“On admission, her weight was 25 pounds, which would be appropriate for a normal two-year-old,” the district attorney’s office for Jefferson and Gilpin Counties told Reuters in a statement. “Medical experts reportedly believed that her low weight was consistent with an insufficient diet despite plentiful food in the family home.”
Medical staff agreed that the girl’s condition “rose to the level of serious bodily injury,” the affidavit said, and one doctor said she was “on the edge of severe malnutrition where her organs would start to shut down.”
The girl’s parents, Jason and Katherine Barton, were subsequently charged with child abuse, according to the Denver Post.
According to the arrest affidavit, which was posted online by Westword, the Bartons admitted to keeping a lock on the fridge in the family’s Evergreen, Colo., house. In his interview with investigators, Jason Barton also mentioned that he made his daughter walk laps if she misbehaved.
“During staff’s interaction with Katie and Jason, they stated [name redacted] was ‘out of control’ and is not a social child,” the documents posted by Westword state. “When asking [name redacted] questions, she will look toward Katie prior to answering and Katie would tell [name redacted] to ‘tell the truth.’ At home, Katie and Jason say they must keep locks on the refrigerator and pantry because [name redacted] constantly eats and will not stop.”
Reuters, which also obtained the affidavit, reported:
The affidavit said Jason Barton later told police that the couple punished their daughter when she misbehaved by making her walk “laps” of their driveway in Evergreen, about 20 miles southwest of Denver.A witness, whose name was redacted in the investigator’s report, told police he had seen the girl crying as she ran up and down outside the home, and that he heard her father tell the child: “This is because you are stealing food.”
The Bartons eventually told investigators that they had withheld meals from the girl, but claimed they didn’t think she was being starved.
“Jason stated he and Katie were ‘jacka—-‘ for withholding meals from [name redacted] and Katie said if they needed to, she would sign papers to have [name redacted] placed somewhere to get the help she needed,” the documents state.
Jason Barton’s attorney declined to comment Tuesday, and a message left for Katherine Barton’s attorney was not immediately returned.
According to Westword:
Right now, the six-year-old and her siblings, who showed no signs of abuse, are being cared for under the auspices of Jefferson County social services. They’re said to be fine.
The parents are free on bond, and Fox affiliate KDVR reported that there have been threats made against the couple, whose address was redacted from the affidavit “for their own protection.”
A neighbor, Vance Bristow, told KDVR: “You just can’t explain things like that, people do things that are beyond any kind of logical explanation.” He added: “I’m glad that somebody found out. That’s the main thing, that this little girl can now be helped.”