Prosecutor: Indicted Riverside parents ‘starving these children’

15-month-old girl, 5-year-old boy found severely malnourished, Heck says.

A mother and father were indicted Friday on felony child endangering charges after their two small children were found severely malnourished and needing acute medical care.

Maleah Renee Henry-Reed, 20, and Dustin William Shade, 25, both of Riverside, are each scheduled to be arraigned next week for four counts of endangering children and one count of tampering with evidence in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

The abuse occurred between Sept. 19, 2021, and Jan. 17, according to their indictments by a county grand jury.

Their 15-month-old daughter weighed approximately 10 pounds and 5-year-old son weighed approximately 20 pounds, Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said during a Friday afternoon media briefing.

“These defendants were literally starving these children to death,” he said.

Henry-Reed took her daughter on Jan. 17 to a Dayton medical facility because the child was ill, Heck said.

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

The girl was immediately transferred to Dayton Children’s Hospital and admitted to the intensive care unit. She was was severely malnourished and had a low heart rate, Heck said.

Medical staff notified Riverside police of suspected child abuse. Officers got a search warrant and responded to the family’s residence in the 5400 block of Burkhardt Road, where Shade was with the 5-year-old boy.

The residence was reportedly messy and smelled of urine.

An ambulance took the boy, who also was severely malnourished, to Dayton Children’s Hospital, Heck said.

Both children also had unexplained bruising, the prosecutor said.

“This is just unacceptable in our community,” Heck said. “It’s very difficult for one to believe no one else saw those children. It’s hard to believe that no one else — neighbors, family members — ever noticed these severely underweight children.”

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

The prosecutor’s office filed for custody of both children, who are recovering in the hospital.

“As horrible as it is, at least the children are safe now,” Heck said.

Henry-Reed is pregnant with the couple’s third child. Heck said the prosecutor’s office will seek custody at birth.

Bail was set at $500,000 for both Henry-Reed and Shade. Henry-Reed’s family previously posted bail but as of Friday afternoon, Shade remained in the Montgomery County Jail.

Heck said his office is seeking to increase bond to $1 million for both parents.

Reba Chenoweth, spokeswoman for Montgomery County Children Services, called the case a tragic situation and said the child welfare agency was grateful to hear the children are alive and receiving the care they need.

“Any documents or records pertaining to reports of child abuse or neglect or an investigation of Children Services are confidential under Ohio law. As a result, Montgomery County Children Services cannot disclose if there has been prior involvement or if there is a current case open,” Chenoweth said.

Shade is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday, and Henry-Reed on Thursday.

It was not clear who was representing the couple as of Friday. This publication will contact the defense for a statement once attorneys are listed.

Staff Writer Jen Balduf contributed to this report.