Physician testifies to malnutrition of children

Date: 2009-07-21

By Lynne P. Shackleford

The physician who treated three children whose former custodians are on trial for felony child neglect told a jury Tuesday that the young boys were so emaciated their lives were in danger.

Prosecutors continued presenting their case Tuesday against a Lyman couple who face three counts each of felony child abuse and child neglect. A neighbor testified that he was worried about the boys when he hadn't seen them playing outside in a couple of weeks and went to the home of Scott and Molly McCurry on July 13, 2006. The boys, biological nephews of Molly McCurry who had been placed with the couple, were "very little, skinny," so much so that the man notified police, who placed the children in emergency protective custody. The boys, then ages 7, 8 and 5, were treated at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center.

Dr. Kristi Wolske treated the boys early the following morning and testified that the youngest weighed 19 pounds, about half of the expected weight of a normal 5-year-old. The 7-year-old weighed 32 pounds, about 20 pounds less than a normal child of the same age and the 8-year-old child weight 39.5 pounds. A normal 8-year-old would weigh about 55 pounds, she said. All children had bruises and abrasions on their body, with marks around their wrists consistent with having been tied to a bed. One of the children testified on Monday that the McCurrys tied him and his brothers to their bunk beds regularly.

The boys also had lice, she said, and their hair was thin and coarse, consistent with chronic malnutrition.

"Clearly, the children had restricted access to food, consistent with being starved," she said. "There's no other word for it."

The boys have since recovered physically and had no signs of a genetic disorder that would cause their declined physical condition, she said.

The state will continue presenting its case when court resumes at 2 p.m.


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