Police: Newborn baby starved by parents

Two parents in Pennsylvania have been arrested, charged after law enforcement said they starved their newborn baby.

Police say Justin Lawrence, 31, and Marissa Smith, 22, did not feed their son Bently enough, The Sun Gazette reported.

The couple claims that the baby had a medical issue, acid reflux, when he was born and that Bently is fine.

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“He had a milk allergy and he has acid reflux, and they’re trying to pin everything on me,” Smith said.

But investigators say Lawrence and Smith kept food from Bently, WNEP reported.

He had lost 8 percent of his birth weight when he was first seen by pediatrician Dr. Qasim Mahmood after he was born in December, NorthCentralPa.com reported.

"The baby should have gained 6 ounces per week between Jan. 2 and Feb. 1, but instead he had nearly lost 8 ounces and was approximately 1 1/2 pounds less than he should have been," Chief County Detective William Weber stated in an affidavit.

When children and youth services removed Bently from the home, he had only had half a can of formula, WNEP reported. He should have been given at least 2 and a half, WNEP reported. His parents also were told to take him to a hospital, but officials said they didn't.

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This isn't the first time Smith has been investigated. Police said that one of her other children had a fractured skull in 2013. Lawrence told the court that he has seven other children, WNEP reported.

Smith is currently three months pregnant, NorthCentralPA.com reported.

Bently is in foster care, and police told WNEP that he is gaining weight.

Smith and Lawrence both face felony charges of endangering the welfare of children, the Centre Daily Times reported.

Smith is in jail on $99,000 monetary bail. Lawrence’s bail was set at $250,000.

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