A 2-year-old Washington boy who authorities say was so malnourished he weighed less than half as much as a normal child his age remained on life support Wednesday after his heart stopped and he was airlifted to a Spokane hospital.
The boy weighed less than 10 pounds when emergency responders arrived at his Moses Lake home last week, said Kyle Foreman, a Grant County Sheriff's Office spokesman. A boy that age usually weighs between 22 and 34 pounds, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Authorities couldn't say whether the child's parents had consulted a medical doctor. But Foreman said the boy's mother told detectives she had consulted by telephone with a Chinese herbalist in the San Francisco area about the boy, and also had consulted with a local naturopath or naturalist.
Foreman had no other details on the boy's medical history, and the Moses Lake hospital had no records on the child.
"There are a lot of questions investigators need to find answers for," he said.
Foreman said four other children who lived in the family's Moses Lake home were in good condition. They were taken into custody by the state Child Protective Services agency.
The parents, Robert and Michelle Staats, are with their son in Spokane, Foreman said. Calls to the family's Moses Lake home produced a constant busy signal Wednesday.
"There have been no arrests, and no one has yet been charged," Foreman said.
According to a search warrant, someone from the family home called 911 on May 9 to report that a child had stopped breathing. Emergency responders arrived to find the mother giving CPR, the document said.
The search warrant said the boy had no hair or muscle tone, was bleeding from the rectum, and had a core body temperature of only 89 degrees. Normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees.
Those symptoms were consistent with long-term malnutrition, the warrant said.
The boy was taken first to a Moses Lake hospital, then airlifted 90 miles east to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.
State child protective workers have had no previous contact with the family, said John Wiley, a spokesman for the state Department of Social and Health Services in Spokane.
The search warrant said investigators are looking into whether the children were provided the basic necessities of life, including food, water, shelter, clothing and medical care.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov/