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Hypothermic Baby Rescued

A 14-month-old baby, rescued from mounds of garbage and soiled diapers in its home by paramedics, needed 21 minutes of CPR and had a body temperature of 84 degrees when he arrived at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin last week, court records say.

Now Rachel C. Anderson and Mitch D. Laputka, both 21, face charges of first-degree reckless injury and child neglect in the near-death of their child amid the squalor of their Glendale apartment. Each appeared in court Thursday to face their charges; $5,000 bail was set for each of them, and they were ordered to have no contact with their son.

The baby's life was imperiled, according to the criminal complaint, by filth and apathy.

Anderson and Laputka are each quoted in the complaint as telling detectives that they would lock their child in a stroller or portable playpen when they wanted to get drunk at bars or parties "to look for an escape."

They had met in Utah and moved to Glendale upon pregnancy to be near Anderson's family, the complaint says. Money from their jobs at Pizza Hut went toward paying for drinking, and leftover food from the restaurant -- "pizza, carrots and other food they got from work" -- was used to feed the baby, the complaint says.

Laputka told detectives he didn't change diapers. "That's Rachel," he is quoted in the complaint as saying. "I don't do the changing and Rachel's one of those persons who will blow their nose and throw the tissue on the ground."

Anderson told detectives she generally changed the child's diapers once a day, sometimes less often once money started coming in.

"We wanted to party, have a good time, go out and do things we wanted to do," the complaint quotes her as saying.

Detectives found their apartment "generally filthy" with piles of garbage, soiled diapers, clothes and boxes, "which made it impossible to move without stepping on something," the complaint says.

It portrays the baby's condition as severely deteriorating in the fetid home:

Doctors found the baby's weight in the 30th percentile when weighed as a 6-month-old in January. By the time he went to the hospital Sept. 12, his weight was in the first percentile. He was hypothermic, and the parents said he was left alone in his room overnight with an open window and temperatures in the 40s. Severe rashes covered much of the baby's body, the complaint says.

Anderson and Laputka face up to 25 years and nine months in prison.

To see more of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to www.jsonline.com. Copyright (c) 2007, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

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