Friday Apr 04 2008
Father arrested on baby-endangerment charge is now facing immigration hold
By: Penne Usher, Journal Staff Writer
Auburn couple jailed after infant found malnourished
While an Auburn mother sits behind bars in Placer County accused of starving her baby, her husband sits in a federal jail on an immigration hold. Abraham and Monica Mark have both been charged with one count each of felony cruelty to a child for reportedly not feeding and improperly caring for their baby girl. Abraham Mark was scheduled to be in an Auburn courtroom Thursday, but failed to appear. Abraham Mark, 49, posted $25,000 bail to get out of Placer County Jail in order to deal with an immigration issue. His Auburn attorney, Dean Starks, said Thursday afternoon that his client is in the country legally, but now has to prove that fact to federal officials. He's in federal custody in San Francisco at this time, Starks said. To undo the hold he has to be there. He has a hearing in a few days. Starks questioned why his client was even arrested. This case should not be a criminal case, he said. Starks said that there is some indication that Monica Mark, 32, may have neglected her baby. He said the infant was born prematurely and it was his understanding that when the couple left the hospital, they were not provided with any follow-up visits. It was at Abraham Mark's urging that Monica Mark finally agreed to take the infant to the doctor. The couple's then 8-week-old baby girl was found by Placer County Child Protective Services to be dehydrated and severely malnourished, officials said. The baby, who lost about one third of her birth weight and was emaciated, is out of the hospital now and is in the custody of the county. He said the baby lost about two pounds since her birth. They get reported as abusing the child, Starks said. The Marks were arrested Jan. 26 by Auburn Police officers and charged with one count each of felony cruelty to a child. A special allegation of great bodily injury to a child under the age of 5 has been added to the initial charges. The Marks had each been held on $150,000 bail since their arrest. Abraham Mark's bail was reduced to $25,000 at a previous court appearance. During a Thursday morning court proceeding the court issued a $50,000 bench warrant because Abraham Mark failed to make the court appearance. The warrant was held until the next court appearance, scheduled for May 8. Monica Mark's case, being handled by the public defender's office, was continued Thursday until May 8 for further early settlement conference, said Scott Owens, public information officer for the Placer County District Attorney's Office. She remains in custody in the Placer County Jail. If found guilty of all charges the couple face a maximum of 12 years in prison. The Journal's Penne Usher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment online at auburnjournal.com.