3 month old died of 'malnutrition,' parents arrested

Photo provided by Point Coupee Parish Sheriff's Office.
Monday, March 17, 2014 - 7:32pm

Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff's deputies arrested the parents of a three month old boy found dead in their home. Jason Lutz, 32 and Ashley Cogar, 30 are charged with Second Degree Murder in connection with the death of their son Joseph Lutz. Deputies made the arrest Monday morning. Lutz's was found lifeless inside his parents home in January. Officials say the baby died of malnutrition.

"It's three months must have been hell on Earth," Tony Clayton, Assistant District Attorney, said.

Clayton said the autopsy revealed: "I quote there was only about 2 centimeters of mucus in the baby's stomach. The case that we will present to the grand jury is that this child was extremely malnourished over a period of time. "

Pointe Coupee Parish Sheriff Bud Torres said deputies responded to a call on January 28 at a home in the 12800 block of Patin Dyke Road. When they arrived deputies found the baby dead.

Torres explained the reason for the period between the initial call and the parents arrest Monday morning was to allow time for a thorough autopsy.

"Whenever we have a situation like this it's very very crucial to give them the necessary time they need to do a really good job and rule out any other causes of death," Torres said.

"When you take that, and you juxtapose that to what we found that night," Clayton said. "Then you are left with only one conclusion: that the baby died at the hands of the parent."

Officials say three other children were inside the home when they entered in January.

Grace Weber, Public Information Officer with the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services, said in a statement, "DCFS worked jointly with local law enforcement and the district attorney's office in this investigation and took all appropriate actions to ensure the safety of the surviving children. We had no prior involvement with the family. After assessing the safety and risk of harm to the surviving children, DCFS took action to place these children into state care. For their safety, we cannot disclose the current placement or location of the children. "

Torres said,"I think this is going to be a wake up call for people who are not doing what they are supposed to do with their children to understand the severity of their action. "

Officials say the pair will appear before a grand jury Friday March 21.



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