State News

Bladen County mother charged in drowning of 4-year-old son

Posted July 24, 2015

Teresa Lauderback

— The mother of a 4-year-old boy who drowned in Bladen County last month has been arrested and charged with felony child abuse.

Teresa Denise Lauderback, of White Lake, was arrested late Thursday afternoon, posted $50,000 bond and was released.

White Lake police and fire departments and North Carolina State Parks and Recreation personnel arrived at White Lake on June 15 after getting a report that a boy had been pulled from the water.

Donicio Noe Mendez was taken to a hospital in Elizabethtown where he was pronounced dead.

Police said Lauderback told them she let the boy swim with his 11- and 13-year-old brothers while she stayed with two of her smaller children. A swimmer found the boy face down in the water.

It was not clear if Lauderback has a lawyer.


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  • Frank Rizzo Jul 24, 2015
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    lol. yes. child rearing classes are the answer! face palm. thats like sending a drunk to substance abuse therepy after they have already plowed into and killed another person. sigh. and the downward spiril continues

  • Skye Thompson Jul 24, 2015
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    An article from FayObserver was more detailed:
    Lauderback told police in June that she let the toddler to swim in the lake with his 11- and 13-year-old brothers. She stayed on the shore with two of her smaller children, police had said.
    A nearby swimmer found the boy face down in the water.
    Sgt. Mike Salmon said he wasn't satisfied with Lauderback's version of the incident and continued to investigate.
    "Witnesses came forward providing vital information that assisted greatly during the course of the investigation," he said. "For that, I would like to thank them."

  • Paul Jones Jul 24, 2015
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    I disagree. What Mike said, punishing this lady will also punish the kids. She made the mistake of believing her 13 yo could watch the 4 yo. This is just a sad accident, and ought not be a crime.

  • Wendy Banner Jul 24, 2015
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    More than likely she's already hurt the other children herself. Can't believe she got out on bond. Not right. Sounds like they don't believe her story either. Something is fishy.

  • Mike Hill Jul 24, 2015
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    Putting a devastated mother in prison is only going to hurt the remaining four children. Send her to child rearing courses and have CPS monitor her. "Fifty pounds of flesh" is just going to hurt the children.