Couple charged with child neglect for ‘starving baby' with potato-based formula

'I've never seen a child to this level, this close to possible death'

Emma Snaith
Saturday 16 February 2019 16:03 GMT
Couple charged with child neglect for 'starving baby' with vegan diet

A vegan couple from Florida allegedly almost starved their five-month-old son to death after switching his doctor-prescribed formula for a potato-based recipe found on the internet.

Julia French, 20, and Robert Buskey, 31, have both been charged with child neglect after police investigators found the child weighed only 8lbs 8oz after being recorded at birth at 7lbs 9oz, according to WFTV News.

When the baby was seen by doctors on 5 February, it was diagnosed as malnourished and described as “lethargic and not crying”, according to an arrest affidavit in the case obtained by Patheos.

The baby is now in hospital while the parents are in the Brevard County Jail charged with neglect with great harm after they were arrested this week. They could face additional charges.

Titusville Police Detective Lauren Watson told WFTV: “At one point, when the baby was doing good and healthy and gaining weight, prior to them changing the organic food his paediatrician had put him on.

“Then they changed it on their own.

”I've never seen a child to this level, this close to possible death.“

The couple allegedly chose not to feed their child the organic formula prescribed by their doctor after he assured them it would fit with their vegan lifestyle.

Instead, they fed their child a potato-based mash using a recipe Ms French found on the internet.

Police said the couple couldn’t explain why they stopped using vegan formula prescribed by their doctor, which they could afford.

Mr Buskey also questioned the accuracy of the child’s medical reports when authorities declared that the child was malnourished.

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Doctors have told police the baby could suffer long-term health complications as a result of his malnourishment and will need ongoing medical care.

Since the child was hospitalised it had gained over half a pound on fluids alone, police said.

According to WESH News, the couple are unmarried but Ms French claims to be Mr Buskey’s concubine under “Nazarite Hebrew” religious principles.

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