A pregnant woman and a father in Ohio have been indicted in connection with the deaths of their two young children after authorities said the boy and girl were found severely malnourished and underweight.
Dustin William Shade, 25, and Maleah Renee Henry-Reed, 20, face charges of child endangerment causing serious harm, child endangerment as a parent, and tampering with evidence.
“These defendants were literally starving these children to death,” Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr., said in a news conference Friday.
The abuse occurred between Sept. 19, 2021, and Jan. 17, 2023, officials said. Earlier this month, the couple’s 15-month-old girl was taken to a hospital because she was sick and then she was taken to another hospital into the intensive care unit.
The girl weighed less than 10 pounds, the prosecutor said. That’s roughly what a child at 15 weeks old might typically weigh. A search warrant was obtained for the mother’s home and officers found Shade holding the couple’s 5-year-old son.
The son was found to be so malnourished that he only weighed about 20 pounds, the prosecutor’s office wrote in a news release. The mother is pregnant with their third child, the news release added.
The boy was hospitalized, Heck said. Both children had unexplained bruising on their bodies, Heck said.
“If not for the emergency medical treatment either of both of these children would have died and this is just unacceptable in our community,” Heck said. “It’s very difficult for one to believe that no one else saw those children. It’s hard to believe that no one else – neighbors, family members, especially over the holidays, that no one else ever noticed these severely underweight children and also that they never reported it to the authorities. These children deserve better.”
Neither parent currently has an attorney of record, According to Montgomery County Court records reviewed by Law&Crime.
Heck also said the state had filed a motion to retain custody of the two children in the case.
All publicly-available charging documents are available below:
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