- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A Montana woman who was given a deferred sentence earlier this year for leaving her infant son alone in a car while she shopped is now charged with felony child endangerment for failing to adequately feed the child, who authorities say weighs just 8 pounds at 7 months old.

Alisha Rose Guyaz of Helena was arrested Monday after taking her son to the doctor. Charging documents say the baby’s ribs and shoulder blades were visible through his skin and he could not sit up on his own, the Independent Record reported (http://bit.ly/ZvhIjl).

The baby also could not swallow while sitting up. Medical staff attributed that to the baby spending a vast majority of his time lying down, rather than being held, court records said.

Guyaz, 27, was told during a medical exam three or four months ago that she needed to augment breastfeeding with formula because the child wasn’t getting enough to eat, court records said. She told police this week that she continued to breastfeed exclusively and did not know she was producing too little breast milk to meet the baby’s nutritional needs.

Guyaz made an initial appearance Tuesday in Lewis and Clark County Justice Court, where her bail was set at $25,000. She requested a public defender. No date has been set for her to enter a plea in District Court.

If Guyaz posts bond, she must undergo chemical dependency and mental health evaluations and can have no contact with her son, who remained hospitalized. St. Peter’s Hospital spokeswoman Katy Peterson could not release the baby’s condition without a first name, which was not included in court records.

Court records also indicate the state Department of Public Health and Human Services was involved in the case by July.

In April, Alisha Guyaz and the baby’s father, William Guyaz, were charged with endangering the welfare of a child for leaving the baby - then 6 weeks old - in a car during a shopping trip.

The woman who spotted the baby called police and insisted that charges be filed after learning from store employees that the couple had spent a considerable amount of time shopping, court record said.

The city attorney’s office entered into a six-month deferred prosecution agreement with William Guyaz in July and a four-month agreement with Alisa Guyaz in August. Both were required to complete a parenting class, comply with any conditions set by Child and Family Services and stay out of legal trouble.

The city attorney’s office this week dismissed its deferred prosecution agreement with Alisha Guyaz. A City Court trial is set for Nov. 25, court officials said.

Jon Ebelt, a spokesman for the health and human services agency, said that when the state receives a report of suspected child abuse or neglect, an intake specialist decides if it should be investigated.

Child and Family Services investigators are asked to determine if the agency needs to continue to be involved in the case. If so, they also must decide if the family needs to be referred to community resources or receive in-home services, or if the child should be child removed from parental custody.

Ebelt could not say what was recommended in the Guyaz case.

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Information from: Independent Record, http://www.helenair.com

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