Charges filed after malnourished children pulled from home

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ST. LOUIS – Authorities removed a third child from her parents’ custody after it was discovered the two-month-old girl weighed less than five pounds and was diagnosed with life-threatening malnutrition.

Sionya Haley, 29, and Michael Fullilove Sr., 42, were each charged with three counts of abuse or child neglect for the baby’s neglect and that of their two other children.

In August, St. Louis police responded to a home in the 3800 block of Sullivan in north St. Louis on a report of a severely malnourished baby. According to court documents, police found Haley holding her two-month-old daughter and refusing to let emergency personnel touch the child.

The Department of Family Services took emergency custody of the baby and learned that she was born at the home, never received any medical attention and was strictly breastfed.

When the child was taken to the hospital, court documents show “it was determined she was unable to thrive due to inadequate calories and suffered from life-threatening malnutrition.” She weighed 4 pounds and 11 ounces and showed several “deficiencies and abnormalities.”

Two years ago, according to court documents, Haley took her two-year-old daughter to the hospital but refused medical treatment for the toddler after she was diagnosed with life-threatening malnutrition. Court documents show the girl was monitored in the hospital for several days. At the same time, the couple’s five-year-old-son was examined at the hospital where it was determined he was also suffering from malnourishment, as well as angled bones, growth delay, and a blood disorder.

Haley told a dietitian at the hospital that she and her children followed a strict vegan diet, according to the probable cause statement.

The children were taken from their parents’ custody.

Haley and Fullilove are being held in the St. Louis Justice Center. Fullilove has served time in jail for prior drug offenses and unlawful possession of a firearm.

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