TEXARKANA, Ark. — Dehydration and neglect allegedly caused the death of one of two 7-month-olds twins whose parents appeared before a Miller County judge on felony charges of manslaughter and child endangerment Monday.
Crystal Morrow, 24, and Dustin Harley, 19, both of Fouke, made separate initial court appearances Monday afternoon before District Judge Wren Autrey in the Miller County jail courtroom. The couple's 7-month-old daughter, Kimberly, died Sept. 27 and her "critically ill" twin brother was airlifted for treatment in Little Rock. He is expected to survive.
The boy and three older children living in the home at the time of Kimberly's death are in foster care, according to a probable cause affidavit. Kimberly allegedly died of severe neglect and her brother's dire condition was attributed to the same.
When deputies responded to the house in the 3400 block of Miller County 9, they found Kimberly not breathing and her twin in acute distress. Randy McAdams, a first responder and Texarkana, Ark., Police officer, was able to revive Kimberly briefly but she died before a LifeNet helicopter arrived.
Investigators noted that the day crib the babies shared was placed in a room with piles of laundry. As investigators photographed the children's bed, roaches allegedly crawled on the walls and crib.
Morrow allegedly claimed she'd given both infants bottles at 5 a.m. that morning and the evening before but medical professionals noted signs of severe dehydration and malnutrition.
Miller County Coroner Dakota Bloyd allegedly noted dried secretions around Kimberly's eyes, nose, mouth and ears, that she was wearing a heavily soiled diaper and had dirty fingernails. An autopsy allegedly found Kimberly ranked in less than the fifth percentile for her age and gender, that her eyes were sunken, her fontanel was depressed, her muscles were wasting and her ribs were protruding.
According to the affidavit, a doctor at Arkansas Children's Hospital told investigators that, "Any caregiver in the home with (the infant boy) and his twin would be expected to recognize the child was scientifically sick and in need of immediate care."
Morrow and Harley were both arrested by the Miller County Sheriff's Office last week on charges of manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a minor. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell said her office may continue with or amend those charges as the investigation continues.
Autrey set bail for both Morrow and Harley at $50,000. They are scheduled to appear in Miller County circuit court for status hearings next month.