Authorities in North Dakota have charged a mother with murder for the starvation death of her thirteen-year-old son. The boy only weighed 21 pounds when he died.
Jessica Lee Jensen, 35, of Kenmare, North Dakota – which is situated near the Canadian border – was arrested by the Ward County Sheriff’s Department during the second week of March for the January death of her son. Jensen appeared for the first time in North Central Judicial District Court on March 25.
Authorities concluded that the boy died from “chronic starvation due to untreated juvenile appetite disorder,” and listed the death as a homicide.
The boy, identified as Aidan Edward Bossingham, has no medical records after 2008 but had been treated for a persistent cough several times that year. In 2006 when he was about five-years-old, records show the boy weighed only 29 pounds. An average five-year-old should weigh upwards of 40 pounds.
Aidan was diagnosed with a human growth hormone deficiency several years ago and in 2008 was listed by doctors as having “very poor growth because of lack of treatment.” For a time he was being treated with hormones, but Jensen stopped the treatments against the advice of doctors.
Court records say that Jensen had decided to homsechool her three children and stopped treating the boy because she felt she could “solve the problems.”
The children had not been in school since 2009, and the youngest, age seven, could not spell her name and did not know her own age.
Jensen claimed that on the day of his death her son had eaten oatmeal for breakfast, drank a Sprite, had some yogurt, and then drank four ounces of a concoction she called a homemade “Pedialyte.”
However, an autopsy showed that the boy’s stomach was empty when he died. State Forensic Medical Examiner William Massello III said that the boy’s condition was medically treatable and his death preventable.
Bond for Jensen was set at $250,000 cash and will be given a court-appointed attorney.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.