PORT HURON (WWJ/AP) – A malnourished, abused 5-year-old girl has died, police said Wednesday, and authorities have removed another severely malnourished child and two other apparently healthy children from the southeastern Michigan home where she was found.
The dead girl’s 27-year-old father and 25-year-old stepmother were arrested and were being held pending charges, Port Huron public safety director Chief Michael Reaves told reporters Wednesday afternoon.
“There is evidence of foul play present at the scene. We are treating this as a homicide investigation,” Reaves said.
Port Huron police said they responded to a home around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday after receiving a report of an unresponsive child. The girl was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Reaves said investigators are awaiting autopsy results.
Three other children under 11-years-old were removed from the home, police said. Two were placed in foster care, and a third was hospitalized for malnourishment, police said.
The dead girl and the hospitalized child “had severe signs of malnourishment and dehydration,” Reaves said. Their condition was “pretty bad. Seasoned investigators looked at this and shook their heads.”
Reaves said there had been minor issues at the home before, but no prior child abuse issues.
“At this time we have not uncovered any history of ongoing (Michigan Children’s Protective Services) concerns at that residence or with those children,” Reaves said.
He said the other two children “appear to be fine.”
Frank Hawkins, who said he was the dead girl’s grandfather, was sitting in front of the house after police told him the girl was dead, The Times Herald reported.
“I’m just in total shock,” Hawkins said. “I need to go wake up my wife and tell her that our granddaughter is dead.”
Neighbor Ben Gonzales said the couple “pretty much kept to themselves. I didn’t even know they had any little girls over there.”
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