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Vegan Mother Who Underfed Her Baby Arrested For Child Endangerment

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A vegan mother has been arrested and charged with child endangerment after her estranged husband complained to authorities that their 11-month-old son was fed only berries and nuts. The stringy diet left the infant with a severe head-to-toe rash and malnourishment, court records obtained by PEOPLE state.

Elizabeth Hawk, 33, of Farmington, Pennsylvania, was charged Tuesday. The baby’s father, Jerry Hawk, 44, brought the child in to the Fayette County Children and Youth Services on August 16, claiming that the mother had “become obsessed” with veganism, and would only feed their son a few fruits and nuts.

A vegan diet consists only of plants, such as vegetables, nuts, grains and fruits, as well as food made from plants. No animal products, including dairy products or eggs, all allowed.

Hawk’s sister-in-law, Brandy, said that Mrs. Hawk intended to “live on water and sunlight,” and follows a strict vegan diet. She noticed that the child had developed a severe rash and slow motor and mental skills, but when Brandy told the mother, she allegedly dismissed the concerns, blaming the rash on allergies, Fox News reports.

The rash “became so bad that the child was scratching [his] skin off in places,” and was exacerbated by the lack of a proper, healthy diet, Hawk told child welfare authorities. He added that Mrs. Hawk had been prescribed a topical cream to treat the child’s rash, but she refused to apply it.

A pediatrician from West Virginia gave the child a check-up and called the mother’s neglect “inhuman” due to the level of distress the condition was causing. The rash could cause septic shock, and the infant was not able to crawl because of malnourishment, leaving him with delayed development.

Mrs. Hawk is free on her own recognizance, but faces charges and a preliminary hearing on November 14. The child is with his father and two siblings, and is reportedly making a turnaround.

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