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Opening Statements Given and Witnesses Testify in Chrzan Trial

Posted: Thursday, May 17th, 2018 at 6:27 am
Author: KCII News - Sam McIntosh

Defense Attorney Jeffrey Powell and defendant Ambrashia Chrzan. Photo by Sam McIntosh.

Opening statements from the attorneys were given and six witnesses testified Wednesday in the trial of Ambrashia Chrzan of Riverside.

Chrzan is charged with child endangerment resulting in the death of her 17-month-old daughter Avery McCoy. The first witness was Jean Zook, Avery’s foster parent from when she was two weeks old until about six months old. Testimony showed Avery was born prematurely and weighed about four pounds at birth. She gained weight after being fed a high-caloric prescription formula and weighed approximately 14 pounds on December 3rd, 2015, the day before Avery was put in Chrzan’s custody. Avery’s primary physician Dr. David Nacos testified she was on the growth chart on January 25th, 2016, but when he next saw her on July 5th weighing approximately 14 pounds she had fallen off the growth chart.

Other witnesses who testified were those who responded to the scene of Avery’s death: Washington County Investigator Chad Ellis, Washington County Medical Examiner Investigator Joan Sieren, and Kalona First Responder Dean Miller. Both Ellis and Sieren testified that Chrzan’s residence was messy and there wasn’t much space to walk to Avery’s crib, which had no sheets and an adult-sized comforter. Dennis Firchau, a forensic pathologist with the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, performed the autopsy on Avery and ruled the cause of death as undetermined with malnutrition and associated neglect. Firchau ruled the manner of death as homicide, as neglectful actions whether active or inactive contributed to her death. Wednesday’s final testimony came from Kim Barthelman, owner of Kids Country Club in Kalona that provided daycare to Avery from February 1 to July 20, 2016. Barthelman’s daycare logs as evidence showed that Avery ate food and was fed formula until she was switched to whole milk after turning one year old. The trial continues Thursday, listen to KCII for updates.