A Pennsylvania mother “obsessed” with veganism was arrested after allegedly restricting her baby’s diet so severely he was developmentally delayed, according to reports.
Elizabeth Hawk, 33, was charged with child endangerment on Tuesday after her estranged husband reported their 11-month-old son had a severe rash covering his body after only being fed small amounts of fruit and nuts, KDKA-TV reported.
The baby’s rash became so bad that he began “scratching [his] skin off in places,” the child’s father, Jerry Hawk, told child welfare officials, according to documents obtained by the television station.
After his father brought the boy to the Office of Children and Youth Services, authorities reportedly rushed the infant to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia.
The baby was unable to crawl and was found to be developmentally delayed as a result of malnourishment and was also at a “failure to thrive” level, according to KDKA-TV.
His mother had allegedly been previously given a topical cream to treat the rash—which put the child at risk for septic shock—but “refused to use it,” her estranged husband told authorities.
A vocal advocate of a vegan diet, Elizabeth Hawk often posted on social media about the plant-based recipes she would make for herself and her children and the health benefits of such a diet. She also spoke out against killing animals for food.
“This is real food, baby, fresh from the garden!” she wrote in July, sharing a photo of vegetables.
At the time of her arrest, Elizabeth Hawk was 5-foot-9 and weighed 90 pounds, according to court documents.
“She was going to live on water and sunlight,” her sister-in-law, Brandy Hawk, told KDKA-TV.
The baby, whose condition is improving, now lives with his father and the couple’s two other children, according to reports.
Elizabeth Hawk was released on her own recognizance and will appear in court for a preliminary hearing on November 14.