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Parents Charged With Child Abuse (Associated Press)The parents of a teen-age girl who suffers from cancer have been charged with child abuse and neglect for allegedly not getting treatment for the baseball-sized tumor in her chest. - Jan 25 3:58 PM ET

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Posted on: 01/25/2001

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Thursday January 25 3:57 PM ET
"Parents Charged With Child Abuse" Parents Charged With Child Abuse

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The parents of a teen-age girl who suffers from cancer have been charged with child abuse and neglect for allegedly not getting treatment for the baseball-sized tumor in her chest.

Police said retired Air Force Master Sgt. William Conroy, 53, took his 17-year-old daughter, Mari, to a doctor last month only after she lapsed into a coma. They said the girl was unconscious and weighed only 60 pounds.

Police said the girl's mother and her 29-year-old brother had also been charged but fled the state with the couple's two 15-year-old sons.

Conroy said the family thought the lump on Mari's chest was from an accident and that he and his wife believed she was getting better, police reports said. When the tumor prevented her from eating, police said, she was given a nutritional drink.

"My wife thought everything was fine. I never looked," Conroy told the St. Petersburg Times on Wednesday.

The girl suffered a heart attack and brain damage from lack of oxygen after the tumor placed pressure on her heart and lungs, authorities said. She has Hodgkin's disease, a form of cancer.

Hospital officials said Thursday the girl was in fair condition at Tampa General Hospital. She had been transferred there from MacDill Air Force Base, where her father had taken her on Dec. 9.

Conroy, now a postal carrier, was charged with aggravated child abuse and child neglect. He was released from jail Dec. 22 on a $4,000 bond.

The inside of the Conroys' trash-filled home was swarming with cockroaches and had mold on the walls, police said.

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