A Pennsylvania mother pleaded guilty Thursday in the starvation death of one of her five-month-old twin daughters, who died weighing less than five pounds.
Dionne Bishop had been charged with murder and endangering the welfare of a child in the 2015 death of her daughter Lakia Hardy. The mother, 30, was sentenced to 13 to 30 years in prison as part of a plea deal.
Lakia died in May 2015 of starvation and dehydration. The baby girl started having difficulty breathing and officers were dispatched to the family’s home in Harrisburg. Lakia appeared malnourished and was taken to a hospital, where she died.
The little girl weighed less than five pounds at the time of her death, when at five months old she should have weighed about 15.
An autopsy showed Lakia died of complications of child malnutrition syndrome weighing 4.8 pounds, Chief Deputy District Attorney Sean McCormack said according to PennLive.
Her twin sister, Lamia Hardy, was also emaciated and taken to the hospital. ‘Lamia could not keep her head up. She had trouble keeping eye contact,’ McCormack said.
‘She was emaciated… She was on track to die.’
Lamia gained weight rapidly when doctors started treating her, although she was so emaciated they worried they might refeed her too fast. Refeeding syndrome, which occurs in severe cases of starvation, can be fatal.
Bishop answered with a brief, high-pitched ‘Yes’ when the prosecutor asked her if she agreed to plead guilty.
Investigators also found that Bishop and the girls’ father, Leviticus Hardy, weren’t giving Lamia medication that she needed for a blood clotting condition, McCormack said.
Hardy, 34, attended Thursday’s hearing as a witness, wearing a yellow prison uniform. He is awaiting trial on a homicide charge.