A Florida-based vegan couple was arrested after starving their 5-month-old infant by replacing a doctor-prescribed formula with a vegan alternative.
31-year-old Robert Buskey and his 20-year-old partner, Julia French, have been charged with child neglect after the authorities discovered that their 4-month-old son weighed only 8 pounds and 8 ounces, just one pound more than when he was born.
According to the reports, the couple switched doctor-prescribed formula for a homemade vegan concoction consisting of mashed potatoes.
Following their investigation, the Florida Department of Children and Families confirmed that the child was malnourished and said that they have never seen a baby “this close to possible death.”
“At one point, when the child was doing good and healthy and gaining weight, he was on an organic formula and they changed it on their own,” Detective Lauren Watson of Titusville Police said.
“I’ve never seen a child to this level, this close to possible death.”
According to the investigators, Buskey and French intentionally ignored doctor’s prescriptions because they wanted their child to follow the same lifestyle as they do. However, they never considered that feeding the baby purely a potato-based formula could ruin his health, slow down his growth, and even kill him.
In the court, the parents failed to provide a reason for not getting the prescribed formula for the child. Instead, they explained they fed the child a concoction made by French who discovered the recipe on the internet.
Following their arrest, the 4-month-old baby is now in the custody of DCF. In less than a week, the boy already gained over half a pound.
As the investigators also added, the baby appeared “lethargic and not crying” when they found him. He was having “difficulties maintaining his temperature and sugar due to dehydration and malnourishment.”
The couple is currently being held in Brevard County Jail where they are awaiting trial.
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