Police say children in Huntsville starvation case weighed 13 and 15 pounds

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The preliminary autopsy of the 3-year-old who died in Huntsville says the cause of death was starvation, according to testimony at Ashley Catron's preliminary hearing Thursday.

She is charged, along with her husband Frederick Frink, with aggravated child abuse of two children under 6.

Police say that the 3-year-old and 4-year-old found at the house on Maple Ridge Blvd on July 23rd weighed 13 and 15 pounds. According to a report, the parents, including Ashley Catron did not believe in doctors and tried to nourish the children with Pediasure.

Emergency crews responded to a 911 call at 125 Maple Ridge Blvd for a 3-year-old boy described as "unresponsive." Huntsville police say paramedics were unable to revive the child and he passed away at Huntsville Hospital.  Huntsville Police Department investigator Jay Johnson said the house smelled of urine and that the children slept in cribs with dirty sheets that were soiled by blood, urine and feces. Catron was a stay-at-home mother. Frink worked for TVA, according to testimony.

Officials say the 4-year-old has a long road to recovery.

The two charged with aggravated child abuse are 34-year-old Frederick Antony Frink and 36-year-old Ashley Elizabeth Catron.

The case will now move to a grand jury.

A prosecutor, who regularly handles crimes involving kids, says the condition of 3-year-old and 4-year-old is ‘haunting’.

Frink waived his preliminary hearing Wednesday and his case was bound over to a grand jury.  He also asked the court to reduce his bond from $200,000 to between $5,000 and $30,000.

District Judge Patti Demos denied the bond reduction request and issued a pointed order refusing the request.

"Defendant has two cases charging the offenses of aggravated child abuse. The allegations involve the starvation death of one child and the serious physical injury of another young child by starvation. Both children were in the care and custody of the Defendant and were under the age of six years old. Although the Defendant has no prior criminal history, the Court finds that the nature of the offense charged, the apparent probability of conviction and the likely sentence would contribute to a substantial risk of nonappearance. Therefore the Defendant's motion to reduce bond is hereby DENIED."

 

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