A middle-aged mother faces a long prison sentence following her conviction for the death of her young daughter. A jury has found the 48-year-old woman, identified as Denise, guilty of second-degree murder and child abuse in the 2013 death of her 16-month-old daughter, Miriam.
The woman and her husband, Ernest, who is also a father to the victim, said their “religious beliefs” prevented them from seeking medical care for Miriam, who was suffering from severe malnutrition and Rickets. At the time of her death, the little girl weighed only nine pounds, a weight far below the healthy range for a child her age.
Authorities became aware of the little girl’s state after Denise called 911 from her home in July 2023 to report an unresponsive child. The first responders that arrived at the scene were confronted with the distressing sight of an emaciated toddler. Despite their efforts, Miriam died at a hospital. A medical examination revealed that Miriam’s death was due to malnutrition and Rickets, a diѕeaѕe caused by prolonged vitamin D deficiency leading to weakened bones, a result of her insufficient exposure to sunlight. Experts testified that Miriam’s condition was a result of an inadequate diet and a lack of medical care. Her physical state at death—weighing less than nine pounds—was indicative of extreme neglect.
Prosecutors successfully argued that Denise had intentionally fed her daughter an inadequate diet and deprived her of medical care. Her husband, Ernest, had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter and child abuse in connection with Miriam’s death. Following the incident, the couple’s other six children were placed in foster care. Denise is scheduled for her sentencing hearing on January 19, 2024. She faces a minimum sentence of 23 years and could potentially spend the rest of her life in prison.