PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla- — The Pinellas sheriff says a Clearwater couple has been arrested on charges of neglect that led to the death of a child.
On March 4, 2021, detectives with the Crimes Against Children Unit arrested Ashley Ferguson 33, and Matthew Ferguson 34, after one of their children was found dead and the other two were severely malnourished.
According to police, on July 12, 2020, a child was found unresponsive in a bedroom by Ashley Ferguson. After discovering the child was unresponsive, Ferguson called 911. The child was pronounced dead on-scene by Largo Fire Rescue.
Detectives say an investigation revealed the children were malnourished, had not received adequate medical care, and were left unattended for long periods of time.
The investigation also determined that the children had bedsores, diaper rash, severely matted hair, were unable to walk or bear any weight on their legs, and were also unable to speak.
Detectives say the children's primary source of food was milk.
Detectives say the Ferguson's never sought medical treatment for the children, specifically the child who was unable to walk since April 2020.
On July 16, 2020, the other two children were placed in the care of a family member.
"Due to the injuries, both surviving children received immediate medical care, which included oral surgery and feeding therapy. In addition, they will receive physical and speech therapy."-Pinellas sheriff
An autopsy was conducted on July 13, 2020. The results of the autopsy determined the child's death a homicide with the cause of death being chronic child neglect.
On March 4, detectives arrested Ashley and Matthew Ferguson. They were transported to the Pinellas County Jail without incident.
Ashley Ferguson was charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child and two counts of neglect of a child. Matthew Ferguson was charged with three counts of neglect of a child.
The surviving children are staying with family.