The Wright County Prosecutor is very pleased to announce both defendants, Latisha Cantrell and Joey Moore pled guilty and received prison sentences for their role in starving a child. On March 10, 2022, biological mother, Latisha Cantrell, pled guilty to two charges: Endangering the Welfare of a Child – 1st and Abuse or Neglect of a Child.  Cantrell received a 15-year sentence for each charge that will run concurrent with no parole until she has served five years of her sentence. On September 8, 2022, biological father, Joey Moore, pled guilty to Endangering the Welfare of a Child – 1st Degree, receiving a 10-year prison sentence with the 120-day shock incarceration.  Judge Carter presided over both cases.

The cases were investigated by Mountain Grove Police Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol.  A hotline call had been made, which prompted Mountain Grove Police and a Children’s Division Investigator to respond.  They discovered there were three children in the home.  Two of the children five years of age were twins, a little boy and little girl.  Investigation revealed that the twin girl was targeted and treated differently than her siblings. It was apparent to the officer and investigator there was a concern with the little girl’s health. Medical care was sought at a West Plains hospital where she was admitted for malnourishment. She was later flown to a St. Louis hospital for additional care. The doctors described her as having “the appearance of a two-year-old” and being “severely malnourished”. Investigation revealed that she was kept in a laundry room, away from her siblings and the rest of the family. She weighted approximately 21 pounds. The door had a lock on the outside. She was not allowed to eat, play outside, or even leave the room without receiving a harsh punishment. The parents claimed she had medical conditions that prevented her from gaining/keeping on weight, which investigation revealed not to be true. Once removed from the home, she began to gain weight and exhibit no medical condition to justify her condition.

John Tyrrell, Wright County Prosecutor states, “The photos will never be forgotten. It was a very hard and emotional case for everyone that worked on it. We are happy to report she is now thriving in a loving home with her siblings and getting the love and attention they deserve.” 

“I am pleased with how these cases resolved.  The primary offender, Defendant Cantrell, received an appropriate prison sentence.  Defendant Moore also received an appropriate prison sentence for his role given the amount of time he lived in the home.  The resolution of these cases will allow the children to move on in their lives.  I also want to thank all the agencies that worked on this case, Mountain Grove Police Dept., Missouri State Highway Patrol, Child Advocacy Center, Wright County Juvenile Office, and Children’s Division.” says John Tyrrell, Wright County Prosecutor.