Religious Parents Arrested After Emaciated Infant Fed Potato Mash

Religious Parents Arrested After Emaciated Infant Fed Potato Mash February 14, 2019

A Florida couple is behind bars after police found their 5-month-old son extremely malnourished and near death on Wednesday. Police arrested Robert Buskey, 31, and Julia French, 20, on suspicion of child neglect. The five-month-old weighed less than nine pounds. Julia French fed the infant a potato-based vegan compound instead of formula.

On Wednesday Titusville Police received a tip about a severely malnourished baby from the Department of Children and Families. When police arrived at the home of Buskey and French, they say the baby looked extremely sick. Police described the baby with sunken eyes, loose skin on his extremities, and his ribs and other bones were showing.

Additionally, the baby was lethargic and was unable to maintain his blood sugar and temperature. The arrest affidavit stated the baby lacked muscle tone and could not move.

Doctors treating the child say he is extremely malnourished and dehydrated. The ER doctor told police the baby could suffer longterm heart complications from the malnourishment.

Medical records obtained by police indicated the baby was born in September. At the time of his birth, he weighed 7 pounds, nine ounces. When police found the baby, he weighed only eight pounds, eight ounces.

According to sources connected to the couple, Buskey and French are not married. However, French describes herself as Buskey’s concubine as a part of their religion, Nazarite Hebrew.

The arrest affidavit states a doctor saw the baby on November 1, 2018, for nutrition concerns. At that appointment, the doctor ordered the parents to feed the baby an organic formula. When the couple brought the infant back on February 5, 2019, the baby had lost a significant amount of body mass.

French admitted she stopped giving her son the formula. Instead, she spoon-fed him a potato-mash compound she found online.

Police Detective Lauren Watson of Titusville Police Department told WFTV,

“At one point, when the child was doing good and healthy and gaining weight, he was on an organic formula and they changed it on their own.”

“I’ve never seen a child to this level, this close to possible death.”

Shortly after finding the gravely ill child, police arrested both parents. Police charged the couple with felony child abuse causing great bodily harm. Authorities said they could face additional charges.

While being booked on charges, Buskey questioned the accuracy of the medical records for his son. He appeared unable to believe his son only weighed eight pounds.

Currently, the infant is hospitalized and receiving treatment for his malnourishment. Police say he has gained a half pound after receiving IV fluids overnight.

Both parents had the financial means to provide formula and nutrition for their son. When police pressed them about why they stopped the formula, French and Buskey couldn’t answer.

Currently, Buskey is incarcerated at Brevard County Jail on a $75,000 bond. His next court appearance is March 7.

French remains held at Brevard County Jail. Her bond is $50,000.00. There are no details about her next court appearance.

As for their baby, he remains hospitalized. He will need on-going medical care to treat the starvation his parent inflicted on him.

After his release from the hospital, the baby will remain in state custody.

*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.

She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.

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  • ten bucks says those parents are crying “medical kidnap!”

  • Cozmo the Magician

    I could tell you even WORSE stories about child abuse. As i have mentioned, my mom was an emergency foster care parent for Westchester, NY. Humans can be just fucking EVIL when it comes to their own kids.

    You need a license to drive a car. You need to register if you own a gun. You can’t even have a bank account without proper ID. But, hey… Wanna get a girl preggies? NO PROBLEM. Yeah, some days I actually think people should need a a license before they can make a baby. OTOH, some people (I’m looking at YOU Donny) could afford somebody to take the test for them.

  • Jim Jones

    The US needs a Plunket Society.

  • DeadBabyJoke

    Maybe the parents should be starved to the point of emaciation and death. See how these scum like it.

  • Glandu

    vengeance is rarely a good pedagogical tool. But I feel what pushes you to say that.

  • 24CaratHooligan

    How far does someone have to sink before they’ll consider themselves someone’s concubine?? I mean the whole D/s scene is one thing but this is just fucked up…

  • blogcom

    Doesn’t it ring strange these weirdos are always referred to as religious.
    Just more lying lies?
    Like all convicts are supposedly Christian by their own admission, o.k. its more to do with a get out of jail card, but come on.
    Talk about stretching credulity.

  • DeadBabyJoke

    True. I’d rather they be abacinated.

  • Occam

    This^, bravo.

  • Lisa Cybergirl

    I had to go through a VERY thorough application process to adopt a cat. These stories make me so mad.

  • rollerskate

    Of course DCF was never anywhere to be found. They had money. Typical Florida.

  • Anat

    Where do people get such weird ideas about feeding babies? OK, so the recommended formula is too expensive for you – try a cheaper brand. It doens’t need to be organic. Plain formula is fine. And if you can’t afford that (and don’t have access via charity or social services) you would still be doing better with old fashioned home-made formula (powdered milk, sugar and water, but look up the ratios because they are critical, also add at least vitamins A and D). But where do they get the idea of using potato mash?

  • ValentineGecko

    Geeze Louise. It doesn’t matter what your oddball religion tells you what you can and can’t eat. Human beings evolved to drink breast milk. Breast milk isn’t vegan. Ergo, babies cannot be vegan either, not without the use of extremely carefully formulated commercial soy formula. Which, that shouldn’t even be the first choice, it’s usually something they switch a baby to after digestive issues with regular formula. But at least soy based formula will keep a baby alive. Potato will not. It contains practically no protein, no fat and is missing several vitamins and minerals.

    Adults can make fat out of carbs and can usually get enough protein out of even a badly balanced vegan diet to stay alive if not thrive. This is not true for children. They need a very carefully balanced vegan diet to survive and grow, and probably vitamin supplements. And infants and toddlers need a supplementary formula if you are skipping dairy and egg products, to get vital fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. My first suggestion is not to skip dairy (and very young children need full fat dairy) and eggs, but if you must, off to the formula aisle with you. Babies used to die regularly before we found a dairy based replacement for breast milk. So don’t try to make it in your own.

  • ValentineGecko

    And WIC will cover baby formula.

  • Can Fauk

    Breast milk is vegan.Because human mother produces it for her baby

  • ValentineGecko

    It’s an animal product, because we’re animals…

  • Anat

    If the veganism is based on issues related to the ethics of using animal-sourced products then as long as the breastmilk is obtained from a consenting person there should be no ethical problem for a vegan to use it. If the veganism is based on a wish to avoid compounds that are specific to the animal-world then they wouldn’t use human breastmilk.