abuse took place between 2018 and March 3, 2020.

On March 3, Celia M. Lara-Licon, 24, had a meeting with the Missouri Department of Social Services, according to court documents. The fathers of her children were also present. After the meeting, the probable cause states she called an investigator with the Missouri Children’s Division, and told him she had been abusing her daughter for the last year and a half. She told him she would get frustrated and hit the girl on various parts of her body with her hand and “jerk” her arms.

Lara-Licon said the abuse began when she starting taking care of the girl full time, about 18 months ago, according to the probable cause.

The next day, March 4, 2020, Lara-Licon took her daughter to Joplin Mercy Hospital because of vomiting. A Mercy Emergency Department Nurse Practitioner saw a bruise on her forehead that went from the left side of her forehead to her right eye and reported that the girl was lethargic, severely dehydrated and weighed 25 pounds.

She also described the girl’s behavior as non-verbal and didn’t have the strength to hold a sippy cup.

They determined the child would need to be placed on dialysis because her kidneys were failing.

According to court documents, x-rays showed multiple healed fractures on various parts of the girl’s body. The probable cause says it was determined that the child had not been seen by a medical professional since she was about 18-months old.

Joplin Mercy had the girl flown to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri because of the severity of her condition. Medical workers immediately admitted her into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Dr. Terra Frazier, a Child Abuse Pediatrician at Children’s Mercy, noted nine fractures on the girl that “indicate chronic violence.” Frazier also noted a laceration of the pancreas, nutritional neglect, bruising and medical neglect for not seeking care for injuries.

Police arrested Lara-Licon on March 5.

Celia M. Lara-Licon is facing two counts of Domestic Assault, two counts of Abuse or Neglect of a Child and Endangering the Welfare of a Child. The courts have scheduled a bond reduction hearing for April 1.

Court documents state Lara-Licon has “access to two other children.” The age of the victim was redacted in court documents received by KOAM.