Mother Admits Cruelty Toward Disabled Girl, 4

A Sun Valley woman accused of leaving her mentally retarded daughter unattended and gasping for air in a garage pleaded guilty Monday to one charge of willful cruelty to a child.

Paula Lynn Dever, 22, faces a maximum of six years in state prison. She appears for sentencing May 19 before Judge Terry O’Rourke in San Fernando Superior Court, Deputy Dist. Atty. Kenneth Barshop said.

Dever was arrested Feb. 6, one month after police found her 4-year-old daughter, Melanie Wools, alone in an unheated garage where Dever lived with her boyfriend, Steven Glandon.

The officers, who were investigating a narcotics tip, entered the garage when they heard moaning and gasping sounds, according to the police report.


Girl Found Emaciated

Inside, they discovered an emaciated girl lying on sheets that were soiled by cat feces and littered with narcotics paraphernalia, the report said.

The girl, who has multiple sclerosis, is blind, suffers from epileptic seizures and requires constant care, according to court documents. When police found her, the girl was choking on mucous that regularly collects in her throat because of her affliction, the documents said.

At the time, Dever was in a house across the street, but she did not immediately claim the child because of the narcotics investigation, said Michael Abouaf, Dever’s attorney.

Anna Glandon allowed her son, Steven, and Dever to live in the garage behind her house in the 7300 block of Cleon Avenue. Melanie frequently was left unattended, Anna Glandon told police, but neither she nor the other adults who lived in the house were ever asked to care for the child.

“It’s not mine. I don’t care what happens to her,” Glandon said of the girl, according to the police report.

Melanie is now being cared for by her grandmother, Abouaf said.