Police in West Virginia have arrested three people after a 2-year-old twin boy was hospitalized on Monday in an apparent case of child abuse.
WCHS reported that emergency crews responded to a Jackson County home for a toddler boy who was unresponsive due to malnutrition and dehydration. The boy’s parents, Michael and Lylee Gillenwater, 24 and 21, and a third resident, Brian Casto, 22, are accused of locking the boy and his twin brother in a filthy room for up to six weeks at a time.
Jackson County Sheriff Ross H. Mellinger told WOWK that the boy is in complete renal failure. Though he is reportedly in stable condition, Mellinger said he has “a lot of hurdles to clear medically to see whether he’s even going to survive or not.”
The twin boys reportedly wore nothing but a diaper when they were locked in the room for extended periods of time. Mellinger alleged they were only fed pieces of ground beef and Cheerios that would be slid under the door.
In addition to locking the boys in a room and starving them, the trio is also accused of giving them medications to put them to sleep.
“It’s just amazing to me that animals like this still exist – where becoming a parent is a burden, and living in such a nasty environment,” Mellinger told WOWK.
The other 2-year-old and a girl were also removed from the home in light of Monday’s incident.
Reports indicated that Michael and Lylee Gillenwater are married and Casto is Lylee’s live-in boyfriend.
Michael Gillenwater is charged with child neglect with serious risk of injury or death and child neglect resulting in injury. His wife is charged with child neglect resulting in injury. Meanwhile, Casto is charged with child abuse resulting in injury and child abuse with risk of injury.
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[Featured image: Michael Gillenwater, Lylee Gillenwater, Brian Casto/South Central Regional Jail]