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Hocking County couple charged after 2-year-old girl dies from suspected abuse

Destani Neel, 27, and Austin Starkey, 24, both of Logan, are charged with permitting child abuse and endangering children.
Credit: (Images Courtesy: Hocking County Sheriff's Office)

HOCKING COUNTY, Ohio — Two people are charged after the death of a 2-year-old girl in Hocking County.

Destani Neel, 27, and Austin Starkey, 24, both of Logan, are charged with permitting child abuse and endangering children.

Starkey is the girl's father and Neel is Starkey's girlfriend, according to the Hocking County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office says they were called Friday, Jan. 8 about a possible case of child abuse that had taken place at the Hayden Place apartment complex.

Hocking County EMS went to the apartment on a report that a child was not breathing. The girl was taken to Hocking Valley Community Hospital and later taken to Nationwide Children's Hospital.

The girl, whose name has not been released, died on Sunday, Jan. 10 at Nationwide Children's Hospital from her injuries, according to the sheriff's office.

The sheriff's office says that evidence shows the child had suffered from abuse.

An autopsy will be performed by the Franklin County Coroner's Office.

Neel and Starkey are being held at the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail and are expected to appear in Hocking County Municipal Court.

Authorities are continuing to investigate the case.

Officials say additional charges will be presented to the Hocking County Grand Jury.