After months of investigation, the Cook County medical examiner’s office has declared the January death of a seven-month-old to be a homicide due to malnutrition from starvation. Young couple Gene M. Edwards, 22, and Markesha M. Jones, 19, now face involuntary manslaughter and felony child endangerment charges.
Prosecutors say Edwards and Jones stopped giving Mya Edwards formula and started giving her bottles filled with water, cereal, and sometimes baby food, a few months before she died. By the time paramedics arrived Jan. 8, Mya had stopped breathing and was pronounced dead on a dining room table. Prosecutors say Mya was very skinny – as well as her surviving twin sister.
Assistant State’s Attorney Alyssa Grissom, the couple also allowed their supplemental nutrition benefits in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program to lapse. Additionally, the couple left their twins in a single crib in “an unfinished basement which resembled a dungeon” warmed with only a space heater.
Grissom says Edwards admitted that he noticed Mya losing weight but didn’t do anything about it. Neither infant had seen a doctor since the previous summer.
Mya’s twin was later taken to the hospital where she remained for months learning basic skills. She has since gained weight and been placed in a foster home.
Edwards and Jones are each being held on $250,000 bail.