Parents arrested after 8-month-old baby dies of suspected malnutrition, neglect
HIROSHIMA — March 4th, 2016
Police have arrested the parents of an 8-month-old baby boy who was found dead of suspected malnutrition and neglect in the city of Kure in Hiroshima Prefecture.
According to police, Mao Arai, 41, and his wife Ayaka, 22, did not feed their son Rito since early February and did not take any measures to help him despite being aware that his health was deteriorating, Fuji TV reported.
On Wednesday morning, the husband called emergency services, informing them that his son’s “body was cold.” When authorities arrived at the site, they found the baby lying on a futon in a state of cardiac arrest. He was later pronounced dead.
There were no injuries on Rito’s body, but his ribs were showing and he was visibly underweight. According to investigators, he weighed four kilograms, half the average for his age.
The family lived in a two-story house, with the baby staying in a room on the first floor, Sankei Shimbun reported. Police found no other items but a futon in the child’s room and there was no baby food in the house.
Neighbors were quoted by police as saying that they weren’t aware that the couple had a child, because they had never seen him.
The two suspects are apparently providing conflicting statements, with the wife telling police that she “could not care enough for the child,” while the husband is denying neglect, saying that the baby was not weak and that they had been caring for him.