Sumter parents in jail after child dies

A Sumter one-year-old baby is dead, and police blame his parents.

Chief Patty Patterson says an autopsy revealed the boy died of malnutrition and starvation and weighed less than nine pounds.

Tuesday night, reports had the child weighing less than four pounds.

Marketta McCray was quite emotional as she stood next to Kevin Isaac in court on Wednesday.

Both made their initial appearances Wednesday afternoon.

McCray and Isaac remain in jail tonight, pending a circuit court hearing.

This story is taking an emotional toll on everyone involved, from the accused parents, other family members, and police.

Dorothy Starnes knew 23-year-old Marketta McCray had been asking for help, but she didn't know the extent of her niece's troubles.

"She'd call my other sister when she'd need milk for the baby, she'd call my sister."

Monday, McCray called 911 because her one-year-old son Sincere Isaac was unconscious.

Officers arrived, finding what they call deplorable conditions, including overflowing trash, dirty clothes, and feces.

"The odor was very foul at the residence itself... There were roaches crawling about the house."

Sumter Police Chief Patty Patterson says this is one of the darkest child abuse cases she's handled.

"It is probably one of the worst instances of the few that I have witnessed in 30 years I've been in law enforcement."

Starnes is upset because she's visited McCray several times, dropping off food and other items to help her niece.

She never thought McCray was in such a hard situation.

"I guess by having the five kids, she could have asked us to help."

Yet, through her shock, Starnes supports her niece and wants to help her during this difficult time.

There is no word yet on when the parents will have a bond hearing.

Sincere Issac's twin sister remains at Palmetto Richland Hospital.

The Department of Social Services has the other three children.

Under our justice system, the parents are presumed innocent until proven guilty, but it's a fact, according to the coroner, Sincere Isaac starved to death.

University of South Carolina nutrition expert Dr. Edward Frongillo says it takes a long time for starvation effects to take root.

"We know that it doesn't happen over night. A child can get a severe illness, and especially if they're malnourished, can die relatively quickly. Starvation is a slow process in adults, but also in children."

Dr. Frongillo says a starving child becomes lethargic and non-responsive to their environment as their condition gets worse.

To learn more about starvation, see the link below.