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Parents accused of starving adopted daughter released on bail

Nov. 7, 2013 at 8:49 AM

DOHA, Qatar, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- The American parents accused of starving to death their 8-year-old adopted daughter from Africa were released on bail following a year in prison.

Gloria Huang, 8, died Jan. 15, 2012, after parents Matthew and Grace Huang found her unresponsive in her room at the family's home in Qatar.

The Qatar medical examiner said Gloria died of starvation and dehydration, and the Huangs, parents of two other children adopted from Africa, were imprisoned, accused of starving their daughter to death with the intent of selling her organs.

Defense lawyers argue the Huangs had been trying to manage Gloria's eating disorder. They said she would go days without eating, binge on junk food, rummage through garbage for food, or steal food and hide it in her room.

American adoption agencies said such behavior isn't uncommon among children adopted from countries where food is scarce, like Gloria's native Ghana. The family argued the allegations stem from cultural ignorance and that Qatar authorities couldn't understand how or why a family would adopt children from another country.

When Gloria was adopted, she suffered from a parasitic infection and vitamin D deficiency, ABC News reported Wednesday.

The Huang's lawyers Wednesday called several witnesses who said they were at the family's home the day before Gloria's death and saw the girl playing with her brothers and climbing up stairs, ABC News reported.

Defense lawyers argued it's medically impossible to climb stairs one day and die of starvation the next.

If convicted, the Huangs could face the death penalty. As part of their release on bail, they are prohibited from leaving Qatar.

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