Parents charged with child abuse after infant died of malnutrition this week

Sarah Stone, 20, and Austin Taube Hack, 19, were charged after their infant “appeared extremely malnourished and emaciated.”
Published: Nov. 17, 2022 at 9:23 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 17, 2022 at 10:21 PM CST
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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (KCTV) — Two parents are charged with child abuse after their infant died of malnutrition earlier this week.

Police said Sarah Stone, 20, and Austin Taube Hack, 19, did not properly feed their 10-week-old girl.

Jack Taylor, the public information officer for the Independence Police Department, said officers responded to a medical call at an apartment complex on Cedar Crest Dr. on Monday night.

When they arrived they found the infant dead in her crib.

“All appearances point to it wasn’t fed properly,” Taylor said. “The baby didn’t have proper nutrition.”

According to charging documents from the Jackson County Prosecutor, the baby “appeared extremely malnourished and emaciated” to the point where her bones were visible.

Police also found marijuana and other drugs in the apartment, including a small tub that had apparently been used to grow illegal hallucinogenic mushrooms.

Taube Hack and Stone told officers that Stone had given birth in the apartment in late August and had kept to a regular feeding schedule. However, charging documents note that the infant had lost nearly two pounds since its birth.

The couple also told police that they had never taken the baby to a doctor for checkups or immunizations.

“There were no other eyes on this baby except for other people in the apartment,” Taylor said.

Rochelle Parker, the CEO of the Child Abuse Protection Association in Independence, said her organization can provide counseling services to families, including children and adults.

She also encouraged people to keep an eye out on children in their community and to watch for signs of abuse and neglect.

“Anything that doesn’t look normal is reason enough to suspect something,” Parker said. “That phone call that you make or the thing that looks odd might be the thing that saves someone’s life.”

Taylor added that stories like this one point to the importance of community and raising alarms when a child may be suffering. He recommended calling police or the Children’s Division.

The Missouri Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline is 1-800-392-3738.