DA: Drugged mother, grandmother failed to care for newborn

Now-thriving baby in foster care, officials say

READING, Pa. - A Berks County woman and her mother are under arrest, accused of being on drugs and incapable of providing the necessary care for the woman's newborn baby.

Pearl L. Grater, 26, and Gertrude M. Grater, 65, were apprehended at their home on North Reading Avenue in Boyertown on Wednesday and charged with endangering the welfare of children and aggravated assault, both felonies.

The charges stem from Pearl Grater's 4-week-old son being hospitalized in late July for "failure to thrive as a result of nutritional deficiencies," according to detectives with the Berks County district attorney's office.

The baby, officials said, was reported to have poor growth and lack of nutritional needs.

"They failed to care for the child, failed to feed the child," said Sgt. Harold Shenk, a criminal investigator with the DA's office.

Detectives said their investigation revealed that the Graters were under the influence of methamphetamine for days during the time they were supposed to be caring for the newborn.

"They were basically tired, sleepy and failed to care for this child," Shenk said. "It's just a shame that we have a one month old child who is living in an environment like this."

When the mother and grandmother were capable of feeding the baby, detectives said they gave him formula that didn't provide the proper nutrients for growth and health.

"The grandmother had purchased a cheaper, lesser quality formula, or toddler formula," Shenk said.

The baby was reported to be thriving upon his release from the hospital three days after being admitted, officials said. He is now in foster care.

Bail for the Graters has not yet been set.

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