Mother faces life in prison after vegan diet kills 18-month-old child

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A Florida mother has been found guilty of killing her 18-month-old child in 2019 by starving him to death on a diet of only raw fruits and vegetables and breast milk, reports FoxNews.

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Shelia O’ Leary was found guilty on Wednesday of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter, child abuse and two counts of child neglect.

The 39-year-old son, Ezra, weighed 17 pounds – seven pounds lighter than average – when he died in his sleep.

O’ Leary and her husband, Ryan – who will stand trial later on the same charges as his wife – said the family followed a vegan diet of ‘only raw fruits and vegetables’ and ‘breast milk’, according to News press.

When Ezra died, the couple’s three other children, all under the age of 11, were all suffering from malnutrition and dehydration.

Detectives were told by O’ Leary that Ezra had not eaten for a week and “had trouble sleeping the night before he died”.

Prosecutor Francine Donnorummo told Lee County Court that O’Leary failed to provide food and health care for the child, according to News press.

“It was a thoughtful and planned course of action,” Donnorummo said. “Ignorance is no defense in this case.”

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Co-Prosecutor Sara Miller told the jury in her closing arguments that the crime was that O’Leary refused to get medical help for her child.

“She chose to ignore Ezra’s suffering,” Miller said.

O’Leary could face life in prison when sentenced later this month.