An Oregon couple involved in online pornography have been arrested on charges of murder by abuse after an autopsy determined their 7-week-old son died of starvation.
Douglas County sheriff’s deputies said Wednesday that Stephen Michael Williams Jr., 26, and Amanda Marie Hancock, 21, of Glendale, were arrested Tuesday at their home in the small town of Glendale.
Prosecutors allege the couple showed extreme indifference to human life by causing the death of Data Toria Hancock through neglect and maltreatment by failing to provide adequate food and medical care.
The two were to be arraigned Wednesday. Conviction of murder carries a mandatory sentence of life in prison.
The couple’s 2-year-old son was taken into protective custody, Deputy Dwes Hutson said.
An affidavit filed by deputies says the parents told investigators they did pornography, which involved the mother self-lactating while others paid to watch online. The two also said they fed the baby milk several times each day but never took him to a doctor, despite signs he was losing weight.
“Stephen and Amanda both admitted there was no prenatal care, and they didn’t go to any doctor’s appointments after Data was born,” the probable-cause affidavit said.
Williams told investigators he thought the baby had lost some weight, but he didn’t call the doctor “because that was Amanda’s responsibility,” the document said. “This was the agreement they had made.”
Deputy District Attorney Shannon Sullivan said attorneys would be appointed by the court for Williams and Hancock. Otherwise, Sullivan said she had no comment.
Glendale is a town of about 875 people in southwestern Oregon timber country, which has struggled economically since national forest logging was sharply reduced in the 1990s to protect fish and wildlife. Leading employers include a wood products mill and public schools.
The affidavit says an ambulance was called to the couple’s home Jan. 22 to treat an infant who had stopped breathing. Efforts to revive the baby were unsuccessful.
An autopsy performed at the state medical examiner’s office determined the baby died of starvation, authorities said.