July 19, 1997 in Nation/World

Police Charge Mom Of Obese Girl 680-Pound Teen Dies At 13, Had Not Seen Doctor In 4 Years

Associated Press
 

When Christina Corrigan died at 13, she weighed more than 680 pounds, her calves were 47 inches around and she was covered in bed sores, feces and urine.

Police say her mother fed her right up to the end - though the girl had not been to a doctor in four years or outside the apartment in months.

Her mother, Marlene Marie Corrigan, says she can’t explain what happened.

Now, eight months after her daughter’s death, Corrigan faces child abuse charges.

Christina was always headstrong, refusing to go to doctors and insisting on eating, said Corrigan, a 48-year-old federal employee.

“She wouldn’t cooperate. When she has an appointment, what can I do? I can’t pick her up and take her,” she said.

“I should have done more. Every day I tell myself I should have done this, I should have done that. … But what can I do now?” she said.

Corrigan, who said she plans to plead no contest, faces up to six years in prison on charges related to the condition her daughter was found in. She is not charged with letting her daughter become obese, though the coroner ruled that morbid obesity caused her daughter’s congestive heart failure.

Prosecutors doubt she will serve more than a year in jail.

“We found the family living within walking distance from the police department. Had we only known, there were hundreds of people we could have found to help her,” police Chief Linda Fellers said.

Corrigan, worried about her daughter’s weight, took Christina to a nutritionist and a doctor when she was seven. The visit allayed a social worker’s worries, and Child Protective Services closed a case begun after an anonymous complaint. Officials would not release details.

But Christina soon quit the program, and last saw a doctor in 1992 for an infection.

She died in her living room Nov. 19. Her body was too large for the coroner’s stretcher. It took six people to take her out on a canvas.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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