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1 child dead, 2 others malnourished in Florida home

AP Photo_John Raoux (79)
Pinellas County Sheriff’s

Officials in Clearwater, Florida have arrested a couple after on child abuse charges after a child was found dead in their home.

33-year-old Ashley Ferguson and 34-year-old Matthew Ferguson were taken into custody on Thursday after authorities found that they were both responsible for the death of  one child and the malnutrition of two others.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s office say they initially started investigating the couple after they were called to the home in July of 2020 due to the report of an unresponsive child. The child was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities say they found two other children in the home who were so malnourished that they could not speak and could barely walk. Investigators say the children also suffered from rashes and bedsores.

During a police interview, Ashley admitted that the children’s primary food source was milk and that she never sought medical treatment for any of the children even though she told Matthew that she had.

The two surviving children where taken into custody where they underwent oral surgery and are currently undergoing feeding therapy. They are also scheduled to receive physical and speech therapy.

The couple has since been booked into the Pinellas County Jail on aggravated manslaughter and child neglect charges.

Ashley is being held without bail, while Matthew’s bail has been set at $40,000.