Couple arrested for allegedly starving their 2-year-old to death

Jonathon Matthew Cheek, 25, and Sierra Pearl Zaitona, 27, were arrested on Monday for allegedly causing the starvation death of their two-year-old son. The Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office charged them both with second-degree murder and child abuse in the second degree.

According to authorities, the toddler’s parents discovered him dead in his crib on March 16. The coroner concluded that the cause of death was starvation. During the arraignment, Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor Molly Zappitell mentioned that the child was healthy when he was in foster care. It is unknown why the boy was in foster care, or when he was returned to Cheek and Zaitona.

The victim was revealed to be the couple’s biological son. Prosecutor Zappitell argued that Zaitona was a flight risk and requested a high bond. She suggested that the mother had given birth to the child in Ohio to avoid the attention of CPS. Zaitona denied the statement and her attorney told her not to say anything. Magistrate Ryan Zemke set the bond at $1 million, and the couple must each wear a GPS tether if they are released.

Macomb County Prosecutor Peter J. Lucido thanked the Clinton Township Police Department for their hard work in the investigation. A probable cause hearing is scheduled for April 3.