JUPITER, Fla. - A Jupiter couple has been arrested on charges of child neglect with great bodily harm after deputies said they deprived their child of proper nutrients and tried to treat him with holistic and religious remedies.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Claudel and Vanessa Louis are naturalists and refused to feed their child anything other than fruits, vegetables and juice.
The affidavit states that the child has not been properly fed since Vanessa stopped breast-feeding the boy when he was six-months-old.
The now 19-month-old was admitted to St. Mary's Medical Center on May 24 because he was severely emaciated, vomiting and had difficulty breathing, the affidavit states.
Investigators with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said the child lacked muscle tone on his arms and legs, his ribs and collar bones were exposed, and he had a distended stomach.
Because he had been deprived of nutrients for so long, he has trouble absorbing anything, particularly electrolytes, the affidavit reports a doctor as saying.
The couple told deputies that they noticed the child losing weight and not developing properly at the age of one, but believed their son had a medical problem and turned to religious and holistic ways to "cure" him.
The child never saw a pediatrician until last month, the affidavit states.
Although Claudel Louis has identified himself as a Jehovah's Witness the world headquarters of Jehovah's Witnesses contacted us to say that, "none of the beliefs and/or practices of Jehovah's Witnesses lend any support to the criminal act of child neglect." It said any inferences are inflammatory and offensive to Jehovah's Witnesses.