State rests case on day three of child endangerment, death trial

Iowa infant death trial Feb. 1

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(ABC 6 News) – The prosecution rested its case against Allyssa Luke on day three of her child endangerment trial.

Luke, of Plymouth, faces two charges of child endangerment following the death of her infant child, Abel Luke, in February of 2021.

On previous days, the state’s witnesses described first responders’ and doctors’ reactions to finding Abel Luke dead and his twin, Brennan, severely malnourished.

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On day three, jurors heard from Dr. Michele Catellier, the associate medical examiner, with the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Catellier explained the decision to declare Abel’s manner of death homicide, saying that deaths can occur because of a direct action like a shooting, or an act of omission — like not feeding a child who cannot feed themself.
Dr. Haley Newbrough, a pediatric hospitalist at MercyOne in North Iowa, also testified that Brennan Luke was in critical condition when he arrived at the hospital in 2021.

Brennan’s level of malnutrition would have taken weeks, Newbrough told jurors.

“Well he was lethargic and dehydrated which would have taken time for him to progress to that state, so he could not have looked well earlier in the day,” she added.

Luke’s trial is scheduled to resume at 9 a.m. Friday, Feb. 2, with the first witness called in defense of Luke.