By Kathy Jefcoats
McDONOUGH — A woman who had custody of her granddaughter has been charged with encouraging the teenager to attempt suicide.
Yvette Lucas, 51, of Saddlecreek Drive in McDonough, is charged with first-degree cruelty to children. She is being held in the Henry County Jail on $7,500 bond.
Lucas made her first appearance in Henry County Magistrate Court Tuesday morning. She told Judge Donnie Patten that her only income is a disability check, and she recited a series of her physical ailments.
Lucas said her disabilities also probably made her an inadequate guardian for her 14-year-old granddaughter.
“To be honest, I probably never should have taken this on but as a grandparent, I did,” she said.
Henry County police said Lucas encouraged her to take prescription pain medication in an attempt to kill herself. Police said the girl told Lucas she’d taken a handful of the pills to commit suicide. When Lucas saw there were more pills in the bottle, she allegedly told the girl to finish them off.
After the girl swallowed the pills, police said Lucas didn’t take her for treatment. Instead, a therapist who visits the home called 911 the next day after seeing how groggy the girl was, said police.
Lucas denied the allegations and said she realized custody was too much for her after the suicide attempt.
“I asked the therapist that day to remove her from my house,” she said.
Patten was stern when he reduced bond from $10,000 to $7,500. Court-appointed attorney Jeff Cofer said Lucas couldn’t post the higher amount.
“This child cannot be returned to this home,” said Patten. “Is that understood? If this child is returned, bond is revoked and you go back to jail. You are to have no contact with this child.”
Lucas said the child was to be admitted to a mental health facility and she didn’t know with whom she would be placed once she was discharged. The decision is up to the Henry County Department of Family and Children’s Services, she said.
“She is not to go to your home,” said Patten. “If DFACS comes to you and tries to place her with you, you are to tell them no. Your bond will be revoked if she is in the house with you.”
Because Lucas disputes the police’s account of what happened, she has asked for a preliminary hearing. Patten told her to return to court Thursday at 2 p.m.