Bond set for Polk County parents charged in 8-week-old’s death

Megan Betkiewicus and Mark Waters, photos from Polk County Sheriff's Office

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Two Frostproof parents made their first court appearance Saturday morning in the case of aggravated manslaughter of their child.

Megan Betkiewicus, 26, and Mark Waters, 22, are each charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child and child neglect. In addition, the baby’s grandmother, Joyce Waters, also known as Joyce Ilsley, 51, is charged with failure to report child neglect.

Mark Waters and Betkiewicus had their bond set at $115,000 each. Joyce Waters is in the Polk CSU Crisis Stabilization Unit, she didn’t appear in court Saturday.

She had her first court appearance Sunday. The judge set $50,000 bond for her for one count Failure to Report Child Neglect.

On Friday detectives charged them in the death of their 8-week-old daughter, Ashley. The grandmother and her boyfriend live with the parents, the victim and another child.

Joyce Waters (also known as Joyce Ilsley), photo from Polk County Sheriff's Office
Joyce Waters (also known as Joyce Ilsley), photo from Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Ashley died on Aug. 9 from dehydration due to neglect, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies said no medical issues contributed to her death.

On Aug. 9, deputies responded to the family’s North Street home in Frostproof around 5:33 p.m. because Ashley was unresponsive. The baby was taken to Florida Hospital in Sebring and pronounced dead at 6:26 p.m.

The physician told deputies there didn’t appear to be trauma, but the baby did have a severe diaper rash, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Ashley weighed 6.96 pounds at birth and 7.035 pounds when she left the hospital on June 17. At the time of the autopsy, she weighed just 6.15 pounds. “It was apparent based on the victim’s appearance that she was malnourished,” a responding deputy wrote.

The family’s home “was in squalor” and insects were found inside, the deputy wrote. The residence had no running water, according to the sheriff’s office.

Joyce Waters told the responding deputies she had been concerned about the baby’s weight. However, she did not contact the Florida Department of Children and Families, according to the sheriff’s office.

The other child in the home suffered physical neglect and also had a severe diaper rash, deputies said.

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