Iowa couple receives 3-year probation after dehydrated infant found with cocaine in system

An Iowa couple was sentenced to three years of probation last Thursday after their then-3-month-old baby girl tested positive for cocaine, according to the Des Moines Register

In May, Zak Herman, 21, and Stazia Kirk, 20, of Pella, Iowa, pleaded guilty to felony neglect of a dependent person. In addition to their probation, both were given suspended 10-year prison sentences but had their child endangerment charges dismissed. 

Herman and Kirk's baby was born in September, but the child was taken to a hospital just three months later following a significant weight loss, court records show. The infant originally weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces — by December, however, she reportedly weighed just 6 pounds, 13 ounces. Records further reveal that, at the time of the child's second hospital visit, a doctor told investigators that the dehydrated girl was "at significant risk of death" without medical intervention and that her kidneys and liver were severely damaged. 

The couple's baby was immediately taken to another hospital and later removed from their care after charges were brought against them, the Register notes. 

When a detective interviewed the young pair that winter, the two had allegedly provided differing accounts of how much sleep their girl had and how much she was fed. One social worker reportedly told the detective that the baby was so dehydrated that she could not produce tears, even though she was emotionally distressed.

According to a criminal complaint, Kirk's parents additionally told police that the baby's ribs protruded to the point that one could feel her bones and that her skin was "hanging" off of her body. The infant also tested positive for cocaine, which her parents had admitted using, records show. 

Fortunately, the infant was discharged 10 days following her second visit to the hospital, the Register reports. She purportedly returned to her birth weight after she was treated and has since gained several more pounds. 

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