LONGMONT, Colorado — A special needs teenager living in Colorado is in the hospital after nearly starving to death. His parents are facing felony child abuse and neglect charges.
Neighbors said they had no idea what was happening behind the walls of the home in Longmont, Colorado. They never saw the boy, who was starving and becoming dangerously ill.
“That’s messed up. I don’t even know how they didn’t even find out earlier,” Saldaeor Ayala said.
Police arrested the boy’s parents, David and Vanessa Hall on two felony complaints each.
“We did a thorough investigation. We’re still conducting more follow up on it,” Detective Sgt. Matthew Cage said.
Doctors told police the 17-year-old boy who is legally blind and believed to have autism weighed 88 pounds, was in shock, and was suffering from severe malnutrition.
A team of veteran doctors told detectives they had never seen vitamin levels so low.
According to KDVR, he was diagnosed with hypovolemic shock, a condition of extreme fluid loss that might result in heart failure, according to court documents. The teenager was also suffering acute renal failure, severe malnutrition and an extreme pressure ulcer.
The couple initially brought their son to the hospital after he lost consciousness. His father believed it was because the teen was suffering from the flu.
One doctor said the boy’s condition was “consistent with someone who would have been in a concentration camp for several years.”
The teenager had not seen a doctor in at least eight years. He hasn’t had formal schooling, dental care or in-home assistance for the same time period.
The parents told police their son refused to consume anything but Cheez-Its, Cheetos and Doritos, and up to eight sodas per day.
Police say they failed to seek assistance to get the boy the nutrients his body was craving. That failure has police sending a message to the community:
“If you have somebody in distress, use those resources. If you’re unsure of what the resources are and you have somebody in distress, by all means — contact the police department,” Detective Sgt. Cage said.
Doctors said it will take at least a month of intense medical treatment before the boy can be considered no longer in a life-threatening state.
It will likely take a half-year for the boy to achieve an appropriate weight.
Jail records show the mother, Vanessa Hall, bonded out on Wednesday. She is due back in court on September 20th.
As for the father, David Hall, he was still behind bars as of late Wednesday. His next court appearance is scheduled for Friday, September 9th.