Doctor Testifies About Suspected Child Neglect in ‘House of Horrors' Trial

Warning: Some of the details in the story below are graphic and may be disturbing to some readers.

Following a week of disturbing details and an audio recording of the interview between police and the woman charged with murder following the discovery of three dead infants in her squalid home, the trial of Erika Murray continued Monday.

Murray, 35, was charged with the murder of two of the three infants whose remains were found in her Blackstone, Massachusetts "House of Horrors" in September 2014.

On Monday, a defense witness testified about the children found living in squalor in the home.

Dr. Heather Forkey of UMass Memorial Medical Center was one of the pediatricians who examined the 3-year-old and 5-month-old girls found alone and covered in feces inside the house.

She said the 3-year-old lacked the muscle tone you would expect of a preschool-aged child who would be running and playing.

"We were very concerned that this was a child who had experienced a profound amount of neglect," Forkey said. "When she would sit she would curl her legs into a fetal position that you would expect to see of someone in utero and again not typical of a 3-year-old who at this point normally has learned to walk."

Forkey said there was so much wax in the girl's ears they had to call in an ear, nose and throat specialist to remove it.

"They found a maggot in the wax in her right ear as well," she said.

Earlier in the day, Murray’s defense team called Dr. Amos Grunebaum, a doctor who is an expert in maternal fetal medicine, to explain what can happen to a baby who is born with no prenatal care, outside of a hospital and without fetal monitoring.

"My opinion is there is an increased risk of neonatal death after a home birth," Grunebaum said.

Murray gave birth to the three infants in her home, according to prosecutors. They were ultimately found in cardboard boxes in two closets of the home, which has since been demolished.

Grunebaum's testimony is essential to the defense since Murray said she gave birth to five of her seven children at home. Two of the children born at home were neglected and discovered by a neighbor. Prior to the neighbor's discovery of the home's condition, no one outside of the household knew of their existence.

On Friday, state police Trooper Christopher Donahue testified that he needed to wear a hazmat suit to properly search the house. He provided graphic details and photographs of his gruesome discoveries during the search.

"What you see around the skull of that child is dried maggots... around the decomposed body," Donahue said as he described one photograph.

Dr. Robert Welton, a medical examiner who worked on the case, recalled that the infants he examined were in a nearly mummified state.

"The first infant, I believe, was wrapped in what appeared to be what I think were sweatpants," he said. "The infant had an attached umbilical cord and placenta."

He said the second and third infants were found diapered and dressed in newborn clothes.

For live updates on the trial, click here for NBC10 Boston reporter Alysha Palumbo's Twitter feed.

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