Mother Sentenced in Starvation Death of 2-Month-Old Son

Mother Sentenced in Starvation Death of 2-Month-Old Son January 30, 2019
Photo: Special to the Registry

An Iowa court sentenced a 25-year-old mother to 10 years in prison for the starvation death of her 2-month old son. Angel Poole pled guilty to child endangerment as part of a plea deal with prosecutors. Her son Judah Wessels died in July 2016 and weighed only five pounds.

On July 7, 2016, Birmingham police responded to a call of an infant struggling to breathe. When officers arrived, they found 2-month-old Judah non-responsive. Paramedics transported Judah to a local hospital where he later died.

Following his death, an autopsy confirmed that he weighed only five pounds. The medical examiner listed his cause of death as malnutrition and dehydration.

Upon receiving the autopsy results, police began investigating the suspicious death. Medical records obtained by law enforcement indicated that Judah saw a doctor eight days after his birth. At the appointment, the doctor noted that he appeared well-fed and taken care of by his mother. He weighed seven pounds at the time.

After the initial appointment, Poole never took her son back to the doctor. She scheduled multiple appointments for Judah but never showed up. When questioned by investigators, she told them that she, “never got around,” to taking Judah back.

Eventually, in March 2017, police arrested her in connection to Judah’s death. Police initially charged her with a class B felony of child endangerment. At the time of her arrest, she faced a maximum of 25 years in prison.

As her case inched along in the court system, prosecutors presented her with a plea agreement. If she pled guilty to a class C felony of child endangerment, she would receive a reduced sentence. Earlier this month, Angel agreed to the reduced charges.

Last week a judge in Van Buren County District Court sentenced her to 10 years in prison.


*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • kyuss

    10 years is not enough.

  • Zetopan

    A common problem for plea deals. And she will very likely serve well below 10 years.

  • B.E. Miller

    I’m wondering if it’s possible she had some form of postpartum depression. Unable to simply make doctor appointments and get there? (Okay, I can see the transportation issue, but….) I’m also thinking that follow-up doctor visits might have spotted any depression.