The parents of a severely disabled girl were arrested on suspicion of murder and child abuse, accused of letting the 15-year-old starve to death.
The girl, Lindsay Gentry, was 4 feet 8 inches tall and weighed about 50 pounds when she died in early 1996, and authorities did not suspect wrongdoing until a family friend reported that the girl was mistreated, setting off a complex, two-year medical investigation.The inquiry led to the arrests Thursday of Kathleen Gentry, 44, and her husband, Michael, 54, at their home in Lake Los Angeles, a desert community northeast of Los Angeles. They were jailed in lieu of $1 million bail each.
"It was initially considered a natural death," said Lt. Ray Peavy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. "After the girl had died and been buried, we learned that she had been the victim of child abuse and had not received the proper treatment. We strongly believe that her death was caused by neglect."
Lindsay Gentry died Feb. 6, 1996, at Kaiser Foundation Hospital where she had been hospitalized for pneumonia and marasmus, a condition of progressive ema-ci-ation.
Kathleen Gentry discussed her daughter in an interview with the Daily News in February, saying the complications of Lindsay's disabilities prompted neighbors and school officials to call the Department of Children and Family Services and file almost two dozen abuse complaints - all groundless - against the family.
"Every time she fell and bruised herself they said it was child abuse," she said in an unpublished interview. "I went through this for nine years. I'm open and honest; I have nothing to hide."