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updated: 5/17/2014 2:51 PM

Parents' bond $250,000 in Barrington baby's starvation

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  • Markisha Jones and Gene Edwards

    Markisha Jones and Gene Edwards
    Courtesy of the Barrington Police Department

  • Barrington police and paramedics responded to the death of Mya G. Edwards Jan. 8 in a rented apartment inside this house on the 100 block of South Hager Avenue.

      Barrington police and paramedics responded to the death of Mya G. Edwards Jan. 8 in a rented apartment inside this house on the 100 block of South Hager Avenue.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer


A Cook County circuit court judge Saturday set bond at $250,000 each for a former Barrington couple charged with involuntary manslaughter and felony child endangerment in the Jan. 8 death from malnutrition of their 7-month-old daughter.

Prosecutors told the judge that Markisha Jones, 19, and Gene Edwards, 22, who have since moved to Bolingbrook, stopped feeding their twin daughters formula Nov. 1, instead giving them water, cereal and baby food.

The babies were left alone for long periods of time in the basement of a rented apartment in a single-family home on the 100 block of South Hager Avenue in Barrington where the couple was living, while the adults were upstairs, Edwards often playing video games with a cousin, prosecutors said.

Shortly after noon on Jan. 8, Edwards noticed Mya G. Edwards wasn't breathing and attempted to resuscitate the child while paramedics were summoned, prosecutors said.

Paramedics also unsuccessfully attempted to revive Mya on the dining room table, while taking her twin sister, Mia, to Good Shepherd Hospital. Because of her serious condition, Mia was immediately transferred to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, prosecutors said.

Edwards and Jones are next due in court on May 21.

Barrington Police announced the charges Friday night after a four-month investigation by the Cook County medical examiner's office determined Mya's death was a homicide due to malnutrition from starvation.

"At this point, I don't know why they did what they did," Barrington Police Chief David Dorn said Friday. "Our whole statement throughout this has been how incredibly sad it is."

Because Mia's physical condition was "concerning," she was taken into custody by the Department of Children and Family Services, authorities said. In March, DCFS reported she was in a foster home, though her parents retained supervised visitation rights at that time. She turned 1 earlier this month.

DCFS did its own investigation into Mya Edwards' death, which concluded the parents had neglected Mya and her surviving twin sister.

The police investigation of Mya's death was an entirely separate process, DCFS spokeswoman Karen Hawkins said. As a result, no criminal charges directly resulted from the DCFS finding.

Nevertheless, the DCFS determination that there was credible evidence the parents neglected the two girls will be accessible to schools and other public institutions for the next 50 years, Hawkins said.

Though this was the first contact DCFS had with the family regarding Mya, the agency did have one unfounded neglect report regarding the family from April 2013 -- the month before the twins were born.

DCFS also has an "indicated abuse" report from 2002 that involved a member of the extended family.

Both Jones and Edwards graduated from Bolingbrook High School.

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