Couple charged in 2-year-old’s death give up custody of six kids

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READING, Pa. (AP) — An attorney says a Pennsylvania couple charged in the pneumonia death of their 2-year-old daughter have agreed to give up custody of their six other children.

Attorney Bryan DePowell said after a hearing Wednesday, Feb. 15, in Berks County that 34-year-old Jonathan Foster and 32-year-old Grace Foster agreed to put their other children in the custody of the county Children and Youth Services agency, reports The Reading Eagle.

The Upper Tulpehocken Township residents face involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment charges in the Nov. 8 death of their daughter, Ella Grace Foster.

In Pennsylvania, at least 10 children whose parents belong to various branches of the fundamentalist sect have died of treatable illnesses in the last several decades. Several church members have been prosecuted for failing to seek medical care.

The Fosters told authorities that Ella began showing symptoms of a common cold two days before she died, including lethargy and a sore throat. Her breathing eventually became labored, then rapid, and she died in her father’s arms.

A forensic pathologist told investigators Ella would have had a 95 percent chance of surviving if she had been given a routine course of antibiotics.