The parents of toddler Hope Elizabeth Delozier are facing criminal charges for the death of their 18-month-old daughter after an autopsy report ruled the death a homicide.
Bradford County residents Ebed Delozier, 29, and Christine Delozier, 34, were charged on June 17 in connection with the March death of the toddler, which police have announced was ‘preventable.’
The felony charges the Pennsylvania couple face include involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child. Police say the parents were ‘against’ modern medicine and the death of the toddler could have been easily avoided.
According to Press Connects, Ebed Delozier took the child to Towanda Memorial Hospital on March 23 after his wife noticed the child’s breathing was shallow. According to the affidavit of probable cause, upon arriving at the hospital, Delozier told staff: “I need some help.”
The Daily Review reported that by the time Delozier arrived at the hospital, the child had already stopped breathing. Hope Elizabeth was later pronounced dead.
Three weeks before her death, the child reportedly fell ill with an ear infection, which then led to meningitis, ultimately killing her.
A report by Dr. James A. Terizan, who preformed the autopsy, stated that the meningitis originated in an ear infection and was left untreated. Terizan’s report concluded, “A simple antibiotic to treat an ear infection would have saved the victim’s life.”
State police at Towanda were contacted about the toddler’s death, and a three-month investigation ruled the death a homicide.
The child’s mother, Christine, reportedly told hospital staff she had treated her daughter with homeopathic remedies and herbal therapy because she didn’t believe in vaccinations or other aspects of modern medicine.
Press Connects reported that both parents indicated to investigators that a reason they didn’t seek medical treatment sooner was because of financial concerns. Ebed told police that the couple’s decision to not bring their daughter to the hospital in the weeks before her death was 60 percent financial concern and 40 percent personal beliefs, reported The Daily Review.
During an interview with state police, Dr. Paul Bellino, director of the Pediatric Residency Program at a Children’s Hospital, told police the victim also appeared to be malnourished and dehydrated.
The parents were arraigned and later released on non-monetary bail.
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