published: Friday, January 25, 2013
Couple who starved baby charged with manslaughter
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
AVON PARK -- Sandra Michelle Jackson, 25, and Kyle Rupert, 22, already charged with child abuse and in custody, have additionally been charged with aggravated manslaughter for the death of their son, Milo Rupert, 10 months of age at the time of his death in July 2012.
Taken into custody on Jan. 8 and 10, 2013 respectively, Jackson and Rupert will remain in the Highlands County Jail under no bond.
Jackson and Rupert were each intially charged with child neglect causing great harm and child neglect without great harm.
Wednesday's charge against both suspects is aggravated manslaughter of a child.
The added charges come as a result of the medical examiner's report released Wednesday.
The autopsy revealed the cause of Milo's death to be "underfeeding" and neglect.
The dire situation at 1024 Hal Mcrae Loop was discovered on July 7, 1012 after a 911 medical call about an unresponsive child.
When the police and county medical service arrived they found Milo dead in appalling conditions. There were three other children in the house -- 2, 3, and 4 years old. Those children were immediately removed.
The delay between the incident in the summer of 2012 and the arrests on Jan 8 and 10, said Lt. Darin Hood, chief of HCSO criminal investigations, was that once the children were out of danger the focus was building an air tight case. That included the collecting of evidence and interviewing people with knowledge about the situation. The forensic evidence, in particular, took time to process.
There was no great hurry because it was important to dot every I and cross every T, according to Nell Hays, HCSO public information officer.
While initially the incident was handled by the Avon Park Police Department, the Highlands County Sheriff's Office took over the investigation at the time of the consolidation. The same detective assigned to the case then, Nathan Coogan, is now a detective with the HCSO. He has handled the investigation from the beginning.
In a press release Wednesday Sheriff Susan Benton said, "This is one of the worst neglect cases I have seen in many years. The conditions in which this child and the other siblings were found is horrific. A roach infested home, roaches feeding on the children, lack of food, no real adult supervision, children left in their rooms for long periods of time while adults played video games, were just some of the conditions that lead to the infant's death.
"Please, I implore you. Report any suspicion of child abuse or neglect," Benton begs.
Call law enforcement at 402-7200 or call the hotline at 1-800-96 ABUSE.
manslaughter? REALLY? (by: offgrid50 - 1/30/2013)
I agree with Lady B, WHY? When are we going to stop slapping parents like this on the hand? Next thing we will read is they have drug problems or mental health problems and it is not their fault. Also if other people knew these children were living like this and did nothing? maybe they should be arrested.
manslaughter? (by: Lady B - 1/26/2013)
Why isn't this murder? The couple willingly and knowingly neglected this child to death. Isn't his life worth more in the eyes of the law? Where's the justice for Milo??
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