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Police: Parents Charged In Starvation Death Of 3-Year-Old Girl

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Paul Kurtz Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a Philadelphia native who has been working as a reporter...
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By Paul Kurtz, Ian Bush, Walt Hunter, Elizabeth Hur

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The parents of a three-year-old Philadelphia girl, who only weighed 11 pounds at the time of her death, have been charged with murder.

Carmen Ramirez and Carlos Rivera, parents of Nathalyz Rivera, have been charged in her murder. Rivera weighed only 11 pounds when she died.

Wearing bio-hazard suits and masks, crime scene investigators tried to search the West Oak Lane home of the three-year-old, where according to police, she died from starvation.

Once inside, however, investigators found the home strewn with trash. They say it was so filthy and deplorable they actually had to call in the fire department to use their ladder to take pictures from the outside.

Officials say Nathalyz Rivera weighed only 11 pounds when she was admitted to Einstein Medical Center overnight Sunday into Monday. A normal three-year-old weighs 25 to 36 pounds.

Philadelphia Homicide Captain James Clark called it one of the worst cases of child malnutrition he has ever seen.

Investigators say the girl, who had severe disabilities, was brought to the hospital by a private vehicle and died about 2 a.m., shortly after being admitted to the emergency room.

Homicide detectives interviewed relatives at the family home on the 7300 block of Sommers Road in West Oak Lane (photo), and also visited a second location nearby, in the 6500 block of Ogontz Avenue.

“To hear something like this happen, it’s really sad when children are concerned,” said neighbor Anetta Dangerfield.

Capt. Clark said the girl’s father, after noticing the girl was unresponsive, called the girl’s mother rather than 911 before bringing the girl to the hospital.

Investigators say the girl’s father, 30-year-old Carlos Rivera (below right), was taken into custody at Front Street and Duncannon Avenue without incident.

(Carlos Rivera.  Photo from Phila. PD)

(Carlos Rivera. Photo from Phila. PD)

The couple’s four other children — ages nine, eight, seven, and a twin of the three-year-old girl who died — were placed in the custody of children’s welfare services.

Neighbors told reporters that nothing at the home on Sommers Road ever caused a raised eyebrow. They say that other children at the home appeared well-fed and they have often seen the parents carrying groceries into the home.

“They usually stayed inside the house. They weren’t as social as the rest of the kids in the neighborhood were,” said neighbor Furman Pace.

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