Dad Charged After Baby Starves
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) _ Flordina Andrews was a healthy baby girl who lived in a home stocked with formula and had doting relatives who checked in often. But days after her father began caring for her alone for the first time, the 6-month-old starved to death and her father was charged with murder.
Relatives say the girl nicknamed ``Miss Flo″ became sick a few days before dying on Dec. 31, her body rejecting the food and water fed to her by Chad Casey Andrews, 23.
Andrews told his mother he tried to feed the infant.
``He definitely did not murder his child,″ said his mother, Veronica Andrews. ``But there was some neglect there because he didn’t know what to do. He loved her, but I can’t say he was a good father because a good father would have known what to do.″
Flordina died of dehydration and malnutrition, receiving little to no food or water in the days before her death, said Dr. Bradley Lewis, the county coroner. He said she was not a victim of chronic neglect and likely was healthy at Christmas.
A grand jury is to consider additional charges this week against Andrews, who is being held without bond in the Franklin County jail.
Family members say they have been involved in Flordina’s life since she was born June 6, when they lavished her with attention and gifts that included gold jewelry and diamonds.
``We gave her everything she could need or want,″ said Flordina Bryant, the baby’s namesake and great-grandmother.
Andrews, a janitor, and the baby’s mother, Angela Brown, moved into an apartment in September and planned to marry, relatives say.
Andrews’ family stepped in to help raise the child after Brown, 24, was arrested in October on allegations of passing a bad check. She also has a 2-year-old son Andrews cared for until his arrest. The boy is now in county custody.
Brown, awaiting trial in a Pennsylvania jail, declined requests for an interview. Veronica Andrews, who said she has spoken to the baby’s mother several times, said Brown doesn’t blame Andrews.
Veronica Andrews said Flordina lived with her for a few weeks in December as the family prepared for the holidays and was spoiled with attention, but Andrews wanted to care for her after Christmas.
Despite Veronica Andrews’ concerns that her son couldn’t care for the child alone, she said she let him take Flordina to his apartment Dec. 27, after he assured her that he knew how to be a good father. She said she talked to her son once that weekend, but he gave no indication anything was wrong.
Authorities say on Dec. 31, Andrews and his friend, Aaron Chez Johnson, 18, awoke at 8 a.m. and found the baby’s dead in her bed. They are accused of not telling anyone until five hours later, when Johnson told his mother. She called Bryant, the baby’s great-grandmother.
When Bryant and other relatives arrived at the home, Andrews and Johnson were gone. Flordina’s body was on a couch, covered with a bath towel.
Andrews surrendered to police two days later.
After he was arrested, Andrews told his mother the baby became ill Dec. 28 and her condition worsened over the next two days.
``He said she had diarrhea and was vomiting. She rejected her bottle,″ Veronica Andrews said. ``I think the baby had some sort of virus and he didn’t know how to take care of her.″
Said Police Detective Michael McCann: ``It was pretty shocking. It made no sense at all. This baby could have been fed and cared for but wasn’t.″