Brevard County, Florida: Thirty-one-year-old Robert Buskey and 20-year-old Julia French, vegan parents from Florida are accused of starving their five-month-old baby after they switched out a doctor-recommended formula for a potato-based mash.
The couple have been charged with neglect and could face further charges.
The self-described vegans allegedly ignored a doctor’s advice to feed the baby organic formula, choosing to nourish him instead with a potato-based mash.
“I’ve never seen a child to this level, this close to possible death,” said Det. Lauren Watson of the Titusville Police Department. “At one point, when the child was doing good and healthy, and gaining weight, he was on organic formula (but) they changed it on their own.”
Authorities were contacted by Florida’s Department of Children and Families this past Wednesday after it appeared the baby was malnourished.
Upon discovery, the infant’s ribs were visible his eyes were sunken. Cops say the five-month-old weighed eight pounds, eight ounces — just one pound more than his weight at birth.
The child was taken to hospital, where he gained half a pound after being given fluids, WFTV reported. The news outlet reported Buskey questioned the accuracy of his son’s medical reports.
And while the parents knew their child wasn’t thriving, they failed to do anything to help improve the situation, cops say.
Court documents noted the infant was lethargic and had a hard time maintaining sugar and temperature thanks to malnourishment and dehydration.
When questioned by cops, Buskey and French were unable to provide a reason for switching from formula to the potato mash.
The parents are currently behind bars at Brevard County Jail.