DA: DeKalb parents ate fine, bought pot while starving four kids

Laura Whitesell and Darrow Brown
Laura Whitesell and Darrow Brown

A DeKalb County jury convicted two parents this week for starving and beating their four children as “punishment,” the district attorney’s office announced Thursday.

Darrow Brown, 49, and wife, Laura Whitesell, 33, lived in a Tucker motel when police responded to a report that their 13-year-old daughter was unresponsive on May 6, 2015. The child weighed 52 pounds, about half the average weight of a girl her age.

She spent weeks in recovery, the DA’s office said, and three other children, whose ages ranged from 6 to 9, were also “severely malnourished.”

“The defendants claimed they were impoverished and had few resources. However, according to evidence presented at trial, both parents maintained healthy weights,” the DA’s office said in a news news release. “Defendant Brown also admitted purchasing marijuana on a weekly basis.”

The couple’s eldest child had two black eyes after she was punched and beaten with a pipe for “stealing food.”

The children were removed from the home by the Division of Family and Children Services. Two are now living with their biological father.

Sentencing for Brown and Whitesell, who were each convicted of five counts of child cruelty Tuesday, is scheduled for Oct. 18 before Judge Tangela Barrie.

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