An overweight woman who was asked to care for three siblings nearly starved the children to death and forced them to live in “deplorable conditions.”
Jennifer Stout, 35, was arrested Friday and charged by Allegheny County Police with one count of aggravated assault, three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, and three counts of recklessly endangering another person, according to a report from CNN. The youngest of the three children, a 2-year-old, dropped eight pounds in three months, his weight plummeting from 27 pounds to 19 pounds. A doctor who treated the child told police she had “never observed such a rapid weight loss in a 2-year-old in all her years practicing medicine,” according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The child was so malnourished his hair began to fall out. He also had ligature marks on his wrists and ankles, as well as bruises and other injuries.
DaNette Turner, the mother of the children, left the children with Stout — the reason for which is unclear. Turner had apparently stopped communicating with her family earlier in the year. The children’s’ grandfather, Gerald Turner, tracked the children down using social media. Gerald had put out a post searching for the children when Stout responded, according to the Post-Gazette. When the family went to the home where they were being kept, their aunt immediately took them to the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Gera Turner, the aunt, said the children were living in “deplorable conditions,” according to the Post-Gazette. Gera told police the toddler was lying on a mat and that he along with the other two children, aged 9 and 12, looked “severely unkempt.”
Stout initially denied to police that she had intentionally starved the children, but later allegedly admitted she should have taken them to doctors sooner. She claimed DaNette Turner didn’t want the children, which is why they were in her care.
Stout is being held on $25,000 bond as police continue to investigate and search for the children’s mother.