Couple leave child to starve due to online game

Couple leave child to starve due to online game
Published: 2013 October 13 08:35:16 (11433 Views)
An Oklahoma couple spent more time playing a computer video game than caring for their 3-year-old daughter — who was found weighing just 13 pounds (5.8kg), police said.

Mark Knapp, 48, and his 33-year-old wife, Elizabeth Pester, were collared for child abuse and neglect on Wednesday, after they left the starved child at a hospital and went back to their Tulsa home to go back to playing the online game,  KOTV reported.

"She weighs 13 pounds. She's not able to walk, she's not able to move and she has very limited vocal skills," Detective Danielle Bishop told the news station.

Investigators believe the couple spent so much time playing with their avatars in a life-simulation video game that they let their daughter starve. The child was expected to survive.

And it wasn't the first time authorities had to take the child away from the couple for alleged neglect, according to court papers obtained by the news station.

The papers show the state's Department of Human Services took the child into custody in 2010 — when she was just a few weeks old — after they found Knapp and Pester weren't spending time with the child, who was having feeding issues.

The little girl was returned to the parents in 2011, but was taken to a hospital malnourished just a couple of months later.

Officials ordered a therapist to visit the couple once a week and weigh the child during each session, court papers show.



Pester allegedly requested to keep the visits limited to the afternoon hours, because she claimed to have a late-night gig as a deejay.

When officials found the famished child this week, they learned that the job Pester mentioned was only a computer game in which she played a deejay.

Investigators found that the child had only been weighed twice in a five-month period since she was returned home, court papers allege.

Knapp and Pester went back to their house "after a couple of hours of waiting" at the hospital, where their daughter was being treated on Wednesday, Tulsa World reported.

Pester allegedly told medical staff that she would return the next day, even though the parents lived just three miles away.

Cops went to the couple's home, where they found the pair playing the computer game, the paper reported.

Knapp asked the officers if they were visiting to tell them that the little girl had died.

The cops told them that the child was alive and cuffed them on the child abuse and neglect charges.

They were each being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.



Source - NYDN

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