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Two women pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of child endangerment a week after an 8-year-old was found dead in their apartment from severe malnutrition and an untreated broken leg and her injured and emaciated siblings were removed alive.

The children's 30-year-old mother, Venette Ovilde, stared blankly and answered a judge's questions in a barely audible whisper as she entered her plea through a court-appointed attorney. She remains held on $500,000 bail on aggravated manslaughter and child endangerment charges.

Her 23-year-old roommate, Myriam Janvier, also pleaded not guilty through a court-appointed attorney to child endangerment charges. Her bail was continued at $100,000.

Christiana Glenn died May 22 from severe malnutrition and a fractured femur that authorities said had never been treated. Her 7-year-old sister and 6-year-old brother remained hospitalized for treatment of malnutrition and other injuries after being removed from Ovilde's Irvington apartment.

The children were discovered after the police were called to the home on a report of a child not breathing.

The women, who were both born in Haiti but came to the U.S. at a young age, radically altered their lifestyles about two years ago when they came under the sway of a man they described as their religious leader, according to friends and acquaintances.


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