Police find 16-year-old boy weighing 26 pounds inside home


The victim has since gained weight and now weighs 45 pounds

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Chambersburg woman is charged after authorities say her 16-year-old son was extremely malnourished and weighed just 26 pounds when he was admitted to a hospital last year.

Elisabet Estrada failed to provide proper nutrition for the boy, resulting in his stunted growth and failure to thrive, police said in charging documents filed last week.

Estrada, 41, is charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of children.

A criminal complaint states the boy was very frail, ravenously hungry, and his ribs were extremely evident when he was admitted to Penn State Hershey Medical Center in late October.

He “laid in bed in the fetal position in a way that appeared as though he didn’t have the ability to stretch out” and “presented as developmentally delayed and nonverbal,” police said in the complaint.

The child “ruminated his food as if he didn’t have the ability to get food at home.” When he had food, he “regurgitated and re-ate” it, police said.

Authorities said it did not appear that Estrada had utilized any therapy services or early intervention services since 2005. The boy and three other children were home-schooled, and it appeared the boy had limited interaction beyond his mother and siblings, according to the complaint.

The other children in the home appeared to be in good general health, police said.

Estrada told a Children and Youth Services caseworker that her son had no medical issues that required hospitalization. She insisted she did everything for her son, and she didn’t understand why she could not treat him at home, the complaint states.

The boy remained at Penn State Hershey Medical Center from late October until Dec. 23. Authorities said he gained 2.2 pounds during his first two days at the hospital and continued to gain weight until he was discharged on Dec. 23, when he weighed 45 pounds, police said.

His doctor opinioned the boy’s mother was the source of his medical issues since she failed to appropriately feed him and seek appropriate care from an early age.

The boy grew in height and weight while at the hospital simply because he was receiving appropriate nutrition, his doctor told police. Prior to discharge, he was standing up straight and continued to make progress with walking.

Estrada was placed in Franklin County Jail after failing to post $25,000 cash bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 28.

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