Daughter’s Death Allegedly Caused by Starvation
When police arrived at the Port Huron home of 25-year-old Andrew Maison, and his 27-year-old wife Hilery Maison, the last thing they expected to find was starving children. According to authorities, 5-year-old Mackenzie Maison and her 3-year-old sister, Makayla, were severely malnourished and dehydrated. According to one detective’s testimony, Makayla kept asking for water. She drank and drank, finishing five glasses of water before police finally removed her from the house.
Mackenzie, on the other hand, asked for nothing. She was unresponsive. Medical staff at the hospital where she was later pronounced dead, said that she had pneumonia, an infection, severe dehydration, was badly malnourished, and showed signs of abuse.
District Judge Michael Hulewicz has bound the couple over for trial on charges of child abuse, torture and open murder. “I find it difficult to understand,” he said, when addressing the court at the hearing, “how these defendants didn’t have the intent to do this. This court does find that there is probable cause on all of the counts.”
Port Huron police officer James Morgan spoke with the parents at their home when officers first arrived. He says that they told him that the girls were picky eaters, and that Mackenzie had stopped eating properly about three days before. But according to authorities, it would take much longer than three days to starve a child.
Dr. Daniel Spitz, the medical examiner for St. Clair County, provided testimony at the probable cause hearing. According to his examination of Mackenzie’s body, he believes that she was intentionally denied food over an extended period of time. “Malnutrition alone doesn’t occur in a day or two days or, really, in a week,” he explained to the court. “Malnutrition is more a prolonged type of a process. I think I can say this child was malnourished over a period of months and, more likely, years.”
But what makes this situation so much stranger than a simple, open-and-shut child abuse or child death case, are the other two children. A 1- and 10-year-old child lived in the same home, with the same parents, and were in perfect health. “These children were dying in front of these defendants,” said Assistant Prosecutor Mona Armstrong, when talking about the two little girls, “and they did absolutely nothing, while they are taking adequate and appropriate care of the other two children.”
Makayla was hospitalized after she was removed from the home, however authorities say that she is now doing much better with signs of improvement in her health. She has since been released and placed in a foster home. The other two children, however, who were perfectly healthy, were simply removed by the state and placed in foster care. It remains to be seen how this baffling case will unfold and what consequences the parents face.