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It took a Washington County jury about four hours to find a Riverside woman guilty of child endangerment resulting in the death of her 17-month-old daughter.
On Friday, Ambrashia “Amber” Chrzan was convicted of child endangerment resulting in death and is facing up to 50 years in prison.
In closing arguments on Friday morning, Assistant Attorney General Douglas Hammerand detailed the downward slide of the health of Chrzan’s daughter, Avery McCoy, upon being released from foster care in early 2016.
He pointed out that Avery weighed 15 pounds in January 2016.
At a July 5, 2016, doctor’s appointment, it was noted that Avery was failing to thrive and had dropped from the 10th percentile in growth to below 1 percent.
“‘The window to fix this will not be long,’” Hammerand quoted from the doctor’s notes following the check up.
Hammerand talked about how appointments were made with a specialist at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, but Chrzan missed the appointments.
He also pointed out how Avery’s weight had dropped from 15 to 11 pounds – “a quarter of her body weight” – during the last six weeks of her life.
She was discovered unresponsive on Nov. 9, 2016.
“Avery died at the hands of another,” Hammerand said.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Powell stressed that the state medical examiner could not pinpoint the cause of death.
“Ultimately, he was not able to determine the cause of Avery’s death,” Powell said.
He said that despite missing the appointments, Chrzan was “not charged with failing to do what other parents would’ve done.”
He later added, “No one believed Avery McCoy was going to die. There is no evidence that Amber Chrzan starved her daughter.”
In the state’s rebuttal, Hammerand pointed out that an examination found that there was no food in Avery’s stomach despite Chrzan’s claims that she had fed her daughter some peanut butter crackers on the morning of her death.
“There was not one crumb in the bed,” Hammerand said. “There was not one crumb on that comforter.”
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for the morning of July 27.