Missouri parents charged in son's starvation death

Saturday, January 24, 2009 | 4:55 p.m. CST; updated 5:33 p.m. CST, Saturday, January 24, 2009

KANSAS CITY — Murder charges have been filed against the parents of a 4-month-old boy who weighed just over five pounds when he starved to death last year.

On Saturday, prosecutors charged 27-year-old Nicholas Candler and 30-year-old Rebecca Candler with second-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a child. Their son, Jeremiah Candler, was pronounced dead at a hospital on Nov. 18. At 5.34 pounds, he weighed less at death than he did when he was born at 5 pounds, 12 ounces.

Police say that when they asked Candler at the hospital how the baby died, Candler told them that, "He probably starved to death."

The Kansas City Star reported on its Web site that court records released Saturday indicate the couple never took the baby for a single checkup after he was born.

Rebecca Candler told police that Jeremiah had never been sick and even though he had not been eating well, she had not been concerned about his health.

The medical examiner's report concluded that Jeremiah died of chronic malnutrition and dehydration due to parental neglect. Jeremiah's death was considered the first homicide of the year in Kansas City because police received the medical examiner's report on Jan. 5.

According to court records, Nicholas Candler worked two jobs while his wife stayed home with the baby and a toddler. Candler received a voicemail from his wife at 11:50 a.m. on Nov. 18 saying the baby was not eating and she did not know why.

He called his wife around 1 p.m. that day, and she said the baby was still not eating and wasn't responding to her at all.

Nicholas Candler later told police that he came home and found the baby's tongue was white and he was not breathing.

After the baby's death, the couple's 2-year-old was removed from the home. Police say that child appeared to be in good health.


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