A Reedsburg father and mother were arrested Sunday after their 15-year-old son died during a 40-day fast, the Reedsburg Police Department said.
Kehinde Omosebi, 49, walked to the police department Sunday afternoon to report the death of his son, Reedsburg Police Chief Timothy Becker said. When officers went to the family’s home on Alexander Avenue, they had to force their way in through doors that had padlocks on the inside and found the boy, Ayanfe Omosebi, “extremely emaciated and deceased,” Becker said.
An 11-year-old child was also found extremely emaciated but alive along with the mother, 48-year-old Titilayo Omosebi, who was also emaciated, Becker said.
Becker said the father described himself as a “religious minister affiliated with Cornerstone Reformation Ministries,” and the family started their fast on July 19.
Kehinde Omosebi told police his son died on Friday, Becker said, which would have been the 44th day of the fast.
No food was found in the home, Becker said, and the mother and 11-year-old child were brought to a hospital for medical treatment, but Titilayo Omosebi refused, citing religious restrictions.
Kehinde and Titilayo Omosebi were taken to the Sauk County Jail on tentative charges of neglecting a child causing death and neglecting a child causing great bodily harm, Becker said.
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He said the 11-year-old child was placed in protective custody and brought to the Children’s Hospital in Madison.
Sonny Hyde, pastor of the Cornerstone Ministry Baptist Church in Reedsburg, said the family was not affiliated with his church, and he said he has not heard of Cornerstone Reformation Ministries in the community.
“We’re certainly praying for the other child,” he said.
Doug Knuth, who for about eight months has lived next door to the duplex the Omosebi family lived in, said he does not recall ever seeing the family.
He said he didn’t know about the situation until he was contacted by a television news station Monday.
An autopsy for the 15-year-old boy is scheduled for Monday, and the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratory will help the police department in the investigation.
[Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of the first name of Titilayo Omosebi.]