A vegan couple was charged with child neglect after they nearly “starved their baby to death” by feeding him only potato-based mash.
Julia French, 20, and Robert Buskey, 31, from Titusville, Florida were charged with child neglect after investigators found their five-month-old son weighing only 8 lbs 8 oz despite weighing 7 lbs 9 oz at birth, according to Orlando news station WFTV.
An arrest affidavit in the case obtained by Patheos added that the baby was diagnosed as malnourished when brought to a doctor on February 5.
His ribs were also visible, his eyes sunken, and he had difficulty maintaining his temperature and sugar due to malnutrition and dehydration.
According to Titusville police, the family’s physician had provided orders for the child’s nutrition and the child’s health was improving with organic formula that would fit with the family’s vegan lifestyle.
However, the vegan couple replaced the organic formula with a potato-based mash using a recipe that Ms. French found on the Internet and could not explain to the police why they chose an Internet recipe over the formula suggested by the family doctor.
“At one point, when the child was doing good and healthy and gaining weight, he was on an organic formula and they changed it on their own,” Detective Lauren Watson from the Titusville Police Department told WFTV. “I’ve never seen a child to this level, this close to possible death.”
The police reported that the child gained over half a pound on fluids alone during hospitalization but will need ongoing medical care and might still suffer from long-term health complications as a result of malnourishment.