A couple in Washington has been charged with murder after a 10-week-old baby they were babysitting died of dehydration.

Nina Perez, 20, and Michael Bernard, 24, of Redmond were babysitting the 10-week-old boy in February when the child's 17-year-old mother had gone to California for a week. The infant died of dehydration and malnutrition on Feb. 17 while under their care. The couple now faces second-degree murder charges,  Seattle Times reported.

The couple reportedly spent money on marijuana even when they ran out of formula for the child. "Instead of purchasing needed formula for the newborn, Perez and co-defendant Michael Bernard chose to spend their money on marijuana in the week the baby was in their care," prosecutors wrote, court documents showed.

The teen mother told investigators that when she left her son at the couple's home on Feb.10, she gave them clothes, diapers and five cans of infant formula. She said her son used to consume one can every three days.

However, on Feb.15, the couple called up the mother saying they ran out of formula and needed money to buy them. Since the mother did not have money with her, she tried to arrange for an outreach worker to deliver the formula for free. However, the couple refused the offer saying they "didn't feel comfortable having anyone come to her home," court records said. Perez then promised to feed the baby applesauce and oatmeal.

The couple was arrested on Aug. 6, almost six months after the infant's death, as police were awaiting the autopsy report. The investigators found the couple was responsible for gross negligence resulting in the infant's death, King 5 reported.

Bernard spent at least $75 on marijuana when the baby was under his care, investigators said. When asked why they did not get the feed, he told them, "We never got around to it."

Officers said Perez had taken photos and videos of the infant's deteriorating health and even recorded the sick child lying in a "large puddle of yellow liquid diarrhea" on the night before his death. When a relative of the child pleaded with her to call 911 after seeing the infant's condition during a video call, she refused, according to court documents.

"Even as Perez documented the baby's deteriorating health with pictures and video, she refused at least one offer of formula to be delivered to their home free of charge and chose not to access free resources within their own transitional housing complex that, among other things, keeps a stock of baby formula for residents in need," the prosecutor wrote.

The couple has been sent to King County Correctional Facility with a $1 million bail each. They are scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 19.

newborn-1399155_640 representational image Photo: pixabay