VERMILION — Starting in 2007, Children Services agencies were concerned about reports of medical neglect regarding the family of an 18-month-old who died from malnourishment last Tuesday, according to agency representatives.
The 18-month-old, Isaac Brothers-Bartholomew, was pronounced dead Nov. 6 at his home on 8108 Risden Road after the child’s parents, Adrienne Bartholomew and James Brothers, called 911 to report that Isaac was unresponsive.
“He’s as stiff as a board,” Bartholomew told a 911 dispatcher.
Bartholomew told rescue crews the couple was sleeping when their 11-year-old son found the child unresponsive. They had had a Halloween party for the children the night before, she told the dispatcher.
Bartholomew told authorities that Isaac suffered from medical issues, including severe acid reflux, gastrointestinal issues and heart murmurs. The couple has six other children, four of whom they said also have severe physical and mental disabilities, according to a police report.
But flags were raised when an autopsy discovered that Isaac was malnourished, dehydrated, and had two collapsed lungs and a brain bleed.
Erie County sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jared Oliver said police also discovered that Isaac never was officially diagnosed with any medical issues and that the child hadn’t seen a doctor in eight months.
Oliver said Isaac weighed 12 pounds and was 26¼ inches tall.
Cuyahoga County Children Services spokeswoman Mary Louise Madigan said the agency had received a referral in January 2007, prompting an investigation that led to Bartholomew’s and Brothers’ children being taken from them. The children were placed into protective custody in March 2007 after reports that the family’s children were not going to scheduled doctor’s visits.
Protective supervision was transferred to Erie County Children Services in November 2007 after the family moved to Vermilion, according to court documents.
“There were concerns that they weren’t following through with their medical treatments,” said Erie County Children Services spokeswoman Karen Balconi Ghezzi.
Ghezzi said the agency had a belief that one of the couple’s children did not suffer from the medical issues that Bartholomew and Brothers claimed, but other children had documented medical issues.
During the investigation by the Erie County Sheriff’s Office into the toddler’s death, deputies found that four of the couple’s children also were malnourished. Those children were in the care of Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland this week.
Erie County Children Services has taken temporary custody of the couple’s six children while the Sheriff’s Office investigates. Oliver said police are waiting for the children’s medical records before any charges are filed.