Apparently, some people are so fanatical in their beliefs that the welfare of others is ignored, even if those others are their own children.
One couple in Cape Coral, Florida have been charged after their toddler died from starvation because he was only fed raw vegetables and fruit.
Even the most basic public school system is supposed to teach the food pyramid, and the fact that protein is essential, but apparently, these vegans decided that it wasn’t for their kids. In fact, two other children were also extremely malnourished.
The toddler who died Sept. 27 in the care of his parents, Ryan and Sheila O’Leary, weighed 17 pounds, police reports indicate. His diet was supplemented with breast milk.
An average weight for an 18-month-old boy is 24 pounds, 1 ounce. The toddler weighed as much as an average 7-month-old, according to www.babycenter.com.
The autopsy findings determined that his death was caused by complications of malnutrition, including dehydration, microsteatosis of liver and slight edema (swelling) of hands, feet and lower legs, according to a Cape Coral probable cause statement.
Sheila O’Leary called 911 when she noticed her son was not breathing and was cold. Ryan O’Leary tried to resuscitate the child, but he was pronounced dead when Lee County Emergency Medics arrived at their Cape Coral home.
When a detective met with the O’Learys, they were standing near their minivan, which had three other children inside.
Two of those children are Ryan and Sheila O’Leary’s biological children and were described as extremely small for their ages, 3 and 5, and were pale and yellowish in color, the statement says.
They both weighed under the third percentile for their ages, and one of those children also had blackened teeth indicating dental decay, which required surgery.
The third child in the minivan appeared to be the healthiest of the children, and is Sheila O’Leary’s daughter with a different father who lives in Virginia.
According to the parental custody, the older child visits the biological father in Virginia every two months for a few weeks, which is likely explains her healthier appearance, police said in the statement.
In 2009, she was placed with the biological father in Virginia because she “failed to thrive” in Sheila O’Leary’s care.
According to jail records, the parents appear close to a normal range for their heights and weights. Sheila O’Leary is 5 feet tall weighed 90 pounds at her booking; Ryan O’Leary is 6 feet and weighs 160 pounds.
According to medical websites, the average weight for a woman Sheila O’Leary’s height is 97 to 123 pounds. For Ryan O’Leary, it is 140 to 183.
When police spoke with Sheila O’Leary, she said that her 18-month-old hadn’t eaten in a week and was only being breast fed. She said she thought it was because he was teething.
At 4 a.m., the boy was nursed for about a minute and then he began to have shallow breathing. Shelia O’Leary told police that he had never done that before and she should have called someone because she was worried, the statement says.
Instead, the pair fell asleep.
Police asked about the boy’s medical history and Shelia O’Leary said he was born at home and he had never seen a doctor. Ryan O’Leary told police that was the family’s preference.
She also said the family is vegan and only eats fruit and vegetables. The children only eat raw foods, which mainly consisted of mangoes, rambutans, bananas and avocados.
Sheila O’Leary said that she home-schools the children, but police determined they were not actively enrolled in a home-school program, according to the probable cause statement.
She also told police that the boy’s feet had been swollen off and on for a few weeks and he was not walking as much as he used to.
Ryan said he works two jobs so Sheila can care for the children.
The O’Learys turned themselves in to Cape Coral Police shortly after the boy’s cause of death was determined on Nov. 6.
The pair were arrested for negligent manslaughter, neglect of a child with great bodily harm and neglect of a child without great bodily harm. They both had bond set for $250,000.
They are being held in Lee County jail and have arraignments scheduled for Dec. 9.