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Florida parents charged with murder in toddler's malnutrition death

Posted at 9:13 AM, Dec 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-19 12:30:52-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. – A Florida couple has been indicted on several charges in the death of their 18-month-old child, including murder.

Ryan and Shiela O'Leary of Cape Coral were arrested last month after it was found that their 18-month-old boy died from complications of malnutrition and weighed 17 pounds.

The Cape Coral Police Department says officers responded to a call on Sept. 27 regarding the toddler who had stopped breathing.

When first responders arrived at the family’s home, firefighters noted that the toddler appeared to be cool and very pale. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.

Detectives with the Major Crimes Unit arrived and noted the extreme malnourishment suffered by both the deceased and his older siblings, ages 3 and 5. The siblings were immediately removed from the home by the Department of Children and Families for their safety.

On Nov. 6, shortly after the official cause of death was released by the medical examiner, the O’Learys turned themselves in to Cape Coral police.

Florida State Attorney Amira Fox held a press conference Wednesday to announce that a Lee County grand jury has indicted the couple on charges of 1st degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravated manslaughter, child abuse, and child neglect.

"The evidence in this case is horrendous," said Fox.

The parents will be arraigned on Monday, Dec. 23.

This story was originally published by staff at WFTX.

Press Conference: Cape Coral parents charged in toddler's death