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Two Arrested For Starving 5-Year-Old Boy As Punishment

An Indiana couple was arrested June 7 for starving and confining a 5-year-old boy as a form of punishment.

Johnathan Parsley, 28, and AshLeigh Peach, 30, were charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury, according to WXIN. The Department of Child Services received calls from an anonymous tipster who reported that a young child living in the house was being starved as punishment.

The 5-year-old, who remains unnamed as he is a minor, was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for severe malnutrition. Doctors said that the child weighed only 32 pounds and was in the 1.9 weight percentile for children his age. The boy stayed in the hospital for eight days until hospital staff was sure that he would make a full recovery from starvation.

Six other children, ages 4 to 9, lived in the home, but could only be removed after police obtained a search warrant. Upon a search of the property, police found that all seven children were forced to share two bedrooms. One room had an audible door alarm that the couple would use to prevent the 5-year-old boy from leaving his room. 

"It was deemed that the door alarm was used to keep the victim child confined to the bedroom for extended periods of time as punishment," police said.

Officers also found surveillance equipment used to monitor the child and ensure that he would not sneak into the kitchen to procure food.

A warrant for the couple's arrest was issued June 15. According to the Daily Mail, Parsley attempted to flee on foot during the arrest, but was quickly subdued. Both Parsley and Peach were apprehended without further incident.

Police have yet to comment on the relationship between the couple and the seven children. Peach's Facebook account shows a number of pictures of her and Parsley with the children at sporting events and celebrations. 

A similar story occurred in March, when Child Protective Services found that a 4-year-old boy from Michigan was starved, beaten, and locked in a closet filled with his own feces.

According to WZZM, doctors were initially unsure if the boy would survive.

"He was very thin to the point he was very sickly," said case worker Michael Zaleski during his court testimony. "He had abrasions and cuts and rashes all over his body ... His toes were blackened and swollen and his hands also were swollen." 

As of early June, doctors say that the boy is recovering. His mother, 23-year-old Megan Schug, was arrested on charges of second-degree child abuse. Her live-in boyfriend, 35-year-old Issac "Mike" Miller, has also been charged. 

Sources: WXIN, Daily Mail, WZZM / Photo credit: Pixabay

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