On July 17, Wisconsin parents Kehinde Omosebi, 49, and Titilayo Omosebi, 47, started a religious fast in order to get a “blessing from God.”
They also made their 15-year-old and 11-year-old sons participate — until the eldest child died of starvation on Friday.
The children survived the starvation for 40 days, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.
On Sunday, the father walked into a police station to report the death, after two days of prayer.
When police entered the home, they found the deceased teen in a chair in the bedroom. The 11-year-old child and the mother on the brink of starvation.Sauk County Jail
Every door leading to the outdoors had been padlocked and the house was barren of any belongings or personal items besides a few chairs.
They also discovered a note written by the 11-year-old, addressed to the “Lawyers of Sauk County Circuit Court.” It read, in part:
The hunger is too much. Please help me now so I may eat… I can’t continue in such a life with no food… If I don’t get food now I’ll probably die of hunger.
The father was allegedly the only person allowed to leave the house and claimed he was a minister, which police believe to be false.
He indicated that this was the longest the family had ever fasted.
Reedsburg Police Chief Timothy Becker said that the teen’s death was a result of neglect, not a religious fast:
“It wasn’t a fast, it was neglect because the statutes make it clear that you have to provide necessary food (to children). When you lock your kids in the house and the father is the only one who can leave, it stops being a fast and starts being starvation and neglect.”
The 11-year-old boy was taken from the home clutching onto a bible. He was taken to a hospital for treatment and is now in protective custody.
Police said that the mother was also offered treatment but refused.
Both parents are being held on possible charges of neglecting a child causing death and neglecting a child causing great bodily harm, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Becker said they have both started eating again after being put behind bars.
The father told police that he believes he did nothing wrong.