On the morning of July 1, Beth Williams, 26, brought her 3-year-old daughter to a Joplin, Mo., emergency room. Police say the girl was barely breathing and weighed only 12 pounds — less than half the normal weight for a child that age. According to a probable cause affidavit, the girl had a “blood sugar level of zero,” and a body temperature that was “too low to register.”
Williams and her roommate, Christina Haidle, 27, were both charged with first-degree child endangerment on Monday and are being held on $500,000 bond. Folling the arrest, Williams’ father defended her parenting, telling the Kansas City Star, “All I got to say about it right now is I don’t believe it. I know my daughter loves that baby with all her heart, and I know she wouldn’t do anything to hurt her.” He also said the child had always been small, but police Lt. Darren Gallup said the child was malnourished and hadn’t been to a doctor in more than a year. “These are the types of cases that bring tears to veteran investigators’ eyes,” he told reporters.
The girl was treated at a Springfield hospital, where she gained three pounds. She was then placed with a foster family and continues making progress toward better health.