A man trying to get into the Army lost 63 pounds in less than four months _ an extreme diet that helped lead to his death _ and the Army says it is now investigating his mother's allegation that military recruiters had coached him on how to shed weight.
Glenni "Glenn" Wilsey V, of Vermilion, had started losing weight before he talked to recruiters in December and died earlier this month, 7 pounds short of his goal.
The Army said it couldn't comment on whether recruiters advised the 20-year-old on his weight-loss regimen. But Wilsey's mother, Lora Bailey, said her son told her he was following recruiters' advice, including self-induced vomiting.
She said she pleaded with him to stop the extreme dieting.
"He'd say, 'Mom, these guys know what they're talking about.' He believed what the recruiters were telling him over what I was telling him," she said.
Bailey told The Associated Press on Friday that her son once weighed as much as 280 pounds but had trimmed down to about 260 by December when he contacted recruiters and started dieting in earnest. He had enlisted Feb. 11, but his weight delayed his deployment. He weighed 197 pounds at the time of his death.
Bailey told The Associated Press that she wasn't blaming the individual recruiters but felt the Army's weight goals were at fault and wants the issue addressed to protect future recruits.
Lorain County Coroner Dr. Paul Matus blamed Wilsey's March 3 death on an irregular heartbeat due to electrolyte imbalance with a contributing factor of dieting.
The Army investigation was ordered by the commander of the Cleveland Recruiting Battalion.
Douglas Smith, spokesman for the Army Recruiting Command headquarters in Fort Knox, Ky., said Friday the matter was under investigation. He expressed condolences to the family but said he couldn't comment in detail.