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Article updated: 12/10/2012 5:10 PM

Algonquin woman's actions prompt review of Tennessee law

By Tara García Mathewson

The Algonquin woman who drove her developmentally disabled daughter to Tennessee and then left her there will not face criminal charges, according to the results of a grand jury investigation.

Eva Cameron left her 19-year-old daughter, Lynn, at a bar June 28 in Caryville, Tenn., hoping she would be placed in a state facility, she said in a Daily Herald interview in July. Cameron said she heard Tennessee had better services for people with special needs.

A Campbell County grand jury decided there was no legal basis for charges, according to a news release from the district attorney's office.

"There is no disagreement that the actions of the mother, Eva Cameron, in this case were inexcusable," the release said. "However, Tennessee law has not anticipated such behavior and thus the grand jury was faced with conduct which was not necessarily indictable."

Tennessee State Rep. Dennis Powers, who lives just a mile from the bar at which Lynn Cameron's mom left her, hopes to change the law and prevent something similar from ever happening again.

Powers said his office has been working to draft legislation for awhile now and plans to introduce it to the state legislature in late January, when the next session starts.

"Lynn's Law" will have to work its way through various committees, but Powers said he doesn't think there's going to be a problem passing the legislation, which aims to clarify the definitions of abuse and neglect.

Lynn Cameron, who has severe mental disabilities and was not even able to tell police her name, age or hometown when she was found in Caryville, is legally an adult. That made charging her mother an impossibility, in the end.

"We just want to make sure that people are not neglected like that again," Powers said. " ... Whether they're adults or children."

If all goes smoothly with "Lynn's Law," it could take effect July 1, 2013 in Tennessee. It would make Cameron's offense a felony.

Lynn Cameron was sent back to Illinois once Tennessee authorities found out who she was. Details about her placement in any state programs is unavailable due to privacy laws.

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