A vegan couple was arrested on neglect charges after allegedly almost starving their infant son to death. Robert Buskey, 31, and Julia French, 20, switched the 5-month-old boy from the formula that was prescribed by his doctor, changing it out for a concoction made of mashed potatoes that they found online, causing him to end up severely malnourished and underweight.
At birth, according to a report by the Daily Mail, the child weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces. At 5 months old, the boy only weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces.
The boy was clearly malnourished, said the Florida Department of Children and Families (DFC).
“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,” said Detective Lauren Watson of the Titusville Police Department in Florida.
“I’ve never seen a child to this level, this close to possible death.”
The couple is unmarried. According to a person who is familiar with the investigation, French says she is Buskey’s concubine, based on “Nazarite Hebrew” religious principles.
The doctor had prescribed the infant organic formula. However, the pair chose to feed him a homemade creation that was based on potatoes that French found on the internet.
According to police, the pair could afford the formula the doctor prescribed and did not provide a reason for not purchasing it for their son.
When found by authorities, the boy was “lethargic and not crying,” according to the court papers. He also “had difficulties maintaining his temperature and sugar due to dehydration and malnourishment.”
As of Wednesday, the infant was in DCF custody. He has gained about a half a pound just since being given fluids by local authorities.
During the booking process, Buskey seemed to contest the medical reports regarding the health of his child. The couple are being held in Brevard County Jail.