MONTEREY COUNTY, Ohio – An Ohio couple have been charged with crimes in connection to starving their two young children after authorities said the boy and girl were found severely malnourished and underweight.
Dustin William Shade, 25, and Maleah Renee Henry-Reed, 20, who is currently pregnant, have been identified as the suspects. They face charges of child endangerment causing serious harm, child endangerment as a parent, and tampering with evidence, Law&Crime reported.
“These defendants were literally starving these children to death,” Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said during a press conference last week.
On Tuesday, January 17, Henry-Reed took the couple’s 15-month-old girl to Hope Medical Center due to illness. She was subsequently transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at Dayton Children’s Hospital, while weighing less than 10 pounds, Heck said. That is about the weight a child should be at 15 weeks, not 15 months.
Authorities served a search warrant at the mother’s home. Police found Shade holding the couple’s 5-year-old son. The boy was so malnourished that he only weighed about 20 pounds, according to the prosecutor’s office.
The boy was also hospitalized in desperate need of medical treatment. Moreover, both children suffered unexplained bruising on their bodies, and the mother is currently pregnant with their third child, according to the press release.
“If not for the emergency medical treatment either or both of these children would have died and this is just unacceptable in our community,” Heck said. “It’s very difficult for one to believe that no one else saw those children. It’s hard to believe that no one else – neighbors, family members, especially over the holidays, that no one else ever noticed these severely underweight children and also that they never reported it to the authorities. These children deserve better.”
Officials said the abuse took place from Sept. 19, 2021 to Jan. 17, 2023.
Dustin Shade was booked at the Montgomery County Jail. He was arraigned earlier this week and is being held on $500,000 bond.
Henry-Reed posted bond and was released from custody. She is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 9.
The state filed a motion to retain custody of the two children and have the bond for each defendant increased to $1 million.