Police officers in Cape Coral reportedly arrested Ryan O'Leary, 30, and Sheila O'Leary, 35, after responding to a call that their youngest child had suddenly stopped breathing. Upon arriving at the scene, they discovered that the boy had the weight of an average seven-month-old child, suggesting that he was malnourished.
A press release indicates that by the time paramedics arrived to try to resuscitate the child, he was already dead. The O'Leary's have since been charged with aggravated manslaughter for neglect and child neglect in the starvation death of their son.
At the time when he was pronounced dead, the boy weighed a mere 17 pounds. An autopsy later revealed that the child was dehydrated, had a liver disorder, and had swelling of the hands and feet, all conditions associated with starvation.
The older O'Leary children were also discovered to be noticeably small for their age and malnourished. Aged three and five, these elder siblings were pale and had yellowish skin, a probable cause affidavit states, and one of them had blackened teeth caused by tooth decay.
There was also a third child present at the scene, aged 11, who reports indicate appeared healthier than her younger siblings. This child has since been identified as Sheila's daughter from a previous relationship, who visits her biological father in Virginia every two months.
Upon being interview by police, Sheila claimed that her youngest son had not eaten anything other than breast milk in the week leading up to his death. She says she believed his appetite was poor because he was in the process of teething.
On the morning of his death, the child suddenly developed breathing problems after a brief period of nursing. But rather than call the police to seek medical help, both Sheila and her husband reportedly fell asleep.
The now-deceased child, along with his three siblings, were all reportedly fed a diet that mainly consisted of mangoes, bananas, avocados, and rambutans, with no meat, dairy products, or presumably any other sources of healthy fats, which children need for proper physical and mental development.
Following their parents' arrest, the remaining two biological children have been placed into the custody of Child Protective Services (CPS), while their 11-year-old half-sister has been sent to Virginia to live with her biological father.
This 11-year-old, it's important to point out, had previously been placed in state custody for failure to thrive and severe malnutrition, suggesting that her mother and her new husband had been feeding her a raw vegan diet as well.
According to Sheila's defense lawyer, the 18-month-old boy had been sick for six months prior to his death, and wasn't simply neglected on the morning of his death. He also contends that the boy and his siblings were not malnourished, but rather naturally small and "perfectly healthy."
The couple is currently being held in Lee County jail on $250,000 bond each pending their arraignments, which are set for December 9.
Meanwhile, it's important to point out that while raw vegan diets are beneficial for detoxification purposes on a temporary basis, they are in no way appropriate for developing children, and especially infants.
We wonder, though, how these children will fare now that they're in the CPS system, seeing as how CPS is often a cover for illicit child kidnapping and trafficking operations.
To keep up with the latest CPS news, be sure to check out PoliceState.news.
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