Phoenix Couple Let Malnourished Baby Die, as "Religious Beliefs" Kept Them From Doctors

Phoenix Couple Let Malnourished Baby Die, as "Religious Beliefs" Kept Them From Doctors
Patathomas via Flickr

Whatever religion calls for letting malnourished babies die instead of bringing them to a doctor, that's the religion that Phoenix parents Ernest Ingram and Denise Snow-Ingram apparently follow.

Police say the couple cited "religious beliefs" as their 15-month-old baby died on Wednesday, weighing 8 pounds, 8 ounces -- about a pound more than the average birth weight in the United States.

Officers responded to the couple's home near 7th Avenue and Camelback Road shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday, as firefighters were treating 15-month-old baby Miriam Ingram, who wasn't breathing.

The baby was transported to Phoenix Children's Hospital, and pronounced dead before 11 a.m.

The doctor who treated the baby said she was suffering from "profound malnutrition," according to court documents obtained by New Times.

There were no signs the baby girl was being treated for this malnutrition. An X-ray revealed numerous fractured ribs and other bones in Miriam's extremities, too.

The Ingrams told police they were the only ones who have "cared" for Miriam since she was born.

They claimed they took the girl to a doctor once, within a week of being released from the hospital after her birth, but "had not been seen by a doctor since due to religious beliefs of her parents," according to a probable-cause statement. Which religion they're referring to wasn't specified.

Both parents opined to investigators that the girl's development was "a little slow," court documents state.

Turns out, Child Protective Services has met the Ingrams before.

On March 16, 2012, someone, presumably a medical professional, reported neglect to the agency:

The report alleged that the mother arrived at the hospital because she was having seizures. The mother was 37 weeks pregnant with Miriam and subsequently delivered her early. The mother stated she has six other children who were born at home delivered by the father. The mother stated she has never obtained birth certificates for the children and has never taken them to the doctor. She did not receive pre-natal care. The mother did not appear to understand or comprehend what she was being told. There was concern that the baby would not get the follow-up care needed. Follow-up care was required to ensure that the baby was gaining weight. An investigation was completed and the children were determined to be safe. The parents declined services. The allegations were unsubstantiated.

Now, CPS has placed the other six children in foster care. Phoenix police Sergeant Trent Crump says the six other children were between the ages of 3 and 12.

For now, the Ingrams were booked into jail on felony child-abuse charges. Bond was set at $250,000 each.

Ernest Ingram (left) and Denise Snow-Ingram
Ernest Ingram (left) and Denise Snow-Ingram

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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