GREENVILLE, Pa. (WPXI) – Investigators say the mother of a 7-year-old boy is behind bars after allegedly starving him and beating him on a regular basis.
WPXI says 28-year-old Mary Rader told officials at the boy’s school not to feed him breakfast.
According to police, Rader told teachers that her son had a large breakfast at home and would “overeat if he was fed again.”
However, WPXI says the school contacted Children and Youth Services after teachers found the boy stealing food out of the garbage and hoarding food in his socks and shoes.
After that, Rader allegedly pulled the boy out of school and began homeschooling him.
Authorities say he was not allowed outside of the house, except to go to the back porch.
That’s when a neighbor spotted him and called police.
When the boy was found, he weighed just 25 pounds.
“He looked like a Holocaust victim,” said John Piatek, a detective with the Mercer County Sheriff’s Office. “He had been beaten with a belt every time he tried to get food. He had three abscessed teeth and weighed 20 pounds when he was taken to Children’s Hospital. The starvation could have killed him. The abscessed teeth could have killed him.”
Rader and the boy’s grandparents, who lived with the family, are all facing charges including conspiracy to commit murder.
Prosecutors say there was plenty of food in the home and three other children who lived in the home were well-fed.
Instead, they allege the family simply “didn’t like” the boy.
According to TribLive, doctors say he was about a month away from going into cardiac arrest due to starvation.
The defendants’ attorneys say there was neglect but they were not trying to kill the child.