The 24-year-old Ardmore mother, who allegedly slept while her a 2-year-old son was mauled by a dog Sept. 14, was scheduled to appear in Carter County District Court Tuesday to face a charge of neglect of a child. But Kera Mae Wood was already free on bond at the time she was supposed to be making her 1:30 p.m. court appearance.
In fact, she reportedly turned herself over to authorities less than 24 hours after District Attorney Craig Ladd filed the charge Oct. 3. Wood made an initial appearance before Special District Judge Thomas Baldwin Oct. 4. The judge released the mother on a personal recognizance bond.
Court records indicate Baldwin also ordered a preliminary hearing conference for 9 a.m. Nov. 19. At the time of the conference, Wood's attorney Betsy Clark is expected to announce whether her client will seek her right to a preliminary hearing or waive that right, a move that would propel the case forward to formal arraignment proceedings.
The charge accuses Wood of inadequately supervising her son. Ardmore police reports indicate Wood and her son were at a residence located in the 700 block of Cherry Street. Wood and the occupant of the residence were apparently sleeping at the time the little boy was injured.
"Investigators believe the child was in the kitchen (about 6 p.m.) for some time without adult supervision. The child got into syrup and caramel sauce, as well as marshmallows and dog food. It is presumed that the child was taking handfuls of dog food to the animal (that was chained in a fenced back yard) when the animal bit the child repeatedly," Sgt. Ryan Hunnicutt, APD public information officer, said as he described the circumstances of the case at the time.
"It was the owner of the dog that was awakened by the sounds of the child screaming, and took the child to the mother, who was still sleeping. While the dog has been euthanized, our investigation shows no indication that the dog showed any aggressive behavior prior to this incident."
The child was severely injured and airlifted to an Oklahoma City hospital where he underwent multiple surgeries. Police reports indicted the little boy was taken into custody by the Department of Human Services following the incident.
Hunnicutt said investigators strongly believed the injuries the child sustained were due to neglect.
If convicted, Wood faces up to life in prison and a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $5,000.