Two Dowling Elementary School Mothers Arrested for Child Abuse - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: |

Two Dowling Elementary School Mothers Arrested for Child Abuse

By Julia Deng
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - 24-year-old Kelly Jo Bartlett and 40-year-old Korekia Lanette Lewis, both parents of students at Dowling Elementary School, were arrested Wednesday and charged with child abuse, according to Odessa Police.

"It is rare that we have had these two unrelated incidents, not only in the same day, but in the same city and they were reported in the same school," Cpl. Steve LeSueur with the Odessa Police Department, said.

A third suspect, 43-year-old Corey Coleman, is still wanted by Odessa Police.

School officials reportedly notified officials after they noticed extensive bruising on Bartlett's five-year-old daughter and Lewis's 11-year-old son.

It is unclear how long the two children may have been exposed to physical abuse.

"Some cases last just a few hours," LeSueur said. "But some last a few days [or] a few weeks. Some cases last several months."

According to child welfare experts, even a single, isolated incident of abuse could lead to long-term consequences, including a higher risk of drug use and promiscuity.

Denise Malm, the Executive Director of Harmony Home, a non-profit child advocacy center in Odessa, said child abuse victims often feel a misplaced sense of guilt.

"It's important for them to really, really understand the fact that it was not their fault and that it does not change who they are," Malm said.

Harmony Home assisted in interviewing and treating the five and 11-year-old Dowling students.

If convicted of injury to a child, a third-degree felony in Texas, the parents face two to ten years in prison and fines of up to $10,000.

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