Macayla Jo Armstrong, 22, is both pregnant and in custody after allegedly causing the death of her 7-month-old son.
On Saturday, police responded to calls for help from her St. Joseph, Missouri, home but the child died a short while later. According to court documents reviewed by KCTV, the house was filthy, unlivable and lacked electricity and running water.
Armstrong is charged with child abuse and neglect for failing to provide food, medical care and sanitary conditions for the infant, which caused his death. She also hasn’t been providing for her unborn child; she reportedly hasn’t taken any prenatal vitamins or sought necessary medical treatment during her pregnancy. Daily Mail reported Armstrong’s 5-year-old daughter was also exposed to the poor living conditions, but she’s now safely in foster care.
Armstrong was unemployed and didn’t have any family in the area, but her neighbors attempted to reach out to her. They were horrified by the allegations of what happened in Armstrong’s rented home.
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"I just can't get over the baby," neighbor Cheryl Stiles told KCTV. "They didn't seem like the type of people who would starve a baby. I just can't get over it ... was the baby not getting the formula right? Or wasn't keeping it down? Did she really starve him? I don't know."
Prior to this tragedy, Stiles allowed Armstrong and her boyfriend to use her electricity to keep their home warm. Despite being disabled, she also gave Armstrong food and baby formula, although she hadn’t seen the baby in about five months.
"I know they were struggling. I let them run an extension cord because I didn't want the two kids to freeze," Stiles said. "I knew there was something wrong with her (the mother). She would sit on the porch and hang her head and not talk to nobody."
"I knew the kids weren't going to have a Christmas so I bought their Christmas presents," Stiles said. "Now I have to take the baby's Christmas presents back."