Indiana parents accused of underfeeding child, leaving him underweight

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Ashley Swafford (left) Andy Swafford (right)

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Ind. (April 19, 2016) – Police arrested two Indiana parents on neglect charges after their son showed signs of significant malnutrition that left him underweight.

Charges were filed this month against Ashley Swafford, 30, and Andy Swafford, 37, in regard to their 15-month-old son. According to court documents, the boy weighed about the same as an average 3-month-old; his height was where a 7-month-old would be.

The boy was on about 30 ounces of breast milk per day with a snack once or twice daily. Police began their investigation in March after the Department of Child Services asked for a welfare check.

The boy’s parents didn’t seem to think there was anything wrong with him and failed to participate in a medical plan recommended by doctors, court documents said. He hadn’t seen a doctor since he was 2 months old; the Swaffords failed to show up at several appointments that had been scheduled.

A case worker contacted the couple and said the child needed to be seen by a doctor by March 14, 2016. Otherwise, the boy would be taken away. An appointment was scheduled for March 10, but the Swaffords didn’t show up, court documents said.

They did take their son to see a Community Health doctor on March 14. It was during that visit that the doctor suspected the boy had an iron deficiency and was malnourished. The doctor said the boy needed to go to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health for further examination.

Doctors at Riley said the boy suffered from “failure to thrive as well as malnutrition, iron deficiency, dehydration and vitamin D deficiency… His home diet of primarily breast milk without complementary solids at this age is a significant cause of his malnutrition and iron deficiency states.”

Records showed doctors were concerned about the breast milk the child was getting, which came from “friends,” court documents said. The medical team also expressed concerns about his physical development, noting low muscle tone and the boy’s inability to sit up on his own. He had not yet learned to walk.

The child was placed in foster care in late March. The Swaffords were arrested last week on two counts of neglect of a dependent.

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