Parents Remain Behind Bars in Child Death

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VERMILION, Ohio – The parents of a child who died in November remain locked up at the Erie County Jail on child endangerment and involuntary manslaughter charges.

James Brothers, 33, and Adrienne Bartholomew, 35, are accused of starving their 18-month-old son, Isaac, who died in their Risden Road home. 

“[A] very sad situation, [it] didn't have to happen,” said Chief Deputy Jared Oliver on Monday.  Oliver is the lead investigator who said there were seven kids living in the house, including the deceased child.

"This is somewhat unique,” said Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter.  “Obviously in my years, 20-some years as a prosecutor, I've seen some very tragic cases, tragic cases involving children but this is certainly a unique situation.”

According to Baxter, the parents and the paternal grandmother, 62-year-old Deborah Nelson, who has also been charged, failed to properly take care of the child who died.  They’re also accused of endangering Bartholomew and Brothers’ six other children, some who required hospitalization for malnourishment.

“It seems like there were some issues with medical care and I think that's what this case revolves around, proper medical care,” said Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth.

Authorities said the 18-month-old was kept in a baby play area. 

“It wasn’t a crib, it was actually one of those portable playpen areas,” said Chief Deputy Oliver.  “There was a feeding tube arrangement set-up next to it with an IV drip machine, medical supplies in the residence, some IV lines with really, nothing more than formula and some syringes, things of that sort.”

Brothers, Bartholomew and Nelson were arrested on Monday night at Nelson’s Sanford Street home. 

“They didn't seem remorseful to me,” said Oliver.

A neighbor who lives across the street said her children were startled by the police presence on Monday. 

“They’ve only been there for six-month, maybe?  If that. They just moved in, never seen anything, everything was done at night,” said Paula Burkhammer.

“I think it’s horrible, it’s sad,” said Burkhammer. “I think they had the opportunity to get the right medical help that they needed but there's no excuse for it.”

According to investigators, there were six other children living in the home and four are now in foster care.  Two children remain hospitalized for malnourishment and other undisclosed medical issues.

Brothers, Bartholomew and Nelson are being held at the Erie County Jail.  They’re scheduled for arraignment on Thursday in Sandusky.

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