Vegan couple who fed children only raw fruit and veg charged with murder after baby dies from starvation

State Attorney Amira Fox said evidence is ‘gut-wrenching’

Matt Drake
Friday 20 December 2019 15:04 GMT
Couple's other three children were also extremely malnourished, according to reports
Couple's other three children were also extremely malnourished, according to reports (NBC2)

A vegan couple who fed their children only raw fruits and vegetables have been charged with murder after their son allegedly died of starvation.

The Florida couple, Ryan Patrick O'Leary, 30, and Sheila O'Leary, 35, told police they only fed their children on a diet of raw fruit and vegetables. On Wednesday, a Lee County Grand Jury indicted the couple.

They are charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter, child abuse, and two counts of child neglect after their 18-month-old son starved to death, according to authorities.

According to a Cape Coral police report, the child weighed only 17 pounds (8 kilograms), which experts say is in line with what a seven-month-old should weigh.

The mother called 911 in September when she noticed her son was not breathing and felt cold. She tried to resuscitate the baby, but he was dead when paramedics arrived, according to the News-Press.

State Attorney Amira Fox said the indictment includes three other children who also suffered from child abuse and extreme neglect. They are three, five and 11-years-old.

Those children were also allegedly malnourished and one had to have some of their teeth removed, WBBH reported.

Ms Fox added: "The evidence and crime scene in this case are gut-wrenching. These are images as a mother and State Attorney I will not be able to forget."

The couple is set to appear in court Monday and remain in jail. According to WBBH, they could potentially face the death penalty if found guilty.

In November, the parents were charged with aggravated manslaughter but the charges were upgraded after the grand jury indictment.

Additional reporting by agencies

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