PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 32 year old woman has been ordered held for trial in the starvation death of her two month old son and for allegedly endangering his twin brother who was dehydrated and underfed, but survived after hospitalization. The mother was living in a Philadelphia shelter with her six children.

It was just two days before Christmas, when defendant Tanya Williams says she woke up early to find little Quasir Alexander did not appear to be breathing.

Williams told police his eyes were wide open and there was a little cry, like a squeak, then his head fell back. She says she fed him regularly, but the Medical Examiner has testified there was virtually no food or nourishment in his body. He weighed less than four pounds. The surviving twin weighed just over 6 pounds.

“This case is about a parent utterly failing in her duty of care. All she had to do was feed those children,’ said Prosecutor Jacqueline Coelho.

The defense says there was no intent to kill. They claim Williams, impoverished with six children, was ill and the children were struggling physically. The defense says she was doomed to fail and the children were doomed to fail.

The family had been getting social services and authorities say the investigation continues to determine if others should also be held responsible.

Reported by Tony Hanson, KYW Newsradio

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