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Mother sentenced to 30 years for not seeking medical care for anorexic daughter
A mother has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after her 16-year-old daughter died two years ago weighing just 43 pounds.
Ebony Berry, 37, from Smyrna, Georgia, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child cruelty charges in Cobb County on Tuesday for the death of her daughter, Markea.
Prosecutors had agreed to drop murder charges against Berry, who they said did not withhold food but failed to seek proper medical care for the teen, who had eating disorders including anorexia and bulimia.
‘But just because the victim had an eating disorder does not absolve this defendant from responsibility in this death,’ Cobb County Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Gardner said.
‘Had she gotten the victim the help she needed, there’s a chance Markea would be here today.’
As Markea’s weight plummeted, her mother did not take her to a doctor; the girl did not receive medical care at all in the three years before her death.
Ebony Berry also waited more than an hour to call for help after finding her daughter unresponsive on a mattress in the family home in June 2012, prosecutors said.
Instead, during that time, she called her parents and tended to her three other children, authorities said, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The defense team argued that Berry, who had a newborn at the time, was overwhelmed with raising her four children and could not give the teenager the care she needed, WXIA reported.
Earlier reports revealed that one night in 2010, Markea had run away to a Walmart and told cops she had not wanted to be a ‘burden’ on her mother.
After the incident, both a caseworker and supervisor with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services noted that girl was undernourished, but the case was closed and Berry failed to get her daughter any medical care.
On Tuesday, she was sentenced to 30 years behind bars and 10 on probation. She is not allowed to have any contact with children and must undergo mental evaluations while on probation.