LONGMONT - The parents of a legally blind 17-year-old with autism were arrested Tuesday after the boy was brought to the hospital showing signs of severe malnourishment and weighing only 88 pounds.
David and Vanessa Hall face charges for child abuse and negligent serious bodily injury to an at-risk person, according to an arrest affidavit.
Doctors described their son’s physical condition as being consistent with “someone who has been in a concentration camp for several years.”
The Halls said their son was a picky eater who subsisted on seven to eight sodas a day and between 400 to 500 calories of cheesy cracker-type snacks like Cheez-Its, Doritos and Cheetos. He would also eat yogurt, the boy’s parents told police.
According to the affidavit, doctors said the victim was lacking in seven vitamins and minerals in levels they had never seen before.
David Hall brought the teen to the hospital after he passed out. He told doctors he thought the boy had the flu, and had lost 15 pounds in the past two days. Police noted the boy was “very pale, with dark sunken eyes” and “little to no muscle tone.” He appeared much younger than his actual age, the affidavit said.
Police say doctors later learned the boy was suffering from hypovolemic shock, severe malnutrition and a stage 3 sacral pressure sore. He would need another month of intensive medical care and six months of nutritional assistance to return to a healthy state, the affidavit said.
When questioned by police, the affidavit said the Halls admitted their son’s diet was not the best, but they did not know what to do. Police said “neither could supply a reasonable answer” when asked why they didn’t reach out for help.
Police say the victim had not seen a doctor since 2006. At the time, he weighed 90 pounds – meaning the victim lost two pounds between ages 8 and 17.
According to the affidavit, Vanessa Hall was the boy’s primary caretaker. The family moved to Longmont from Georgia eight years ago. He hadn’t received any formal schooling since special education classes when he was five.
Police say when David Hall was told the grave condition of his son’s health, he “appeared more concerned with how [the victim’s] hospitalization would affect his Social Security payments and how they would need to change him to payee when [the victim] turned 18.”
The victim is now in the custody of Boulder County Human Services.
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