A mother whose five-week-old baby starved to death was forced to look at pictures of her dead son for the first time on Thursday. Renee Heikamp was on the stand for the fourth day in a row, at a coroner's inquest into the death of her son Jordan.
The pictures, taken of Jordan just after he died, showed a baby so thin, he was only skin and bones.
At the time of his death, Jordan weighed only 4 pounds, 2 ounces significantly less than he did at birth.
Earlier in the long-running inquest, a pediatrician had testified the pictures taken of Jordan after his death showed what he would have looked like in the last two to three days of his life.
On Thursday, the coroner asked Heikamp why knowing that was what her son looked like she didn't do anything to help him.
Heikamp, 23, broke down on the stand and cried uncontrollably. She insisted Jordan didn't look like that, and said if he had, she would have taken him to hospital. Heikamp said she disagreed with the medical evidence that signs of starvation were evident 10 to 14 days before Jordan's death.
On Wednesday, Heikamp told the inquest she didn't think her son was hungry because he was sleeping so much.
She said there would be times when Jordan would fall asleep while she was breast-feeding or giving him a bottle of formula. She also said staff at the Anduhyaun Shelter, where she and Jordan were staying, had told her not to wake him up to feed him, and that babies grew while they were asleep.
Heikamp also told the inquest that while she was happy at the shelter when she first arrived, she grew uncomfortable there because she said she felt ignored and not appreciated.
Staff at the Anduhyaun Shelter had complained to Heikamp's case worker that the 19-year-old mother was spending too much time on the phone and not enough time taking care of her son.
Heikamp testified Jordan slept as many as eight hours at a time, even though when police interviewed her immediately following his death, she said Jordan was fed every two to three hours. She also told investigators Jordan "was eating like a pig."
"Well that just indicates a complete lack of common sense. I mean, she also understood, and she also testified she knew, she had to feed the baby every two to three hours," said Susan Hare, the lawyer for Anduhyaun.
At the time of his death, Jordan and his mother were being supervised by the Catholic Children's Aid Society. On Wednesday Heikamp was questioned Wednesday by the lawyer for her case worker, Angie Martin.
John Callaghan asked Heikamp why she lied to Martin that Jordan was gaining weight and that she was taking him to a doctor.
"Looking back on it now, Miss Heikamp now realizes how difficult, almost impossible, she made it for Angie Martin to give her the appropriate assistance," he said.
Martin is expected to testify next week.
One of the many questions she's expected to face, is why Heikamp and her baby were placed in a shelter for abused aboriginal women, rather than a maternity home.