July 1, 2016


Malnourished Vermilion boy’s death spurs investigation (Audio)

VERMILION — The Erie County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of an 18-month-old child who died from malnourishment.

The 18-month-old, Isaac Brothers-Bartholomew, was found unresponsive at his home at 8108 Risden Road and was transferred to Mercy Regional Medical Center at 7:13 p.m. Nov. 6, but a paramedic said he was dead when they arrived.

The child’s parents, Adrienne Bartholomew and James Brothers, who have not been charged, told police the child suffered from various medical issues, including severe acid reflux, gastrointestinal issues and heart murmurs. The couple had six other children living in the home, four of whom they said also suffered from severe physical and mental handicaps, according to a police report.

Bartholomew gave police the phone number for Isaac’s physician and said Isaac suffered severe weight loss due to his acid reflux.

Erie County Sheriff Chief Deputy Jared Oliver said deputies are investigating the family’s claims after learning that Isaac was never officially diagnosed with any medical issues and an autopsy showed no signs of an ongoing ailment.

“The report said the child has medical issues, but what we’ve learned from an investigation is that the child has not seen a doctor in eight months,” he said.

Oliver said the Sheriff’s Office is waiting for medical records of the couple’s other four children to determine if they suffer from medical issues.

An autopsy of Isaac and an examination of four of the couple’s children showed that the children were malnourished. Those four children are now in the care of Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.

Isaac’s weight was not available, but his 6-year-old sibling weighed 23 pounds, Oliver said.

The Erie County Coroner’s Office declined to comment on the case, but Oliver said the official cause of death for Isaac was that he was malnourished and dehydrated, and had two collapsed lungs and a brain bleed.

Bartholomew told officers that Isaac was placed in his crib at 5 p.m. Nov. 6, and although he had been using a feeding tube, she said he had been acting normally. She said she and Brothers had fallen asleep while their 11-year-old child was playing video games, and when the 11-year-old went to check on his brother, he found that Isaac was unresponsive.

The 11-year-old told police his parents were sleeping when he heard the child fussing. He went to check on Isaac and found that his eyes were open, but he was not moving. He said Isaac’s eyes were “black.”

Oliver said syringes, tubes and gauze were found in the home, reportedly used for the children’s care. A feeding tube, bottle of medicine used to treat reflux disease and cotton blanket and wet absorbent pad were taken from Isaac’s crib.

Oliver said the home was “unsanitary,” but he would not elaborate.

Two of the couple’s children are now in the custody of Erie County Children Services, according to Oliver. He said the agency has been involved with the family before, after an investigation in 2008, in which the family was offered assistance. He said the family denied that assistance, but they had not been involved with the agency since Isaac’s birth.

Oliver did not have the details of that investigation Monday. A representative from Erie County Children Services was unavailable Monday as the office was closed.


Listen to the 911 call:


Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.