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Mother charged with child neglect after 9-year-old born without spleen died in septic shock

Elizabeth Markley

AVON PARK, Fla. — A Florida mother was arrested on child neglect charges Tuesday, Oct. 29 in connection with her 9-year-old daughter’s death.

According to authorities, the 9-year-old was born with significant medical issues that included having no spleen and a complex congenital heart disease. She died on Feb. 27.

Elizabeth Markley, 29, stands accused of not filling prescriptions her daughter needed to fight off infection and not taking the child to 11 scheduled cardiology appointments over the past two years.

The sheriff’s office said the girl became sick on Feb. 23 and Markley didn’t seek medical attention despite the child’s condition. The night of Feb. 26, the day before she died, the sheriff’s office said the girl was going in and out of consciousness.

Markley drove her daughter to John’s Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg on the morning of Feb. 27. The sheriff’s office said by that time, the child was “struggling to breathe and had begun to turn blue.”

The girl died that day and doctors at the hospital estimated she was in septic shock at home for 12 hours before she was brought to the hospital, according to the sheriff’s office.

The medical examiner ruled the cause of death as pneumonia with contributing factors of congenital heart disease as well as fluid and electrolyte imbalances, the sheriff’s office said.

According to authorities, the excuses Markley made for the 11 missed cardiology appointments were not true.

Markley was arrested on Tuesday and charged with child neglect with great bodily harm, which is a second-degree felony. Her bond was set at $100,000. She faces up to 15 years in prison.

“I want to commend Det. Cara Moseley for her dedication to seeing this investigation through,” Sheriff Paul Blackman said. “She spent more than 200 hours investigating and pulling all the facts together to find the probable cause for these charges.”

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