Two Pennsylvania parents are in jail after police discovered their three young children traumatized and near death following months of horrifying abuse.
Joshua and Brandi Weyant of Halifax were arrested in December 2016 after police found their children locked in a room with no heat and nothing to eat, according to Penn Live. The children, aged 4, 5 and 6, were starving, visibly emaciated and covered in bruises. The children told police the last thing they remembered eating was an apple.
The children had reportedly been kept in that condition since September 2016. Police say the Weyants treated the children so poorly because "they did not want them anymore," according to WHP.
After they were found, the children were brought to a hospital, where the severity of their condition became clear. Doctors told police the two oldest children were in such bad shape they might have died in a matter of days without treatment, according to WHP.
Medical records showed the children hadn't seen a doctor in years and were severely underweight. The oldest weighed only 27 pounds and hadn't seen a doctor since 2013.
The middle child, a 5-year-old girl, completely lacked subcutaneous fat, a condition which was causing her organs to become dislodged. A doctor told police that if "left unchecked [it] could allow her organs to collapse on to one another and impact vascular functioning," according to WHP.
The eldest child, a 6-year-old boy, was released from the hospital after five days of treatment but was almost immediately readmitted for a distended stomach, according to Penn Live. The boy was treated with a tube running from his stomach to his nose.
The youngest child also had to be readmitted to the hospital for a persistent fever and vomiting. Although all three children begged for food, their bodies were unable to keep anything down.
The Weyants are in jail awaiting trial on multiple charges including aggravated assault, false imprisonment, unlawful restraint and child endangerment. Each is being held on $1 million bond.
In May 2017, Joshua Weyant's sister Erin Eickstadt was also arrested and charged in connection with the abuse. Police say Eickstadt forced the oldest child to eat his own feces as punishment and was complicit in keeping the children locked away, according to WHTM.
She has been charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of children.
Child abuse expert Dr. Lori Frasier told WHP that people should be aware of the children in their communities and note possible warning signs of child abuse.
"I think if you're aware there are children there, think about what children do everyday -- they play, they make noise, they should be happy and boisterous," she said. "If you're not seeing children, young school age children, going to school, that may be a risk factor."