Julia French and Robert Buskey

‘Vegan baby’ starved to near death after parents ignore doctor’s feeding advice & give newborn potato-based mash: Police

A Florida mom and dad allegedly starved their baby boy to near death after ignoring a doctor’s advice on feeding the baby organic formula.

Florida’s ABC 9 reports that Julia French, 20, and Robert Buskey, 31, of Titusville, are facing charges of child neglect after police found with couple’s 5-month-old boy barely clinging to life. Investigators discovered the baby inside the couple’s home with sunken eyes, loose skin, and visible bones protruding from his body.

Authorities became involved last Wednesday after the Florida Department of Children and Families contacted police when they noticed the little boy appeared malnourished.

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“I’ve never seen a child to this level; this close to possible death,” Lauren Watson, with Titusville PD, said.

The baby apparently couldn’t move and weighed eight pounds, only a pound heavier than his birth weight. Police said the boy’s parents were aware the baby wasn’t thriving, yet took no action to help him.

Julia French arrest affidavit by on Scribd

“The infant had difficulties maintaining his temperatures and sugar due to dehydration and malnutrition,” an arrest affidavit obtained by CrimeOnline read. “The infant appeared emaciated. He had sunken eyes, loose skin on his extremities and buttocks, ribs and other bones were showing….The infant lacked any real muscle tone.”

The couple reportedly told the baby’s doctor about their vegan lifestyle and that they followed the Nazarite Hebrew religion. The physician gave the couple instructions on the feeding the baby and told them to use an organic formula. The pair allegedly started feeding the baby “a potato-based mash” after French found the recipe on the Internet.

“At one point, when the child was doing good and healthy and gaining weight, he was on an organic formula and they changed it on their own,” Watson added.

Authorities said the suspects had the means to afford the organic formula, but didn’t have a reason why they decided to stop using it. Buskey allegedly questioned the validity of the medical reports.

The baby was rushed to the hospital Wednesday night, where he was given fluids. He gained half a pound the same night, according to police. The emergency room physician said the little boy may have long-term heart problems due to malnourishment and dehydration.

Court records indicate the suspects were charged with child neglect with great bodily harm, a second-degree felony. The baby is currently in DCF custody.

The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

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[Feature Photo: Robert Buskey and Julia French/Police Handout]