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Doctor: Blackstone mom’s daughter showed extreme signs of neglect

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WORCESTER, Mass. (WPRI) — The doctor that treated a Blackstone mother’s children, who were found inside of her squalid Massachusetts home, said her 3-year-old daughter appeared to be severely neglected.

Erika Murray, 35, is on trial for murder after the remains of three infants were found inside of her bedroom closet back in 2014. Her four children were also found and removed from the home, which has since been razed.

On Monday, Dr. Heather Forkey from University of Massachusetts Memorial Hospital took the stand to describe the behavior of Murray’s 3-year-old daughter when she examined her five years ago.

Forkey testified that the toddler exhibited severe signs of neglect.

“She didn’t present the way a normal 3-year-old child would present. She was, from a social standpoint, remarkably frightened by anything that we did,” Forkey said.

The defense’s cross-examination focused on proving the child was not neglected and was acting that way because she had Autism.

Forkey said the child’s muscles were weak and lab test results proved she was malnourished. She said Murray’s 5-month-old daughter had unusual muscle movement but was in overall better shape than her older sister.

Dr. Amos Grunebaum, an obstetrician, also testified Monday on behalf of the defense, which is trying to prove the three infants were not born alive.

Grunebaum said because Murray gave birth to her two younger children at home without medical care elevated the likelihood of her having a stillbirth.

He said unassisted birth can be extremely dangerous, adding that the stillbirth rate is 10 times greater than if the baby was born in a hospital.

“A baby can be born with an infection or a baby can be born with lungs or hearts that don’t function as well but many times we don’t find a specific reason it just happens without any specific cause,” Grunebaum explained.

Grunebaum also said that a dirty birthing environment and hiding a pregnancy can result in early neonatal death, but did agree with prosecutors that if the infants weren’t neglected, it is possible they could have survived.

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