The parents of a 3-year-old girl who died of cancer are facing jail time for neglecting to seek treatment for her malignant tumor, which had grown to weigh 17 pounds.
Henry Clarence Lilly III and Bonnie Beth Mills-Lilly of Oklahoma have each been charged with first-degree manslaughter in connection with their daughter’s death, according to local paper The Lawton Constitution. Authorities were first made aware of the situation on Jan. 3, when the parents placed a call to the Comanche County Sheriff’s Office reporting that the girl was unconscious but breathing in the family’s camper home, where six other children were living.
First responders immediately took the child to the hospital, where she later died. A medical examiner has confirmed that she had the oversize tumor at her death, but authorities are baffled about how it could have reached that stage.
“We’re still investigating it as to why the child didn’t get treatment,” said Sheriff Kenny Stradley, according to Newsweek.
The parents were charged Jan. 7 and made their initial court appearances Jan. 10. The two each posted a $60,000 bond and were released, but they must wear GPS monitors. They are due in court again Feb. 28 for a preliminary announcement, then on March 18 for a preliminary hearing conference, according to the Daily Mail. If convicted, they face a minimum of four years in prison.
Tragically, these are not the only Oklahoma parents to have made headlines recently for severely neglecting their children’s health. Secoya McNeary and Sir Tramane Neal were arrested and charged with two counts of felony child neglect in October after their twin 5-month-old sons were hospitalized. One was treated for malnourishment and recovered, according to Oklahoma’s News 4. But the other had suffered a heart attack and was later pronounced dead.
In August, a pair of Michigan parents were charged with murder and first-degree child abuse when their 10-month-old daughter died of malnutrition and dehydration, according to the Associated Press. They had allegedly not sought help for the ailing baby for “religious reasons” and lack of trust in medical professionals.
And in Iowa, a 4-month-old died of diaper rash, as Yahoo Lifestyle reported in November. The baby’s body was found in a motorized swing in the home of his parents, Cheyanne Harris and Zachary Koehn. Medical examiners found that “maggots in various stages of development” were found in his clothes and skin as a result of his wearing the same diaper, sometimes up to 14 days. Authorities called the case an “extreme indifference to human life” and charged the parents with first-degree murder.
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