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Top crime stories of 2016: Bellingham parents neglected and starved infant son, police say

Video: Parents in infant death case appear in Whatcom Superior Court

Brittany Shane Daniels, 22 and Cody James Shields, 23, make their first appearance in Whatcom Superior Court at Whatcom County Jail on Friday, Feb. 19, in Bellingham, Wash. Shields and Daniels are charged with second-degree manslaughter in the Dec
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Brittany Shane Daniels, 22 and Cody James Shields, 23, make their first appearance in Whatcom Superior Court at Whatcom County Jail on Friday, Feb. 19, in Bellingham, Wash. Shields and Daniels are charged with second-degree manslaughter in the Dec

Two Bellingham parents pleaded not guilty in February 2016 to charges of neglecting their 3-month-old infant until he starved. The case of Lucian Mykael Shields, who died Dec. 8, 2015, was one of The Bellingham Herald’s most-read crime story online.

An autopsy found that Lucian died from malnutrition, dehydration and “neglect of ordinary care of an infant,” according to the county medical examiner’s office.

The case made national headlines when Brittany Shane Daniels, 23, and Cody James Shields, 23, were arrested to face charges of second-degree manslaughter. They are awaiting trial, tentatively scheduled for February.

At the couple’s first court hearing, Deputy Prosecutor Eric Richey alleged Shields stayed up playing video games the night before Lucian was found dead.

Shields often wore headphones while gaming, and he kept the baby’s bedroom door closed, Richey said, so he couldn’t hear the baby crying.

Shields claimed he fed the baby three times in the night and early morning hours before Lucian died. Twice he propped the child’s 6-ounce bottle of formula on a blanket and left the room, according to charging papers.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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