Columbia couple accused of starving child in their care

January 4, 2013 

A Columbia man and woman have been charged with unlawful conduct toward a child after authorities found that a 12-year-old girl in their care was malnourished.

Eugene Coleman, 62, and Joe Ann Coleman , 57, were arrested Wednesday, Interim Columbia Police Chief Ruben Santiago said in a news release.

The CPD Special Victim’s Unit investigation determined that the girl was malnourished and underweight as a result of the couple’s conduct. She has been placed in foster care. the CPD said.

When taken into custody by child protective services, the child was 4 feet 2 inches tall and weighed 44 pounds, CPD spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said. That is well below the average range expected for a 12-year-old American child according to pediatric growth charts by the Centers for Disease Control.

-- Rachael Myers Lowe

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