Crawford County Jail
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Malnourished 13-Year-Old Ohio Boy Weighing Just 65 Pounds Escapes From Parents Who Tortured Him With Strict Vegan Diet

Two parents from Crestline, Ohio, are being charged with multiple felonies after their 13-year-old son escaped their house and was discovered by police in a state of extreme malnourishment.

The parents, John and Katrina Miller, allegedly forced their son to follow an extreme-vegan diet and eating plan, according to Crawford County Prosecutor Matt Crall.

“The child had a very strict … vegan diet that basically consisted of almonds, bananas and grapes. He had to have everything eaten in 30 minutes.”

The parents carefully monitored the son to make sure he ate absolutely nothing else. When discovered outside the home, the 13-year-old weighed only 65 pounds.

While veganism isn’t harmful in itself, it’s important that those who wish to follow the practice take careful steps to ingest a full diet of balanced nutrients.

Doing your homework before switching to any new diet is key, whether it is cutting carbs or meat or animal byproducts. A good place to start is a well researched and annotated cookbook.

Winging it is never healthy.

John Miller, the boy’s father, was also charged with domestic violence. According to prosecutors, “the father committed assault on the child when he wouldn’t eat the way they told him to eat.”

All in all, USA Today reports that the couple were charged with a plethora of heinous crimes.

“Parents John P. and Katrina Miller of Crestline were indicted by a Crawford County grand jury on one count of kidnapping, a first degree felony; one count of felonious assault, a second-degree felony; two felony counts of child endangerment, one second-degree, one third-degree; and a first-degree misdemeanor count of child endangerment.”

Katrina Miller, who adopted the 13-year-old after his biological mother lost custody, also significantly contributed to his terrible situation.

Crall commented on the unusual situation, where a pair of parents were being charged for kidnapping their own child.

“Normally, you don’t think of kidnapping as involving someone’s own child. But when you knowingly restrain the liberty of another person for the purpose of terrorizing or to inflict serious physical harm – that’s what happened in this situation.”

“That’s what we’re alleging; that we was kept there, he had attempted to flee once before, he was fleeing when he was found, and he was emaciated to the point of having been terrorized, and to the point where he’s going to be hospitalized for quite some time.”

After escaping his parents’ home, the boy fled to a nearby house whose residents called the police. He was homeschooled and very rarely left the house. Though he did attend church, the boy was careful to make sure no one saw his emaciated state, according to Crall.

“They did go to church. The child was very self-conscious about the way he looked, and he would wear multiple sets of clothing to cover up the fact that he looked the way he did.”

The boy has now been taken to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus to be treated for severe malnutrition and refeeding syndrome, an issue that develops when the body is so unfamiliar with food that it rejects it.

“It’s when the body rejects food just because it’s a foreign substance at that point. They’re not used to it, so they have to re-introduce food to the child.”

The boy was also a victim of childhood cancer which hadn’t been checked on in many years. Both parents are now in police custody, with bail set at $500,000.

Thankfully, the 13-year-old is now recovering in a far safer situation than he was in before the escape.

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Written by Collin Gossel

Collin Gossel is a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn, New York, but there are nights when he looks up at the stars and wistfully thinks to himself “there’s got to be more out there…” You can catch Collin improvising new musicals every Tuesday night at the Magnet Theater’s Musical Megawatt, or follow his unfiltered thoughts on Twitter and Instagram @CollinGossel.--