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Family starved boy: 7-year-old weighed 25-lbs, resorted to eating bugs

Mother and grandparents of 7-year-old boy arrested after he was nearly starved to death.
Mother and grandparents of 7-year-old boy arrested after he was nearly starved to death.
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

When child welfare workers responded to a complaint at a Pa. home they found a seven-year-old boy barely weighing 25-pounds. The mother and grandparents of this boy nearly starved him to death, according to the Huffington News on July 20.

This case of child abuse was called the "worst case of medical neglect" the doctors at a local hospital have ever encountered. The seven-year-old was beaten and not let outside of his home. Occasionally he was allowed on the back porch where he would capture bugs to eat because he was so hungry.

Along with the beatings, cold showers were also used as punishment for this child. What has baffled authorities and the medical community caring for the child today is that there were other children in the home who were of normal weight, reports ABC News.

Two of the boy's sisters were healthy and of normal weight for their age. The child's older brother was a little bit under weight, but nothing to the extent seen on this seven-year-old. The boy's grandparents and the mother were also within normal weight.

Dr. Jennifer Wolford at UPMC Children's Hospital Child Advocacy Center said that this boy was about a month away from a major cardiac event that he probably would not have recovered from. Right now the most important medicine this child is receiving at the hospital is food, said Wolford.

Since entering the hospital last month, the little boy has put on 20-pounds, but when he was first seen by the medical team, he looked like a walking skeleton, the hospital reports.

The child lived with his mother, Mary C. Rader, 28, and his grandparents, Dennis Beighley, 58, and 47-year-old Deana Beighley. Three other kids ages four, nine and eleven lived at the home, but were found to be in good health.

The mother and grandparents were charged with assault, unlawful restraint of a minor, false imprisonment, endangering a child's welfare and conspiracy. All three have been released on bond with their preliminary hearing on July 30.

Because the family decided to home-school the child, no one from the outside world got to see the boy wasting away to nothing. It was an anonymous tip that lead the child welfare services to the family's front door and they couldn't believe what they were seeing. Thankfully that person who alerted the authorities did so, another month and the child may have been beyond help.

What made this seven-year-old child a target of the adults in the house and why was he so different from his siblings? Hopefully this will come out in court, because everyone else in the family appeared healthy, but not this little guy. He also needed two abscessed teeth pulled. He was neglected beyond belief.