Vegan mum guilty of murdering toddler by feeding him only raw fruit and vegetables

A vegan mum has been found guilty of murdering her toddler by feeding him only raw fruit and vegetables.

Sheila O’Leary, 38, from Florida, was found guilty by a jury of first-degree murder and child abuse in 2019 following the death of her son, Ezra, WalesOnline reported.

A US court was told how the mum had failed to provide her 18-month toddler with proper food and health care, according to Florida State’s Attorney’s Office.

Special Victims Unit chief at the State Attorney’s Office, Francine Donnorummo said: “She made choices that killed her child.

“Her pride cost Ezra his life. It is a reckless disregard for human life.”

Following her conviction, O’Leary will be sentenced later this month, on July 25, as Ezra’s father, Ryan Patrick O’Leary, 33, has also been indicted on similar charges and is still awaiting trial.

Sheila O’Leary had failed to provide her 18-month son with proper food and health care

When he died, in September 2019, Ezra weighed just 7.7kg (17lb) and according to the website babycenter.com the average weight of a boy aged 18 months should be 10.9kg (24lb 1oz).

After the alarm had been raised that the child was no longer breathing, his parents told police that the family followed a very strict vegan diet, eating only raw fruit and vegetables.

The mother claimed that Ezra had been fed breast milk, but a post mortem conducted to determine the cause of death found that the baby had died from complications stemming from malnutrition.

It was also claimed in court that the couple had also abused and neglected their three other children, who were aged three, five and 11 when Ezra died.

State Attorney Amira Fox said: “The evidence and crime scene, in this case, are gut-wrenching.” Referring to pictures shown in court, she added: “These are images as a mother and State Attorney I will not be able to forget.”

Dieticians say children should eat a combination of vegetables, fruit, grain, low-fat dairy and quality protein sources. If correctly administered, a vegan diet is suitable for children but they may need to be given supplemental nutrients.

Both mother and father had been charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter, child abuse, and two counts of child neglect.

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