A Michigan mother is facing first-degree child abuse charges after her four-year-old son arrived at an emergency room near death, allegedly the result of neglect, starvation, and torture.
According to the Battle Creek Enquirer, Megan Schug, 23, brought her son to an emergency room on March 22, after he began having trouble breathing. At the time, he was emaciated and lethargic.
“I saw a child that was near death,” Dr. James Yenger reportedly said in court on Thursday.
Dr. Yenger said that the little boy showed signs of having been kept immobile, and had lost most of his hair, apparently as a result of malnourishment.
Seeing his dangerous condition, hospital staff contacted police and child services. Authorities subsequently launched an investigation and found evidence that the boy had been locked in a closet for extended periods of time, allegedly surrounded by his own urine and feces.
“At nighttime they would lock him in the closet and sometime in the morning open the closet,” a detective said in January, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The Battle Creek Enquirer reports that Shug had initially been charged with second-degree child abuse, but a judge upgraded the charge to first-degree child abuse after hearing the doctor’s testimony.
Schug’s boyfriend, Isaac Miller, has also been charged with second-degree child abuse, and the prosecution has requested his charges also be upgraded.
Both Schug and Miller could face a lifetime prison sentence if convicted.
The little boy is recovering from the abuse at a long-term treatment facility.
Feature photo: Battle Creek Police