Colorado couple charged with starving six-year-old daughter

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 26, 2015 5:36 PM

DENVER (Reuters) - A Colorado couple has been charged with child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury for allegedly starving their six-year-old daughter and causing her to suffer from long-term malnutrition, prosecutors said on Friday.

Jason Barton, 40, and Katherine Barton, 36, were arrested by sheriff's deputies after taking the girl to a local hospital, the district attorney's office for Jefferson and Gilpin Counties said in a statement.

"On admission, her weight was 25 pounds, which would be appropriate for a normal two-year-old," the statement said. "Medical experts reportedly believed that her low weight was consistent with an insufficient diet despite plentiful food in the family home."

According to an affidavit from an investigator, the couple told staff at the Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora, a Denver suburb, that their daughter was "out of control," and that they had to keep locks on the pantry and refrigerator doors because she would not stop eating.

The affidavit said Jason Barton later told police that the couple punished their daughter when she misbehaved by making her walk "laps" of their driveway in Evergreen, about 20 miles southwest of Denver.

A witness, whose name was redacted in the investigator's report, told police he had seen the girl crying as she ran up and down outside the home, and that he heard her father tell the child: "This is because you are stealing food."

Hospital staff likened the girl's appearance on admission to that of a concentration camp victim, the affidavit said.

She was taken into the custody of Jefferson County Human Services.

The Bartons have posted bail bonds of $25,000 each, prosecutors said in their statement, and are due back in court for a preliminary hearing on July 21.

It was not immediately clear if they have an attorney.

(Reporting by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Lisa Lambert)