BELLEFONTE — A Boalsburg woman is accused of starving her baby to the point the girl weighed 17 pounds when she was 2 years old — below the fifth percentile on the U.S. growth index for children her age.
Penny Mason, 36, has been charged with child endangerment and reckless endangerment.
On Wednesday, Mason waived the charges to court for trial.
State College police said Mason lost custody of her daughter in August 2010, when the girl weighed 17 pounds. The girl was taken to Geisinger Medical Center, where tests determined she was dehydrated and malnourished.
“There are no organic reasons the child was so undernourished other than starvation, and it is going to take some time for the child to gain more weight because the impact of the starvation was so severe and harsh on her tiny body,” District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said Wednesday.
Defense attorney Karen Muir said the child has gained little weight while in custody of Children and Youth Services and said there was a four-month period where the child didn’t gain any weight.
“There has to be something more with this child where she was not gaining weight,” Muir said.
Muir said she hopes to hire a pediatrics expert.
Police said medical records show the first time Mason took her infant to the doctor after she was born in May 2008 was for a tick bite that occurred in October 2008. Mason took the child back to doctor in February 2009 for an ear infection, and a doctor told her the child was malnourished, police said.
At the time, the baby was almost 9 months old and weighed a little more than 12 pounds, police said.
Police said Mason followed the doctor’s orders to come back for two more weight checks, but Mason didn’t follow up with two more after that.
Mason told police that she didn’t like the doctor so she didn’t follow his advice.
Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT