In a sickening story of outright parental neglect, an Oklahoma couple, completely engrossed in an online fantasy world of life simulation, neglected to care for and even feed their real life 3-year-old daughter, who was found emaciated and near death, says LiveLeak on Oct. 13.
As their toddler was struggling to survive, 48-year-old Mark Knapp and his 33-year-old wife, Elizabeth Pester, were busy playing video games. After their daughter – who weighed only 13 pounds – was taken to Saint Francis hospital in Tulsa, the parents abandoned her and returned home to log into the avatar-based virtual reality game “Second Life.”
Hospital officials advised the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) last week that the young girl was severely underweight. DHS then notified Tulsa police. Knapp and Pester were subsequently booked on child abuse and child neglect charges.
“She weighs 13 pounds. She’s not able to walk, she’s not able to move and she has very limited vocal skills,” said Detective Danielle Bishop.
When police arrived at their home, only a few miles from the hospital, Knapp allegedly asked if they were there because their daughter had died. After bringing their daughter to the hospital on Wednesday Oct. 9, Knapp and Pester reportedly told hospital staff that they would not return to see their famished child until the following evening.
Pester claimed to have a job as a DJ; officials learned that the job Pester mentioned was only a computer simulation in which she played a deejay.
The daughter had already been twice removed from the mother and father – once in 2010 and again in 2011 – because she was found to be malnourished. Previous arrest reports showed the child was to be weighed weekly beginning July of 2012. She had not been seen since then, police said.
Both remain arrested and jailed under $50,000 bail. The child is in protective custody.