LANCASTER, S.C. (Rock Hill Herald) - A Lancaster mother and father have been charged with homicide by child abuse after their 1-year-old daughter died from malnutrition and dehydration and received no medical care after birth, according to arrest warrants.
They also face six counts of felony child abuse and neglect charges from their care of five other children, in addition to the young girl. They lived in an apartment filled with human waste, insects and exposed electrical wires, according to the warrants obtained Monday by The Herald.
The death spurred a months-long investigation that led to Friday’s arrests of Shaquanda Chalese Page, 28, and David White Jr., 26, according to police and court records.
Kayla Vaughn, spokesperson for the Lancaster Police Department, confirmed Page and White are the young girl’s parents.
Police responded Feb. 22 to a call at an apartment on Pardue Street and found the young girl unconscious, Vaughn said. She died at Medical University of South Carolina-Lancaster hospital. Police haven’t identified the girl, who was 14 months old.
The death led to an investigation by the S.C. Department of Social Services, Lancaster police, coroner officials, and the State Law Enforcement Division. SLED was involved because its child fatality team is required under South Carolina law to investigate all deaths of children under age 17 in the state.
Autopsy results show the young girl died from malnutrition and dehydration from neglect at the hands of her parents, according to Lancaster County Coroner Karla Knight-Deese and the arrest warrants.
The warrants state the child had not received any documented medical care since she was born.
Homicide by child abuse in South Carolina is defined as when, “the death occurs under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to human life,” or a person “knowingly aids and abets another person to commit child abuse or neglect.”
A conviction for homicide by child abuse in South Carolina carries a minimum of 20 years up to life in prison.
ALLEGATIONS OF CHILD ABUSE OF THE OTHER CHILDREN
In the warrants, police state the apartment where the family lived had insects in the rooms, human waste on the bedding and in the house, and dangerous electrical wires exposed to the children, according to the warrants. The apartment was “filthy” and did not have enough food for the children, according to the warrants.
The warrants also state the children who had growth, speech and development problems did not receive care from medical providers.
The six child abuse and neglect charges are felonies that carry up to 10 years in prison for each conviction, South Carolina law shows.
SUSPECTS REMAIN JAILED
Both Page and White were denied bond after initial appearances in court in Lancaster County over the weekend, records show. They remain in the Lancaster County jail, officials with the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said.
White is being represented by the 6th Circuit Public Defender’s Office. Chief Public Defender Mike Lifsey said Monday his office has not yet received discovery of investigation materials from police and prosecutors in the case. Lifsey declined to comment on the specifics of the case, but said his office would do its own parallel investigation of the charges.
It remains unclear if Page, the mother, has requested a court-appointed lawyer in the case or plans to hire a private attorney.