ATLANTA — "I did the same thing she did some years ago."
In an extraordinary show of motherly solidarity, a group of moms showed up at court on Thursday to support Diana Elliot. Elliot, the mother of a child with special needs, was charged with child cruelty for leaving her son at Grady Hospital last week.
One mom, Carla Griffin, said she feels for Elliot, because she knows the stress and difficulty it takes to raise a child with special needs. She too left her kid with special needs somewhere more than 10 years ago.
"I did, I abandoned my son in the hospital for seven months."
Griffin said in the parental special needs community, there are suggestions from social workers and others to take the child to the emergency room. She said the waitlist for help is "miles-long" and sometimes a parent of a special needs child "just runs out of strategy."
Griffin said her son was 17 when she left him at the hospital.
"People stop answering the phones. There are no other choices. They do the best thing their hearts [can] do -- without jumping off a ledge," Griffin said.
Griffin said her son is now 29 and she is still continuing to fight.
"This mom has kids and it's a kid conversation she's having...after age 21, she'll be having an adult conversation and it doesn't change. The fight continues," she went on to describe.
Elliot told police she was "overwhelmed" living out of a hotel and taking care of her three other children along with the 14-year-old with special needs. That was her reality when she decided to leave him at Grady.
Griffin said she did not end up incarcerated since resources presented themselves, but acknowledges it was a different time. However, she doesn't plan on giving up on her. Griffin even opened her home to Elliot -- volunteering the let the mom come to her home.
"She can't just go to the streets...she needs help," Griffin stated.
"We're not going to stop. Her attorney is doing a good job. These are angels that showed up to support her.
Elliot was granted a signature bond - essentially releasing her for free until her next court date.