Toddler found malnourished in Fulton

Melissa Nichols / photo: OCSO

Fulton Police initially came to Melissa Nichols' and Jeremy Bailey's apartment looking for evidence related to a break-in at the former Nestle factory. When police entered and say they saw the conditions the couple and their 19-month-old child were living in, they called Child Protective Services.

"There was pretty much nothing that would usually be there for a toddler as far as adequate clothing, diapers, food of any kind," said investigator Michael Curtis. On closer examination, police say they were concerned about the child's health. "The toddler was taken to urgent care, examined and determined there was some malnutrition involved," said Curtis.

Nichols, who is 17, and Bailey, who is 22, were charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Nichols was also charged with assault after police found a burn mark on the child's body. In an interview with CNY Central Thursday afternoon, Nichols admitted the child was burned, but says it was accidental. "I was smoking a cigarette - nothing wrong with that - I picked up my daughter and whenever I pick her up she lunges towards me to snuggle with me and right as she did that she knocked off the cherry on my cigarette and it fell on her and I had to brush it off and clean her up," said Nichols.

Nichols says the police exaggerated the conditions in the apartment and said she does everything she can to take care of her daughter. "When they're saying the baby went days without eating - that was me going days without eating," said Nichols. "I always made sure my child ate first. Always."

The father, Jeremy Bailey, is still in jail on $5,000 bail.

Nichols was in court Thursday and says she hopes she can find a way to get her daughter back. "I'm just going to have to have another trial and then they're just going to get me on a bunch of programs," she said. Nichols says she will attend parenting and nutrition classes and hopes the courts will allow her to regain custody of her daughter.

Original Story:

Police in Fulton have charged a couple with endangering the welfare of their 19-month-old girl.

Police say 22-year-old Jeremy W. Bailey and 17-year-old Melissa K. Nichols forced the child to live in deplorable conditions in Oswego County without food, toys, a bed, or clothes. Police say the infant would go days without eating.

Police also say the little girl hasn't received any of her immunizations or well baby exams since birth.

The toddler is now being cared for by Child Protective Services.

The couple is charged with endangering the welfare of a child, and Nichols is also facing an assault charge related to a cigarette burn found on the toddler's torso.

Both are currently being held at the Oswego County Public Safety Center on $5,000 cash bail.