Missouri Couple Charged With Fatally Starving Their 6-Week-Old Baby Boy

The child's father told police he thought the mother was feeding the baby while he was away at work.

A Missouri couple has been arrested in connection with the death of their infant son who died from starvation and malnutrition in February.

Phillip Thomas Leon Compton, 31, and Jessica Alice Cook, 33, both of Crystal City, were charged Friday with abuse or neglect of a child resulting in death. Their 6-week-old son, Kanaan Leon Compton, weighed just 5 pounds when he was pronounced dead, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

At the time of his death, Kanaan weighed less than he did when he was born, with over a pound of weight being lost in the final month of his life.

The child’s condition was first observed when paramedics and police were called to the couple’s home after Kanaan was having trouble breathing. Less than an hour later, he died.

Although the child appeared extremely emaciated, Kanaan’s father told investigators he believed the baby was thin “due to him and Ms. Cook both being very skinny,” according to a police report.

Compton also revealed his son had not had a bowel movement in more than five days. The boy’s father was under the impression that Cook made an appointment with doctors, but he later learned those visits were canceled. 

An attorney for Compton told the Post-Dispatch that the baby’s father had no idea his wife wasn’t feeding the baby regularly.

“He worked full time and was only assuming his wife was feeding his child,” attorney Lenny Kagan told the local newspaper. “He is a first-time parent and a good guy. His life has been turned upside down. It’s 100 percent tragic accident. Phillip is devastated. The family is devastated.”

Although Compton seemingly passed off the responsibility to his wife, he was also named in the police report for caring for his son on the morning authorities responded to the couple’s home. Additionally, Compton stayed in bed when the baby produced “unfamiliar choking noises,” according to court records.

Cook, who did not have an attorney listed in court records, remained jailed Tuesday after a judge set bail for her and Compton at $50,000 cash, the Post-Dispatch reports.

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