Longmont Parents Charged For Starving Autistic Son
The parents of a legally blind 17-year-old boy with autism were arrested Tuesday after medical personnel discovered he was severely malnourished and weighed only 88 pounds.
According to 9NEWS, David and Vanessa Hall of Longmont face charges of child abuse and negligent serious bodily injury to an at-risk person. Doctors say the boy's condition was consistent with "someone who has been in a concentration camp for several years."
The Halls said their son lived on 7 to 8 soda pops and consumed 400 to 500 calories today, including Cheez-Its, Doritos, Cheetos, and yogurt. They claimed he was a "picky eater."
The boy was brought to the hospital after passing out, at which point he told doctors he thought he had the flu and lost 15 pounds in the last 2 days. Police say the boy was "very pale, with dark sunken eyes" and "little to no muscle tone." They also noted in the arrest affidavit he looked much younger than his actual age.
Doctors later learned he was suffering from hypovolemic shock, severe malnutrition, and a stage 3 sacral pressure sore, requiring a month of intensive medical care and 6 months nutritional assistance to return to normal health.
Police say the boy's parents couldn't provide a reasonable answer when asked why they didn't reach out for help after claiming they didn't know what to do about his diet. When told about their son's extreme condition, police say David Hall appeared "more concerned with how [his son's] hospitalization would affect his Social Security payments and how they would need to change him to payee when [his son] turned 18."
Through investigation, police also found the boy hadn't been formally schooled since special education classes he took at age 5, and hadn't visited a doctor since he was 8 years old. At the time, he weighed 90 pounds - so between then and now, he's lost 2 pounds.
The family moved to Longmont from Georgia 8 years ago. The boy is now in custody of Boulder County Human Services.