The younger child of a couple accused of starving their teenage son to death in Wisconsin penned a heartbreaking letter to local officials, begging for help while his family slowly starved during a religious fast, according to the Associated Press.
In the letter, addressed to “the lawyers of Sauk County” in Wisconsin, the 11-year-old son of Kehinde and Titalayo Omosebi, who was rescued from a Reedsburg, Wisconsin home described how he was worried the fast would kill him, the AP reports.
“The hunger is too much,” the young boy wrote, according to the AP. “Please help me now so I may eat. I can’t continue in such a life with no food. If I don’t get food now I’ll probably die of hunger.”
The boy survived, but his 15-year-old brother did not, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. By the time the father, Kehinde Omosebi, walked into the Reedsburg Police Department headquarters on Sunday, the older boy was dead, the newspaper reports. When officers responded to the house, they found the mother, Titilayo Omosebi, and the emaciated pre-teen suffering from severe malnutrition after 40 days without food, according to the State Journal. The home was reportedly without power and padlocked from the inside.
Now, both parents have been charged with neglect causing the death of a child and neglect causing great bodily injury, and the pair face a maximum of 25 years in prison, according to the Associated Press.
Kehinde Omosebi told police that the family had not eaten since July 17, and had embarked on the fast in order to gain God’s permission to leave Reedsburg, according to the State Journal.
When police arrived at the home, the surviving son was so weak he couldn’t walk on his own, Reedsburg Police Chief Timothy Becker told the State Journal.
“It wasn’t a fast, it was neglect because the statutes make it clear that you have to provide necessary food (to children),” Becker said. “When you lock your kids in the house and the father is the only one who can leave, it stops being a fast and starts being starvation and neglect.”
The body of the 15-year-old was found in a chair in the upstairs of the house, dressed in a grey hoodie, and was so thin his backbone and ribs could be seen through his skin, Becker told the State Journal.
“It wasn’t like the kid was healthy on Thursday and then died on Friday,” Becker said, according to the newspaper. “His death was a long process and his parents did nothing to stop it. That’s the most concerning thing about this.”
Kehinde Omosebi told police that the older child had died on Friday, and that the family had then prayed for two days before Titalayo Omosebi walked to the police station to report the death, saying it was in accordance with his religious views, the AP reports.
Becker told the State Journal that the father, who originally hails from Nigeria, claimed to be a minister of “Cornerstone Reformation Ministries,” but that no records of any church by that name existed.
The surviving son was hospitalized, and at a bail hearing his father — who was ordered held on $5,000 bail, was been ordered not to have contact with the boy, according to the State Journal.
[Photo: Reedsburg Police Department]