Vegan mum found guilty of murdering son by feeding him only fruit and veg
'She didn’t need a scale to see his bones'
A woman in America that followed a strictly vegan diet has been found guilty of murdering her 18-month-old son after only feeding him raw fruit and vegetables.
38-year-old Shelia O'Leary from Cape Coral, Florida, could be facing life in prison after she was convicted on Wednesday of six different charges including aggravated child abuse; aggravated manslaughter; child abuse, two counts of neglect and first degree murder of her toddler Ezra O'Leary on September 27, 2019.
Shelia told authorities that she and her husband - Ezra's father, Ryan O'Leary - adhered to a strict vegan diet and only ate raw fruit and vegetables. She also clarified that their 18-month-old was breast fed.
According to the News Press, the child weighed just 17 pounds when his parents noticed that he had stopped breathing. That's seven pounds below average.
“This child did not eat. He was starved to death over 18 months," explained Special Victims Unit Chief, Francine Donnorummo, of the State Attorney's Office.
Following an autopsy, it was discovered that Ezra had died of malnutrition complications.
Donnorummo cited Google searches, reportedly conducted by Shelia shortly before her child's death when she noticed that his health was deteriorating, plus the family's strict raw-food-only diet to support her arguments for neglect.
"She knew what she needed to do," explained Donnorummo, adding: “Ignorance is not a defense in this case,” and that Shelia "made choices that killed her child."
Co-prosecutor Sara Miller also accused Shelia of failing to seek proper medical care, saying "she chose to disregard [her son's] cries," and pointing out the fact that "she didn’t need a scale to see his bones. She didn’t need a scale to hear his cry.”
What's more, the jury heard that Shelia and Ryan's other two children - both under 11-years-old when Ezra died - had also been showing signs of neglect.
At the time of writing, Shelia's husband Ryan is scheduled to face the same charges.
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