Police: Bellevue couple starved infant to keep her from getting 'fat'

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Police: Bellevue couple starved infant to keep her from getting 'fat'

Post by FystyAngel on Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:25 pm

Police: Bellevue couple starved infant to keep her from getting 'fat'

SEATTLE -- Prosecutors have charged a young mother who they say underfed her newborn baby because she didn't want the girl to be fat.

Brittainy Labberton, 21, of Bellevue, and her husband, Sam Labberton, 24, have both been charged with third-degree criminal mistreatment in the alleged neglect of their infant daughter.

According to the statement of probable cause, the couple's baby was born in August 2008 after the mother was induced at 38 weeks due to poor in utero weight gain. The baby weighed 5 pounds 4 ounces at birth, according to medical records obtained by investigators.

The baby was hospitalized two months later after failing to gain sufficient weight, detectives said. Doctors questioned the parents, who said their daughter was fussy and often threw up her food, according to the statement.

However, the doctor and hospital staff told detectives the baby ate very well at the hospital and began gaining weight immediately. Based on the baby's demeanor during her hospital stay, officials determined the baby's "failure to thrive was based on environmental factors," and placed her in the state's care following her release.

The baby girl was placed in a foster home, where she gained three pounds in the first three weeks and continued to put on weight in the following weeks, prosecutors said.

When Child Protective Services informed Brittainy Labberton of her baby's weight gain, however, she responded by saying, "Oh my God, she's fat," and, "I have a fat baby," according to prosecutors. The mother added she wanted her children to be under the 50th percentile in weight because her husband has a weight problem.

In January 2009, the baby's foster mother contacted CPS, and said the girl came back from a supervised visit with her parents with a "fishy-smelling bottle," prosecutors said. She also noted the baby was notably fussy and had diarrhea.

A pediatrician tested the contents of the bottle and concluded the level of magnesium found in the liquid "was too high to be baby formula and was likely a laxative," according to the case summary.

In August 2009, detectives questioned Brittany Labberton, who described her baby as "the exorcist," citing her tendency to throw up her food.

Detectives said she suffers from postpartum depression with psychotic tendencies. She said she had been prescribed medication for the condition, but had stopped taking the pills after three days because they made her so sleepy and lethargic that she could not get out of bed. The mother added she "was barely able to feed (the baby) during this time frame" as a result," the court documents said.

Even after she stopped taking the medication, the mother had difficulty caring for her daughter and was "overwhelmed," she told investigators.

The baby's father, Samuel Labberton, told detectives he worked the graveyard shift and slept during the day and, as a result, could not help his wife. He said he believed his daughter was underweight because "she was fussy, spit up all the time, and their household was financially stressed," according to the documents.

Both parents admitted the baby had not been fed every two to three hours, even though doctors had warned insufficient feeding could result in hospitalization. However, neither expressed remorse, and Samuel Labberton even added "he would not change anything if he could go back as he does not believe he and Brittany did anything wrong," the documents said.

The man did admit his wife "had thoughts about killing herself and their children." The couple lost custody of their other child, a 2-year-old daughter, in December 2008 after Brittany Ladderton told her therapist "she felt she would kill herself and (the child)," detectives said.

Samuel and Brittainy Labberton are scheduled to be arraigned on Monday. Neither is in custody.

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