Couple charged after sick infant nearly starved to death

by: Kayla Lemmon, KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:

A Kent couple has been charged with child abuse after police say they neglected and starved their 2-month-old baby, who has a muscular disorder.

Anthony King and Stephanie Mitchell neglected the baby, witnesses told police. The girl was born with a genetic disorder that makes it difficult for her to control her movements or even eat on her own, according to court documents. Neighbors told investigators the Mitchells seemed embarrassed of her.

Neighbors who visited the family often said the couple has two other daughters who get attention and food, but the baby was kept on a foam mat without any interaction. One witness said she told Stephanie Mitchell that the baby looked sick and she answered, "She's fine."

According to court documents, the couple wouldn't show up to doctor visits and a feeding tube that had been placed in the little girl was pulled out by someone in the house right after it was put in.

The hospital staff said the baby was frail and bony, lethargic, and didn't even cry. Without the feeding tube, the staff said she was malnourished with moderate to severe malnutrition.

Doctors at the Children's Hospital said Stephanie Mitchell told them she and her husband feed the baby every couple of hours but she can't seem to gain weight.

"I just feel horrible," Stephanie Mitchell said to hospital staff.

Mitchell and King both have prior convictions, court records show. They were booked into King County Jail and released on bond.

The Mitchells' arraignment, where they are expected to enter a plea, is set for later this month.

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