A vegan couple have been accused of nearly starving their baby to death by allegedly feeding him only a milk-formula made with potatoes.
Officials say the five-month-old baby weighed just 8lbs 8ozs when he was rescued from his parents – just 1lb more than he weighed at birth.
The parents, Julia French, 20, and Robert Buskey, 31, have been charged with child neglect and could face additional charges.
WFTV report the Department of Children and Families started an investigation on Wednesday (February 13), after noticing the baby’s malnourishment; his ribs were clearly visible and his eyes appeared sunken.
Titusville police said the parents were aware of the fact their son wasn’t flourishing but failed to do anything about it, resulting in his severe malnourishment. As well as the baby’s shrunken appearance, he was constantly lethargic and struggled to maintain his temperature and sugar levels due to dehydration and malnourishment.
The five-month old is currently recovering in a Florida hospital while his parents are in custody at Brevard County Jail, and is already said to be making good progress in his recovery.
Since Wednesday night, the baby has gained half a pound just by being given fluids. Despite this, WFTV report the baby’s father seemed to question the accuracy of the child’s medical reports.
Titusville police say the family’s physician had given the couple nutritional advice and had provided orders with regards to an organic formula. After this, the baby’s health was improving but the parents then changed the formula to one of their own.
Police said the couple were only feeding the baby a potato-based mash, despite the baby responding much better to the organic formula.
Detective Lauren Watson, of the Titusville Police Department, said:
I’ve never seen a child to this level, this close to possible death. At one point, when the child was doing good and healthy, and gaining weight, he was on organic formula [but] they changed it on their own.
The police went on to say the couple, who describe themselves as vegans, couldn’t explain why they’d changed the organic milk formula to a potato based one.
As a result of what the baby has been through, it’s thought he could suffer long-term medical issues because of his long-suffered malnourishment in the first five months of his life.
Hopefully the child will make a full recovery and will continue to gain weight.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).