TULSA - A Tulsa toddler is in critical condition after being starved by her parents, police say.
Mark Knapp and Elizabeth Pester were arrested Tuesday for child abuse or neglect. They were booked into the Tulsa County Jail on $50,000 bond each.
According to the arrest reports, the couple’s nearly 3-year-old child was hospitalized for “severe failure to thrive.” Born in December 2010, the toddler weighed 13 pounds as of Tuesday.
Police say the child was previously hospitalized in June 2012 for failure to thrive and the baby's weight at that time was also 13 pounds.
The toddler was placed in DHS custody after the first incident but was returned to Knapp and Pester on the condition the child would have weekly weight checks beginning in July 2012; however, the child was never observed or examined since being returned to Knapp and Pester, according to the police report.
DHS spokesman Mark Beutler released the following statement to 2NEWS:
"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."
After the latest hospitalization, police say the toddler "coded" and is presently in critical condition.
Knapp and Pester left the hospital after a few hours, telling nurses they wouldn't return for several days, police say, and when officers arrested them they were playing computer games at their home three miles away from the hospital.
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