Police attending the home of parents Julia French, 20, and Robert Buskey, 31, on Wednesday, found the child “close to death” – with sunken eyes, loose skin on his extremities, and his ribs and other bones were showing, according to local reports.
Police said the five-month-old boy was unable to move when they found him at the home in the Florida city of Titusville.
The five-month-old child was found weighing just 3.84kg – which was just 42 grams more than he weighed when he was born in September at 3.4kg, records show.
“I’ve never seen a child to this level; this close to possible death,” officer Lauren Watson told WESH2.
French and Buskey are not officially married, but the mother reportedly describes herself as Buskey’s concubine under the principles of their religion, Nazarite Hebrew.
The couple told police they fed spoon-fed their child a mashed-potato-based compound that French had found on the internet, which was “consistent with their vegan lifestyle” despite doctors’ advice on the type of formula they should be giving him.
Police said the couple could afford the proper formula and food, and were not able to provide “a good reason” for not adequately feeding their infant.
French and Buskey face charges of child neglect, while their son has been placed under the care of the Department of Children and Families. The infant is reportedly already 22grams heavier after receiving fluids.