Parents arrested for death of infant

Medical Examiner attributes death to malnutrition and neglect

February 19, 2016 - by Lt. Bob Vander Yacht

​Bellingham, WA

On Thursday February 18th at about 3:05 p.m. 23 year old Cody Shields and 22 year old Brittany Daniels were arrested and booked into Whatcom County Jail on a charge of 2nd Degree Manslaughter related to the death of their infant son Lucian.

In the late afternoon hours of December 8th 2015 officers and medics responded to a 911 call at an apartment in the 1800 block of Alabama Street. This call had been made by Brittany Daniels who reported that her 3 ½ month old son had died in his crib. Brittany told dispatchers that Cody Shields, the father of Lucian, had been home with him at the time of death. She told officers that she was at her workplace when Cody called to tell her that Lucian had died.

Detectives and Crime Scene Investigators were called to the scene soon after the first officers arrived. Through collaborative work with the Whatcom County Medical Examiner's Office it was determined that the circumstances leading to Lucian's death began far before the day that he died. Lucian had nearly no body fat on the day of his death. He weighed 8 pounds 6 ounces at birth and only 9 pounds 7 ounces at his death, which was 3 months and 13 days later. Evidence indicates that he had been fed little to nothing in the days leading up to his demise. Medical Examiner Gary Goldfogel described the cause of death as “malnutrition and dehydration, neglect of ordinary care of infant”, and the manner of death as “homicide”. The injury description in his report reads: “Death in residence following prolonged period of parental inattention”.

Revised Code of Washington statute 9A.32.070, Manslaughter 2nd Degree states, “A person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree when, with criminal negligence, he or she causes the death of another person.” RCW 9A.08.10 defines criminal negligence: “A person is criminally negligent or acts with criminal negligence when he or she fails to be aware of a substantial risk that a wrongful act may occur and his or her failure to be aware of such substantial risk constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in the same situation.”

Media Contact

​Bob Vander Yacht, PIO
Bellingham Police Department

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