Two West Virginia parents face charges of child neglect after authorities found a 2-year-old girl bearing signs of suspected physical abuse and a 4-month-old boy who was severely malnourished, WSAZ reported.
Jackson County court records show 22-year-old Ashley Stover and 21-year-old David Thomas have been charged with child neglect causing serious bodily injury, the news outlet reported.
Police arrested Stover and Thomas on June 24 and booked them into the South Central Regional Jail, according to West Virginia Regional Jail and Correctional Facility Authority records. The two are being held on a $100,000 cash/surety bond each and are classed as pre-trial felons.
Authorities were called out to the couple’s Ravenswood home in May, where they reportedly found the little girl heavily bruised and the infant boy severely malnourished.
WSAZ reported that a doctor cited in charging documents called the “level of malnourishment very serious and if not properly and adequately taken care of then he could have easily died.”
The children have been taken into state custody by child welfare authorities.
Kansas Couple Accused of Starving 5-Year-Old Boy so He Weighed Half His Age
The incident recalls the case of a Kansas couple who stand accused of starving a 5-year-old boy so terribly that he weighed less than a child half his age, according to Fox 4 News Kansas City.
Authorities cited in the report said the boy, who has not been named to protect his identity, weighed just 28 pounds—a weight common for a 2-year-old child but dangerously low for a 5-year-old.
It was reported that last December, doctors at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City diagnosed the boy with malnutrition due to starvation. The child’s body also bore evidence of other injuries, including bruising and a laceration.
Law enforcement was contacted, leading to the arrest of Elizabeth Francis and John Alvin Carter. Francis’s relationship to the boy was not specified in the report, while Carter was identified as his adoptive father. The two were arrested and face charges of child abuse and aggravated endangerment of a child.
Francis denied abusing the boy, but the boy reportedly told investigators that, “Elizabeth don’t feed me” and that she said he would starve and “be dead.”
The child has been taken into protective custody.
Fox4 posted the story on its Facebook page, where it garnered numerous comments.
“We recently had two different cases of this in Iowa,” one commenter wrote. “Both kids starved to death.”
“What wicked people!” wrote one commenter. “I would love to have him in my foster home. Been down the malnutrition road before. I love these kids.”
“Please let this little boy be with someone that will care for and protect him and show him love,” wrote another.
Staff at the hospital told investigators that the child was last seen at the hospital on Sept. 26, 2018. At that time, he weighed 38 pounds, but by the time he was seen in December, his weight had dropped to 28 pounds, a weight common for a 2-year-old.
KAKE reported that Francis and Carter have been jailed on a $100,000 bond.
Stepdad ‘Hysterical and Panicked’ After Learning Wife Killed 10-Year-Old Boy
In a similar case, a mother accused of murdering her disabled son allegedly told her husband she’d sent the 10-year-old boy to Mexico but instead she kept him in a closet for three years and starved the child to death.
These and other allegations were leveled against 42-year-old Veronica Aguilar during a June 17 preliminary court hearing reported on by ABC7, in which the boy’s mother stands accused of causing his death and staging a long-term cover-up of the crime.
The woman was reportedly so successful with the ruse that her husband Jose Pinzon had no idea Yonatan Aguilar was hidden in a closet too small for him to stretch out his legs in the couple’s tiny Los Angeles house for years, suffering terrible abuse.
Los Angeles Police Department Detective Abel Munoz was cited in the ABC7 report as saying in court Monday that when Aguilar told Pinzon in August 2016 that the boy had died, the stepfather was left “hysterical, panting, hyperventilating, and panicked.”
Veronica Aguilar charged with murder of her 11 year old son. His body appeared malnourished and was found in closet pic.twitter.com/KQpMiPOm8P
— Kim Baldonado (@KimNBCLA) August 25, 2016
Yonatan was found dead in August 2016 in what Los Angeles police have called one of the worst instances of child neglect and abuse they have ever witnessed.
“It’s one of the worst cases I’ve seen in my career,” said Los Angeles Police Department Detective Moses Castillo, speaking to local TV station KCBS.
‘Very Gaunt, Frail-Looking Child’
According to the LA Times, on Aug. 22, Aguilar told Pinzon that the boy had died and led him to the bedroom closet to show him the shocking truth.
Authorities cited in the report said Yonatan’s body was wrapped in a blanket and covered in sores. There was foam in his nose and he was going bald.
When detectives found Yonatan in a closet, he weighed only 34 pounds.
“I saw a very gaunt, frail-looking child, who at that time to me looked like a 5, 6, or 7-year-old boy,” said Munoz in court Monday, according to ABC7.
Munoz was one of the law enforcement officers who responded to the Echo Park residence where Yonatan’s body was kept in a closet.
According to KTLA, Aguilar’s three older children were reportedly all aware that their mother had kept their youngest brother imprisoned in the closet.
The stepfather was reportedly the only one who was not aware that Yonatan was being subjected to horrific abuse.
Aguilar faces 15 years to life in jail on each count if convicted, and has been in jail in lieu of $2 million bail since her arrest in 2016, according to reports.