A TODDLER who starved to death weighing only 13 pounds was just “skin and bones”, with dried-up poo in his nappy, say police.
An Alabama, US, couple – who cops said didn’t believe in doctors – could face life in prison if convicted of aggravated child abuse in the starvation death of their three-year-old boy.
Ashley Catron and Frederick Frink’s eldest son, aged four, has been fighting for his life since he was found barely surviving, weighing 15 pounds (6.8 kg) – not much more than a large rooster.
According to figures published by Babycenter, the average three-month-old baby boy in America weighs 13-15.2 pounds.
By 36 months of age, their average weight is 34.3 pounds.
Investigator Julian Johnson said the couple’s home smelled of urine and the boys’ cots were soiled by blood and poo.
Madison County Court heard that officers were called to investigate on July 23, after the children had already been taken to Huntsville hospital, reports WAAY31.
Three-year-old Hendrix was so emaciated that he died.
Huntsville officers testified that the couple’s boys were severely malnourished.
The court heard that uneaten pancake pieces were found in the eldest boy’s mouth, and that doctors had to remove them before being able to insert a feeding tube for emergency nutrition.
After a month’s care his weight has nearly doubled, to 26 pounds. But he’s unable to walk as yet, and is now living in foster care.
Investigators said that on July 23, Frink, 34, went to take Hendrix out of his cot in the morning and found him unresponsive.
When he phoned for an ambulance, he was advised to give the toddler CPR until paramedics arrived.
The court heard that Huntsville Fire and Rescue found the boy was emaciated.
An investigation of the couple’s home revealed that the master bedroom had Popeyes chicken boxes and doughnut containers.
FOOD IN PARENT’S BEDROOM
There was also a tray with food in the family room with breakfast food, including pancakes, cereal and milk.
But in the boys’ shared bedroom, there were two cots which were described as being stained with wee and blood.
Cops – who also noted that the house stank of urine – reported that one of the cots had been chewed on.
When questioned about their children’s emaciated appearance, their mum said she did not believe in taking her sons to the doctors.
Catron, 36, claimed she gave both of them a complementary nutrition drink, “PediaSure”, which is marketed as a product for “kids who need to catch up on growth”.
However, the court was told that preliminary results of medical tests on the boys, and Hendrix’s post-mortem, showed that both kids were starved, WAAY31 adds.
Neighbours told officers that the brothers were never seen playing outside.
Catron and Frink are each facing two aggravated child abuse charges.
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The judge wrote in an order: “The allegations involve the starvation death of one child and the serious physical injury of another young child by starvation.”
The couple has filed for bankruptcy over tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Catron and Frink remain in custody, with a £164,000 ($200,000) bond.