Oregon couple charged with murder by abuse for starving baby

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 19, 2015 9:00 PM

By Shelby Sebens

PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - Police in Oregon have charged a couple with murder for allegedly starving their seven-week-old baby boy to death, authorities said on Thursday. 

Amanda Hancock, 21, and Stephen Williams Jr, 26, appeared before a judge on Wednesday on murder by abuse charges, and if found guilty they could face life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years, said Douglas County Deputy District Attorney Shannon Sullivan.

Sheriff's deputies were called to their home in the small town of Glendale, in the southwest of the state, on Jan. 22 after receiving a call that an infant was not breathing. The deputies were not able to revive the baby.

After nearly a month of investigating, police questioned the couple on Tuesday and arrested them.

Sheriff's Deputy Dwes Hutson said an autopsy at the state medical examiner's office in Portland showed the cause of death was starvation and the fatality was declared a homicide.

The couple also has a 2-year-old child who was taken into protective custody, Hutson said. The gender of the other child was not disclosed by police.

According to a affidavit written by the arresting officers, Hancock and Williams told investigators they had fed the baby multiple ounces of milk, multiple times a day.

But both admitted they did not take the baby to the doctor. Williams told police the baby had lost weight, but that taking the infant to the doctor was Hancock's responsibility, it said.

The couple also told police they were involved in the Internet porn industry, according to the affidavit.

Hancock said she would self-lactate on camera for money, either in the shower or "squirt or milk out of her breast onto something other than a bottle," the affidavit said.

Both Hancock and Williams will have court appointed attorneys, but they have not been assigned yet, Sullivan said. 

(Editing by Daniel Wallis and Ken Wills)