TEXARKANA -- A Fouke couple is facing second-degree murder and child endangerment charges in the death of their 7-month-old daughter and the abuse of her twin brother.
Crystal Morrow, 24, and Dustin Harley, 19, were initially charged with manslaughter when they were arrested in February in the Sept. 27 death of their daughter, 7-month-old Kimberly, and with endangering the welfare of a minor involving Kimberly's twin brother.
Miller County prosecutors recently enhanced the charges.
The boy and three older children living in the home at the time of Kimberly's death are in foster care, according to a probable-cause affidavit. Kimberly died of severe neglect, and her brother's condition was attributed to the same, according to authorities.
When deputies arrived at the house Sept. 27 in the 3400 block of Miller County 9, they found Kimberly not breathing and her twin in acute distress.
Randy McAdams, a first responder and Texarkana police officer, was able to revive Kimberly briefly but she died before a LifeNet helicopter arrived.
Investigators noted in reports that the day crib that the babies shared was in a room with piles of laundry. As investigators photographed the children's bed, roaches crawled on the walls and in the crib, according to the affidavit.
Morrow said she'd given both infants bottles at 5 a.m. that day and the evening before, but medical professionals noted signs of severe dehydration and malnutrition, the affidavit said. The infants' grandfather had gone to the house shortly before authorities received the emergency call for help.
Miller County Coroner Dakota Bloyd noted dried secretions around Kimberly's eyes, nose, mouth and ears; she was wearing a heavily soiled diaper; and she had dirty fingernails, according to the affidavit. An autopsy found that Kimberly's body ranked in less than the fifth percentile for her age and gender, that her eyes were sunken, her muscles were wasting and her ribs were protruding.
According to the affidavit, a doctor at Arkansas Children's hospital told investigators that "any caregiver in the home with [the infant boy] and his twin would be expected to recognize the child was scientifically sick and in need of immediate care."
Bail for Morrow and Harley has been set at $50,000 each.
Morrow's case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson. Harley's is assigned to Circuit Judge Brent Haltom. Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell is handling the cases for the state.
Dates for the couple's arraignment hearings have not been set.
Second-degree murder is punishable by six to 30 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000. Endangering the welfare of a minor is punishable by up to six years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
NW News on 03/23/2020
Print Headline: Charges enhanced in death of child, abuse of her twin