How did a starving Longmont teen fall through cracks?

Police: Social services had no contact with family
Posted at 8:29 PM, Sep 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-08 22:29:45-04

LONGMONT, Colo. -- The parents of a severely malnourished 17-year-old Longmont teenager have bonded out of jail and refused to comment about disturbing accusations of child abuse and neglect.

David and Vanessa Hall were arrested this week, but both told Denver7 by phone that they could not speak about the case.

So, how did a blind, autistic teenager doctors called 'severely malnourished' fall through the cracks?

Longmont police said before this incident, the Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services had had no contact with the family.

The arrest warrant states he had not been to a doctor, dentist or school in at least eight years.

Before that, the warrant states the family lived in Georgia, where the boy "was placed in a special education class, and excelled in that learning environment."

There were also records he had been to the doctor then.

Many social workers said that there is really no mechanism to track children who move from one state to another.

Meanwhile, children with autism often want very restrictive diets, but there are resources available for parents.

"It's common for children with autism to have sensory concerns, and so some of that can present as an aversion to certain foods or a very restricted diet," said Eric Hostetler with the Autism Society of Colorado. "As a parent, if that happens, your first call is going to be a medical professional, and there are many other resources available."

Doctors told police the 17-year-old had near fatal malnutrition resulting from months, if not years, of a poor diet lacking entire food groups.

The warrant states the boy survived on 7-8 sodas a day and approximately 400-500 calories worth of "cheesy cracker type snacks (Cheese-its, Cheetos, and Doritos.)"

Colorado provides a number of assistance programs for families and children:

The Autism Society of Colorado has links to resources families can access.

Click here if you want to check out the calendar of events to support families who have children with autism.

Here are links on how to look for signs of abuse and other resources:


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