‘A human skeleton’: Boy found nearly starved, resorted to eating bugs

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(CNN) — A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy beaten for sneaking food was nearly starved and sometimes resorted to eating insects he caught on the back porch, authorities said.

The boy’s mother, Mary Rader, 28, and his grandparents, Dennis and Deana Beighley, turned themselves in at the Mercer County District Attorney’s office Wednesday and were charged with aggravated assault, unlawful restraint of a minor, false imprisonment, endangering the welfare of a child and conspiracy, according to court documents.

The Sharon Herald reported Saturday that child welfare authorities took the Greenville boy to a hospital last month after he was found looking like a human skeleton.

“The child was starved,” Dr. Jennifer Wolford of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Child Advocacy Center was quoted as saying in a criminal complaint. She described the boy as “the worst case of medical neglect that I have ever seen in my seven years as a pediatrician.”

The unidentified boy lived with his mother and grandparents and three siblings — two sisters, ages 4 and 11, and a 9-year-old brother, the paper reported.

The two girls appeared healthy, the criminal complaint said. The brother was underweight though not as severely as the victim, who weighed 25 pounds when he was taken to a hospital. Information about his height was not available Saturday.

Since June 6, hospital officials said the boy has gained 20 pounds, The Herald reported.

“The most important medicine used to treat him at the hospital was food,” Wolford said in the complaint. “He was within a month of having a major cardiac event that he probably would not have recovered from . … It is impossible to me that this severe neglect and active abuse was not visible. He was being starved in his own home around others of normal weight.”

Rader and the Beighleys turned themselves into authorities with attorney James Stranahan, who did not immediately return calls seeking comment on Saturday.

According the complaint, Rader was home-schooling the victim. The only time he was allowed outside was to be on the back porch, where he sometimes fed on bugs. The boy was only given small portions of tuna fish and eggs.

The victim was often beaten with a belt, sometimes for sneaking bread and peanut butter without permission, the complaint said. He also was punished with ice-cold showers.

The mother and grandparents — who were released on bond — will appear before District Judge Brian Arthur on July 30.

The children have been placed in the care of child welfare authorities.


  • Kristina

    I am disgusted . All 3 of these people need to be in prison for some time . Can’t wait for them to die and rot in hell!!!!

  • Tom

    Our justice sytems suckssssss. they should of been held without bond or given a bond they couldnt afford
    like 3 million each. This boy will be traumatized for life

  • melissa

    What comment could you make. That is absolutely awful. Why do these type of abusers have children. This poor child will never fully recover . grandparents too smh

  • laurie

    What’s really sad is none of them will do any time for this crime, they’ll probably get probation and then they will be given the opportunity to get the children back,that’s so sad.

  • Jessica

    this. iz so sad tjat people cam actially do this to tbeir chold. i have kids and they are my world. i could never do this to my kods…and abise???? from your pwn bgrandparents???? thos child woll neber recover from the tramma and abuse. i hppe these people go to prizpn and we starve. them for the first year. that is what we need to do….

  • vicky hamilton

    I am a mother and a grandmother and I have never been able to understand child abuse, of any kind. My kids and grand kids are my life and I would do anything to protect them from harm. these people who abused this poor little boy should never have been let out on bond. they should have to stay in jail until after their trial is over. And I hope and pray they get what is coming to them. I hope they receive as much time in prison as the law will allow. Wish they would lock them away for life but we all know that isnt going to happen.They should never see the light of day again and should have to live on tuna fish and eggs for the rest of there lives.

  • Jared wojo

    Some parents should be forced sterile. Anyone who can disregard human life should not have the responsibility to look after another again!!!

  • L Bramley

    I want to take this boy to my home, feed him, raise him and hope he forgets that his mother and grandparents are so very evil.

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  • shannon

    Tears come when I read and hear about any child being hurt in any way us as moms have a sworn duty the minute they breath out our womb to protect them , love them,and always put them first.They don’t ask to be put here, we put them here and for what ?To be starved? To be demoralised? For their innocence to be ripped from them ? I THINK NOT !

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