Starvation trial continues
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 18, 2005
MIAMI (AP) &045; A dying 6-month-old baby who had been on a raw food diet looked like a starving famine victim, a police officer testified on Tuesday in the manslaughter and child neglect trial of the infant’s parents.
Homestead Officer Robert B. Brown told a jury that he saw Woyah Andressohn lying on a blanket on the floor of an apartment after he responded to a frantic 911 call placed the night of May 14, 2003, by her parents, Joseph and Lamoy Andressohn.
The baby’s arms and legs were rail-thin and her belly was distended, Brown said. Trash and clothes were littered around the apartment along with orange peels and other bits of food, he said.
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The baby’s condition, he said, &8220;looked like something you might see in a National Geographic magazine, in an African country or a Third World country,&8221; Brown testified as the nine-person jury was shown enlarged pictures of Woyah.
Prosecutors say the Andressohns starved the baby to death by feeding her a diet of wheat grass, coconut water and almond milk. The couple is also charged with neglect in the treatment and feeding of their other four children, who have been living with a relative under state supervision.
Under questioning from the Andressohns’ attorneys, Brown admitted that he did not attempt to administer aid to Woyah the night she died and instead waited for emergency medical personnel to arrive while preserving the apartment scene for Miami-Dade homicide detectives. Woyah was pronounced dead on May 15, 2003, at Homestead Hospital.
Barrar and his fellow defense lawyer, Ellis Rubin, contend that the Andressohns were targeted in a rush to judgment based on part on their alternative lifestyle, including their desire to feed themselves and their children only natural raw foods. They also say that Woyah suffered from a congenital condition _ lack of a thymus gland needed to build an immune system _ that led to her death.
Two of the Andressohns’ other children are scheduled to testify in the case Wednesday about how their parents forced them to undergo enemas and sometimes whipped them if they ate the wrong foods. The children will appear in court via video hookup, with television networks agreeing to obscure their faces.
The Andressohns each face more than 17 years in prison if convicted on charges of aggravated manslaughter and child neglect. Their trial is expected to last about two weeks.