A 28-year-old Greenville mother of four has been arrested and charged for allegedly starving and beating her 7-year-old son in conjunction with her parents, who were also taken into custody.
Mary C. Rader, and her parents Dennis C. Beighley, 58, and Deana C. Beighley, 47, were arrested at their home on Wednesday following an investigation by the Mercer County District Attorney’s office which began after the Mercer County Children and Youth Services informed them of the situation.
According to their report, the child was “clearly underweight” and suffering from extreme neglect and abuse at the hands of his mother and grandparents. The boy lived with his grandparents, mother, two sisters, and elder brother. While the two girls were healthy, the two boys were both undernourished.
Last month the younger brother was taken to UPMC Horizon medical facility, and then transferred to UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. He was found to weigh only 25 pounds, even though he had gained some weight since spending time there.
Dr. Jennifer Wolford of UPMC Children’s Hospital Child Advocacy Center, said in a statement:
“The most important medicine used to treat him at the hospital was food. He was within a month of having a major cardiac event that he probably would not have recovered from. It is impossible to me that this severe neglect and active abuse was not visible. He was being starved in his own home around others of normal weight.”
In August 2013, the boy was removed from mainstream schooling by his mother in favor of home schooling. The child was not allowed to leave the house except to go to the back porch where he frequently caught bugs and ate them for nutrition.
It was revealed by investigators that the victim had only been fed small portions of tuna and eggs, and was allegedly beaten often with a belt when he was caught sneaking food — usually peanut butter sandwiches.
“The child was starved. (The victim) is the worst case of medical neglect that I have ever seen in my seven years as a pediatrician. Multiple physicians at Children’s Hospital are in agreement with this assessment. There is not one physician at Children’s who disagree with this assessment.”
The three were charged with two counts of aggravated assault, aggravated assault of a victim under 13, unlawful restraint of a minor, false imprisonment, endangering the welfare of children, and criminal conspiracy.