Police: Vegan parents accused of starving 18-month-old son to death only allowed him to eat raw foods

(WHDH) — The two vegan parents of an 18-month-old child are facing manslaughter charges after authorities say they starved their son to death by feeding him nothing but raw food.

Ryan O’Leary, 30, and Sheila O’Leary, 35, were arrested by police in Cape Coral, Florida, on Nov. 6 on charges including negligent homicide, child neglect with great bodily harm, and child neglect without causing great bodily harm, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Officers responding to the couple’s home on Sept. 27 found the 17-pound child, who was cold and not breathing, the Fort Myers News-Press reported. Emergency crews were unable to resuscitate the malnourished toddler.

The toddler’s weight was equivalent to that of the average 7-month-old, according to the news outlet.

Sheila O’Leary reportedly told police that the family was vegan and that the diet of her four children consisted of mangoes, rambutans, bananas, and avocados. She also stated that the toddler was being breastfed.

The couple surrendered to police earlier this month after an autopsy found that the child’s death was caused by malnutrition, dehydration, microsteatosis of the liver, and swelling of the hands, feet, and lower legs.

Two of the couple’s other three children were said to be extremely small for their ages, 3 and 5. One reportedly had blackened teeth, indicating dental decay.

The couple is being held on $250,000 bond. They are due in court on Dec. 9.

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