Seven children—boys ages 11, 7, 6, 6, 2, and 18 months, and a girl of unknown age—were medically neglected and starved by their parents, Adrienne Bartholomew and James Brothers, and their grandmother Debra Nelson. The children were homeschooled: the 11-year-old attended online school, and the 7-, 6-, and 6-year-old boys had individual education plans whereby they attended the public school one day per week to receive special education services. Five of the children (the 7-year-old, the two 6-year-olds, the 2-year-old, and the 18-month-old) were disabled by a rare genetic disorder that made them unable to retain healthy fat deposits.
Despite the children’s complex medical needs and the presence of the children’s grandmother as an in-home caregiver, the 11-year-old boy was primarily responsible for caring for and feeding his younger siblings while the adults in the home neglected them, bathing them only once a week and cleaning the house only in preparation for social worker visits.
The abuse came to light when the 18-month-old, Isaac Brothers-Bartholomew, died of dehydration and malnourishment and his parents called the police. When the other children were rescued, they were covered in vomit and urine and severely malnourished—one of the 6-year-olds weighed only 23 pounds. Bartholomew, Brothers, and Nelson were each charged with involuntary manslaughter, endangering children, and patient endangerment. Brothers was sentenced to six years in prison while Bartholomew received three.
Date: November 6, 2012
Location: Vermilion Township, Ohio