"I've never seen a child to this level, this close to possible death," the detective said.
Accused of blatantly neglecting their child, a couple from Florida nearly starved their infant son to death, even though they could very well afford to buy what the little needed to stay healthy.
The vegan couple from Titusville, Florida, reportedly knew that their child was not in good shape. However, they continued with their neglectful ways and did nothing as the baby grew weaker as they continued with their vegan lifestyle.
The baby was born weighing seven pounds, nine ounces to couple, Julia French and Robert Buskey, who were respectively 20 and 31 when the incident came to light in 2019. Around five months after the baby's birth, he weighed only eight pounds, eight ounces, as reported by WESH 2.
Initially, the couple was given instructions by the family's physical about the kind of nutrition the baby was to be given. And for a short while, they followed it and the baby's health improved. But soon, they decided to ditch the doctor's advice and go with something that would fit their vegan lifestyle.
Detective Lauren Watson with the Titusville Police Department said, "At one point, when the child was doing good and healthy and gaining weight, he was on an organic formula and they changed it on their own," as reported by WFTV.
After ignoring the doctor's instructions, the vegan parents started spoon-feeding their baby a vegan formula recipe that Julia had found online. Using the recipe from the internet, the couple made a formula that was basically a potato-based mash, they fed their child the compound just so that it would fit into their lifestyle whilst ignoring the signs of their baby deteriorating health.
When authorities found the 5-month-old baby, they could visibly see how the child's health was neglected. The little one's ribs and bones were poking through the skin, his eyes were sunken, and his skin had grown significantly loose. Apart from the obvious physical signs, they also saw that the baby was noticeably lethargic and he could barely move. In addition to this, the dehydration and the malnourishment that the baby was put through also resulted in his body unable to maintain temperature and sugar levels.
"I've never seen a child to this level, this close to possible death," said Detective Lauren Watson.
It was also reported that the couple indeed had the means to buy their baby the right formula he needed to maintain good health and wellbeing. However, they simply chose not to do so and could not give the investigators a good reason for why they stopped using the organic formula to feed the baby.
What investigators also discovered was that the baby's parents, Julia and Robert had an unconventional relationship. The two were followers of the Nazarite Hebrew religion and Julia called herself Robert's concubine. Julia and Robert nearly starved their baby to death by doing so, but luckily the baby eventually found his way to the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), according to Mirror.
Under the care of workers at the DCF, the baby quickly started improving and gained half a pound on only fluids.
The parents were both arrested and charged with neglect with great harm, according to a VT report from February 2019. At that time, it was also reported that the parents could be facing more charges. While they were kept behind bars, their son was kept in good hands and was looked after by the people at DCF. However, due to the kind of malnourishment that the baby faced under his parents' care, there are chances of it leading to some long-term medical problems.