Nigerians in the United States, Kehinde Omosebi, 49 and Titilayo Omosebi, 47 and their residents are facing 37 years imprisonment for starving their 15-year-old son to death.
Kehinde, the boy’s father, who is a self-claimed pastor with Cornerstone Reformation Ministries, had ordered a religious fast that lasted 40 days.
The deceased younger brother, 11, was found alive but extremely emaciated.
“The hunger is too much. Please help me now so I may eat, I can’t continue in such a life with no food and if I don’t get food now I’ll probably die of hunger.” a letter written and signed by their 11-year-old son addressed to lawyers of Sauk County Circuit Court.
All the boys had as nourishment during the fast, which began on July 17, was water.
According to the Madison State Journal, policemen had to break through locked doors to reach the boys at a residence on Alexander Avenue on the west side of the city, after the father reported the death to the police.
Reedsburg Police Chief, Timothy Becker, said “It wasn’t a fast; it was neglect because the statutes make it clear that you have to provide necessary food (to children). When you lock your kids in the house and the father is the only one who can leave, it stops being a fast and starts being starvation and neglect,”
“It wasn’t like the kid was healthy on Thursday and then died on Friday. His death was a long process and his parents did nothing to stop it. That’s the most concerning thing about this.” Becker added
According to reports, the 11-year-old boy had to be assisted to walk out of the residence. He held onto a Bible and an envelope containing pamphlets about death, which were distributed to the officers when they arrived at the residence.
He has been taken to the American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, and placed in protective custody.
Speaking on the destitute state of the deceased’s residence, Becker said: “The residence had no phone, no power, no food. I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s tragic.”
Becker however confirmed that Omosebi was “not affiliated with any church that has any public records proving their existence”.
Sauk County Circuit Judge, Wendy J.N. Klicko set bail at $5,000 for Kehinde Omosebi and ordered him to have no contact with his surviving son. However, both parents are said to be eating again, according to Becker.
Kehinde told Police that it wasn’t the first time the family would be involved in a religious fast.
By Oluwaseyi Jeje