A monthslong investigation into the death of a 2-year-old in Anchorage led to homicide charges Wednesday against the child's mother and her boyfriend, whom police accuse of causing the death through "willful neglect."
An autopsy revealed the child, Gabriella Marlow, died from severe malnutrition. Her main source of food was whole milk and sometimes Dr. Pepper, police said Wednesday. She had not been taken to a doctor in more than a year, a police investigation found.
Police were looking for the mother of the child, 36-year-old Stephanie Hamburg, on Wednesday. A warrant was issued for Hamburg's arrest.
Her boyfriend, 41-year-old Timothy Hulsey, was arrested Wednesday. He was being held without bail in the Anchorage jail.
The couple faces felony charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.
Gabriella was unconscious and not breathing on the floor of a South Anchorage home on May 10 when police were called, Anchorage police spokesman MJ Thim said. The toddler was taken to an Anchorage hospital, where she died, Thim said.
What began as a death investigation turned into criminal charges when detectives determined the child was not being given enough nutrition to survive, Thim said.
Hamburg and Hulsey told detectives the child wasn't eating solid food and they thought it was a "phase" she would eventually outgrow, Thim said.
"There needed to be some sort of supplements," Thim said.
Sometimes, the girl was given shrimp, Thim said.
In an interview with police, Hamburg said she feared that taking her daughter to a doctor would lead to an intervention from the state Office of Children's Services, Thim said. He said Hamburg did not want to lose custody of Gabriella.
Public records indicate Hamburg previously lived in Bakersfield, California.
On her Facebook page in January, Hamburg posted pictures of herself holding her daughter, whom she called Gabby. Both were smiling.
On May 15, Hamburg wrote that Gabby had died.
"She was only 2 years old," Hamburg wrote. "Still waiting on the results from the autopsy. I have no idea where to go from here."
Hamburg later set up a donation page to cover the funeral costs. In recent months, she posted on her page about missing her daughter's laugh.
In July, she asked for prayers from friends and said that she and her boyfriend were meeting with detectives that day after work.
Police asked anyone with information about Hamburg to call dispatchers at 907-786-8900. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 907-561-STOP or online at anchoragecrimestoppers.com.