Prosecutor: Couple Starved, Tortured Child

DETROIT (WWJ) – A Highland Park couple has been charged with premeditated murder, first degree felony murder, child abuse and torture in the death of a four-year-old boy in their care.

The list of charges announced, Wednesday, by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy against Randy and Matilda Gardner, accused in the starving death of their nephew, Robert Byrd.

worthy kym abuse newser Prosecutor: Couple Starved, Tortured Child

(WWJ Photo/Stephanie Davis)

Worthy said it’s been very difficult taking in the facts of this case, which she described at “severe child abuse.”

“This child, upon presentation to the hospital, was three feet, one inch (tall), and weighed only 24 pounds, had multiple injuries, and the cause of death is starvation,” she told reporters.

Police said Byrd had been physically abused and burned, and had bedsores, bruises and cuts from a razor blade.  His body was found on Mother’s Day in a home police said had no beds, just blankets and a few pieces of furniture.

“The child in this case suffered… unspeakable acts, the likes of which we hadn’t seen in awhile. And we will prove in this case, beyond a reasonable doubt, that in fact these defendants were responsible for his death,” Worthy said.

Byrd’s aunt, who is his legal guardian, and his uncle were arrested Sunday.  If convicted, they could face life in prison without parole.

There were five other children in the home but police said they did not appear to have been abused.  They have been placed with Child Protective Services.


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