A mother was arrested Friday after her teenage son was admitted to a hospital in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, weighing only 26 pounds.
October 23, authorities went to 41-year-old Elisabet Estrada’s home on Kelhigh Drive where they found the emaciated 16-year-old and immediately took him to Hershey Medical Center, according to the Chambersburg Public Opinion.
Estrada’s other children appeared to be in good health when police and officials with Franklin County Children and Youth Services returned to check on them on October 24, court documents said.
However, authorities stated that the teenager was frail, gaunt, and ravenously hungry. He also appeared to be developmentally delayed and nonverbal.
At the hospital, police noted that he was lying in the fetal position and seemed unable to stretch himself out in the bed.
“The child ‘ruminated his food,’ as if he didn’t have the ability to get food at home. When he had food, he regurgitated and re-ate it, according to police.”
Officials said Estrada had not taken the boy to therapy or used any intervention since 2005.
While her son was in the hospital, she reportedly contacted the genetics testing personnel and claimed her son “has no medical issues that require hospitalization.”
Estrada also angrily insisted that she “did everything” for him but did not understand why she could not keep him at home.
“She reported that she did not have a primary care provider for her son. The children were home-schooled, and it appeared as though her son ‘had limited interaction outside of the mother and three other children,'” according to police.
Despite his initial condition, the teenager gained over two pounds after being in the hospital for two days. When he was discharged on December 2, he weighed about 45 pounds.
The boy’s condition was due to malnutrition and medical neglect because the mother “failed to seek appropriate medical care from an early age until he was 16 years of age and failed to appropriately feed him,” a doctor at Penn State Hershey Medical Center said.
The teenager grew in height and weight during his stay at the hospital “simply because he was receiving appropriate nutrition.”
Estrada faces charges of aggravated assault and two counts of endangering the welfare of children. Her bond was set at $25,000, and she is expected to appear in court on January 28.