Byron and Gwendalyn Buthman: Couple convicted after starved toddler suffered HEART ATTACK
Back in 2019, the couple was charged with injury to a child and an enhancement for infliction of great bodily injury, both felonies
ADA COUNTY, IDAHO: An Idaho couple has been found guilty of starving their adopted daughter to the point that the girl went into cardiac arrest when she was five years old. Byron Buthman, 57, and Gwendalyn Buthman, 45, were both convicted of severely mistreating the toddler, after several delays in the case.
Prosecutors said that the couple only allowed their daughter to eat vegetable protein and forced her to sleep in the laundry room. Back in 2019, they were charged with injury to a child and an enhancement for infliction of great bodily injury, both felonies. The girl suffered unbearable abuse between the ages of three and six from the years 2015 to 2018.
Identified as EB in court documents, the girl was only allowed to eat "mush". She mostly slept in the laundry room on a thin mat with no blankets, the Idaho Statesman reported. EB testified that the couple had other adoptive kids who ate "regular food” and sat together while the victim was made to sit in a corner in a highchair. “I would sit in the high chair for, like, a couple of hours and I have scars on the side of my legs because of that,” EB reportedly testified.
The victim was forced to drink three-quarters of a gallon of water every day. However, if she needed to urinate more than one in an hour, she was asked to go outside and use a five-gallon bucket. As a chore, she was forced to pick up dog poop. “She was skinny, her skin was dry. She appeared malnourished — just not a healthy kid,” testified Dawn Cliff. Cliff, a habilitative interventionist, worked with the victim for several months between 2017 and 2018.
In October 2017, the girl suffered a heart attack after being forced to go outside after she soiled her diaper. “I remember Gwen and Byron rushing to the hospital,” EB said. “I remember me in front of the swing set not doing anything, just staring, not moving.” The victim was forced to do chores even after she returned from the hospital. PediaSure was added to her paltry diet.
“This is an incredibly serious case,” John Dinger, Ada County deputy prosecuting attorney, had said at the time, according to the Idaho Press. “It’s a case of basically torture and neglect. This young child was adopted when she was 3 and started at that time to be, what we would call, just simply tortured and starved.” “Doctors were able to track and show that she lost significant weight during the period of time that she lived there,” Dinger said.
“There was one instance where she accidentally urinated herself so she was sent out, as a punishment, into the cold with only a long-sleeved shirt,” Dinger had added. “This, with the extreme nutritional neglect, the child ended up ... going into cardiac arrest and was taken to the hospital.”
The trial was originally set for September 2019. However, it kept getting delayed due to postponements and judge reassignments. Byron and Gwendalyn Buthman could face 20 years in prison.