Police arrested a Pennsylvania couple on Thursday in the alleged starving death of Lydia Wright, their 23-month-old daughter. The victim, who the parents rushed to the emergency department after noting foaming from her nose and mouth and that she had stopped breathing, weighed only 10 pounds at the time of her death. Andrea Dusha, 26, and Michael Wright, 32, have been charged with criminal homicide, reckless endangerment of a child, and endangering the welfare of a child.
Baby Lydia was not the only child living in the home. Two other siblings were placed in the custody of child protective services after authorities noted that the home was “unsuitable for children to be living in.”
People reports that when the parents took Lydia to the hospital they told doctors that she had been drinking water, Gatorade, and Pedialyte from her sippie cup when her eyes began to roll back in her head and foam began to come out of her mouth and nose. They said that she also quit breathing.
Doctors were unable to revive the toddler. A subsequent autopsy the following day ruled that Lydia’s death was the result of homicide caused by malnutrition and dehydration. Her body showed no obvious signs of trauma. According to authorities, the baby’s normal weight range should have averaged anywhere from 20 to 25 pounds, but she only weighed 10 pounds on presentation to the hospital.
Following Lydia’s death and autopsy police conducted a search of the Uniontown home of the Pennsylvania parents and found squalid conditions, among which was clutter that made it difficult to walk from room to room, no running water, and no sewage system. Garbage was everywhere, and police state that they found a high chair covered in human feces and a grocery bag filled with used tampons in addition to other filth spread over the expanse of the home.
Although no drug charges have yet been filed, police also stated that they found a syringe and multiple open prescription pill bottles in the bathroom.
The baby had spent over 13 hours in her car seat the night before, writes The Daily Mail, overnight from 9 p.m. on February 23 until 10:30 a.m. the following morning. When the mother finally went out to check on her she tried to get her to drink the Gatorade mixture mentioned above, but that is when she noted the foaming and that the child had stopped breathing. The mother then rushed her to the hospital where she later died.
ABC News reports that a preliminary hearing will be held for the Pennsylvania couple on March 29. They are being held without bond, which is normal practice for most homicide cases under Pennsylvania law. Online court documents list no attorneys of record, and the couple has not yet entered a plea.
Lydia died on February 24, according to CBS News, and the parents turned themselves in for arrest after her death was ruled a homicide. The investigation into the case began when police were called to Uniontown Hospital after a report was filed of suspected child abuse.
When questioned on the day after Lydia’s death by Action News 4 reporter Ashlie Hardaway, father Michael Wright expressed grief.
“I lost my daughter, I’m grieving.”
However, when further questioned by Hardaway on the deplorable conditions present in his home and on Lydia’s dehydrated state, Michael feigned ignorance.
“For one, we’ve been in contact with people so the information you’re getting is wrong.”
Additionally, new information has emerged that indicates that the mother set up a Go Fund Me page about three weeks ago requesting money to assist in the repair of her ripped earlobe. In it she stated, “I don’t party, drink, or do drugs and my entire life is devoted souly [sic] to my children and their father.”
[Image via Shutterstock]