The Washington Post reports that an autistic 17-year-old from Colorado weighed just 88 pounds when his parents, David and Vanessa Hall, decided to take him to a hospital. David Hall, the father of the autistic teenager from Colorado, claimed the boy was suffering from the flu and had lost somewhere between 10 to 15 pounds in the last couple of days. It didn’t take doctors long to realize things were much more serious for this autistic teenager from Colorado.
According to an arrest warrant affidavit cited by the Longmont Times-Call, the police later told police the autistic teenager from Colorado was suffering from a number of medical issues associated with being severely malnourished. These medical issues include:
- hypovolemic shock
- kidney failure
- pressure sores
- depletion of vitamins and minerals
In fact, the medical issues the autistic teenager from Colorado suffered from were so severe, the medical staff claimed they had never seen a case anything like this one. One doctor described the autistic teenager with the following statement, “consistent with someone who would have been in a concentration camp for several years.”
David and Vanessa Hall have been accused of child abuse after doctors learned their autistic son was severely https://t.co/vMIKUd2Z8r
— rasi (@twisira) September 10, 2016
In the affidavit, a detective described the autistic teenager as someone who looked younger than his age with “little to no muscle tone” and “sunken eyes.”
Instead of a short hospital stay the teen would have required if he had actually only been sick with the flu, doctors are claiming he will need to be kept for several weeks in order to receive intensive medical care. Even when the autistic teenager is released, the doctors say he will need “closely monitored nutritional care” for at least six months in order to get his weight up to a healthy number.
Both of the autistic teenager from Colorado’s parents have been arrested and accused of abusing the child. They have been charged with felony child abuse, as well as negligent serious bodily injury to an at-risk person.
In Colorado – "The parents of a blind and autistic 17-year-old from Longmont are being accused of child abuse and… https://t.co/9BlYZILqbc
— stephanie james (@coloradoexp) September 10, 2016
According to the Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett, the condition of the autistic teenager has improved since he has been under the care and watch of the medical staff.
“Colorado law not only makes the protection of children a top priority, but it imposes heightened duties on persons in a position of trust with regard to caring for a child — and that includes parents,” Garnett said.
According to Fox affiliate KDVR, the autistic teenager’s parents told investigators their son was also blind and had not been to the doctor in at least eight years. In those eight years, the boy had also never been to school or received any type of dental care either.
The parents of the autistic teenager from Colorado told the investigator their son was an extremely “picky eater” – which is normal for an individual with autism (especially a child). The parents claimed the child ate cheesy cracker snacks, yogurt, and seven or eight sodas every day. The chips and sodas the teenager consumed on a daily basis amounted to roughly 500 calories a day. The affidavit also mentioned the teenager was forced to use a jug beside his bed to go to the bathroom.
According to Times-Call, the father of the autistic teenager claimed to agree with the fact that what his son consumed on a daily basis was not the best for his health. However, he and his wife had no idea what else they were supposed to do. The father and mother were asked why they never reached out for assistance in caring for their son – neither the mother or father had an answer to this question.
Neighbors of the family claim the autistic teenager was rarely outside of the trailer the family called home. Some of the neighbors just assumed the boy was homeschooled because they never saw him. At least one of the neighbors who had seen the child a few times would have never guessed the boy was 17-years-old because of how young he looked being so underweight.
“He’s always inside,” Alma Rubio, a neighbor, said. “They never have him outside. Sometimes he’s in the fence outside.”
“They just told us he had been sick because when he fell down or whatever. … they went to the hospital,” Bud Burrows, another neighbor, said. “They had the ambulance and firetruck out here. It was like 1 o’clock in the morning last week. We didn’t really say anything to them because we didn’t really know it was them at first.”
“I haven’t seen [their son] in a little bit,” Burrows added. “He generally stays inside most of the time. He would come out into the yard, messing around back there and you could hear him back there. But for the most part, he stayed inside.”
— Ancient Oceans (@AOS1969) September 8, 2016
The father works as a shuttle driver and does not have a criminal record. The judge set a $50,000 bond for the father because he was not considered to be a threat to the community. The mother posted her own $100,000 bond after her arrest.
Do you think these parents should be allowed to be free or should they be behind bars?
[Images/Mugshots via Longmont Police Department]