TULSA - The parents of an emaciated Tulsa toddler hospitalized at a mere 13 pounds were formally charged with child neglect Tuesday.
Mark Knapp and Elizabeth Pester were arrested last week after the couple took their nearly 3-year-old girl to a local hospital.
The child was also taken to the hospital in June 2012, where she was weighed at 13 pounds, according to police. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services took custody of the toddler after her hospitalization, but returned her to Knapp and Pester on the condition the child would have weekly weight checks beginning the next month.
Those checks never occurred, according to the the TPD documents. In light of the report, DHS spokesman Mark Beutler issued a statement defending the department:
"There's always much more to the story, but DHS is not at liberty to discuss the details of the case. Situations sometimes occur where parents may try to elude DHS or will not cooperate. We do take our responsibility to monitor a child's safety very seriously. Parents, however, are also responsible for the safety and proper care of their children."
Tulsa police could not release the girl's current condition Tuesday, but did confirm she is still in the hospital.
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