Mary and Anthony Foxworth plead not guilty today in child mistreatment case in Lewis County Superior Court.
By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – The Centralia parents of a 16-year-old boy discovered so malnourished he weighed less than 60 pounds pleaded not guilty today to first-degree criminal mistreatment.
Mary G. Foxworth, 42, and Anthony S. Foxworth, 44, went before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.
They were accompanied by court appointed lawyers.
Judge Richard Brosey asked them each if they had any questions and then asked how did they plead.
“Not guilty,” each responded separately.
Charges against the couple were filed Dec. 12 and they were summonsed to appear in court last Friday. Both were allowed to remain free on $10,000 unsecured bonds pending trial and ordered to return today for their arraignment.
The available details about the case are five pages of the affidavit regarding probable cause.
The Centralia Police Department began investigating after the Foxworths took their son to the doctor almost a year ago, on Jan. 19, 2016.
The investigation found the boy had not been enrolled in school since 2011 and had not seen a doctor since 2007.
He has a younger brother and sister who are enrolled in school, appeared healthy and presented little concern, Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Melissa Bohm wrote in charging documents. Investigators found numerous medical contacts for his siblings over the years, she wrote.
The charging documents offer some of the following information and allegations:
Mary Foxworth contacted Northwest Pediatrics on Jan. 19, 2016 near closing time, saying her son had not been eating or drinking for about three weeks and had abdominal pain.
Medical providers said the boy was whiter than a sheet of paper, looked acutely ill and didn’t talk but only grunted. The doctor estimated his age at 11 or 12. The medical assistant described him as skin and bones, said she had never seen anyone in his condition before or since and she was nauseous from looking at him.
The teen was sent to Providence Centralia Hospital for a diagnosis and they transferred him to Mary Bridge Childrens’ Hospital in Tacoma.
He weighed 54 pounds, was missing patches of hair, could not stand on his own and could not open his mouth wide enough to allow a doctor to check his throat.
He was wearing pull-ups and his skeletal age was determined to be that of a 13-year-old child.
The doctor there wrote in a report “at best, this is neglect, but maybe also physical abuse.”
The boy suffered from severe malnutrition, severe constipation and anemia. He was seen by a dentist and needed 24 of his teeth to be treated, including one that had to be pulled and two that would require root canals.
The charging documents don’t indicate when the boy was put in foster care, but note that as of a date unspecified, he had grown more than three inches and gained 39 pounds. His specific height is not mentioned.
Police detectives interviewed the parents.
Anthony Foxworth said the family regularly ate healthy meals together, regularly bathed and that all his children saw a dentist at least once a year.
He attributed the long hospitalization to the boy’s grandfather – who resided with them – being mean to him.
Separately, Mary Foxworth told detectives the children did not regularly see a dentist or routinely eat three good meals a day.
She indicated she thought he was starving himself because he was depressed. Mary Foxworth admitted she didn’t know when he began to lose weight because she was too wrapped up in her own depression.
The mother admitted to making poor choices, being so sorry for failing him and wrote a letter to her son indicating the same, writing she hoped he would be able to forgive her.
Bohm wrote in charging documents that multiple medical professionals indicated the teen’s condition was the direct result of the neglect, if not abuse, suffered at the hands of the defendants, over a matter of years.
The boy’s foster parents have reported they began a “book of firsts” to track things the teen had not done before, such as learning to push a broom, make a sandwich and go to a movie theater.
The Foxworths when contacted earlier this week declined to comment about the allegations.
Charging documents don’t note if the boy had any pre-existing condition or disease. Mary Foxworth’s lawyer, Jacob Clark, this afternoon outside the courtroom, said that wasn’t something he was able to comment upon.
Their trial is scheduled for the week of March 20. first-degree criminal mistreatment has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.