Florida toddler starves to death after vegan parents fed him only raw fruits and vegetables
CAPE CORAL, FLORIDA: A toddler who was fed almost nothing but raw fruits and vegetables by his vegan parents has reportedly starved to death. Last week, authorities arrested Ryan O’Leary, 30 and Sheila O’Leary, 35, in Cape Coral, Florida, following the death of their 18-month-old son September 27.
At the time of his death, the child weighed only 17 pounds, which is the average weight of a seven-month-old. Cape Coral police said in a statement the toddler died after suffering complications related to malnutrition, including dehydration, microsteatosis of liver and swelling of hands, feet and legs, according to an autopsy report.
On the tragic day, Sheila O'Leary dialed 911 after the boy was cold and not breathing. Ryan, the father, unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate the child, before responding paramedics pronounced the boy dead.
According to the News-Press, police later found two other children of the couple, aged three and five, were pale and yellowish in color. The children were subsequently found to be in the very bottom-weight range for their age and one of them also had decaying teeth.
Authorities noted a third female child of the O'Learys who appeared to be the healthiest of the lot. They would later find she was Sheila's daughter from a different father who resides in Virginia.
They found the child visited her father for a couple of weeks every two months and attributed her healthier appearance to those visits. While speaking to the police, Sheila revealed her family is vegan and eats only raw fruits and vegetables.
While she said she also breastfed her toddler, she admitted he hadn't eaten solid food in a week. Sheila said she nursed her son for only a minute on the day of his tragic demise, as he had started exhibiting shallow breathing.
In hindsight, she said she should have called someone then but she fell asleep with her husband instead. The O'Learys turned themselves shortly after the boy's cause of death was determined November 6.
They are currently remanded in custody on charges of aggravated negligent manslaughter among others. They are scheduled for arraignment December 9.