A Jackson County boy's grandmother and her boyfriend are in jail after police say they locked a 5-year-old child in a room and purposely starved him, according to Kentucky State Police.
Hazel Jackson, 47, and Dennis Rumberger, 50, both of Sand Gap, were arrested Wednesday morning and charged with criminal attempt to commit murder and first-degree criminal abuse. They were lodged in the Jackson County jail; bond had not been set by Wednesday evening.
On June 27, police began investigating an anonymous complaint from social services that the child's 6-year-old stepbrother was being malnourished, state police spokesman Christopher Lanham said.
Jackson admitted the 5-year-old to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital on the same day police began their investigation, Lanham said.
"I think once she heard about the investigation, she got scared and took the 5-year-old in," he said.
Police determined that the 5-year-old was the victim; the 6-year-old was also admitted to the hospital but released the same day.
Lanham said police are alleging that the couple starved the 5-year-old while continuing to feed the 6-year-old. Lanham was not sure how long the 5-year-old had been starved. The boy was released from the hospital on Wednesday.
Lanham said that before making the arrests, detectives consulted specialists at the UK hospital to determine whether the 5-year-old was purposely starved.
The 5-year-old went to live with the grandmother after his father was put in jail and his mother lost custody; police did not release more background.
Both boys now live with the same foster parents, Lanham said.
He said police did not know why the couple would have wanted to starve the child.
Lanham said the child could suffer from long-term mental and physical health issues, including weakness from severe weight loss.
"From what the detective has told me, it's going to be a long, long recovery," Lanham said. "It was a very traumatic event. He could have issues down the road. It's possible that he'll never fully recover."