A Park City, Illinois, couple are accused of failing to give their 11-year-old son—a heart transplant recipient—crucial anti-rejection medications.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Jennifer, 36, and David Stroud, 41, pleaded not guilty to endangering the life of a child on Thursday. Prosecutors alleged their son Jason died on September 11 after suffering a series of organ rejections due to the parents’ negligence.
Assistant Lake County State’s Attorney Eric Kalata claimed Jason underwent a lifesaving heart transplant at age 7. A now-deleted GoFundMe, allegedly started by Jennifer in August, claimed that Jason endured eight open heart surgeries and 20 surgical procedures before the May 2012 transplant, according to the Daily Herald.
Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) became involved after Jennifer and David supposedly missed several hospital appointments between December 2015 and August.
A DCFS spokesperson confirmed to the Tribune that the Strouds were found to be neglecting Jason based on an investigation closed in November. Prosecutors charged the couple with an additional count of endangering the life of a child based on this accusation.
Jason’s parents were indicted on January 8 and turned themselves in two days later, according to WMAQ.
“[Jason] was ill, although his mother and father did all that they could to help him, unfortunately, he passed,” defense attorney Renea Amen told the station. “But that’s not a criminal act.”
Amen also claimed David “everything that he possibly could” to care for his son.
Jennifer was released after posting 10 percent of her $75,000 bail. Defense attorney LaTonya Burton requested David’s bail be lowered because he is not charged with a violent crime.
“The allegations are, by your actions or inactions, your son died. Those are serious charges,” Judge Daniel Shanes stated while denying their request.
Kalata claimed the couple could be sentenced to probation or up to five years in prison if convicted.
David will return to court on March 16 while Jennifer is due in court on March 23.
[Feature Photo: Lake County Jail]