Prosecutors: Boy who received heart transplant died after parents failed to give him medicine

A Lake County couple are facing felony charges alleging they neglected to give their 11-year-old son necessary medication after he received a lifesaving heart transplant four years ago, leading to his death last year, authorities said.

David Stroud, 41, and Jennifer Stroud, 36, of Park City each pleaded not guilty Thursday morning to two counts of endangering the life of a child.

Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Eric Kalata said the couple could be sentenced to prison for up to five years if found guilty. Probation also would be possible.

Their son, Jason Stroud, was a sixth-grader at Woodland Middle School in Gurnee when he died Sept. 11 at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

Jason had received a heart transplant when he was 7 years old at a children's hospital in Milwaukee, Kalata said.

According to a GoFundMe online fundraising page established in August by Jennifer Stroud, Jason had eight open heart surgeries and 20 surgical procedures before receiving the heart transplant May 6, 2012.

In June 2015, the family switched hospitals and were expected to make regular visits to Lurie Hospital, according to authorities. However, after several hospital appointments were missed between December 2015 and August, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was contacted to check Jason's well-being, authorities said.

Attorneys said in court Thursday that Jason's body began rejecting the donor heart because daily medication he was supposed to take had not been administered by his parents.

The GoFundMe page states Jason was hospitalized Aug. 23.

“We have now found 2 very rare genes from the donor heart he received, his heart is in complete rejection/failure due to coronary artery disease,” Jennifer Stroud wrote on the website.

The couple were indicted Jan. 8 by a Lake County grand jury, Kalata said. They turned themselves in to police Jan. 10.

Jennifer Stroud was released from the Lake County jail after posting the required 10 percent of her $75,000 bail. David Stroud remains in jail on the same bail amount.

Defense attorney LaTonya Burton asked Thursday that David Stroud's bail be lowered because he is not accused of committing a violent crime.

In response, Kalata argued Stroud “had an obligation — both morally and legally — to properly obtain treatment for his child.”

Judge Daniel Shanes rejected the request to lower bail.

“The allegations are, by your actions or inactions, your son died. Those are serious charges,” Shanes said.

David Stroud is due back in court March 16, while Jennifer Stroud returns to court March 23.

Jennifer Stroud, 36, of Park City
David Stroud, 41, of Park City
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