Criminal charges were dismissed yesterday against the Illinois parents accused of allegedly ordering hospital personnel to starve their severely deformed Siamese twins to death.
Dr. Bob Mueller and his wife, Pamela, of Danville, Ill., were indicted on attempted murder charges last month along with their family doctor, Petra Warren, who had helped deliver the babies.
The indictment came after testimony by hospital nurses who claimed that the Muellers and Warren insisted that the babies be given no food, water or medical attention. One nurse testified that when the babies were fed they were given only a pacifier with sugar water to stop their crying. The Muellers, at that time, were denied custody of the twins.
After a preliminary hearing yesterday, Circuit Judge Richard E. Scott dismissed the charges, ruling that there was insufficient evidence against the Muellers and their physician.
The Muellers and Warren could not be reached for comment.
Defense attorney James Borbely, however, said, "We feel good about this. But no one will be making a statement. It's been our position, that this is a private matter."
The attorney also declined comment on the prognosis for the twins, who have been under observation for two months at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Hospital personnel also refused to comment, saying only that the twins were "stable."
According to Danville's local paper, The Commercial News, a confidential report at Children's Memorial said that if a separation were attempted the twins would die.The life expectancy of the infants is unknown.
The twins, the Muellers' first children, were born May 5 at Danville's Lakeview Medical Center. They shared the lower body and three legs. One of them continuously struggled for breath.
In the first few days after they were born, a nurse testified, "The mother comes in and holds them and cries and cries."
The case came to the attention of the public after authorities received an anonymous tip, reportedly from a nurse.Illinois Children and Family Services took custody of the children, though the parents have unlimited visitation rights.
A final custody hearing is pending.