An Illinois mother is facing charges of involuntary manslaughter in the death of her 14-year-old daughter. Police issued an arrest warrant for Amber Hampshire after an investigation determined she failed to treat her daughter’s diabetes. Emily Hampshire died in November as a result of diabetic ketoacidosis.
According to multiple reports, the death of Emily Hampshire is complex and difficult to fathom. In November, paramedics arrived at the home of the Hampshire’s in Alton, Illinois. When first responders got to the house, Emily was in cardiac arrest.
Initially, paramedics transported Emily to a local hospital. Later medical staff airlifted Emily to a Cardinal Glenn Hospital. At the hospital, Emily’s parents told staff that she had not been feeling well for the past few days. Her mother said Emily had nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Following her admissions, doctors drew labs and testing to find the cause for her illness. Tests confirmed that Emily was suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis or high blood sugars. Amber denied to doctors that Emily had diabetes.
When prodded for more information by medical staff, Amber told them Emily was treated in February at St. Louis Children’s Hospital for pneumonia and high blood sugar. Despite the high blood sugar during the hospitalization, Amber told staff Emily did not require insulin.
Doctors requested that Amber allow the release of Emily’s records from St. Louis Children’s Hospital to confirm her story. However, Amber refused to sign the medical release. On November 3rd, Emily died from complications associated with diabetic ketoacidosis.
After her death, Cardinal Glenn hospital obtained Emily’s records. Despite Amber’s claims that Emily did not need insulin, Emily’s records indicated doctors diagnosed her with diabetes in 2013.
Additionally, staff learned that during Emily’s hospital admission in February, doctors diagnosed her with pneumonia and diabetic ketoacidosis. Doctors prescribed insulin, gave the mother and Emily education on diabetes, and dietary information related to the disease.
Through an investigation, police determined that Amber never filled the prescription for Emily’s insulin. On November 7th, police executed a search warrant in the Hampshire home. Authorities seized unused diabetic medication and a glucose monitor.
After doctors released Emily from the hospital in February, the hospital sent her school, Evangelical United Church of Christ, a treatment plan for Emily. However, Amber worked at the school and told the staff to disregard the notice from the hospital. Amber told the school Emily did not have diabetes and the diagnosis was incorrect.
Follow up appointments scheduled by the hospital for Emily were never attended by Emily or her mother.
As police continued their investigation, they learned that Amber told no one about Emily’s diagnosis. Amber failed to mention the illness to her family or any of her friends. Police believe that Amber concealed the illness from her husband.
When the investigation wrapped up, police forwarded their findings to Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons. Gibbons said in a statement,
“What the charges allege that she (Hampshire) unintentionally killed her daughter by committing acts which were likely to cause death or great bodily harm. And the meat and potatoes of the allegation is that she took measures to conceal Emily’s diabetes.”
“We can’t fathom in our hearts or our minds why a parent would commit this kind of act to put their child in such great danger, when treatment and support were readily available,” he said. “The investigation indicates very strongly that the defendant took repeated, substantial steps to conceal the disease from everyone around her.”
Unfortunately, prosecutors do not know what Amber’s motive was for concealing Emily’s illness. Despite the family’s religious beliefs, they do not believe religion played a factor in Amber’s medical neglect.
Following the full investigation, prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Amber. After authorities issued the warrant, Amber turned herself in. The court set her bail at $100,000. If convicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter and endangering the health and life of a child, Amber should spend up to 25 years in prison.
According to an online fundraiser for the family described Emily as,
“Emily was a shining star not only in her family’s life, but anyone she came in contact with. She was an outstanding student at Evangelical School, an amazing dancer, cheerleader, and volleyball player. Emily competed in local beauty contest and talent shows. She was named young author and designed and won the Crazy 8 t-shirt competition. Emily had a very giving heart and never met a stranger.”
Emily’s only fault was that her mother refused to treat her illness. Diabetes is a manageable disease with insulin, proper nutrition, and regular visits with doctors. If not properly managed, diabetes is a life-threatening disease. Sustained high-blood sugar causes acid build-up in the blood which can lead to death.
Emily could have lived a much longer life. Instead, her family buried her in November. Amber’s motivation remains unclear. However, prosecutors believe Amber has a personality disorder.
No child should ever die from a treatable illness. A parent’s sole responsibility is to ensure the health and safety of their child. Amber failed her daughter for unknown reasons. Hopefully, the court will convict her on charges, and she spends years behind bars reflecting on her deadly decision.
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*Katie Joy is a blogger and freelance writer. Her work is featured on Upworthy, Huffington Post, Yahoo Parents, Mamamia, Daily Beast, Cafe Stir, Newsweek, Jezebel, and The Daily Mail. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
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