A Minneapolis mother and father are facing child neglect charges after the 2015 death of their 7-year-old-son from pancreatitis. According to reports, the parents had “issues” with doctors.
Timothy D. Johnson, 39, and Sarah N. Johnson, 38, were charged last week in the death of their adopted son, Seth, with one count of child neglect resulting in substantial bodily harm, a gross misdemeanor.
From CBS Minnesota:
According to criminal complaints, the boy died on March 30, 2015, covered in bruises, after being found unresponsive on a vomit-covered mattress. An autopsy showed the child’s cause of death was acute pancreatitis and possible sepsis.
Medical officials said the child had bruises and contusions on his cheek, forearms, chest, buttocks and lower abdomen. His legs were covered in blisters, and the boy’s weight was exceptionally low for a child his age.
The Star Tribune reports that neither parent offered police an explanation for his bruises other than to say the boy was always hurting himself.
Before his illness, medical records showed the boy to be “thriving” and “conversant” who was overall healthy. But when he began having trouble eating and sleeping, his parents refused to take him to the hospital out of fear of doctors putting him on medications.
According to CBS’s account of the criminal complaint, the parents instead opted to “do their own research, believing “he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, a brain injury and fetal alcohol syndrome, although the clinic they referred authorities to had no record of this.”
With their son still ill, the parents went out of town and left him in the care of an older sibling. When they returned, they found him barely able to move and “prayed for his condition.” When he could barely eat two small bites of pizza, they decided to wait until the morning to decide whether or not to call a doctor.
When they woke, Seth was unresponsive. It was only then that they decided to call 9-11. The boy was pronounced dead soon after.
In a Facebook post, the Johnsons wrote about how their religious faith got them through their overwhelming grief.
“We couldn’t walk, we didn’t know how to get out of bed. … And you came,” the posting read. “You stood by us, you took us by the hand, you fed us, watched over our children, loved them, cleaned our home, prayed for us & over us. you came together as the body of Christ and provided for us spiritually, emotionally, physically & financially.”
If convicted, the parents face 1-year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine.
Featured image via YOUCaring