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updated: 5/18/2014 11:19 AM

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

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  • Markisha Jones and Gene Edwards

    Markisha Jones and Gene Edwards

  • This is the house on the 100 block of South Hager Avenue in Barrington where Markisha Jones and Gene Edwards lived with their twin 7-month-old daughters at the time of Mya's death.

      This is the house on the 100 block of South Hager Avenue in Barrington where Markisha Jones and Gene Edwards lived with their twin 7-month-old daughters at the time of Mya's death.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer


Bond was set at $250,000 each for the parents of a 7-month-old girl who died of malnutrition and starvation Jan. 8 in Barrington.

Markisha Jones, 19, and Gene Edwards, 22, Bolingbrook High School graduates, appeared at a bond hearing Saturday at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse, 2650 S. California Ave., Chicago, on charges of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment.

According to Assistant State's Attorney Alissa Grissom, soon after noon on Jan. 8, Edwards noticed that his infant daughter Mya wasn't moving or breathing in her crib in the basement of a Barrington house he shared with a cousin and his girlfriend. He called 911.

Paramedics arrived and they found the infant's limbs to be "stiff" and "thin." They pronounced the infant dead after lifesaving efforts failed to revive her.

Paramedics transported Mya's twin sister, Mia, to Good Sheperd Hospital for evaluation. There, officials determined that Mia was suffering from malnutrition and transported the infant to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge for treatment.

Authorities reported that the twins hadn't been seen by a doctor since July or August, and that Jones and Edwards failed to appear at medical appointments with the twins.

The assistant state's attorney's report stated that starting on Nov. 1, the twins were taken off formula and fed bottles filled only with water, cereal and baby food, and that Jones would leave the babies alone downstairs for long periods of time, occasionally checking on them.

The report said that in October, Edwards and Jones were offered an upstairs bedroom, but the parents opted to keep their daughters in the basement, heated by a space heater. Prosecutors characterized the basement as looking like a "dungeon."

Edwards would spend long periods of time upstairs playing video games with his cousin and Jones would join him, leaving the infants alone for long periods of time, prosecutors said.

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.

In March, the Department of Children and Family Services, which has taken custody of Mia, reported she was in a foster home, though her parents retained supervised visitation rights. She turned 1 earlier this month.

DCFS concluded the parents had neglected the twins, a determination that will be accessible to schools and other public institutions for the next 50 years, spokeswoman Karen Hawkins said. Hawkins said.

Jones and Edwards, recently residing in Bolingbrook, are expected to next appear in court on May 21.

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