Police: Parents make malnourished adopted son, 5, march in flippers, carry heavy weights on back while doing forced exercises

Wisconsin authorities say a Green Bay man and woman intentionally starved their adopted son and made march around in flippers, while carrying a backpack full of weights.

ABC reports that Bradley Fahrenkrug, 40, and Kimberly Fahrenkrug, 38, were both arrested on Monday and charged with felony child abuse after their 5-year-old son was found severely abused. According to court records, the little boy made numerous hospitals visits over the past nine months, and on his last visit in April, an attending physician noticed that his weight dropped to only 29 pounds.

According to authorities, the couple’s others children were given food to eat while the 5-year-old slowly starved. They also reportedly made him wear a compression vest and helmet while marching in flippers as punishment. To add insult to injury, the parents also put a backpack full of weights on the boy’s back while he marched and performed other forced exercises.

Further, the couple “swaddled” the child in a weighted blanket and forced him to stay in a crib for long periods, so that he wouldn’t have a way to get out and get food for himself. Barbara Knox, a doctor who specializes in child abuse at the Children’s Hospital in Madison, stated that young child had endured the “most egregious example of child starvation and torture” that she had ever seen before.

While at the hospital, medical staff gave the little boy food, which reportedly angered Kimberly, who claimed the child was being manipulative in order to get a “free vacation at the hospital.” Both parents are accused of calling the child “controlling, demanding and abnormal,” while medical staff noted he was actually extremely polite and “normal.”

When questioned about the child’s helmet, the couple said he wore it so that he wouldn’t hurt himself while banging his head. They denied any abuse and said they fed the boy regularly. However, police found enough evidence to arrest them and charge them with several felony child abuse charges, including mental harm to a child, recklessly endangering safety, child neglect resulting in great bodily harm, reckless injury, and false imprisonment.

When investigators searched the Fahrenkrug’s home, they found that the boy had no toys or games in his room, but instead, only a crib and a weighted blanket.

“That was one of the early indicators, too, where the other children’s rooms certainly had toys and things of that nature and this one was pretty sparse in that regard,” Sgt. Dave Poteat of the Brown County Sheriff’s Office said. “So different treatment, if you will, was kind of a red flag as well.”

Both suspects are being held at a Green Bay jail, with cash bonds of $100,000 each.

Meanwhile, the little boy, now in foster care, is thriving.

[Feature Photo: Brown County Sheriff’s Office]