Mother, grandparents arrested after 7-year-old 'human skeleton' taken from home

Mother, grandparents arrested after 7-year-old 'human skeleton' taken from home

By Julianne Cassidy. CREATED Jul 21, 2014

A mother of a 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy, along with his grandparents, were arrested on July 16 after an investigation by the Mercer County District Attorney's office found proof of child abuse and starvation over the course of a year.

Mercer County Children and Youth Services were first informed of the grave situation. Described as "a human skeleton" by officials, "The boy was taken last month to UPMC Horizon, Greenville, and transferred to UPMC Children’s Hospital, Pittsburgh, when it was found he weighed 25 pounds," reports The Herald. "Since June 6, hospital officials said the boy has gained 20 pounds."

According to The Herald, “The child was starved. [The victim] is the worst case of medical neglect that I have ever seen in my seven years as a pediatrician,” Dr. Jennifer Wolford of UPMC Children’s Hospital Child Advocacy Center, said in statement. "He was within a month of having a major cardiac event that he probably would not have recovered from."

The unidentified young boy was pulled out of school by his mother, Mary C. Rader, 28, in August 2013, to allegedly be home-schooled. However, according to the criminal report, "He was not permitted out of the house except to the back porch where he would catch bugs and sometimes eat them," details The Herald. "Interviews with the victim and [his] siblings revealed that the victim was fed only small portions of tuna fish and eggs. He was beaten frequently with a belt, especially when he was caught sneaking food, usually peanut butter and bread."

The Herald further details, "The only time he was given a shower was as punishment and the water was ice cold." 

Rader has four children, two healthy young girls, ages 11 and 4, and two sons, the victim and his 9-year-old brother. The brother is reported as being underweight, but not to the severe degree of the victim.

Rader, alongside the victim's grandparents, Dennis C. Beighley, 58, and Deana C. Beighley, 47, each are "charged with two counts of aggravated assault, aggravated assault of a victim under 13, unlawful restraint of a minor, false imprisonment, endangering the welfare of children, and criminal conspiracy," The Herald explains.

Already released on bond, all three adults are scheduled to face their preliminary hearing on July 30 at 10 a.m.

Julianne Cassidy

Julianne Cassidy

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A city girl gone country, Philadelphia-bred journalist Julianne Cassidy relocated to be a Nashville-based digital editor for Scripps Media, Inc.