The Edmond Police Department is investigating what doctors called a heinous case of child neglect.
According to investigators, the child went to extreme lengths to stay alive. Witnesses said the child snuck out of his home at night to look for food in the dumpster.
Edmond investigators are shocked by this case. They said the victim, an 8-year-old child, only gained six pounds in seven years.
The investigation started in February, when the Oklahoma Department of Human Services did a wellness check on an 8-year-old who was the size of a 2 1/2-year-old.
“A referral had been made to them by someone who had seen this child crawling out of his bedroom window at night. Supposedly this was to get food because he was hungry,” said Emily Ward, Edmond Police Department Public Information Officer.
Court documents revealed the victim "was pale, his collar, and rib bones were protruding." Authorities put the victim in foster care.
Tuesday, officers arrested the boy’s mother, 36-year-old Akemi Cox, and her 61-year-old fiancé, Valerio Garcia, at their home near Sooner and Coffee Creek.
“They both have two counts of child neglect. That’s one for food and one for medical. When he was in the hospital the doctor there said it was at best a medical neglect case,” said Ward.
The victim told police "if he asked for food, he would get in trouble." The child also told police his parents, on more than one occasion, "would spank him with a belt…there were marks and bruises left from the belt and they were bad," Ward said. “Both have a history with DHS. She is a mother of six total children and does not have custody of any of those children.”
Edmond investigators said since they took the child into foster care, he has gained 15 pounds and is on the road to recovery.
“Hopefully, this little boy can now begin to heal and get healthy. He is already gaining weight which is great and so hopefully he has an easier road ahead of him now,” said Ward.
Police said their investigation also revealed that the 8-year-old hadn't been to the doctor since 2015.