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Cameron R Hoopingarner

Cops: Disabled boy weighed less than 15 pounds, starved to death!

by Jacquelyn Gray, Contributor

Four people in Terre Haute, Indiana, were arrested after a 9-year-old in their custody supposedly starved to death.

Police responded to a cardiac arrest call early Tuesday and discovered an unresponsive Cameron R. Hoopingarner. The child was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to the Associated Press.

Vigo County Sheriff Greg Ewing said Hoopingarner, who had cerebral palsy, was blind and weighed less than 15 pounds when he was found. Ewing claimed the coroner determined the preliminary cause of death was “severe malnutrition and the manner was homicide.”

Officers subsequently arrested Chad Kraemer, 33, Hubert Kraemer, 56, Robin Kraemer, 53, and Sarah Travioli, 30, for Hoopingarner’s death. Hubert and Robin, the 9-year-old’s legal guardians, were charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death and neglect of a dependent.

Hubert and Robin had Hoopingarner since he was 3-days-old. They are not related to the child.

Ewing also claimed that the 9-year-old was bedridden and never went to school. Court records show he hadn’t been to a doctor in more than a year.

“In my 26 years in this office, the pictures that I saw of Cameron and his condition were terrible, beyond terrible,” Ewing said, according to the New York Daily News.

The Tribune-Star reported that a 5 and 3-year-old belonging to Chad and Sarah were removed from the home. The pair is charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death, neglect of a dependent, and failure to report child neglect.

“It makes me mad,” Ewing commented. “It makes me mad that somebody could do this to a child, let alone a child that has physical handicaps and is blind, who was given to a guardian to take care of. And this is how he gets treated? This is what he deserves? To be starved to death? What kind of animals are they?”

The four are held at Vigo County jail on $250,000 bonds. If convicted of neglect of a dependent resulting in death—a Level 1 felony—they face 20 to 40 years in prison.

[Feature Photo: Vigo County Sheriff’s Department]

Jacquelyn Gray is a New Jersey-based writer and journalist. When she's not covering crime, she's probably tweeting or doing yoga.