Skin and bones: Children starved in deadly fasting case, complaint says

Published: Sep. 4, 2018 at 6:41 PM CDT
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Police in Reedsburg are investigating the death of a 15-year-old boy after his father reported the death to authorities.

The boy's parents, Kehinde and Titilayo Omosebi, were arrested for neglecting a child causing death and neglecting a child causing great bodily harm. Both are in the Sauk County Jail.

The case's criminal complaint showed that when officials go to the home there was only one bedroom with a bed and another room with four metal chairs placed in a square form.

Police said there was no food in the home. They boy's father told police they were doing a 40-day fast, only drinking water so they could get blessings from God to move to Atlanta. He told police he was a minister affiliated with the Cornerstone Reformation Ministries and that the fast started on July 19.

"I am not aware of a fast that long. I am aware of religious fasting but not familiar with kids doing it and doing it to a point where your health is compromised," Reedsburg Police Chief Tim Becker said.

The complaint said police found letter written by the 15 year old inside the home addressed to "Lawyers of Sauk County Circuit Court." According to the complaint, in the letter, the teen said "the hunger is too much. Please help me now so I may eat." "I can't continue in such a life with no food" and "If I don't get food now I'll probably die of hunger."

An 11-year-old boy was also emaciated. According to the criminal complaint, the mother and children were clenching religious material.

"It doesn't really matter the size of the city you are, it's a terrible thing when a child loses their life under these types of circumstances involving the people he trusts the most," Becker said.

The Reedsburg Police Department posted a news release about the investigation on the department's Facebook page. Police said the boy's father walked into the Reedsburg Police Department around 4 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 2 to report the death on Alexander Avenue.

Officers then responded to the home and forced their way inside because the doors were padlocked from the inside, according to the release. They found 15-year-old Ayanfe O. Omosebi extremely emaciated and deceased.

Kehinde stated that Ayanfe had died on Friday.

Titilayo and the 11-year-old boy were taken to the Reedsburg Area Medical Center for treatment. Titilayo refused treatment citing religious restrictions. The 11-year-old boy was taken into protective custody, medically treated and transported to another hospital.

NBC15 learned in court on Tuesday that the parents haven't paid rent in several months. If convicted, the parents could face up to 25 years in prison.