A Midvale couple has been charged with second-degree felony child abuse after a doctor found their children, both younger than 2 years old at the time, were severely malnourished.
The couple, a 27-year-old man and 26-year-old woman, were charged in 3rd District Court on Thursday, each with two counts of child abuse. They were booked into the Salt Lake County jail Friday and are being held on $100,000 bonds.
Investigation into the couple started after they took their children to the Greenwood Health Center on Sept. 7. Their children were both younger than 2 at the time, though one has since turned 2 years old.
The couple told Dr. Jeffrey Cline that they were concerned about one child’s protruding ribs. Cline examined both children and deemed them “profoundly malnourished” due to lack of food, according to the probable cause statement.
Cline classified the children as “failure to thrive” and worried they could suffer from refeeding syndrome, according to the probable cause statement. Refeeding syndrome can be caused by a change in the body when food is reintroduced following a period of starving. It can be fatal, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
Due to the concerns, Cline instructed the couple to take their children to the hospital. On Sept. 8, Cline found out the children had not been taken to a hospital and reported the alleged abuse to the Utah Department of Child and Family Services, according to the probable cause statement.
On Sept. 17, DCFS personnel went to the Midvale home with police officers. The children were found to be “severely malnourished and extremely lethargic.”
According to a news release from Unified police, the state of Utah has taken the children, who are now receiving medical attention and are recovering. The release does not say when the state took custody of the children.
An initial court appearance hasn’t been scheduled for either of the defendants.