Vegan couple nearly starved 5-month-old baby to death by feeding him mash

By Melonie Holt, James Tutten

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(WFTV) — The parents of a Titusville infant are accused of starving their son in a disturbing case of child neglect.

Investigators said the couple’s 5-month-old weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces after weighing 7 pounds, 9 ounces at birth.

The baby is in a hospital and the child’s parents are in the Brevard County Jail.

This baby’s father seemed to question the accuracy of the child’s medical reports.

The investigator who was contacted by the Department of Children and Families on Wednesday said the baby was clearly malnourished.

His ribs were visible, his eyes sunken and the priority was getting the child medical attention.

His parents are charged with neglect with great harm and could face additional charges.

Titusville police said 20-year-old Julia French and 31-year-old Robert Buskey knew their 5-month-old son wasn’t thriving, but they failed to do anything about it.

According to court documents, the infant was lethargic and had difficulties maintaining his temperature and sugar due to dehydration and malnourishment.

Since Wednesday night, the child has gained a half a pound just by being given fluids.

Titusville police said the family’s physician had provided orders regarding the child’s nutrition and the child was improving on an organic formula.

“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 with the Titusville Police Department.

Police said the couple was feeding the child a potato-based mash and there may be long-term medical issues as a result of the malnourishment.

“I’ve never seen a child to this level, this close to possible death,” Watson said.

Police said the couple described themselves as vegan but couldn’t explain why they stopped using the organic formula.

Their infant is in DCF custody.

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