Such a sad story!


    Internet-Obsessed Couple Let Kids Starve

    Posted: 2007-07-16 07:22:19
    Filed Under: Crime News

    RENO, Nev. (July 15) - A couple who authorities say were so obsessed with the Internet and video games that they left their babies starving and suffering other health problems have pleaded guilty to child neglect.

    The children of Michael and Iana Straw, a boy age 22 months and a girl age 11 months, were severely malnourished and near death last month when doctors saw them after social workers took them to a hospital, authorities said. Both children are doing well and gaining weight in foster care, prosecutor Kelli Ann Viloria told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

    Michael Straw, 25, and Iana Straw, 23, pleaded guilty Friday to two counts each of child neglect. Each faces a maximum 12-year prison sentence.

    Viloria said the Reno couple were too distracted by online video games, mainly the fantasy role-playing "Dungeons & Dragons" series, to give their children proper care.

    "They had food; they just chose not to give it to their kids because they were too busy playing video games," Viloria told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

    Police said hospital staff had to shave the head of the girl because her hair was matted with cat urine. The 10-pound girl also had a mouth infection, dry skin and severe dehydration.

    Her brother had to be treated for starvation and a genital infection. His lack of muscle development caused him difficulty in walking, investigators said.

    The Straws have been given public defenders. Jeremy Bosler, head of the county public defender's office, declined to comment to The Associated Press on Saturday.

    Michael Straw is an unemployed cashier, and his wife worked for a temporary staffing agency doing warehouse work, according to court records. He received a $50,000 inheritance that he spent on computer equipment and a large plasma television, authorities said.

    While child abuse because of drug addiction is common, abuse rooted in video game addiction is rare, Viloria said.

    Last month, experts at an American Medical Association meeting backed away from a proposal to designate video game addiction as a mental disorder, saying it had to be studied further. Some said the issue is like alcoholism, while others said there was no concrete evidence it's a psychological disease.

    Patrick Killen, spokesman for Nevada Child Abuse Prevention, said video game addiction's correlation to child abuse is "a new spin on an old problem."

    "As we become more technologically advanced, there's more distractions," Killen said. "It's easy for someone to get addicted to something and neglect their children. Whether it's video games or meth, it's a serious issue, and (we) need to become more aware of it."

    Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.

    2007-07-15 19:54:48
  2. That's terrible...that's taking an obssesion too far!!! How could someone put internet/gaming over their KIDS??
  3. That's terrible!
  4. Wow... just... wow.
  5. That is terrible... It makes me so so sad... I'm glad those kids are out of there now though.
  6. I know. One reason I don't like reading the news is because I get really really sad! I don't know how anyone could ever do such a thing!
  7. I saw this, too - they think "gaming addictions" can be classified as a new psychological disorder! so crazy...
  8. WTF. Never thought something like this would be possible. Sure with drugs, but internet and video gaming? :wtf:

    I am glad they were able to save the kids from that horrible situation. Wow.
  9. I am so glad the kids are alive and are thriving. The parents make me sick, and need to be smacked with their computer equipment and plasma TV.
  10. That's the saddest story I've heard since the one about the vegetarian parents who killed their baby because they only fed it applesauce because breastmilk was "non-vegan."
  11. that story is just unreal
  12. This makes me sick and the thing that makes it even worse is these :censor: lazy no-hopers can go on and have more children if they so choose.:cursing:
  13. Reno is full of weird ass people! This is sooo sad, poor babies:crybaby:
  14. Thats horrible!!!
  15. That is unthinkable and terrible. Those poor children. I hope these "parents" get what they deserve. In jail with no Dungeons and Dragons and without their children. Uh pathetic.