More Details Arise on Parents Charged with Homicide in Child’s Death
An investigation into the cause and manner of death regarding an 18-month-old female, who was taken to Guthrie Towanda Memorial Hospital on Feb. 23, led to the arrest of her parents, according to police reports and a criminal affidavit.
The investigation, initiated by the Criminal Investigation Unit members of the state police and the Bradford County Coroner’s Office, determined the cause of death was homicide.
Yesterday, June 10, charges were filed against the child’s parents, Ebed S. Delozier, 29, and Christine E. Delozier, 34, both of Wyalusing. The two have been charged with one count each of involuntary manslaughter, graded as a felony of the second degree, and endangering the welfare of children, graded as a felony of the third degree.
Both defendants were afforded a preliminary arraignment before Magisterial District Judge Timothy Clark and released on non-monetary bail. However, Ebed Delozier had an active bench warrant issued in the Bradford County Court of Common Pleas for his arrest.
As a result, he was remanded to the Bradford County Correctional Facility without bail pending a hearing before a Court of Common Pleas Judge.
According to a criminal affidavit from Magisterial District Judge Fred Wheaton’s Office, the couple was staying at a camper along Hiduk Road in Herrick Township, a property owned by the Hope Baptist Church. Ebed Delozier brought the toddler to the hospital, who was found to be in cardiac arrest.
Despite efforts made by the medical staff to save her, the child was pronounced dead a short time later. No immediate cause of death was noted.
Criminal investigators were told by a registered nurse on staff that the victim’s mother, Christine Delozier, and aunt, Rebecca Delozier, arrived at the hospital shortly after the victim. The nurse said that the victim’s parents made it clear they were against antibiotics and other chemicals associated with modern medicine.
While emergency room staff worked on the toddler, who was not breathing, the nurse said she overheard Christine Delozier making statements such as, “You’re putting holes in her” and, “You’re putting chemicals in her.”
The nurse said that while speaking with the family, they related the child had been sick for two weeks and was displaying symptoms consistent with an earache, headache and a fever. She told police the family indicated they had been treating the little girl with a homeopathic approach and were using herbal treatments to care for her.
The Deloziers also reportedly said they had financial difficulties and would not be able to pay the hospital bill.
An autopsy performed on March 26 at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, NY, conducted by Dr. James Terzian, indicated that the 18-month-old toddler had died of “streptococcus pneumoniae meningitis”, which caused a cerebral abscess and terminal cerebral edema. The meningitis reportedly originated in a left ear infection, which had been left untreated by conventional antibiotic therapy.
Dr. Terzian noted “a simple antibiotic would have saved the victim’s life.”
Based upon these findings, Bradford County Coroner Thomas Carman ruled the death as a homicide.
Interviews conducted with Christine Delozier on March 24 and March 30 found that her child had been born at home without the use of a midwife and from there on, had never seen a medical doctor, nor did she receive any vaccinations. She said her views against modern medicine stem from her childhood as she was raised without taking pills or receiving shots.
She told police she has done her own research on vaccinations and found they can be related to death, SIDS, autistic disorders, immune disorders and shaken baby syndrome. While her views are not religiously motivated, she said she does feel God is the ultimate healer.
Delozier admitted her daughter had been sick for approximately three weeks prior to her death, having a fever that varied between 99 and 103 degrees Fahrenheit and occasional vomiting.
She said the ear infection lasted for a couple of weeks and an abscess that eventually formed had ruptured and fluid drained from the toddler’s ear for approximately five days.
Delozier kept treating the child with natural and herbal treatments to boost her immune system. On the day of the toddler’s death, Delozier laid the little girl down for a nap. Roughly one hour later, she observed her daughter’s breathing to be labored and shallow, taking one breath approximately every 10 seconds. The toddler eventually stopped breathing and went limp.
“I watched her die,” Delozier told police.
She performed CPR on the victim for approximately 30 minutes, at which time Ebed Delozier arrived home and took the child to the emergency room.
Ebed, who was interviewed on the same days as his wife, told police he has similar views on modern medicine. Although, he said if he has been aware his daughter was so ill, he would have taken her to a doctor. Ebed related he had EMT training while he lived in Vermont.
In May, police investigators met with Dr. Paul Bellino, who is the director of the pediatric residency program at Geisinger-Janet Weis Children’s Hospital. Bellino reviewed the pathology report prepared by Dr. Terzian as well as the investigative details and photographs associated with the victim’s death. Bellino agreed the child could have been saved with a vaccination or simple antibiotic. The doctor also noted the victim appeared to be malnourished and dehydrated.
A preliminary hearing for the Deloziers is scheduled for June 16 at Judge Clark’s office.