A Minnesota couple has been arrested and the two now face felony charges for allegedly starving their eight-year-old adopted son to the point where his bones were visible through his skin.
According to the Associated Press, Mona Hauer and Russell Hauer are accused of malnourishing their son by feeding him only liquid food and placing an alarm on his door to prevent him from sneaking out at night and stealing solid food. They each face six felony charges, including neglect and malicious punishment of a child.
A complaint filed Friday states that authorities learned of the boy’s condition after Mrs. Hauer brought him to an emergency room earlier this month because she thought he’d vomited blood. The boy came in at under 35 pounds, about the weight of someone half his age. According to the complaint, doctors noted that the child’s abdomen was distended and his bones visibly protruded when he was brought in for examination.
The Hauer’s have a biological child, and they also adopted two of the victim’s siblings. The complaint against the Hauer’s does not mention any alleged punishments being meted out to their other children.
According to the AP, the Hauer’s made the boy sit at the table and drink meals while the rest of the family ate solid food. The boy told authorities he was forced to use a bucket for a bathroom, and that he was also forced to clean the bucket himself.
Also according to the complaint against the Hauer’s, Mona homeschools all the children and practices holistic medicine, only going to doctors in extreme cases. Mrs. Hauer told authorities the boy was on a liquid diet at the recommendation of a chiropractor.
Jon Terbush is a Boston-based writer whose work has appeared in Talking Points Memo, Business Insider, the New Haven Register, and elsewhere. He tweets about politics, cats, and baseball via @jonterbush.
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