A severely malnourished Ohio boy escaped from his parents’ home and managed to find help, and now his father and stepmother have been charged with a host of felonies, the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum reports. The 13-year-old boy, who weighed only 65 pounds, had been forced to adhere to a strict vegan diet, authorities allege.
The boy, whose name has not been provided, somehow managed to escape his family’s home in Crestline and make his way to Galion, a few miles away. Why he chose to go to Galion is not clear. Also not clear is what happened once he got to Galion, including who found him, who he may have asked for help, or the other circumstances of his rescue.
What is known, however, is that the boy was so sick that he had to be taken to a Columbus hospital. He’s being treated for failure to thrive, severe malnutrition and refeeding syndrome, and is expected to be there for at least three weeks.
A Lifetime of Alleged Neglect
Back in Crestline, his father, John Miller, and his stepmother, Katrina Miller, were arrested and charged with multiple felonies.
Authorities say that the boy had a childhood cancer when he was an infant, but that his caretakers did not provide followup care for him. Children’s hospital officials say that, in the case of childhood cancer, periodic followup care is required to make sure the cancer hasn’t come back; the boy allegedly never got that.
Further, the boy was homeschooled, and the only time he was seen outside the home was when his family took him to church. The boy was “ashamed” at how thin and malnourished he was, authorities say, and would wear layers of clothes to hide how thin he was.
The reason the boy was so malnourished, police say, is because his parents forced him to adhere to a strict vegan diet. Specifically, police allege that the boy was allowed to eat only almonds, bananas and grapes, and was given only 30 minutes to eat everything. If he failed, his father allegedly beat him.
Further, authorities say the boy was kept “under surveillance” to make sure he didn’t eat anything he wasn’t allowed to.
Katrina Miller has been indicted by a Crawford County grand jury on one count of kidnapping, one count of felonious assault, two felony counts of child endangerment, and a first-degree misdemeanor count of child endangerment. John Miller has been charged with the same crimes, as well as a first-degree misdemeanor charge of domestic violence.
This is not the first time that a child’s parents were brought in before a court because they fed their children a vegan diet. In May, as reported at the time by The Inquisitr, an Australian couple was charged with a host of crimes related to their 3-year-old daughter’s reported malnourishment from being fed a strict vegan diet.