A Pennsylvania mother has been charged with child endangerment after investigators found her 11-month-old son allegedly malnourished after being fed only nuts and fruit.
CBS Pittsburgh reported that 33-year-old Elizabeth Hawk followed a strict vegan diet and sometimes imposed her extreme nutrition views to her family members.
“She was going to live on water and sunlight,” Hawk’s sister-in-law Brandy Hawk recalled her saying, according to the news station.
When Brandy noticed the boy, whose name wasn’t disclosed, had a severe rash and seemingly delayed motor skills, Elizabeth brushed off her concerns. She denied there was anything wrong with her son and blamed the rash on “allergies,” CBS Pittsburgh reported.
Neither she nor her brother, Jerry Hawk, Elizabeth’s estranged husband and the boy’s father, bought her excuses.
Jerry Hawk took his son to the local Child Youth Services for examination.
“He said, ‘I gotta save my kids,'” Brandy recalled, referring to the couple’s three shared children.
Specialists found the 11-month-old had been suffering from developmental delays that left him at a “failure to thrive” level, and that his fruit-and-nut-only diet was causing physical deterioration. CBS Pittsburgh reported that court records indicate a physician who inspected the boy said not treating his rash was “inhumane” and put him at risk for septic shock, a deadly condition.
As Elizabeth remains free on her own recognizance, the baby is now home with his father and his two siblings. Brandy said he is improving.
“He’s doing great,” Brandy told CBS Pittsburgh. “He’s completely turned around.”