Couple indicted in child starvation case

Posted: Sunday, August 17, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) A Fort Richardson couple, accused of nearly starving their 4-year-old daughter to death, have been indicted on three counts each of felony assault, the Anchorage district attorney's office said Friday.

Juanita Kirkland, 25, is accused of depriving the little girl of food and water over a period of weeks or possibly months. Anthony Kirkland, 24, a soldier at Fort Richardson, is accused of the same crimes because he knew what was happening and failed to protect his daughter, the district attorney's office said.

Arraignment was scheduled for Monday in Anchorage Superior Court. The couple remain free on $2,500 bail apiece.

The child, identified as ''C.K.,'' was kept naked in a darkened, locked room, the district attorney's office said. The girl's 7-year-old brother helped her get milk occasionally, and she drank water from a toilet, the district attorney's office said.

Juanita Kirkland took her daughter in shock and semi-comatose to Elmendorf Air Force Base hospital on Feb. 13. The child weighed 22 pounds, when the average weight for a child that age is about 45 pounds.

The girl was transferred to Providence Children's Hospital, where doctors said she had been abused for weeks or months and could have died in a matter of hours, the district attorney's office said.

The Kirklands told investigators that they required their children to eat solid food before getting anything to drink, and if they did not eat everything, the children got nothing to drink, the district attorney's office.

The Kirklands' three children are now in foster care.

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