“The world couldn’t see them as they are”: How did 3 children go months without food?
Halifax, Pennsylvania – Child welfare workers and police discovered something horrifying in a “normal” family setting over the Holiday.
Three children were found emaciated after being locked in a room each night with no heat and little food. A doctor examined the children and said that they were days away from death after months of starvation and a lack of medical care.
A couple in Halifax Township has been arrested on charges of false imprisonment, aggravated assault, and related charges. The pair, Joshua and Brandi Weyant, have been jailed on $1 million bail.
Brandi Weyant told police that the abuse was the fault of her husband, Joshua. Joshua stated that he did not want the children to be “overfed.”
Neighbors reported that Brandi Weyant clipped coupons and delivered frozen food and extra bushels of apples to residents nearby. The couple had even hosted a birthday bonfire in their yard in recent months.
“I knew he’d been through some rough times but he seemed like a good man, or at least that’s the way he portrayed himself,” one neighbor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said of the husband.
Investigators believe that the Weyants stopped feeding the children in September. The children were close to death, and covered with animal hair, feces, and urine when a doctor examined them. They were all underweight and malnourished.
According to the state police affidavit of probable cause, the children told the authorities that they were locked in their room at night and could not leave. Investigators found hook-and-eye locks on the outside of the children’s bedroom door. The children said they would pound on the wall in order to bet let out to use the bathroom and, when no one came, would urinate on themselves or the floor.
In the affidavit, police said the children “reeked of a strong odor similar to that of caged animals.”
The children were so emaciated that their ribs were showing. They had a core body temperature of 94 degrees but warmed considerably after being taken into state care. The last thing they remembered eating was an apple, but they did not know when.
“The victims stated numerous times that they were cold, and despite having multiple layers of clothing on, they were physically shivering while being interviewed,” the affidavit reads. “[A caseworker] provided the children with her coat to keep them warm.”
One child had an abrasion over his eye and said that it came as result of Joshua Weyant throwing him across the floor for punishment. According to the affidavit, medical records show that JTW weighed 28 pounds at his last medical appointment in October 2013. More than three years later, he weighs 27.3 pounds. SRB weighed 27 pounds at her last appointment in May 2014 and now weighs 23.1 pounds. HRW weighed 23 pounds at her last appointment, on the same day as her older sister, and now weighs 26.4 pounds.
The children are likely to require months of hospitalization and treatment as they recover. They are afraid, and stated that they in no way ever wanted to return to the home.
Our prayers go out to them.