DESOTO, Kan—A former neighbor of the woman accused of leaving her disabled son to starve to death in an attic says that she is a good mother who loves her kids.
Rachel Perez, 27, faces second-degree attempted murder charges along with child abuse and endangerment charges after authorities found her 6-year-old son last August covered in feces and weighing just 20 pound in the attic of her DeSoto, Kansas, home. In court on Tuesday, doctors testified that the child, who has Down Syndrome, would have died within 24 hours if he hadn't been found.
Perez's former neighbor, Marcie Brown, says that Perez was irresponsible but didn't want her son to die as prosecutors allege. Brown says that Perez thought she'd be able to rescue her son just hours after she was arrested for a probation violation.
"She thought she was going to bond out that night," said Brown. "I don't think she wanted him to die, I don't. She loved him, she really loved him."
Brown says that she visits Perez every week for an hour, and attended her preliminary hearing on Wednesday. She says that she doesn't argue the child abuse and endangerment charges against Perez, but says that Perez did not attempt to kill the child.
"She's not as a bad of a mother as everybody thinks she is," said Brown. "I don't think she was intending to let him die, I think she just needed more education when it came to parenting him."
Perez told told detectives she meant to hide in the attic with her son but wasn't fast enough. She claims she was too embarrased to tell deputies that her son was already in the attic.