Reedsburg (WKOW) — Charges have been filed against both a Reedsburg father and mother in the apparent starvation death of a teenager.
From the Sauk County Jail via video, 49-year old Kehinde S. Omosebi appeared in Sauk County Court Tuesday and was charged with Neglecting a Child – Consequence is Death and Neglecting a Child – Consequence is Great Bodily Harm. His wife, 48-year old Titilayo Omosebi, also arrested by police, did not appear in court yet.
A criminal complaint filed Tuesday claims Omosebi failed to provide food for his children, ages 15 and 11. Omosebi went to the Reedsburg Police Department Monday to report his 15-year-old, Ayanfe Omosebi, had died. Police say the 11-year-old was in very poor health went they went to the home. He was emaciated and had a hard time talking and walking, according to police. The criminal complaint states the younger child had to be carried out of a bedroom because he wasn’t able to walk under his own strength.
Police say there was no food located in the home and no eating utensils were visible. The criminal complaint states there was no electricity in the home and they were unable to find bed sheets, pillows, clothing or personal hygiene items. Only one room had a bed. The only furniture officers found were four metal chairs in the living room all facing one another, in a square pattern, according to the complaint. Officers say Ayanfe was in one of the chairs when they first saw him.
The criminal complaint says Kehinde Omosebi told officers the last time he and his family had eaten food was on July 17. Omosebi allegedly stated they had done fasting with their children in the past, but “not for this long” and indicated to an officer they were waiting for the “Blessing from God” so they could move to Atlanta, Georgia.
The officer asked Omosebi when the fasting was supposed to end and he stated August 31, the day their son had died. The criminal complaint says the family prayed for two days per their religious beliefs and then Omosebi went to the police department to report his son’s death.
“The defendant continue to believe he had done nothing wrong despite the death of his son,” Assistant Sauk County District Attorney Linda Hoffman says.
Court records say padlocks were placed on the doors on the inside of the house in such a way “…someone on the inside would be confined to the home and unable to leave.”
“I seen him,” neighbor Heather Burnham says of Kehinde Omosebi. “Just him, nobody else.”
Reedsburg Police Chief Timothy Becker says officers had contact with all four family members May 21 when they were putting religious pamphlets on cars in a grocery store parking lot. Becker says the children appeared in good health at the time.
In the criminal complaint, doctors told officers the younger son will have an extended stay in the hospital as he gets back to eating regularly and treating his malnourishment.
Officers say they also found a handwritten letter addressed to “Lawyers of Sauk County Circuit Court” from the younger son, which included the statements, “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.” The letter referenced it had been five days since he and his family had eaten anything.