The parents of a 6-year-old who starved to death are being charged with murder and child endangerment.
Michael and Georgena Roberts, of Jerseyville, both 42, have been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a 6-year-old child after Jersey Community Hospital called the Jerseyville Police Department on Friday.
The child lived with father Michael Roberts and step-mother Georgena Roberts along with three siblings and two step-siblings. Police believe that the parents deprived two of the children of food as a form of punishment.
The autopsy on their 6-year-old sibling showed preliminary findings that he died due to extreme malnourishment, according to the Jersey County State’s Attorney’s Office. Further tests are pending. According to the Alton Telegraph, the indictment shows that the 6-year-old child weighed 17 pounds at the time of his death.
The identity of the child would not be released by authorities, according to the Jersey County State’s Attorney’s Office.
A statement from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services confirmed that they are investigating the treatment of all the children. Of the surviving siblings, two were taken to St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and all of the children are being placed with relatives.
According to the statement, a hotline call alerted DCFS in January 2016 that there was inadequate food in the home. “After a pediatric specialist concluded that the now-deceased child’s weight was a result of a medical condition, the investigation was closed as unfounded,” the statement read.
The Roberts are in custody in the Jersey County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail. They each face one count of first-degree murder, one Class 3 felony count of endangering a child and one Class A misdemeanor of endangering a child. The case remains under investigation by the Jerseyville Police Department.