Authorities in both Tennessee and Illinois say they are still investigating how they might bring charges against an Illinois woman who abandoned her daughter with special needs in Caryville last month.
On June 28, police say Eva Cameron and her daughter, Lynn Cameron, ate at the Waffle House just off Interstate 75. A short time later, police say Eva Cameron left her 19-year-old daughter with special needs at the Big Orange Bar just up the road.
Police spent days trying to determine the identity of Lynn Cameron, releasing her picture to the public and asking for help.
Finally, a tip led them to her mother Eva Cameron, of Algonquin, Ill., who returned to East Tennessee Tuesday.
Police say she purposely left her daughter in Caryville and had no plans of taking her back.
"She said, 'I don't want her, I'm not taking her, and if I have to take her, they'll be dealing with her in Kentucky,'" Caryville Assistant Chief Stephanie Smith said.
Police searched for a way to charge Eva Cameron, consulting with the district attorney general, and other state and local officials.
So far, leaders say they've come up empty. Lynn Cameron is 19, legally an adult, and her mother has never been officially appointed as her legal guardian.
"I was just mad because there isn't a law," Smith said. "I mean, it's immoral, inhumane, I mean, how could you just leave your disabled kid. I just don't get it."
Dennis Francis, a legal expert and Inside Tennessee panelist, says the sticking point may be the fact that Lynn Cameron was never harmed or injured after her mother left her.
"It may very well be that the district attorney general is struggling with the fact that but it for the intervention of someone, that those things would have happened, but there is a statute in place, assuming that this young lady had been injured or harmed, then there would be a cause of action, which is a Class C felony under Tennessee law," Francis said.
Algonquin Police Chief Russell Laine said Wednesday his detectives are still looking into possible charges, but, so far, have reached the same conclusion as Tennessee leaders -- no laws have been broken.
Right now, Lynn Cameron is safe and in the state's custody, according to Missy Marshall, spokeswoman for the Tennessee Dept. of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
She said leaders are working to secure emergency services for the 19-year-old, but added that people in her department are also seeking ways to hold the mother accountable.
If, in the end, the state laws fall short, Rep. Dennis Powers, R-Jacksboro, is prepared to take action.
An office spokeswoman told 10News, if there is a need, he plans to introduce new legislation next session.
It's something Francis agrees should be addressed.
"We've spent a lot of time and energy in Tennessee worrying about people carrying guns into bars, and here is a person, through no fault of their own, is abandoned in a bar, and the law doesn't protect her," he said. "Now, we are protected if we go to a bar from people with weapons, and my question would be, what is the protection for this young lady?"