crime

Woman arrested after giving 5-year-old daughter milk despite her allergy to it

39 Comments

Police in Nagareyama, Chiba Prefecture, said Wednesday they have arrested a 35-year-old woman on suspicion of attempted murder after she gave her 5-year-old daughter milk, knowing the child was allergic to dairy products.

According to police, the woman, Chiharu Saku, had her daughter drink about 125 milliliters of milk from a carton at around 9 a.m. on Dec 11, Sankei Shimbun reported. The girl went into anaphylactic shock and her body turned red shortly after drinking the milk and Saku called 119.

The girl was taken to hospital where she was in a stable condition on Wednesday.

Police said Saku was aware that her daughter was allergic to milk after doctors informed her when the child was younger.

Police said that Saku, who lives alone with her daughter, had visited them in July, asking them to take the girl off her hands because she was worn out from raising her. The police contacted child welfare authorities in August.

Meanwhile, child welfare authorities in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, said Saku consulted them four times between April and July this year, saying she was uneasy about raising her daughter. Staff visited Saku's home but saw no signs of any abuse and said that Saku seemed to be more confident of raising her child at that time. Saku also told staff that her father would help look after her daughter.

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39 Comments
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Worn out from raising one little girl? Those were the happiest times of my life. Give your child to us, we have love to spare.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

But, Sensei258, being a single parent in Japan is a very hard life. The government support is extremely minimal and fathers are not made to take financial responsibility for their kids. I'm not defending her actions, but I understand her plight.

25 ( +28 / -3 )

One of my daughters is raising two kids (a boy and a girl) by herself after leaving her abusive husband. So I don't buy it.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

sensei258, as a father my hat off to you and your daughter.

My wife and I would be more than happy to take this little girl off her hands.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

One of my daughters is raising two kids (a boy and a girl) by herself after leaving her abusive husband.

Good for you for raising a strong independent person, but that's not always the case. I'm pissed at the child welfare authorities for their total lack of awareness. Someone at that office should be arrested as well.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

Police said that Saku, who lives alone with her daughter, had visited them in July, asking them to take the girl off her hands because she was worn out from raising her. The police contacted child welfare authorities in August.

Should have taken the girl off her hands at that point.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Considering that the mother took the responsible route and raised her concerns with authorities, I am not sure that attempted murder should be the first option explored. Sounds like her cries for help were not answered. Sometimes the cries turn to screams. If she wanted to murder her own daughter outright, I am not sure she would have called 119.

Sensei258; while I applaud your daughter for doing the right thing by getting her kids away from an abusive home, I also suspect that your daughter has a good support network to fall back on. Perhaps, in part, due to your good work as a father. But we don't know the individual situation of the mother in this story, and perhaps should not be so quick to judge. You know, walk a mile and all...

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Good for you for raising a strong independent person

Thank you for your kind words. I wish I could claim the credit, but she's my stepdaughter. Her mom is responsible. You are right about the authorities though

1 ( +3 / -2 )

She attempted to murder her child. No stress, up to and including having a gun barrel pressed into the back of her skull, justifies attempting to take the child's life.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

@Disillusioned

being a single parent in Japan is a very hard life.

Thank you for understanding !

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I have three sons in a traditional marriage and it is exhausting at times.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

@ harajuku You are absolutely correct. Where is all the understanding and compassion for the child whose life was almost taken, where's the outrage? All we hear is sympathy and understanding for the mother.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Another mother of the year. I hope they don't pity her and give mom back the child unsupervised, or next time we'll be reading the usual death announcement and Social Services saying they had no idea.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

One of my daughters is raising two kids (a boy and a girl) by herself after leaving her abusive husband. So I don't buy it.

You have no idea if that woman has support or not. Your attitude is part of the problem. Not everyone loves raising kids. Not everyone has support. This woman ASKED FOR HELP and got none. That's the problem. I am saddened for this child but also for the mother. She asked for support and got nothing. Japan needs all the kids it can get so it needs to start helping parents when they ask for help. I hope this child is placed in a home that can help her. No doubt though she'll be placed in an "orphanage" and honestly, they are horrific. Very few get adopted and most are kept in limbo until they are adults and on their own. Japan needs to wake up to the very real issue of single parents needing help.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

Why do people have kids if they can't raise them?? What could be other priorities in life for parents? I feel sorry for the woman as she got no help from girl's father, she should give more priority to the child.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

What could be other priorities in life for parents? Do you live in this country? Work is the main priority for many men here. Which is why so many women here feel like single parents and struggle.

As to why people have kids if they can't raise them, not everyone gets how hard it is to raise a kid. Some parents end up being single parents, some people are in situations that make it very hard to raise a child.

SHE should give more priority? The women asked for help. She didn't get any. The government needs to make supporting these parents a priority.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

all the posters here are so far people who I admire and respect- even more so hearing some of the things you and your families have had to go through.

Now let me say this: I think we can all agree that she attempted murder of her own child with milk (I know it sounds crazy when you put it that way). So she is partially to blame.

However, having said that, the lion's share of the guilt MUST be with the gov for failing, as usual, to be competant, helpful, or compassionate to her as well as countless of other women's troubles and needs. We can't condone what she did, but most of the blame has to go to those officials who did nothing.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@Disillusioned

My grandmother raised 11 kids without the comforts of modern life or social security, my girlfriends son has 5 kids one with a disability they both work and are everyday drained but they love their kids, first world problems are not reasons to try to kill a kid.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

@Aly Rustom "the lion's share of the guilt MUST be with the gov for failing, as usual, to be competant, helpful, or compassionate to her as well as countless of other women's troubles and needs."

Sorry but this argument of women as weak and incompetent is way off. She allegedly tried to kill her kid (although the situation may have been negligence as opposed to intent), and that is far more serious than government omission of doing anything to help the situation. Both are bad, but the mother needs to go to jail if the charges are proven.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Many kids outgrow infant allergies just as I did. She could have been testing to see if she did also.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

I outgrew mine till I was in college a step at a time and bearing the pain, fever and skin eruptions whenever I ate poultry products and seafood. Looking back, just a big sigh of relief I was over it. Maybe one reason why I have this small built. But the woman as a single parent with probably a low paying job and a child with medical issue is surely hard. I never know one can be so allergic with milk like this. I only know lactose intolerance.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@ tmarie (et al) - Yes she was in what for her was a stressful situation, and yes the government failed her after her cries for help but, she is still the one that decided to hurt her child. It was her choice and she acted on that choice, so don't blame my attitude or anyone else for it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It's sad, I also have time money and space to adopt her, but she needs help. To visit four times is not enough. Social services should visit every day in such a case.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Good for you for raising a strong independent person, but that's not always the case. I'm pissed at the child welfare authorities for their total lack of awareness. Someone at that office should be arrested as well.

Its easy to bash the child welfare authorities, but I am really unclear on what it is they actually did wrong in this case. They consulted with her four times after she complained that raising the kid was too much for her (probably a common complaint among single parents, raising kids is hugely demanding especially if you are among the working poor), did an on site inspection of her home and found no signs of abuse. In such situations are they supposed to just take kids away from their parents on the off chance that they might snap in the future and do something like this? They'd be taking half the kids in this country away from home if that was the standard.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

After all this discussion, maybe she wasn't trying to kill the child at all, but just hurt her enough so that she would be taken away from her.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Worn out from raising one little girl? Those were the happiest times of my life. Give your child to us, we have love to spare

That's one of the most positive comments I've seen here in quite a while. Cheers!!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

This is a sad story. Problem is there is still a strong stigma attached to postnatal depression and looking at this thread it's clear ppl still judge women (and men) who can't cope with raising a child or simply fail to bond with their child (or love him/her).

Then how can we expect mothers to actively seek help when the vast majority of society refuse to understand that not everyone enjoys being a mum or is 'good at it' and call them 'monsters'? Perhaps if she had felt that it's also ok to struggle being a mum and that she is not alone, there is support available etc she would not have taken such a drastic action.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Many kids outgrow infant allergies just as I did. She could have been testing to see if she did also.

^This!

They consulted with her four times after she complained that raising the kid was too much for her (probably a common complaint among single parents, raising kids is hugely demanding especially if you are among the working poor), did an on site inspection of her home and found no signs of abuse.

Then that may be a credit to her character. The milk thing aside, even though she felt that she was crumbling - she pointed it out to authorities while doing her level best to provide for the child. I am not squarely blaming authorities here, or the mother. But it is fact that people who are reduced to 'calling for help' in Japan are often left with nowhere to turn.

As for the milk; we simply don't have enough info to go off. We don't know the reasoning behind her giving milk to her daughter. That the police can automatically jump to attempted murder is strange to me, unless there is an important piece of the story we are not being informed about.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Sorry but this argument of women as weak and incompetent is way off.

Whoa there! I did not say that. Please dont put words in my mouth.

She allegedly tried to kill her kid (although the situation may have been negligence as opposed to intent), and that is far more serious than government omission of doing anything to help the situation. Both are bad, but the mother needs to go to jail if the charges are proven.

please read my post again:

I think we can all agree that she attempted murder of her own child with milk

we already established that.

Both are bad, but the mother needs to go to jail if the charges are proven.

well as you correctly put it-Both are bad, so BOTH need to go to jail if the charges are proven.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Problem is there is still a strong stigma attached to postnatal depression and looking at this thread it's clear ppl still judge women (and men) who can't cope with raising a child or simply fail to bond with their child (or love him/her).

Excellent point about this issue being related to postnatal depression. While I'm not a doctor this sounds like a clear case of PPD. My sister made me aware that her daughter in law felt she could not raise a child properly and was found to have PPD. With a little help from counsellors, family and rest she was able to adjust. I can imagine without any help being a single mother without a family mental state can deteriorate. Indeed, the authorities look like they missed this diagnosis. Glad the young girl is fine and wish the mother gets the help she needs.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Problem is there is still a strong stigma attached to postnatal depression

PND? The kid was five years old! How long can PND be blamed after a birth? If a 60 year old woman kills her middle aged daughter can you call that PND? Let's just call it depression and leave it at that, hey?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

tmarie: "Japan needs to wake up to the very real issue of single parents needing help."

Agreed, 100%. They also need to wake up and start taking in more kids that are slightly 'used'. The same problems exist in animal shelters. I'm not comparing kids to animals, but just pointing out that if it's not an infant or a puppy (kitten, whatever), people here are more often than not unwilling to take a child on. BUT, while single parents -- or even those with both parents -- need help, the kid in this case needed it more. No sympathy for the mother when others are going through the same or similar, and even much worse, circumstances without trying to murder their kids.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Worn out ins't an excuse. I hate this attitude.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Police said that Saku, who lives alone with her daughter, had visited them in July, asking them to take the girl off her hands because she was worn out from raising her. The police contacted child welfare authorities in August.

Child Welfare Authorities should have removed her daughter from her care because Saku-san clearly said she was worn out from raising her. Peoples who criticized her should think about what will you do if you were in her situation? She was single mother and her husband or partner left her with daughter without money. She has to work all night or all day and raise her allergic daughter. Her daughter may have other health situation but nothing said in here. I have no doubt she was suffering depression and Child Welfare Authorities' staffers should aware of her condition. If Saku-san was in Australia and then she will be referred to Psychologist or Psychiatrist by Welfare authorities. It was fault of Child Welfare Authorities' staffers and they should take some responsible for this accident. Also Japanese Government needs to do more in Mental Health service and Social Welfare service.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I think we can all agree that she attempted murder of her own child with milk

It's easy to judge people you never met about situations you never met. I don't think she thought "I'll kill her with milk" .That works like that in movies. An allergie is not a loaded gun, you pull the trigger and the person dies automatically. Reactions are often unpleasant but moderate (eczema, digestive trouble). hopefully it's rarely as extreme as the shock this little girl had. I guess the mother is not one of the next Nobel prizes for medicine and she didn't understand well the risks. I can believe that sometimes when the mother was tired of being a responsible parent, she'd say "I won't bother looking for special food and make her eat that.. the brat wants a milk shake/chocolate/chips from the kombini, I don't care. Too bad for her if she has a tummy ache after..".

Its easy to bash the child welfare authorities, but I am really unclear on what it is they actually did wrong in this case.

They are so afraid of doing wrong that they do nothing. Seriously, a person tells them 1, 2, 3, 4...5 times that she can't cope with raising a 5 yr old and they don't move a finger ? Close their office, they are useless.

Let's just call it depression and leave it at that, hey?

PND or another mental issue, what difference ? The thing is a woman warned she was at the verge of breaking down, she got no help AND her kid got no protection.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Whats wrong with this young mother. A child is innocent and trust her mother fully and this a nother dare to do this. Life is hardship but a person must have compassion in part of their heart to do whatever it takes to give love and protect. Hearing this make.me angry and sad at human being of this generation. Give me the child, i will take care of her and give love much as child shud have.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

They are so afraid of doing wrong that they do nothing. Seriously, a person tells them 1, 2, 3, 4...5 times that she can't cope with raising a 5 yr old and they don't move a finger ? Close their office, they are useless.

The article says she told them she felt "uneasy" about raising a child. They didn't do nothing, they visited her house, saw no signs of abuse and were assured by the mother that she would get help with her father in raising the kid. From what the article tells us there is nothing to suggest that the authorities, despite having exercised obvious diligence in following up on this, saw anything that would have justified drastic intervention.

What are the authorities supposed to do in that situation? Take away the kid right then and there? That makes no sense at all.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This woman ASKED FOR HELP and got none.

She said she had help from her father, but still asked to get rid of her kid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What an evil and selfish women. Where is the instinct to love and care for your own child at all costs. She should never have had a child.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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