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Post by Admin on Tue May 30, 2017 2:30 pm

In the working-class neighborhood of Queens Village, Joseph and Silva Swinton stood out. The vibrant young couple, who exchanged vows in an unofficial beach wedding in 1996, were known for their free-thinking outlook and firm beliefs in a natural-foods diet.

On July 31, 2000, in the one-family house the couple shared with relatives, Ms. Swinton gave birth to a baby girl with no doctor or midwife present. The couple named her Iice Wings Swinton.

Born prematurely, Iice (pronounced ICE) weighed 3 pounds, well below the average birth weight, and had a lung disorder.

Ms. Swinton, a strict vegetarian, put the baby on a natural-foods diet and spent many hours buying expensive organic produce and vitamins, and painstakingly preparing purée formulas each day.

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But 15 months later, Iice was still underweight. An anonymous call was made to the city's Administration for Children's Services. The agency sent officials to check on Iice and on the evening of Nov. 16, 2001, she was taken to the hospital for a medical examination.

In findings that resulted in a State Supreme Court trial that is unfolding this week in a Queens courtroom, examining physicians discovered a host of medical problems and declared Iice in danger of dying.

City officials contacted the Queens district attorney's office, which eventually charged the Swintons, both now 32, with first-degree assault, contending they knowingly endangered Iice's life with a strict diet. All dairy products, including infant formula, were kept from the child.

The lead prosecutor in the case, Eric Rosenbaum, an assistant Queens district attorney, charged that Ms. Swinton did not breast-feed Iice or feed her a soy-based baby formula, but rather kept the child to a diet that included fruit juices, ground nuts and puréed fresh vegetables. The only animal product given to the child was cod liver oil.

Prosecutors say that the Swintons almost starved Iice to death and refused to seek medical care, ignoring obvious symptoms over many months. The poignant drama has made headlines as the Vegan Baby case.

The prosecution, which rested its case yesterday, has brought in a string of witnesses, from doctors to relatives, to convince a jury that the Swintons knowingly nearly killed the baby.

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