Photo Credits: Quartz
Florida: On September 27th, an 18-month-old baby died after being fed only raw fruits and vegetables. He weighed only 17 pounds according to a Cape Coral Police report. His mother and father, Ryan Patrick O’Leary and Sheila O’Leary were charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter, child abuse, and two counts of child neglect in connection with the treatment of their four kids.
The News Press reports that during a press conference Wednesday, State Attorney Amira Fox stated that they were formerly charged with the neglect, torture and killing of the 18-month-old due to starvation and extreme lack of care.
The indictment also includes three other victims, a 3-year-old, a 5-year-old and an 11-year-old who also suffered from child abuse and extreme neglect, Fox said.
“The evidence and crime scene in this case are gut-wrenching. These are images as a mother and State Attorney I will not be able to forget,” Fox said.
“I commend the detectives and officers with the Cape Coral Police Department for their difficult task of dealing with the horrendous nature of this case,” Fox said.
Allegedly, Sheila O’Leary called 911 when she noticed her son was not breathing and was cold. Her husband tried to resuscitate the child, but the boy was pronounced dead when Lee County Emergency Medics arrived at their home.
There were many cases involving parents who hurt or killed their children either through neglect for food or through “faith healing.” The problem is that it is usually too late for those kids to be saved when the authorities discover such cases. In the past, some parents were given very light punishment for their crimes. For example, Jennifer and Jeromie Clark were sentenced to just 32 months in prison for letting their 14-month-old son die by failing to get him medical treatment.
As Patheos reports, in that case, the malnourishment was caused by the parents’ extreme interpretation of the Seventh-day Adventist religion, which they believe requires a strict vegan diet. Because of their misguided faith, they attempted to treat a staph infection with vegetables rather than going to a doctor.
Let’s hope in this case parents will be punished in proportion to the crime they have committed.