GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon couple involved in online pornography was arraigned Wednesday on murder by abuse charges alleging they let their baby starve to death.
Stephen Michael Williams Jr., 26, and Amanda Marie Hancock, 21, of the small timber town of Glendale, are accused of causing the death of their 7-week-old son through neglect and maltreatment.
The two were ordered held without bail when they appeared in Douglas County Circuit Court in Roseburg, Deputy District Attorney Shannon Sullivan said.
No pleas were entered. Judge Stephen Tiktin authorized a court-appointed attorney, but the public defender’s office has not named the attorney yet, Sullivan added.
The charging document says the couple showed extreme indifference to human life in causing Data Toria Hancock’s death by failing to provide him adequate food and medical care.
Douglas County sheriff’s deputies said an ambulance was called to the couple’s home Jan. 22 for a report of a baby who had stopped breathing. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.
The couple was arrested Tuesday after an autopsy by the state medical examiner’s office showed the infant died of starvation.
A grand jury will hear the charges next week.
The couple’s 2-year-old son was taken into protective custody, Deputy Dwes Hutson said.
An affidavit filed by deputies says the parents told investigators they did pornography, which involved the mother self-lactating while others paid to watch online. Williams and Hancock said they fed the baby milk several times each day but never took him to a doctor.
“Stephen and Amanda both admitted there was no prenatal care, and they didn’t go to any doctor’s appointments after Data was born,” the probable-cause affidavit said.
Williams told investigators he thought the baby had lost some weight, but he didn’t call the doctor “because that was Amanda’s responsibility,” the document said. “This was the agreement they had made.”
Glendale is a town of about 875 people in southwestern Oregon timber country, which has struggled economically since national forest logging was sharply reduced in the 1990s to protect fish and wildlife. Leading employers include a wood products mill and public schools.