Adopted Son Starved; 8-Year-Old Threw Up to Taste Food Again

Mona and Russell Hauer's adopted son was found to be so malnourished and underweight that his muscles were atrophied and his bones protruded from his body. The Minnesota couple has been charged with six felonies, including child neglect and malicious punishment of a child after the incident.

Mona brought the boy in to the Mayo Clinic when she thought he had vomited blood. Doctors noticed that the boy, 8, weighed as much and was as tall as an average 4-year-old. His abdomen was distended, a sign of starvation, and doctors also discovered he was suffering from anemia and brain atrophy.

As it turned out, the boy was kept in the basement of the Hauer's home and forced to sleep on a sled because he allegedly wet the bed. The Hauers also put an alarm on his door so that he would not steal food since he was "supposed" to have been on a liquid diet.

The boy admitted to officials that he did not brush his teeth and would sometimes make himself throw up "because he wanted the taste of food and did not know when he would eat again."

Mona claimed that the all-liquid diet was the suggestion of a chiropractor, but no evidence was found to support her claim. The chiropractor in question told police he "did not intend it to be the boy's only nourishment," the Associated Press noted.

In addition to living in the basement, the boy was provided a bucket to use as a toilet; he was also responsible for cleaning it every morning. Once or twice a week a sibling would hose him off with the garden hose, reports said. His siblings were told that the young boy was "naughty" and stole food, which required such severe conditions.

The boy has been moved to a hospital and put on a healthy diet in order to help him gain weight and develop. The Hauers, meanwhile, face serious charges in court but have been released. No word has been given yet as to whether the other children in the Hauers' care have been removed from the home or even will be.