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Fabritz v. Traurig
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
583 F.2d 697 (1978)
Virginia Fabritz (defendant) resided with her three-year-old daughter, Windy, in the home of Thomas L. Crockett and Ann Crockett. Fabritz left Windy in the Crockett’s care in order to attend a funeral. Upon her return three days later, Fabritz noticed Windy looked unwell. Windy had bruises on her body and was suffering with cramps. Assuming Windy was suffering from the flu, Fabritz bathed Windy and put her to bed. Later that afternoon, Windy started to vomit and show she was not feeling well. Fabritz gave Windy soda to settle her stomach, more fluids, and put her back to bed. When Ann arrived home later that evening, Fabritz and Ann decided it was time to obtain professional help. Ann called the hospital and was told that the women should bring Windy in for examination. Thereafter, Ann entered Windy’s room and realized she was not breathing. While Fabritz performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, Ann called for an ambulance. Windy was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. The medical opinion was that some 18 to 24 hours before Windy’s death—during Fabritz’s absence—Windy had been struck in the abdomen by a blunt instrument, which ruptured the abdomen and led to her death. At her trial, the prosecution concluded that Fabritz had not struck her daughter. The trial court convicted Fabritz for child abuse, concluding that her failure to obtain medical attention constituted cruel or inhumane treatment, which ultimately led to Windy’s death. The court of appeals affirmed the conviction. Fabritz petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Bryan, J.)
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