ST. LOUIS - The 6-year-old boy was starved to death by his dad and stepmom was already dead when his dad brought him to the hospital Friday, State’s Attorney Ben Goetten said.
That prompted an investigation, which led authorities to Michael and Georgena Roberts’ Jerseyville, Illinois, home, where they found a 7-year-old boy also starving. He was taken to the ICU and is improving, Goetten said.
Family members identified the 6-year-old who died as Liam.
Prosecutors said the abuse started nearly two years ago.
DCFS reports they investigated a hotline call in January 2016 that said there wasn’t enough food in the home, but a pediatric specialist said Liam’s low weight at the time was caused by a medical condition. The department cleared the claim as unfounded.
Liam died Friday, weighing just 17 pounds.
Five On Your Side has asked repeated follow-up questions about that hotline call, but the department says it won’t release more information for privacy reasons.
Child advocates say this case highlights the need for those who look out for kids, especially when their parents don’t. Former St. Louis County Family Court Administrative judge Susan Block says there aren’t enough resources for the people who do that work.
“And I think that's a really important thing. Are we really spending sufficient amounts of funds to train the people that go out into these homes for what to look for, when to follow up, and when to get in touch with the court?” she said.
Michael and Georgina Roberts are each charged with first-degree murder and endangering the life and health of a child.