By Natalie Johnson / firstname.lastname@example.org
One of two people charged last December after a 16-year-old boy was found weighing 54 pounds with neglect-related medical conditions entered a guilty plea in the case Wednesday.
Anthony S. Foxworth, 45, of Centralia pleaded guilty as charged in Lewis County Superior Court to one count of first-degree criminal mistreatment, domestic violence.
His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 1. Prosecutors and Foxworth’s defense attorney, Chris Baum, plan to ask for a 51-month sentence, just over four years in prison.
“He’s decided to take the deal,” Baum said. “I don’t think he likes it.”
However, Baum said he advised his client that if the case went to a jury Foxworth would have a difficult path to a not-guilty ruling, and that the prosecutor’s office would likely add aggravating factors to his charge, which would have meant a longer prison sentence if he was convicted.
Foxworth’s wife, Mary G. Foxworth, was also charged in the case with first-degree criminal mistreatment. She is scheduled to enter a guilty plea Monday with sentencing to follow Nov. 1.
Both Foxworths are currently out of police custody.
According to court documents, Mary and Anthony Foxworth were accused of causing “great bodily harm” to one of the children in their care between January 2007 and January 2016.
Law enforcement became aware of the case at about that time after the Foxworths took the child to Northwest Pediatrics near closing time, reporting the boy hadn’t eaten or had anything to drink for three weeks and had abdominal pain.
Medical staff reported to police that the 16-year-old boy was extremely thin and small for his age, was very pale and did not speak. They assumed his age to be 8 to 10 based on his size, and specialists later determined his skeletal development to be close to that of a 13-year-old.
Doctors described the boy as “acutely ill” and transferred him to Providence Centralia Hospital, then Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, according to court documents.
Doctors at Mary Bridge determined the boy weighed 54 pounds, was missing patches of hair, could not stand and could not open his mouth far enough for a doctor to check his throat. He had 24 teeth in need of cavity repair, root canals, crowns or extraction.
“Wow. Where do I start? This is a very sad story for this very precious child,” a Mary Bridge doctor is quoted as saying in court documents.
He was diagnosed with severe malnutrition, severe constipation, an intestinal blockage, anemia and neglect. A doctor also diagnosed him has having “psychosocial dwarfism,” a syndrome linked to neglect, according to court documents.
Investigators learned the boy hadn’t been to a doctor since 2007 and hadn’t gone to school since 2011.
Two other children in the Foxworths’ care at the time were in good physical condition and enrolled in school, according to court documents.
The Foxworths initially denied any wrongdoing, saying the boy was starving himself because he was depressed.
In the first year after being removed from the Foxworths’ care, the boy reportedly gained 93 pounds and 3.25 inches and learned to take part in numerous social activities for the first time with his foster family.