Dehydration, malnutrition, allegedly found in 7-month-old twins; parents charged with manslaughter, endangering

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Dehydration and malnutrition allegedly led to the death of a 7-month-old girl and the hospitalization of her twin brother in September.

Miller County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested the parents of the twins, Crystal Morrow, 24, and Dustin Harley, 19, for manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a minor earlier this month. According to a probable cause affidavit, deputies and a first responder were dispatched at about 9:15 a.m. to a residence in the 2600 block on Miller County 9 concerning two infants who appeared to be having difficulty breathing.

Upon arrival, first responder Randy McAdams, who is also a Texarkana, Ark., police officer, attempted to revive Kimberly, who had stopped breathing. McAdams was able to revive Kimberly twice and LifeNet personnel attempted life saving measures but she ultimately died at the scene. Kimberly’s brother was treated at a local hospital and then airlifted to Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock for treatment.

As investigators on scene were photographing the laundry room piled high with clothes where a day crib was located, “roaches were seen crawling in the room as well as in the crib,” the affidavit states.

Morrow allegedly told MCSO Investigator Patsy DeHart that she fed both babies a bottle the night before and that morning at approximately 5 a.m. Morrow allegedly said she noticed the children were struggling to breathe between 8 and 8:30 a.m. after her father stopped in for a visit.

Miller County coroner Dakota Bloyd noted Kimberly was wearing a soiled diaper, had dried secretions around her eyes, nose, mouth and ears, appeared unkempt and had dirty fingernails. An autopsy allegedly noted Kimberly’s ribs were protruding, that her eyes were sunken and concluded she died of “dehydration due to neglect of care.”

A report from staff at Children’s hospital noted that the infant boy appeared to be suffering from severe dehydration resulting from “environmental/nutritional neglect.” The infant and three older children living in the home are now in state custody.

Morrow and Harley are being held in the Miller County jail. Bail for each is set at $50,000. They are scheduled to appear in Miller County circuit court in March.

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