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Missouri girl, 10, looked like ‘Holocaust victim’ and weighed 39lbs as she was starved to death by adoptive parents

Josie Ann Abney was adopted by Susan and Randall Abney in 2013 when she was 3-years-old and died at Salem Memorial District Hospital in Missouri on October 3
(Dent County Sheriff's Office)
(Dent County Sheriff's Office)

DENT COUNTY, MISSOURI: A ten-year-old girl has lost her life after being tortured at the hands of her adoptive parents. Josie Ann Abney died while weighing only 39.8 pounds at Salem Memorial District Hospital in Missouri on October 3. While a normal child of her age weighs between 70 to 75 pounds. She was transported to the hospital after an officer arrived at her home receiving a call about an unresponsive child. The child was so thin and weak, a Dent County Sheriff’s Office detective working on the case said, “she appeared like a Holocaust victim,” according to KSDK.

According to reports, Josie was emaciated and a detective who saw her in the hospital said her bones were visible. The unnamed detective also found what appeared like bruises on her temples, legs, arms and chest. After her death, a search warrant was obtained to search for her adoptive parents’ home. Susan Abney and Randall Abney agreed and while searching their home, officers found a lock on the fridge. As per court records, a detective said the lock was so tight and difficult to open, he did not think it was possible for Josie to access it. In addition, the canned and powdered food that required cooking before consumption were kept in cabinets that were too high for the girl to reach.

But what was more concerning was the situation of Josie’s room whose lock was flipped so it could be locked from the outside. The room only had a single mattress on the floor, one lamp and a clothes basket. Though Randall claimed that he never locked the victim inside her room, his wife gave a very different account. Susan said the door lock was flipped by her husband. She also said that they used to confine Josie in her room while they did gardening or getting mail because they possess a gun.

The charging documents stated that a detective was present at the scene when a doctor informed the pair about their adoptive daughter’s death. “Oh, [expletive],” Randall said, while the mother placed her head in her hands. Reports stated that Josie was three when she was adopted by Susan and Randall in 2013. The couple is reportedly fostering about 12 or 13 kids and Josie was their first. The woman told detectives that “I don’t know” when asked why she did not take her to the hospital after seeing her condition despite having free insurance and time. But later she said, it was her “own stupidity” and “I was too scared of what they would think.”

While Randall said that Josie was not eating earlier, but then started eating again. Both the parents have been arrested and charged with one felony count of child abuse or neglect resulting in death each. They have been kept at the Dent County Jail and their bond has been set at $500,000 each. They are expected to make their first appearance before a court on October 29. If found guilty, they could face 10-30 years in jail or life imprisonment. Meanwhile, an autopsy report of Josie has been requested by the Dent County Sheriff's Office investigators. The cause of death has yet to be determined.