A Colorado couple have been arrested after investigators say they allowed their blind, autistic teenage son to go malnourished for years.
The alleged abuse came to the attention of police last week when David and Vanessa Hall took the 17-year-old boy to a hospital in Longmont, where they reportedly told doctors they believed the 88-pound boy was suffering from the flu.
Doctors, in turn, told the Halls their son was suffering from a nearly-fatal mix of hypovolemic shock (dangerously low blood plasma), severe malnutrition and a stage three sacral pressure sore.
Doctors also diagnosed the teen with acute renal failure.
According to an arrest warrant, the parents told doctors the boy was a "picky eater" and had therefore been living almost exclusively on seven to eight sodas per day, as well as 400 to 500 calories worth of "cheesy cracker type snacks" such as Cheez-Its, Cheetos and Doritos.
The boy attended to his bathroom needs using a jug located next to his bed, the warrant says.
Investigators say the boy has not been seen by a dentist, doctor or home care specialist in the last eight years.
Doctors said the teen was deficient in seven basic vitamins and minerals. Dr. Denise Hasson, who saw the boy at Longmont United Hospital, told police her team has never seen levels as low as those seen in the teen.
A medical nutritionist described the teen's physical condition as "consistent with someone who would have been in a concentration camp for several years," according to the warrant.
Experts expect it to take a minimum of four weeks of intensive medical intervention before the teen is no longer considered to be in a life-threatening state.
Upon questioning, the affidavit states that Mr. Hall "appeared more concerned with how [his son's] hospitalization would affect his Social Security payments and how they would need to change him to the payee when [his son] turned eighteen" than with the boy's grave state of health.
Both he and his wife were arrested by Longmont PD on charges of child abuse and negligent serious bodily injury to an at-risk person.
According to KMGH, Vanessa posted bond Wednesday and said she didn't have anything to say when she left jail. David has also since posted $100,000 bond.
The criminal case is ongoing. Vanessa Hall is scheduled to return to court September 20.