The parents of a baby who authorities say died of neglect will be sentenced to five years’ probation if a Cass County judge approves a plea agreement.

David Krutina, 24, and Kassandra Krutina, 21, of Louisville, Nebraska, last month agreed to plead guilty to two amended charges of child abuse negligence resulting in serious bodily injury, according to Cass County court records.

The couple had been charged with child abuse negligence resulting in death, and faced up to 23 years in prison.

The charges resulted from the death of their 7-month-old daughter, Samantha, on Sept. 1, 2018, which officials blamed on severe malnutrition. Samantha and her twin, Charlotte, were taken to Children’s Hospital & Medical Center that day and immediately placed in the intensive care unit.

Several members of a child advocacy team that convened at Children’s Hospital after Samantha’s death and Charlotte’s hospitalization called it “one of the worst cases of neglect they have encountered,” according to an affidavit filed in Cass County Court.

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In a court hearing Wednesday, Cass County Judge Lawrence Gendler said he will decide whether Charlotte, who is being cared for by relatives, will be returned to the couple. Two older children remained with their parents.

The twins were tiny preemies, born at 27 weeks in February 2018 and weighing slightly more than 2 pounds each. The twin girls spent two months in a neonatal intensive care unit, steadily growing enough to be sent home with their parents.

But four months after they were discharged from the hospital, Samantha and Charlotte Krutina weighed essentially the same as when they left the NICU.

By the time they were admitted to Children’s Hospital, doctors and law enforcement officials said Samantha and Charlotte Krutina were “severely malnourished.”

Samantha actually weighed slightly less than she had in April: 4 pounds, 6.6 ounces in September compared with 4 pounds, 13.3 ounces.

An expert said the girls should have gained 5 pounds in that time.

Samantha arrived at the hospital unresponsive and died the same day; an autopsy later determined that she died of sepsis complicated by severe malnutrition. The hospital staff did not note any underlying medical conditions.

Charlotte was diagnosed with rickets, a weakening of the bones that can be caused by malnourishment and lack of vitamin D.

She weighed 5 pounds, 4.7 ounces.

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kevin.cole@owh.com, 402-444-1272

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