Baby with pneumonia starves to death - KCTV5

Baby with pneumonia starves to death

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Deshelle Atkison Deshelle Atkison
INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -

An Independence woman is in jail after authorities say her 6-month-old baby suffering from pneumonia died from malnutrition and neglect.

Deshelle Atkison, 31, was charged Friday with abuse that resulted in the death of a child and first-degree child endangerment. Police said they saw evidence of large rats in her home where the baby died.

Prosecutors have requested a $100,000 bond and asked that Atkison have no contact with her children.

According to court documents, Atkison had 13, 9, 6 and 5-year-old children in addition to the infant known in court documents as "B.A."

The little girl died on Jan. 31 at the family home at 829 S. Park Ave. An autopsy completed on March 31 determined that the baby was suffering from pneumonia as well as "severe acute malnutrition and neglect."

The family called 911 after the baby had stopped breathing. According to court records, paramedics found that she had dirty finger and toe nails.

"The victim appeared very thin with rib bones showing through the skin," according to court documents.

The area where the child lived was filthy and filled with clutter and leaking trash bags, police said. The baby's crib was against a drafty window and the sheets on the crib were stained and dirty.

Police said rat feces were found on the floor where the baby's crib was and in the kitchen.

According to court documents, Atkison had sought medical care for her ailing daughter some time previously and be prescribed medications, including for a wheezy cough. The girl didn't receive any treatments the day she died, according to court documents.

The mother allegedly told police that she mostly smoked outside the home but sometimes smoked inside it when it was too cold to go outside. According to court documents, Atkison said she didn't take the baby to a doctor sooner because she was scared the child's father would blame her and attempt to take the child away from her.

"Atkison admitted to them that the four days before B.A. had died she had only had approximately 6 ounces of formula a day and 3 to 4 bites of baby food a day," according to court documents.

The maternal grandmother lived in a different part of the residence. She told KCTV5 Friday that disease claimed her granddaughter's life and not her daughter's actions.

State social workers have taken over the care of the surviving children 

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