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Police question parents in toddler’s death

PHOENIX — Police officers are questioning the parents of a 15-month-old girl who died Wednesday morning.

Officers and fire officials responded to 774 West Coolidge Street in Phoenix after receiving a call that a toddler had stopped breathing.

Upon arrival, members of the Phoenix Fire Department began treating the young girl, who according to Sgt. Trent Crump with the Phoenix Police Department appeared lifeless.

“Our officers and paramedics found a very lifeless and frail body of a young female,” Crump said.

CPR was administered on scene, and eventually the girl was transported to Phoenix Children’s Hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

It was discovered at the hospital that the young girl weighed less than 9 pounds and was suffering from “profound malnutrition.”

“The child also had numerous fractures about its body, probably from that malnutrition,” Crump said.

There were no immediate signs that the child had received any treatment for her malnutrition.

Interviews with the parents revealed that it appears the child had not seen a doctor since being born, due to the parents’ religious beliefs.

“Though it’s early in the investigation, we’re having a difficult time finding records as well,” Crump said.

The parents also stated they believed the girl’s developmental stages were “a little slow.”

Both parents were taken to police headquarters for questioning Wednesday evening and have been booked for child abuse, but Crump said it is possible that more charges could be filed.

“Certainly in a death, people can look at homicide charges,” Crump said, “but in this particular case we have a lot of work to do with the medical profession to determine what the medical conditions were and that type of stuff.”

There were six other children who were removed from the residence, ranging in ages from 3 to 12. Crump did not say whether those children appeared to have similar signs of abuse at this time, but stressed that they are now in a safe environment.

“None of them needed emergency medical condition,” Crump said. “That doesn’t mean that they haven’t developed problems.”

Crump said it will take time to determine the full condition of the other children.

Police are currently working with Child Protective Services to determine what to do with the children as the investigation continues.