A seven-year-old boy was beaten, starved and neglected for years. The child often had to resort to eating insects to survive. A neighbor was walking her dog when she saw a child she said looked like a “human skeleton.” On June 6 when police found the child he weighed a mere 20 pounds and was reportedly only weeks away from death. After the woman reported the child, his mother and grandparents were arrested on multiple charges of abuse.
The boy’s mother, Mary Rader and his maternal grandparents, Dennis and Deana Beighley have been charged with unlawful restraint of a minor, aggravated assault, child endangerment, false imprisonment and criminal conspiracy. Reportedly, the child was fed so little that he resorted to catching bugs on the back porch for food. The boy would sometimes receive a chunk of tuna fish or eggs to eat but the adults, who all lived in the same home, would beat him with a belt or punish him with cold showers if he tried to get other food, such as peanut butter or bread.
The boy’s mother removed him from school a year ago and enrolled him in cyber classes. The classes did not have a live camera feed to show who was actually online studying, so investigators are not sure if the child ever logged on or if someone else did in his stead.
John J. Piatek, Mercer County Detective, said their sole motive seems to have been their dislike for the child. Piatek thought in his 35 years of service he had seen it all; he specializes in child abuse cases but after seeing this little boy he stated,
He looked like a Holocaust victim. He had been beaten with a belt every time he tried to get food. The child had three abscessed teeth and weighed 20 pounds when he was taken to Children’s Hospital. The starvation could have killed him or the abscessed teeth could have killed him.
Dr. Jennifer Wolford of UPMC Children’s Hospital Child Advocacy Center said the boy was within a month of having a major cardiac event that she doubts he would have recovered from. The most important medicine used to treat him while he was in the hospital was food. The child, who is now eight-years-old, has been released from the hospital and has gained at least 24 pounds. Wolford said this was the worst case of childhood starvation she had ever seen.
Debra Rader, the child’s fraternal grandmother, went to see him and said it was horrible. “They should starve them and see if they like it. No one would do to a dog what they did to her beautiful grandson.”
Jimmy, Debra’s son, and Mary are divorced and she would not allow them to see the boy. Debra said she has reported her ex-daughter-in-law twice to Mercer County authorities. She said Mary acted strange all the time. They had no idea what was going on because whenever she and/or her son would try to check on the child she refused access to him.
Neighbors said they never even knew the child existed. Mary has three other children, two girls and a boy; the girls were both healthy. The nine-year-old boy was underweight but not as bad as his brother and otherwise was in fair condition. All of the children have been taken out of the home. The abused child is in foster care and his older siblings have been placed in different homes.
A seven-year-old boy was beaten, starved and neglected for years before neighbor Dorine Pritts spotted his skeletal frame as she was walking her dog. The child often had to resort to eating insects to survive and was weeks away from cardiac arrest when he was found. His mother and grandparents were arrested and have all been released on $75,000 bail. A preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Judge Brian Arthur is scheduled for July 30 in Greenville.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)