Updated: 1:43 p.m. Friday, Sept. 23, 2011 | Posted: 4:11 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011

Parents charged with starving baby

Investigators say 5-month-old baby weighed 6 pounds

ATLANTA —

Atlanta police have arrested a set of parents after they say the couple starved their 5-month-old son to death. They were set to face a judge on Friday morning but waived their hearing.

Tina Hanna and Lefty Hodge were charged with felony murder and cruelty to children. Channel 2's Ryan Young was at police headquarters as they were taken away in handcuffs Thursday.

“They say they were feeding the child and taking care of the child, but our evidence says they were not,” Atlanta police Detective Summer Benton said.

Investigators said they were called to an apartment on Martin Luther King Drive Sept. 3 where the couple lived with their three children. Sources told Young the apartment was filled with trash when police arrived.

Neighbors said they were crushed by the news of the baby's death.

“God has ‘em in a better place. Don’t take away from the fact of the pain,” neighbor Jerome Pittman said.

Neighbor Greg Prather said he was “noticing the child wasn’t getting any bigger.” Benton told Young the infant was very dehydrated and weighed about 6 pounds.

“Since this is a baby death, we have to wait for autopsy results. We have to see if the baby was injured in any way or died naturally,” Benton said.

Police took Hanna, 26, and Hodge, 42, to the Fulton County Jail. Investigators said their other children have been placed in state custody.

Benton described the situation as “extremely difficult, hardest emotionally on a detective. Babies are always one of the hardest. This has been very hard.”

“God can heal all pains but this right here, it cut too close, man. Cut too close,” Prather said.

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