VERMILION, OHIO: The parents and grandmother of a malnourished 18-month-old boy who died pleaded guilty to endangering children and will be sentenced this fall.
The boy’s grandmother, Debra Nelson, also pleaded guilty Monday to failing to provide for a functionally impaired person, according to an Erie County court. Other charges against her were dropped.
Her lawyer said Nelson was a nurse and helped care for the boy, who was among several children in the family with genetic conditions that caused physical disabilities and medical problems.
“The family — the mother, the father and Debra Nelson, as the grandmother of the children — tried as best they could to cope with the issues that the genetic defects presented and just became overwhelmed, overwhelmed to the point where the children weren’t cared for as best they could be,” attorney Jay Milano said.
The boy, Isaac Brothers-Bartholomew, died of malnutrition and dehydration last November at the family’s home near Vermilion. His mother told authorities he had had gastrointestinal problems and other medical concerns. Investigators had said the boy hadn’t seen a doctor in months.
The couple’s six other children were removed from the home, and four of them were treated for malnutrition at a hospital, social service officials said.
The parents, Adrienne Bartholomew, 35, and James Brothers, 33, each pleaded guilty earlier this month to felony and misdemeanor charges of endangering children. Involuntary manslaughter and other charges were dismissed under the plea deal.
A message left Tuesday for their attorney seeking comment was not immediately returned.
All three defendants will be sentenced in November. Prosecutors have agreed not to take a position on their sentences, leaving that decision to the discretion of the court, the court clerk’s office said.
A review of the social services case by the state found that the Erie County Department of Job and Family Services didn’t comply with Ohio law while dealing with the family but didn’t provide much detail, the Morning Journal in Lorain reported. Afterward, the agency decided to hired an employee to focus on reports of abuse and neglect, the newspaper said.