A July sentencing has been set for two parents who were living in Pella after authorities said their child was malnourished and tested positive for cocaine.
Stazia Marie Kirk, 20, of Cedar Rapids, and Zak Alerick Herman, 21, of Cedar Rapids, both entered guilty pleas to the charge of neglect of a dependent person. The charge is a class C felony and they'll face sentencing on July 18 in Marion County.
In court documents, a Pella Police Department investigator said he began an investigation when the child in question was three months old. The case was opened Dec. 17, 2018, at the child’s residence in Pella.
The child was born on Sept. 22, 2018, at a weight of 7 pounds, 4.4 ounces, according to court filings. By Dec. 16, 2018, the child was admitted to a Cedar Rapids emergency room at a weight of 6 pounds, 13 ounces. The next day, the child was transferred to the University of Iowa emergency room weighing 6 pounds, 5 ounces.
The investigator in court filings said the child’s grandparents were concerned with the child’s condition and urged parents to seek medical attention — even offering to cover the cost.
One of the grandparents noted it appeared the soft spot on the child’s head “dipped in” and that ribs protruded from the child’s body. The child was admitted with dehydration, being “skeletal in appearance” and not responding to external stimulation.
Forensic testing also indicated the presence of cocaine on the child. Both parents admitted to cocaine use before the child’s admittance into the hospital, according to court documents.
The child was placed into care by the Department of Human Services and as of Feb. 8, 2019, weighed 13 pounds, 4 ounces, according to court filings.
Kyle Ocker can be reached at email@example.com or by calling the newsroom in Centerville at 641-856-6336.