(continued from the previous post)
Last week, the first-degree assault trial of the baby's parents, Joseph and Shella Swinton, got under way.
At 15 months, the girl weighed only 10 pounds and had no teeth. She could not sit up or talk and had a swollen abdomen.
Doctors diagnosed her with severe malnutrition and rickets, and the Queens district attorney said it was one of the worst cases of neglect he'd seen.
The Swintons, both 32, maintain they are loving parents who doted on Ice and thought the diet was best for her and her little brother, Ini, who was born after the couple's arrest.
...Both parents were suspicious of doctors and medicine, and Silva Swinton delivered Ice at home. The girl weighed three pounds, according to a bathroom scale, Swinton later told a social worker. The Swintons also refused to have their daughter immunized.
The doctor who examined Ice in November 2001, after an anonymous tip about neglect led to the intervention of children's services, testified last Wednesday that the girl, then 15 months old, looked like a newborn. He said her spindly arms and legs were bowed by rickets, her belly was distended and her skin covered in "the worst diaper rash you ever saw."
The Swintons each face a possible 25-year jail term if convicted.
When I think about my daughters at 15 months--robustly heathy, toddling, exploring their world and communicating with the people around them--it beggars my imagination to think that the parents, however well-intentioned, could tolerate their daughter's condition. Caring for an infant, while complicated, is also a universal skill that humans have been practicing for centuries. It's bewildering and sad that this couple's combination of misguided beliefs and paranoia exacted such a terrible toll on the daughter they profess to love.
(via Ipse Dixit)